In the world we live in today we always talk about working hard and to keep going when we are tired and to don’t stop until we are done. Although this is great motivation to keep you moving forward this can kill your gains literally!
Have you ever felt mentally and physically fatigued when training after some time? Maybe after training some weeks? What you need my friend is some rest and recovery. Pushing yourself to the limit when feeling like this will kill your gains and your strength.
The reason you are feeling like this is that your CNS (central nervous system) is ‘fried’.It is drained and needs recovery.For those of you that is not quite sure about the functions of the nervous system ,it is the essence of our survival.It allows us to move, enables our heart to beat, enables us to breathe ,aids in digestion and also help us remove waste. These are just a few that were listed.
When lifting weight the CNS ofcourse is required to allow us to move. The heavier the weight the more the CNS is ‘taxed’. That is why it is important for powerlifters and powerbuilders to rest adequately.
Bodybuilders rest as well but most bodybuilders that train would lighter weight do not require to rest as often as powerlifters and powerbuilders. This is so because lighter weight does not tax the nervous system as much.
So constantly lifting heavy week in week out will take a toll on the CNS and it needs to rest.
DELOAD WEEK(WHAT IS IT?)
So for those of you that feel mentally fatigued in the gym and want to know how to recover. I would like to introduce to you what we call a deload. A deload is basically where a person plans a break from training or lessens the training volume in their training.
So you baically train with lighter loads when training or you can not train at all such as staying home and relaxing from the gym. A deload tends to last about 5 to 7 days. So you can say a week. We call this week a deload week.
The deload enables your CNS to get the rest it needs and to help it recover.Let’s look at it this way, we live in the age of technology.If you use your mobile phone for too long what happens? The battery runs low, it needs to recharge.This same concept related to our CNS. It needs to recharge or recover.And the only way to do this is to rest.When it fully recovers , like the mobile phone, it is fully powered and ready to go again.
Personally at the beginning i was never really a person that trained smart. My main focus was to get stronger and I would push my body to the limits and mentally I was tired and I would get headaches and stuff.It was the worst feeling in the world.
I felt i was getting weaker than stronger. It literally killed my gains until I decided you it was time for a deload. My body needed the rest but my main concern was to get stronger i was more focused on my ego than anything else.
After carrying out the deload guess what? I got stronger! All of my compound lifts went up and I also started to train smarter and not push my body as much everday.
Deloading helps to give your CNS a rest from hard training from the previous weeks. It also gives the muscles and your joints a chance to recover as well. Especially if you are feeling mentally exhausted day in and day out in the gym it is most likely time for a deload.You might even notice a drop in your strength.
HOW TO DELOAD
A normal deload should be about 6-8 weeks. This would depend on a personal feeling.If after 6 weeks you feel mentally fine, then continue on to the 7th and if you are still fine just deload on the 8th. If you ever feel mentally fatigued before the 6 week mark that is a very big indication that you are training way too hard for your body’s liking.
One way you can deload is the cut your normal workout by half or atleast by a quarter . Let’s say you do 6 exercises in a single day at the gym then do abut 3-4 exercises instead and use relatively light weight. So for example if you can dumbell bench press 60 lbs for 3 sets of 8-10, drop the weight to about 40-45 lbs and use the same reps and sets range.
Or let’s say you can overhead press 135lbs , then drop the weight to 95-100lbs and do 5 sets of 5 reps for example.Or for a squat lets say you can squat 225 for 8-10 reps, drop the weight to about 185lbs and do the same reps and sets range.
Keep the weight light for all the exercises. Don’t worry after the week is over you can go back to heavy training again!
The other way you can deload is to stay away from the gym for the week but for some of us gym enthusiasts like myself that is very difficult to do.
When on a deload it is important to know that you must get adequate rest which means atleast 7 hours of sleep and you must eat properly as well. Also don’t live infront the television or use your mobile phone all day, these tend to tax from the nervous system as well. You can watch TV or use your phone just don’t use it too much.
I recommend spending some time doing something outdoors, like take a jog, or go cycling or even hiking with some friends. Do something that helps you to relax and also it is important to keep your stress levels low. That also tax the CNS.
Just do something that helps to relax you, even meditate or do yoga if you will. Use the deload to your advantage! This will help to give your body the rest it needs and when you return to your normal training you will be as mentally and physically strong again!
A SIMPLE TIP
I also want to add in that training hard and lifting heavy every day in the gym is not smart training. I personally did this and it drained my CNS very quickly. I recommend that one of the days you train hard and the rest of days don’t train as hard.This helps to prevent the CNS from buidling fatigue too soon.
So if you train 4 days, you can have one hard day, one moderate and two light days.
If you train 3 days then do you can do one or two heavy days and a light or one heavy, one moderate and one light.
If you train 5 days, you can have either two hard days, two light days and one moderate. Or you can train one hard day,two moderate and two light. Your choice.
Like personally I start off with my compound lifts and I use progressive overload so I increase weight every week or every other week.After completing my compound lifts I would train heavy compounds for one or two days for the week.Then i would go moderate like once and light once for my isolations for the week.
Sometimes I train my isolations heavy once for the week and moderate twice and light twice. It is all based on a personal feeling. But just stay away from training hard everyday of the week.Incorporate some light and moderate days as well.This will prevent your CNS from draining too soon and too quickly.
Thank you for reading! And i hope this helps you to improve your training and make your gains!