Are You Deloading?
CrossFit is fun. It's hard, And it's rewarding. But one of the downsides to constant PR's
and high fives is the real risk of overtraining. Today, we have programmed a squatting deload day at CFI. After the squatting, everyone will hit some untimed supersets. As a program, we try to vary not only the movements and length of workouts, but the intensity as well. To make gains in the gym, you need to go hard when it's time to go hard, and allow your body to recover and adapt (gainz!). And it's important to listen to your body and back off the intensity when A) it's scheduled B) you're seeing signs of overtraining.
There's a comic that comes to mind:
Brad decides to go skydiving with some friends. Once the plane has reached jumping altitude, Brad realizes that he forgot his parachute. It's his turn to jump, and he feels so embarrassed telling his friends that he made this dumb mistake, that he just decides to jump anyway.
When you are pretty sure that your body needs a break, you've got to make the right decision. Don't just "jump" anyway! For an athlete that typically can handle the competition level of workouts at CFI, that might mean doing fitness level for a week without a sense of urgency. This active recovery won't stress your joints, muscles and nervous system out. Rather, it will promote blood flow and keep your body moving while allowing it recover. If you're an athlete that typically opts for fitness, the same idea would apply. Decrease the loads, work at lower intensity and allow your body to recover and adapt.
Typically the next question is "how often should I deload, and for how long?". A typical deloading schedule is every 4th week, take your foot off the gas. But you might be 3 weeks into pushing hard, and the fourth week's programming looks so fun you can't stand to deload that week (thanks coach Christopher!). In that case, if you're feeling good, go ahead and push through that week and then deload the following week. But if you're feeling achy, sluggish, and just not recovering well, suck it up and deload! The keys here are that you are giving your body a break from time to time, and you are listening to your body.
Elite athletes take deloading very seriously. It's not optional if you want to make real gains, avoid injury, and not get mentally burned out. But they also know how to train at a higher intensity than the average person is capable of mentally. Coming off of a productive deload week, you're setting yourself up for an even more productive, more intense, and safer few weeks of hard training!