T Nation

Deloading or Off Weeks

This is one subject I haven’t quite got the grasp of yet.

I’ve been pushing myself harder, getting stronger and bigger. I understand a lot of bodybuilding in general just from practice and trying different things. I currently workout is 6 days 1 on, 3 days, 1 off, 2 days, 1 off. Spliting so that I hit body parts twice a week. Then changing the routine every 4 or 6 weeks. I take in around 3500 calories with 350 grams of protein and sleep 8-10 hours a night.

So why the hell is there a deload week or off week if I feel fine to lift after I take my off days? I’m looking for an answer other than, well because that’s how things are done.

Just because some workout plan has it built in does not mean you have to take time off or deload. Let your fatigue level and trauma levels guide you and be instinctive about it. If you have the energy and are healthy enough to contiue working, keep going as long as there is progress. Once progress stalls then you can deload, take time off or simply swap out exercises and continue on with the new set. Some of these plans have been constructed for a novice lifter and as such they plan in time off to take the guess work out. If you know your body and are aware of your condition then by all means push yourself to your own limits.

There are other reasons to deload too. I used to deload prior to PL contest and would then be able to have a planned peak. The deload allowed me to recover. The recovered state with a bit of work on my singles let me perform at my best for the meet.

I think that if you polled the T-Nation collective that most people don’t advocate taking planned deloading or especially off weeks.

That being said if you’re noticing physical or especially CNS fatigue (no motivation to lift being a good indicator)then sure take a week off or do some “fun” stuff you’ve always wanted to try in the gym

I think I may of misstated my question. If I get terribly fatigued and aching which usually occurs every 6-8 weeks it seems, I take three-four days off and then get back to it. I know the limits of my body and when I should and do take the time off.

It’s the whole idea of taking an entire week off that baffles me, this just seems like way too much time out of the weightroom.

[quote]Higgins wrote:
I think I may of misstated my question. If I get terribly fatigued and aching which usually occurs every 6-8 weeks it seems, I take three-four days off and then get back to it. I know the limits of my body and when I should and do take the time off.

It’s the whole idea of taking an entire week off that baffles me, this just seems like way too much time out of the weightroom.[/quote]

Seems or feels like too much time out the weight room?

Imagine you get a cut on your finger, you wait a few days and a scab forms, does it mean the cut is completely healed or not?

Same thing with nutrition where people wait until they’re hungry then eat, because they feel their body tells them when they need food. Do you think they didn’t neeed nutrients the entire time up until the exact second their body told them they were hungry? If they eat just enough to satisfy hunger does that mean they ate enough?

Well it’s the same thing with the muscles and hormones in your body, they will tell you when they are fatigued and tired but the symtoms occur when your body has already started to suffer the effects.
Once you have a lay off you will feel better but does it mean your fully optimally ready to go?

The planned “week” off is an arbitrary number of 7 days chosen because well civilization operates by what we call a calender. If you want to know the exact number for the average human body it’s probably somewhere in some scientific study.

Other than that you can make steady increases by guaging how you “feel” but in today’s society where most people have accomplished what your seeking to accomplish already there are those that want OPTIMAL results in fastest time. When chasing OPTIMAL performance, what your body tells you isn’t always whats best.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:

Other than that you can make steady increases by guaging how you “feel” but in today’s society where most people have accomplished what your seeking to accomplish already there are those that want OPTIMAL results in fastest time. When chasing OPTIMAL performance, what your body tells you isn’t always whats best. [/quote]

While I understand what your saying, why is this “correct”? If I see no adverse effect of taking just 3-4 days off as opposed to a week if I feel great afterwards. I have no idea how to “estimate” when I’m going to feel the effects of training and take a break before I see any of the effects. The factors behind it are too complex to give an accurate time table of every X weeks I take Y days off. Using your cut on the finger analogy, how am I supposed to know my finger is going to be cut before it happens? I’m not going to quit training for a week if I still have two weeks until I start feeling overtraining effects.

I’m LOOKING for scientific data to understand this theory as to what is optimal.

I know I’ll never get everything right, but I strive to know or do what is correct for me. Most things related to actual weightlifting is to respond to your body, albeit nutrition, sleep, and other things are different. This was one subject that everyone always suggested the week off after x period of time.

I don’t know of any bodybuilders that ever take entire weeks off unless they are injured.

[quote]Higgins wrote:
Airtruth wrote:

Other than that you can make steady increases by guaging how you “feel” but in today’s society where most people have accomplished what your seeking to accomplish already there are those that want OPTIMAL results in fastest time. When chasing OPTIMAL performance, what your body tells you isn’t always whats best.

While I understand what your saying, why is this “correct”? If I see no adverse effect of taking just 3-4 days off as opposed to a week if I feel great afterwards. I have no idea how to “estimate” when I’m going to feel the effects of training and take a break before I see any of the effects. The factors behind it are too complex to give an accurate time table of every X weeks I take Y days off. Using your cut on the finger analogy, how am I supposed to know my finger is going to be cut before it happens? I’m not going to quit training for a week if I still have two weeks until I start feeling overtraining effects.

I’m LOOKING for scientific data to understand this theory as to what is optimal.

I know I’ll never get everything right, but I strive to know or do what is correct for me. Most things related to actual weightlifting is to respond to your body, albeit nutrition, sleep, and other things are different. This was one subject that everyone always suggested the week off after x period of time.[/quote]

Problem is that the scientific answer will be. It depends.

Which is probably not what you are looking for. Depending on your physiology, nutrition, recovery capacity, work capacity, workout schedule, age etc the amount of rest you need will vary. This will also vary at differnt times of the year, depending on your stress level, whatever.

Really the best that you can do is either pick an arbitrary number or listen to your body.

The only way you could be more accurate would be if you had a team of scientists measuring everything that you did an taking regular bloodwork.

[quote]Cockney Blue wrote:

Problem is that the scientific answer will be. It depends.

Which is probably not what you are looking for. Depending on your physiology, nutrition, recovery capacity, work capacity, workout schedule, age etc the amount of rest you need will vary. This will also vary at differnt times of the year, depending on your stress level, whatever.

Really the best that you can do is either pick an arbitrary number or listen to your body.

The only way you could be more accurate would be if you had a team of scientists measuring everything that you did an taking regular bloodwork.[/quote]

This is sorta what I’m asking. If I feel fine after 3-4 days, why should I wait another 3-4 days to get back into the gym because its the “norm”?

[quote]Higgins wrote:
Cockney Blue wrote:

Problem is that the scientific answer will be. It depends.

Which is probably not what you are looking for. Depending on your physiology, nutrition, recovery capacity, work capacity, workout schedule, age etc the amount of rest you need will vary. This will also vary at differnt times of the year, depending on your stress level, whatever.

Really the best that you can do is either pick an arbitrary number or listen to your body.

The only way you could be more accurate would be if you had a team of scientists measuring everything that you did an taking regular bloodwork.

This is sorta what I’m asking. If I feel fine after 3-4 days, why should I wait another 3-4 days to get back into the gym because its the “norm”?[/quote]
Pretty much unless your a pro athlete, an olympic athlete or super high level d1 athlete your better off figuring out what’s best for you over time. The worst part is after you learn it, your body will change, and you may need a different rest time.

For scientific data, please use google, thats all any of the rest of us will do. Unless your willing to pay.

You seem to have a pretty good grasp on yourself, so why do you wanna know hard facts? Just curiosity? If so…google my friend. Google.

One site I know off hand that discusses deloading frequently is
http://www.pponline.co.uk/

[quote]B rocK wrote:
You seem to have a pretty good grasp on yourself, so why do you wanna know hard facts? Just curiosity? If so…google my friend. Google.[/quote]

Because what I do is different from most people and just basicly just wondering why and if I was doing something wrong for reasons that I didn’t know. It doesn’t seem like a subject that comes up much.

Thanks for the website airtruth.

yo mang

just wanted to say that if you do end up taking a week off, to keep eating like a mofo, if i ever end up taking time off its usually because im stressed/injured, or have been too busy, during these times i never eat enough and i lose a bunch of size…it fucking sucks!

google is not really good for scientific information, at least relating to studies. Pubmed is the way to go. Though if you must use google for these kinds of things, again relating to scientific studies, scholar.google.com is the way to go.

edit: didn’t realize how old this was. ah well

In my limited experience .I think planned deloading works very well even if you dont think you are that tired. Usually you come back and reap more result than if you didnt deloaded