Deload/Week off

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  1. Quote Originally Posted by Whisky View Post
    I am a massive fan of reverse dieting, it just takes a lot of disipline. Cutting at calorie intakes of 2,800 etc makes it so much easier though lol
    I have the disipline especially because I want to stay lean with my bulk! I am have been at 1650-1700 calories for 12 weeks. One of those weeks I was on vacation and ate around 2,500 calories (counted as my diet break).

    I will be cutting for another two weeks around 1550-1650 calories per day.

    When I reverse what do you suggest upping to? Do you think doing 1750 would be best to start with?
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  2. Quote Originally Posted by kjkitzman View Post
    I have the disipline especially because I want to stay lean with my bulk! I am have been at 1650-1700 calories for 12 weeks. One of those weeks I was on vacation and ate around 2,500 calories (counted as my diet break).

    I will be cutting for another two weeks around 1550-1650 calories per day.

    When I reverse what do you suggest upping to? Do you think doing 1750 would be best to start with?
    Yep 1,750 would be perfect. You'll probably find you continue to lose little weight for the first few weeks (thats my experience anyway),
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  3. Quote Originally Posted by Whisky View Post
    Yep 1,750 would be perfect. You'll probably find you continue to lose little weight for the first few weeks (thats my experience anyway),
    We can only hope. I was thinking for this deload/week off I am going to work out 3 times in one week and do full body workouts plus cut the weights/sets. Would this suffice? What would be the best week to do this (when my calories start going up or at the end of the cut?)

    Anyone else can chime in too!
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  4. Quote Originally Posted by kjkitzman View Post
    We can only hope. I was thinking for this deload/week off I am going to work out 3 times in one week and do full body workouts plus cut the weights/sets. Would this suffice? What would be the best week to do this (when my calories start going up or at the end of the cut?)

    Anyone else can chime in too!
    Honestly I think you're overthinking it. I usually do about a week off, no gym, nothing...sit on couch and eat food. Trial and error has proved that seems to be the way I recover best. If you want to go in the gym, I would just do what feels right. Feel like taking a day off, then do so. Feel like just cutting intensity by half and volume by 2/3, do it. Same with diet...I would take the deload when you need it, regardless of where you are in your diet, just don't cut your calories so drastically that week that you don't recover.
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  5. A deload should be utilized as frequently as needed for the athlete. More frequently with heavy weights but anything putting a strain on your body will need recovery. If your doing too much recovery or not eating enough calories protein carbs etc you also will not recover adequately and then possibly feel as a deload or time off is needed just some food for thought.

    If your slowing visibly or feel weak a deload will really help you and I hate to do it myself but After intense sessions I need a few days for adequate recovery, point is to allow cns recovery because your muscles will recover much faster. Chances are you could use a deload every month or so it always helps me make prolonged gains in the strength game specifically.
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  6. Quote Originally Posted by VO2Maxima View Post
    Honestly I think you're overthinking it. I usually do about a week off, no gym, nothing...sit on couch and eat food. Trial and error has proved that seems to be the way I recover best. If you want to go in the gym, I would just do what feels right. Feel like taking a day off, then do so. Feel like just cutting intensity by half and volume by 2/3, do it. Same with diet...I would take the deload when you need it, regardless of where you are in your diet, just don't cut your calories so drastically that week that you don't recover.

    I tend to do this... I digress. I feel like my workouts are lagging but mostly from being on Week 13 of a cut. But great advice. I think I just beat myself up a lot if I take off working out or even eat to many calories in a day etc....
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  7. Quote Originally Posted by kjkitzman View Post
    I tend to do this... I digress. I feel like my workouts are lagging but mostly from being on Week 13 of a cut. But great advice. I think I just beat myself up a lot if I take off working out or even eat to many calories in a day etc....
    Yeah you really shouldn't! Calories are needed for growth. You should always try to bulk at times your body will prob be able to add a fair amount of muscle since you've been in an extended cut.

    Try to not beat yourself up and instead of not working out try to just do a week where you greatly reduce volume and intensity you can even go in 5 days still as long as the intensity and volume are down a lot, it may not be optimal but I think it's a good place to start.

    My primary focus in my training is strength but even still I run a bulking and cutting phase or I feel my metabolism and ability to get stronger slow down pretty quick, I'm experiencing pretty good gains in strength and also adding muscle after coming off a cutting phase over the summer.

  8. Yeah this ^^^^ is decent.

    Another idea for a reload week I like myself is to try something new (like a new version of a lift) - say switch a straight bar to trap bar on deadlift, use a safety squat bar on squats, pull sumo instead of conventional (or vica versa depending on how you normally pull).

    Countless different options but the main point is that by trying different variations you automatically have to drop the weight while you adjust to a new technique, you’ll get some progress as it’s hitting muscle in a new way but the lighter weight allows the cns to recover and for many people mixing it up can help with motivation.

    If you don’t normally Olympic lift it’s a great week to get some coaching on them as technique would normally be practiced with a lon empty bar (or even pvc pipe).

  9. Quote Originally Posted by kjkitzman View Post
    I tend to do this... I digress. I feel like my workouts are lagging but mostly from being on Week 13 of a cut. But great advice. I think I just beat myself up a lot if I take off working out or even eat to many calories in a day etc....
    Since you are not focused on progressive overload all that much and use such high volume in each workout - what is your method of measuring progress and for saying that your workouts are "lagging"? This isn't to make you defend a thing, it's a sincere question.

    If you are training correctly, you will normally come back much stronger after a week off than when you left - especially after more than 4-6 weeks.

    But, your goals aren't just for muscle mass it seems - there is a strong cardio/endurance aspect to your training and that will certainly take a small hit after 1 week off maybe; 2 weeks would be even worse.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by HIT4ME View Post
    Since you are not focused on progressive overload all that much and use such high volume in each workout - what is your method of measuring progress and for saying that your workouts are "lagging"? This isn't to make you defend a thing, it's a sincere question.

    If you are training correctly, you will normally come back much stronger after a week off than when you left - especially after more than 4-6 weeks.

    But, your goals aren't just for muscle mass it seems - there is a strong cardio/endurance aspect to your training and that will certainly take a small hit after 1 week off maybe; 2 weeks would be even worse.
    How I like in the mirror but I noticed that I have been at same weights but it has become harder, which is probably because of my cut. I am losing strength which is normal. I didn't know when I should take a week off. If it should be during a bulking phase? Or in the middle of the cut/bulk?

    I would really like my muscles to grow during this next bulk, especially biceps and glutes. I do like a healthy heart though
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  11. Quote Originally Posted by kjkitzman View Post
    How I like in the mirror but I noticed that I have been at same weights but it has become harder, which is probably because of my cut. I am losing strength which is normal. I didn't know when I should take a week off. If it should be during a bulking phase? Or in the middle of the cut/bulk?

    I would really like my muscles to grow during this next bulk, especially biceps and glutes. I do like a healthy heart though
    Ok, here are some thoughts I have. And...I wrote all this and I've come back here to say something. I think you know I think you've done an incredible job and know a ton already and have amazing discipline. You probably know me well enough by now to know I'm full of strange opinions - which is why I need to explain myself (that and I'm just long winded).

    The ONLY times the mirror is useful for a natural lifter is when they first start out and muscle growth comes pretty fast, and when you are losing weight.

    Beyond this, the mirror on a day-to-day basis is almost useless for a natural athlete with the exception of maybe seeing water retention, glycogen retention, etc. This is compounded by the fact that our perceptions on a daily basis are kind of inaccurate. Some days we will look at the mirror and say, "Yeah, I am d#mned good" and then the next day - "Wow, I need to lose some fat."

    But it's more mental than actual physical changes.

    The reason that I say the mirror isn't a good gauge of progress is based in the following (stolen from Lyle McDonald but generally agreed upon in a lot of places):


    Year of Proper Training/Potential Rate of Muscle Gain per Year
    1 20-25 pounds (2 pounds per month)
    2 10-12 pounds (1 pound per month)
    3 5-6 pounds (0.5 pound per month)
    4+ 2-3 pounds (not worth calculating)

    Lyle points out that these are for MEN. Women, he says, have about half of these rates of gain.

    So, in the first year, in the first month of lifting - yeah, maybe a male may put on 2,3,4 or even 5 pounds of muscle. Yeah, you may be able to see a pound of muscle change in a week (not really sure) - so a newbie may be able to use the mirror to assess growth. But after 2-3 years, all of a sudden that same male is lucky to gain 6 pounds a YEAR, or 1/2 pound per MONTH, or about 60 grams of muscle per week.

    Do you think you can tell the difference of a 60 gram gain in muscle in the mirror this week? Oh, wait, that's for a man. For a woman it may be more like 30 grams? How can you really tell if you're progressing?

    This is why, despite everyone trying to fight the idea, properly applied progressive overload is so fundamental. Nobody wants to accept that a stronger muscle is a bigger muscle. They want to believe in the magic of hypertrophy work vs. strength work but very few people accept that if you do hypertrophy work correctly, you will still get stronger. Only instead of being 50/50 strength to hypertrophy; it will be more like 45/55 strength to hypertrophy (illustrative - it's a small change).

    But even doing hypertrophy work, as you get stronger you will get bigger eventually. Yes, you can get stronger without gaining size - but not forever. You can only make so many neurological adaptations before the muscle tissue will no longer support a weight and needs to grow to accommodate the stress.

    So, progressive overload is fundamental. It is the ONLY way to gauge progress on a workout-to-workout basis. And if you aren't better at your workout TODAY than you were the last time you did the same workout - then you need to assess what is going on.

    So, you have this long list of exercises - it's a lot of work, no one can question that - but are you pushing yourself on any of it? How do you know if you're better at it today than you were 3 days or a week ago? And the long list creates variables that are difficult to account for. If you do an extra rep on one exercise, is it because you are stronger? Or because maybe you didn't do quite as much over the 10 sets prior?

    As far as the healthy heart - aerobics aren't that good for your heart. LISS barely stresses your heart at all. Go do deadlifts or squats for 10-15 reps or even 20 reps to FAILURE and then see what you think about 1 hour on the bike being exercise for your heart.

    Finally - yes, cutting and losing strength can go hand-in-hand. Even more dramatic -when you cut you deplete glycogen and you will usually lose A LOT of strength from that. This is why you will likely notice you lose a bunch of strength soon after starting a diet, and if you stick with it you kind of level out and the loss stops, and then after that happens you may start gaining again. The loss of glycogen causes significant strength loss FAST. But it's not necessarily muscle loss. I would assume people who focus on hypertrophy work, because of that 45/55 scenario above, will have more glycogen to lose and this loss will take longer and go deeper. I would also suggest this is a BIG part of the reason so many people think they lose muscle on diets, etc. - because they lose glycogen and strength but the tissue is still there.

  12. this is a lot to think about. I can see what you are saying though. I think I meant to say that I have been using the mirror for this current fat loss phase.

    But I am starting to feel fatigued and sick of training because I am losing strength.

    I want to be able to reverse diet and also build muscle this next 6-8 months during my reverse/lean bulk. So I didn't know if a week off or lower the volume would be beneficial.

    I think I have always been hesitant training for strength due to lower back problems. When I do heavier squats or deadlifts I pay for it that day and the day after. I have to be super careful of what I do and how much.

    I don't really track my volume I just know where I am at for each exercise what dumbbell or barbell and plates I grab for each exercise. I don't really know how to track or have found the easiest way to do this...
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  13. Quote Originally Posted by kjkitzman View Post
    this is a lot to think about. I can see what you are saying though. I think I meant to say that I have been using the mirror for this current fat loss phase.

    But I am starting to feel fatigued and sick of training because I am losing strength.

    I want to be able to reverse diet and also build muscle this next 6-8 months during my reverse/lean bulk. So I didn't know if a week off or lower the volume would be beneficial.

    I think I have always been hesitant training for strength due to lower back problems. When I do heavier squats or deadlifts I pay for it that day and the day after. I have to be super careful of what I do and how much.

    I don't really track my volume I just know where I am at for each exercise what dumbbell or barbell and plates I grab for each exercise. I don't really know how to track or have found the easiest way to do this...
    Bottom line is that you shouldn't fear taking a week or 2 weeks off from the gym. You should be doing this because you want to and like it, not because you are a slave to it. You are very consistent and disciplined and you have gone a long stretch without a break. A week or two off, even if your body doesn't need it, will be good for you mentally. I would say push it to 2 weeks and knowing you after 1 week you will be itching to go back...push to 2 weeks and you will be super excited and motivated and you will hit the ground running.

    One thing to keep in mind is that this isn't a journey where you get from point A to point b. It is a constant struggle. It isn't like one day you bit your ideal weight and say, "Ok, I did it. I never have to diet again."

    And by the same token, you don't one day squat 200 pounds and think, "Great! I will always be able to squat 200 now!"

    Fat comes and goes. Strength and muscle comes and goes. It's all about the progress.

    If you are feeling tired, it may not even be physical, it may be mental - so recharge. Never be afraid to recharge. If you come back I'm two weeks and you have lost 20 pounds off your bench, so what? It isn't like it won't come back fast. And chances are you will get that 20 back quick and blast through the next phase at a faster pace than if you never took a break.

    Oh, and that completely ignores the fact that a lot of people very often experience taking 1-2 weeks off and then realize they actually got stronger when they come back. It isn't unusual. Not always, but more often than you would think.

    As far as hurting your lower back, I personally believe there are a couple factors here. One is, it is harder to hurt a strong back. Once you overcome your fear, your back will get stronger and your pain will be less.

    If course you need to work on your form and make sure that is perfect for deads and squats. And perfect is the wrong word because I feel like I am always learning adjustments and I will never have perfect form, but I strive for that anyway.

    And finally, it gets back to your volume. You do a lot of volume and variety, etc. It makes progression really difficult to program. It also means you are hitting a lot of muscles in a lot of different ways, and some of your low back issues may be caused more from the variety of exercises where your low back is weak and can't support the exercise so it gets strained. Of course, you don't notice this until it builds or you do direct back work.

    I've always noticed that people very rarely notice the point at which they actually hurt their lower back, myself included. I once hurt my lower back bending over to pick up a bag full of...bread. probably weighed 3 pounds. Bam. Couldn't stand upright. I doubt that bag hurt my back. I probably injured it maybe even days before, but just twisted in a way that finally made me aware and set it off. And I am sure we all know someone who says the same thing...dont know what happened, wasn't even lifting anything, just couldn't stand up.

    If you are going on a bulk, I would consider less volume, more weight and a linear progression scheme. Progression, once people understand it, is the key to this entire thing IMO.

  14. @HIT4ME I appreciated your long post. I read it more than once so I get on your level

    I think doing the 2 weeks off is coming sooner than I would like but I want to accept that.

    I do want to get stronger. Is there a training protocol or a training workout that I can follow for this during my bulk?

    PS I was the person saying, "ok once I lose 10 lbs then I can go back to doing whatever and not working out as much," but I have fallen in love with training and tracking food, creating recipes and of course my AM friends this is something I am not going to just never do again because I enjoy it too much.
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  15. Quote Originally Posted by kjkitzman View Post
    @HIT4ME I appreciated your long post. I read it more than once so I get on your level

    I think doing the 2 weeks off is coming sooner than I would like but I want to accept that.

    I do want to get stronger. Is there a training protocol or a training workout that I can follow for this during my bulk?

    PS I was the person saying, "ok once I lose 10 lbs then I can go back to doing whatever and not working out as much," but I have fallen in love with training and tracking food, creating recipes and of course my AM friends this is something I am not going to just never do again because I enjoy it too much.
    Haha - I don't think I'm on any level. If you have to read it more than once, it's because my writing isn't clear

    Planning is everything, but plans are worthless. Planning helps you to prepare, but when you get out in the world, everything changes and those plans have to change. Lifting weights, like so much of life, requires that we adapt to the situation before us. It isn't just about what we plan out in a journal.

    And I think that we all start off with that idea - "once I do this, I will have arrived". It's kind of the unspoken thought in society about weight loss. Like, if I lose 100 pounds I will be healthy. You and so many on this board have learned and gone beyond this thought process - but a lot of people never realize that the dieting will never end, you will never "be there". Look at @BEAST73 - one thing he ALWAYS says is "The struggle is real". The guy is a beast and it is easy to think he was born looking that way or will always look that way - but he fights for it every day. And so do you.

    Here is the thing - why do you have a schedule for when to start your bulk? Maybe you take 2 weeks off and go back to cutting a little more. The possibilities are endless. I bet if you take a week off next week and cheat a little on thanksgiving and enjoy the day - you will replenish glycogen and get an instant strength boost from that alone, which may allow you to dig in for some more dieting to hit your goals.

    Lyle Macdonald always tries to plan breaks in his diets after every 4-6 weeks. Why? Because research shows that if someone is on a diet and it gets tiring and they fall off that diet after 4 weeks or so - they never come back. But if that break was "part of the plan" our mentality changes and we come back stronger and ready to fight.

  16. Agreed with all that you have said. I know that I have a planned Break which is Thanksgiving LOL and then I plan to diet the rest of that week until Sunday, in which I would start my reverse. Going up 100 calories each week. I just want to be able to do a great reverse diet with also incorporating a 2 week break off training.

    I am a perfectionist and obviously want to do the "training break" at the most optimal time in which leads to me this post here.
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  17. HIT4ME wrote enough to cover anything I would have , but I wanted to chime in and say that I have been weight training for 25 years and I would encourage taking a week or so off between routines or every 10-12 weeks. It is hard for many to wrap their head around the benefits and the idea of not lifting, but it has many benefits- including a mental recharge. Once I started doing this many years ago, I found that I avoided injuries, mental and physical fatigue decreased, strength improved, and mood improved. Don't stay stagnant, but just stay away from lifting weights. Run, bike, go for a hike, ski, etc..

  18. Quote Originally Posted by kisaj View Post
    HIT4ME wrote enough to cover anything I would have , but I wanted to chime in and say that I have been weight training for 25 years and I would encourage taking a week or so off between routines or every 10-12 weeks. It is hard for many to wrap their head around the benefits and the idea of not lifting, but it has many benefits- including a mental recharge. Once I started doing this many years ago, I found that I avoided injuries, mental and physical fatigue decreased, strength improved, and mood improved. Don't stay stagnant, but just stay away from lifting weights. Run, bike, go for a hike, ski, etc..
    I don't even know the meaning of Brevity.

  19. ^^ love this idea. I do like to go on walks the boy and the dog so the active rest I can handle. I just work at a desk for 10 hours a day and then at home I try to stay busy and not in front of the TV. Just not my character...
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  20. Lots of good advice above.

    It has occurred to me, your style of training is difficult to maintain (performance-wise and mirror-wise) during a cut. The high volume approach to hypertrophy relies on a high carb intake to support it's effects on the sarcoplasm (the goo that surrounds muscle cells containing fuel for said muscles cells). Reducing intake of carbs reduces volume of sarcoplasm, making muscles appear smaller and causing performance to decrease as more time is required for body to supply fuel to muscles. I suspect you will find quick and satisfying results as you return to maintenance calories.
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