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Why You Should Incorporate Deload Weeks into Your Fitness Training Routine

Men sitting and talking after finishing a workout
When did you deload last?

We all know that we want to progressively make our training a little hard over time, but we can't always be pushing the envelope week after week...after week...after week. You must deload!

A deload is a short period, typically lasting one week, where you intentionally reduce the intensity of your training. This allows your body to recover and reduce accumulated fatigue o you can then tackle multiple weeks of more intense, demanding training again.

What does a deload look like?

Deloading will not ruin your gains or stall your fat loss. In fact, many of my clients see significant drops in their body fat percentages before and after a deload week. You can either choose to take a deload week or your body will choose for you. When your body chooses, it has met is stress threshold and you will see signs of overtraining and my become injured or sick.

I don't know about you, but I think I'd rather choose to deload and be able to continue to train than to allow my body to choose because it is past it's limit and it chooses for me, forcing me to have to completely rest! If you have ever had to come back after an injury, you know what a slow and frustrating process it can be.

When you deload, you don't have to give up your workouts altogether, but you can strategically place them when you know you will be on vacation or headed on a trip and unable to get the same intensity of workout as usual. Beach vacation planned? You know you are not going to workout like you intend to (most likely), so why not work with your body and plan for the deload that week? Less stress to get workouts in, you will feel more confident in allowing your body that much needed rest time, and if you happen to get a lot of walking or hiking in, you've just met the criteria for deloading!


You should plan to deload about every 4-6 weeks, depending on your training and how your body is recovering. If you are recovering well from your workouts, you may be able to push a deload out further than if you aren't recovering well.

Deloading is simply a rest week while still training. So, if you still need to lift weights, head to the gym, go out for your run or really enjoy those group fitness classes, not to worry! Your deload week can simply look like using less weight and less intensity in your workout.

This may mean checking any comparison or ego at the door. It is a focus on recovery and what your body needs to recover. Your heart rate will not get up as high as it usually does. You may need to take the modification options in your favorite cardio class. Maybe this is the week that you spend more time doing some stretching, mobility, walking and yoga classes to help your muscles recover.

What are the benefits of deloading?

Deloading allows the muscles and joints to recover. This can help prevent injury and overtraining. Joints take longer to recover and if not looked after, it may cause damage later. Yikes!

A much needed mental break-- you will feel refreshed, stronger and faster. Whether you are a weekend warrior or a seasoned athlete, you will benefit mentally from a deload week. Typically, when the body isn’t performing well or energy levels are low. You may feel fatigued or unmotivated. These are all signs that your body is asking for a deload week!

Deloading maximizes your muscle building potential. It may also help prevent the dreaded plateau. You will see a change in energy levels, feeling refreshed and stronger after your deload. Having that 1 week off or training at low intensity, gives your body a recovery period where it can keep up with training demands, giving you more out of your upcoming sessions. The body will feel brand new with muscle and joints more flexible and free but also feeling strong in the sense of lifting heavier with no ache or pains and possibly having more range of motion. Energy systems will be primed and ready to hit the ground running.

So next time you are feeling flat, sore or are ready to hit your personal best out of the park, remember to factor in a deload into the mix and watch your results go through the roof.

Tired of forgetting to deload? When you utilize my programming, the deload weeks are planned out for you! Just follow the plan and you won't have to worry about forgetting to deload again.

Kelly Sherman, MS, NC, CGP, CPT, owner Provision Nutrition

Kelly Sherman, MS, NC, CGP, CPT, is a licensed nutritionist specializing in empowering women to reclaim their health by cutting through misinformation and ditching the diet culture. She has a master’s degree in nutrition and is degreed in exercise science as well as a certified personal trainer. With over 20 years of experience in the field, she combines the best of both nutrition and exercise sciences to best help her clients reach their potential. To nourish is to flourish!


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