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De-Load Weeks

Do you feel like you’re always climbing the mountain but never reaching the peak?

Maybe your stress-recovery load from training is out of whack.

Runners and athletes—this is where de-load weeks come into play.

You might be asking, “what the heck is a de-load week and why are they important?!” Let’s dive in!

The stress placed on your body from training needs to be carefully balanced with recovery. This is *especially* true as we age. There are two types of training stress that contribute to overtraining and injury:

mechanical stress (bone, muscle, ligaments, tendons, etc)

metabolic stress (hormones and all the changes in biochemical signaling that occurs)

For proper bone, muscle and hormonal health, de-loads (or down weeks) should be built-in every 3-4 weeks during your training plan.

Research at Stanford University School of Medicine suggests that taking a down week every three or four weeks can reduce your risk of a stress fracture.

Furthermore, research at Ball State University indicates that a period of reduced volume can help your muscles recover from difficult training. They found that levels of creatine kinase, a protein that indicates muscle damage and inflammation, decreased by almost 60% during the down period.

So what’s the bottom line? Cut back by 50-70% on a regular basis to promote bone + muscle growth/repair and metabolic health. You’ll avoid overtraining, overuse injuries and also promote metabolic health.

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