T Nation

Is Deload to Be Avoided in a Fat-Loss Phase?


Hi Christian,

I am 37 and started lifting weights at 34; I am completely natural. For the most part of the year I bulk up and train relatively heavy, so introducing 1 deload week per month has been useful to favour recovery and protect the joints. I usually deload by replacing the deadlift with the leg curl, the squat with the leg press, avoiding close-to-maximal lifts and reducing the overall volume of the workout.
I have now just entered a fat-loss phase. Question: is the employment of a similar deload scheme (1 dealod week every 3 intense weeks) when trying to lose fat conducive to excessive loss of muscle? Should I avoid deloading at all? I am in a moderate (10-15%) caloric deficit and lose 1-1.5 pounds of weight per week.

Thanks for your help!



No! Losing fat is not just about burning calories, its about having an optimal hormonal milieu to maximize positive body comp changes. A deload will prevent excessively high cortisol levels, which will help maintain a good rate of fat loss.


Ok, thanks! I have taken the “do not stop going heavy while cutting” norm very seriously, so I feared that even a temporary suspension of heavy lifting while deloading may be detrimental. But I now feel reassured.

Thanks for the answer and for all the great work you do on T-Nation



Deloading doesn’t necessarily mean not lifting heavy. Quite the contrary. I actually like to lift heavier when I deload but with a lot less volume (about hlf my normal training volume).