No matter how dedicated you are to fitness, sooner or later, it’s going to happen.
Neglecting the gym every once in a while is nothing to worry about — after all, sometimes your body needs to rest and recover. But, when you hit pause on your workouts for more than a week, you might actually be throwing your fitness level into rewind. Before you know it, you’re out of shape.
Exercising can be truly addicting. Once you start, it’s a hard habit to break. People dedicate years of their life to strict dieting, hardcore training and the entire bodybuilding lifestyle. Unfortunately, sometimes the habit is broken. Each passing day of not working out makes it more difficult to start back up. Without even realizing it, we gain body fat and lose muscle mass.
The question is how fast will you fall out of shape? Here’s why you shouldn’t take too much time off from the gym, especially in holiday season.
The phrase “use it or lose it” definitely applies when it comes to your muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness and more. It takes only about 8 to 12 days to lose cardiovascular training adaptations. At three weeks, your strength will decline and your finely toned calves and quads will atrophy about 1 to 5 percent, especially if you’ve been lifting weights.
As a general rule, the fitter you are, the longer it will take your muscles turn to flub. Your physique doesn’t like change. So the longer you have been exercising and the fitter you are, the more time it will take for your body to stop building muscle. The older you get, however, the faster your muscles atrophy if you’re not regularly engaging in appropriate exercise.
How to jump back into your workouts?
If you’ve taken any more than a couple weeks off, you’ll probably notice some differences. After a month or more, you’ll definitely want to get started with a less-intense version of your regular workout.
Your body will react differently depending on whether you’re skipping endurance exercise versus strength training. If you’re taking a break from strength work or high-intensity intervals, you’ll notice a huge difference when you finally do go back to the gym.
The most important thing is to back off a little for the first week.The following week you should be able to train at your previous level, assuming the reason for stopping wasn’t an illness or injury. Meanwhile, if you’re getting back into running, start at a pace at which you can run comfortably and are able to speak in short sentences.
After a week, try turning up the speed. It can be frustrating to exercise at anything less than your max effort, sure, but gradual is the way to go to prevent injury.