De-loading: Work Hard, Then Take a Break?

“The harder you work, the more results you’ll see.”

This philosophy is about as American as the iconic Apple Pie or Turkey Dinner; however, we’re here to tell you, especially as it relates to fitness, this is not necessarily the truth.

Deloading is a term that basically means “short, planned, period of recovery ” or, even simpler, a rest period.  In order to lose weight and maintain your fitness goals you really need to work a De-loading period into your workout routine. But wait, before we lose you and you roll your eyes and close the screen- let us prove this to you:

First- let’s start with professional athletes. The pros have four very specific segments to their year: Pre-season, In-season, Post-season, and Off-season. Four completely different seasons of fitness regiment meant to keep the athlete in the best shape they can be and injury free as long as possible. If the professional athletes- people whose business it is to keep their bodies in peak physical condition- take breaks and schedule themselves rest periods, then why do the rest of us think we need to push harder 24/7/365 in order to stay in shape?

Our bodies weren’t made to push constantly, and many of us seriously underestimate how much mental and physical stress we’re putting our bodies through when working out.  Key signs for overuse (or pushing your body too hard) are:

-Getting weaker- your lifts are suffering, you’re feeling lethargic.

-Sore joints- you’re overly sore for long periods of time

-Overuse/ chronic injury- you’re repeatedly injuring the same area(s)

-Illness- You can’t seem to shake that head cold or lingering exhaustion

Perhaps your body is telling you that you need to take a break and de-load.

De-loading doesn’t mean that you’re sitting on the couch binging on Netflix. What De-loading DOES mean is that for every 4 weeks of work, you take a week of downtime. This downtime can include gentle walking, massage, foam rolling, yoga, etc. The goal is to give your muscles, joints, bones, and even your mind, time to recover and get ready for the next 4 weeks.

Want more proof? The accompanying photo shows actual results from one of our members 100-day-challengeduring our 100 Day Challenge this past winter. You’ll notice that the weight loss had slowed, then, as soon as the member started De-loading the weight fell off. These are not isolated results- we hear this same story over and over from our members- rest does your body good!

You might also be surprised to find that you work harder during your 4 weeks of ON time- knowing that you will get that break on week 5. Rest also helps you gather your motivation for the next 4 weeks of work. It’s like summer vacation, but every month and without the “vacation hangover.”

We’d love to hear from you- have you tried De-loading? What were your results? Do you have a favorite De-loading activity not mentioned here? Leave us a comment or tell us the next time you’re in the Club.

We wish you good health,

~Columbia Basin Racquet Club

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