While this isn’t always the case, every once in a while our athletes come to us saying that they are having nagging aches that won’t go away, feeling unmotivated to come to CrossFit class, or they are just plain tired all the time. We don’t blame them: they are in the gym 4-6x/week, living busy lives as professionals, parents, and all the other hats they wear throughout the day.
So when they might suggest “I think I’m going to take a week or two off”, here’s what we might consider as a better option: deload to reload.
What is “deloading”? Deloading is a period of time where you are still working out, or training, but the intensity and/or volume of those workout sessions is lower than typical levels. For CrossFitters, this might look like hitting a “WOD” at 75-80% typical intensity than our other weeks, or lifting weights no heavier than 70% of your max. These are just examples; some individuals may need the type of deload where they are not lifting weights in complex movements such as Olympic weightlifting for a whole week.
Why should I deload? The whole point is to rest and recover, especially for the central nervous system, joints/ligaments, muscles, and also mental or emotional strain (especially if you are like many of our members and are their own biggest competitors!). After decreasing stimulus from typical training, the ideal outcome is to come back stronger in the next period of training.
When should I deload? Fortunately, Coach Scott programs intentional “deload” weeks for our regular CrossFit classes in all of the programs: Fitness, Performance and Competition. However, sometimes they can happen on your own time as a result of injury, illness, personal reasons such as vacation, or so on. When it does happen, no need to feel bad about it or feel that you are missing out. Contrary to popular belief, CrossFit as a training mechanism, for the vast majority, is a means to live a healthier life, not necessarily to beat our bodies up to workout with the heaviest weights or move the fastest pace day in and day out!
If you’re sensing a deload week is something you may need to do, just talk to one of your coaches, and they’ll help guide you towards what might be the next steps for getting you on a deload-type of week, so that you can come back feeling energized and ready to get even stronger and fitter than before!