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I often write articles about how you are supposed to train and how you shouldn’t give in to being lazy. But I rarely mention something about when you are supposed to back off and take a rest!

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a pretty rich experience, when it comes to training mistakes! I had periods in my past, when I trained every single day, without taking a day off for months! It is not necessary to mention that I never got satisfying results, doing this-  neither with my appearance, nor with the functionality of my body!

I remember, when I started practicing swimming, We trained twice a day, and we had workouts every day- Monday, through Saturday and Sunday was supposed to be a rest day… but not for me- I used to go to the gym!

Nowadays this sounds absurd, but it is a fact- I’ve done it and I notice that a lot of people, who work out make the same mistake!

Sometimes this is a result of the big desire to achieve our goal, accompanied with not enough information on how to actually do it the right way!

More doesn’t always mean better, and in this case this is a fact!

With time, I found out that if I keep on working out for longer periods, every single day, with big intensity, exhausting my body during every training session, Idon’t gain anything, besides more pain, aches and some more wasted time!

What I “achieved” with this kind of exhausting training methods, was that I could stick to it for a month and then I started feeling like I was falling apart. And even if I had strong desire to work out, nothing turned out and I was just disappointing myself more and more. It turned out something like “The heart wants, but the body doesn’t allow!” When I didn’t plan my rest, the rest came unwanted and it usually took way longer, than I’d liked it!

What did I learn from it?

If you don’t want for your body, to become aggressive and force you to back off from working out unexpectedly,  you need a smarter approach and probably start planning your workouts, and not just work out day, after day just for the sake of it!

In this case there is something called a deload week. The deload week could differ for different individuals, because different people, respond in a different way to workouts and rest. Some people need to lower the intensity, others need to stop working out for a couple straight days, some need to decrease the volume and etc.

What works best for me is this!

Usually I train in the weightlifting room on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday I do really short, but intense workouts- sprints, tire dragging, sled pushes, hill sprints. On Saturday and on Sunday I am resting. But by resting I don’t mean that I sit in a chair all day long… I just don’t work out!

I train like this for four weeks and on the fifth, I lower the intensity of my workouts in the weightlifting room. I lift with lighter weights.

On Tuesday and Thursday I do not train, but I use the time for workouts and take a walk in the park. Thus, I am still physically active, it is just a non exercise physical activity! 😉

This helps me recharge my batteries 😉 and then when the next week comes, I am ready for the next four weeks of intense training sessions!

It turns out like this:

1 week:

Monday– fitness

Tuesday– sprints, tire dragging, hill sprints or something like that

Wednesday– fitness

Thursday– sprints, tire dragging, hill sprints or something like that

Friday– fitness

Saturday and Sunday– rest

2, 3, 4 week are like the first one

5 week

Monday– fitness (lower intensity, same volume)

Tuesday– rest

Wednesday– fitness (lower intensity, same volume)

Thursday– rest

Friday– fitness (lower intensity, same volume)

Saturday and Sunday– rest

There are other ways to structure a deload week.

You could train for three weeks and on the fourth week you could keep the same level of intensity, but decrease the volume of the workout. I.e. if you usually do 5 sets of 5 reps, in a deload week you will do 3 sets of 5 reps, using the same weight.

It turns out like this:

1,2,3 week you train normally.

4 week– you keep the intensity, but you decrease the volume

Some people need 3-4 straight days of rest in order to recover. Truth is that every individual, needs a different approach to the deload week. But with time you will find out what works best for you! Just experiment!

The only thing I could tell you is that you really need to have a deload week, if you want to stay away from the enchanted circle, where you train with big intensity, to the point where your body breaks down and you are forced to take a lot of time to recover!

A friend of mine, used to say that “the person who doesn’t have time to plan his rest, is gonna come to a point, where he will be forced to take an unplanned rest!”

So, have a smarter approach!

My experience shows me that people recover well, when they lower the intensity of their workouts and take 1-2 additional days off!

What is your approach? Do you take planned rests or are you forced to rest, when your body breaks down?

P.S. If you liked this post, please share it with your friends! I’d greatly appreciate it!

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Ines Subashka

Инес Субашка е основател на IFS - зали за кондиционни тренировки и мобилност. Автор е на 6 книги за здравословно хранене и движение. https://inspiredfitstrong.com/bg/za-ines/bio/

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