I’m a good client. I really am. I follow my plan 100%. I do what my coach tells me. Always. Well, almost. Except when she tells me to take time off at the gym. I was told to deload for a week. I sorta, kinda did that. Not. I took 2 days off and reasoned with myself that I got the rest I needed. Needless to say I was scolded (nicely) for this.
Then I got sick. Six days down flat. My body said enough. You’re taking a break. Period.
It’s really hard for me to take a rest from the gym. It is a constant struggle to stay out of my own damn head.
I know I’m supposed to take rest days. I know I’m supposed to do a deload week. Yet I reason with myself constantly. I didn’t complete my workout one day. Or I didn’t work that hard another day. I am my own worst enemy.
It’s not that I don’t understand the purpose of a deload week. It’s not that I don’t know it’s useful and necessary. For many reasons: Rest, recovery, energy, come back stronger, gain muscle.
But, I’m learning. I did not go to the gym sick. Been there, done that. I know the price I’ll pay for “working through it”. It’s not worth it and it only prolongs my illness, or worsens it.
My mind tells me lift harder, heavier, longer – you must build! But, I also know the importance of rest.
The gym really will be there tomorrow or the next day. I will not lose all of my gains and pack on tons of fat in a week. It will do my body good. I will have more energy and strength if I just rest. Period.
See? I can reason with myself on occasion.
Typically, your average person does not need a deload week. Will it hurt you to take one if you’re not an athlete? Absolutely not. But, as part of a training program, if you are an athlete or serious lifter, you must incorporate periods of rest.
Signs you need a deload: 1. Getting weaker; 2. Sore Joints; 3. Lack of motivation; 4. Fatigue, less energy; 5. Physically or mentally exhausted.
If you take a period of rest, you will come back with more energy, able to lift heavier, you will have gained muscle in your rest period, and your motivation should be greatly improved.
So, do as I say, not as I do. Rest! (I plan to take this advice too – I just always choose the hard way first).