De-loading can actually be a really challenging time for an athlete.

losing gainsWhile you’re in the midst of accumulation cycles, power cycles, seemingly endless reps, sweat, blood, pain, and whining to your coach… a week off or full de-load or decompression or restoration cycle seems like a better idea than bacon filled maple pancakes.

But what really happens?

Really?

Yeah, you were expecting me to start telling you all about how the body needs to recover and rebalance it’s hormones and adrenal system. Or about how the joints and ligaments need to settle down, and to allow the athlete to actually get some hard earned rest.

Well I’m not. That’s the obvious stuff.

This is what I actually see in my athletes during deload.

They get hungry. Not banana split with double everything on top hungry.. they enjoy the first few days, they start to feel rested, they enjoy the lighter workload, and the extra time they have from their usual five or six day a week training schedules. Then it sets in, the hunger. The hunger to train more, to lift something heavy, to push hard on something.

Then it gets silly…. “Oh hey! look! they’re doing deadlifts! I feel fresh, I’ve done my reco session of a combined 15 reps. I can totally max out my deadlift!”

doing bench“I feel really good, and I feel like I can do something a bit fun!”

And that’s when it happens… the crunch. All of a sudden, you’ve overloaded your everything in one single session.

That hunger, that fuel that gets kept in check when the athlete trains hard every day. That need, that desire gets satisfied. But when recovering, that ugly beast rears it’s ugly head.

“I just feel like I didn’t get a really good workout though coach..”

This is my advice. Doesn’t make me right, but it’s on the table nonetheless.

1. Bottle it. Bottle that hunger up so you can use it when you come out of the restoration cycle. Trust me, if I’m programming for you, you’ll need all the help you can get, because all of your baselines get adjusted and your calculations go up.

2. Trust it. It’s there for a reason. Any Coach worth his or her salt, monitors his athletes’ mood, rest, physicality and performance closely and knows exactly when to install a restoration cycle. If you trust your coach to push you hard, you need to trust them to know when to rest you too.

3. Stay on programme. Feel good! Feel like you can do more! Feel like you want to do that oddball thing that you never do! Just don’t bloody do it without first thinking what Coach would say.

Here’s the hot tip… if you’re doing something and then not really telling Coach about it, you’re kinda eating ice-cream in the middle of the night then driving to the service station buying a new tub and replacing the one you ninja munched.