The last time I willingly took a serious deload weak was back around Christmas. I was nursing some pain I had developed from a movement dysfunction and giving it time to heal. Since then I really haven’t taken any time off. I may have missed 3 or 4 days in a row because I was busy, but I haven’t actively decided to take a week and do little to nothing. I think that breaks some sort of personal trainer fitness code or something. I don’t really know and don’t really care to be honest. I sit here pondering this because I’ve come to the realization that besides when I was experiencing some pain in my hip that I needed to work on to move forward I almost never take time off. Some people would say that’s foolish and I would say that they probably just don’t treat their bodies like I do. I’m not saying everything I do is perfect or that I don’t drink sometimes or eat crappy food. It’s because when it comes to my training I have one major component in order: BALANCE.
I lift heavy frequently. That’s my program. When I want to get better at a particular thing I practice it all the time until I get better, and from there I do my best to maintain. I believe personal fitness goals come in waves. You go up and down in strength, stay in one place for a while, but mostly you’re the best at what you do most often. I’ve heard that there’s no such thing as over training, only under-eating and under-sleeping. I actually kind of agree with this. Now let’s get one thing straight. If you have some sort of serious movement dysfunction that you hammer away at day after day without trying to correct what’s wrong then yes, you will hurt yourself, and no, I don’t feel bad.
Back to the point. Balance. I go hard when I feel strong. I lay off when I don’t feel so well. Either way, I’m always doing something to drive myself forward. Too often I see people pushing themselves not just past their own limits, but also to an arguable edge of reason. Take form for example. You have two wild ends of the spectrum. Those who never go heavy and spend too much to fiddle-fucking with form instead of just getting strong. Then you have those that are willing to sacrifice their ability to move or function adeptly at all just to lift heavier weight. In my opinion both are ignorant for equal and opposite reasons. You have someone on one end who will never know their true potential because their nit picky and on the other end you have someone who might never see their true potential because they just had to complete their “required” squats for the days and prolapsed their colon onto the platform. Look, what I’m saying is that for me the best place is somewhere in the middle. Is you squat stuck at a certain weight? How’s your form? Could you be doing some sort of accessory work to improve a weakness? Is your deadlift not going up? Are you really pushing yourself? Or are you just afraid that your upper back might curve a little? Get over yourself.
We need to be okay with an acceptable amount of nit picky technique bullshit and toughen up with an equally acceptable knowledge that lifting heavy is positive for you and hard on you all at once. When you make peace with either end of this then you hit the sweet spot. Balance is understanding where you are and how far you can/should push yourself right now. You must pay heed to your body. Coming back the next day to tackle more of your goals is just part of the journey. My program is how I feel, what I want, and what my goals are. Because of that fact I am happy with where I am knowing that I will get where I want without sacrificing what’s critical to long term success along the way. IE: joint integrity, movement quality, drive, time, etc.
I don’t take rest weeks or deload weeks because I don’t desire to. I go heavier when I can and pull back when it isn’t appropriate. I eat according to my goals and always ask myself how strong I need to be to be happy. (the answer is stronger) Yet that doesn’t stop me with being pleased with where I am. People always seem to be striving to be better as if they haven’t achieved any progress at all. Endeavoring to improve has nothing to do with hating how you are. To me this applies to how I look (awesome), who I am inside (nice guy), and how I lift (well). Similarly I point out to people constantly, there’s nothing noble about holding yourself back and you must be content with who you are and how things are before you can make real headway. Training starts on the inside. But you’re not going to get anywhere without balance.