By Andy on April 28, 2016
How long can I rest before I lose all my hard work in the gym?
5 ways to prevent any serious losses from all your hard work.
So you have been doing all the hard work. Getting out of bed early or heading straight to the gym after a long day’s work. You have stepped out of your convenient zone of training only now and then whenever you feel like it by hitting the gym 3-4 days a week on a regular basis and have made massive improvements in fitness, strength overall wellness, and health by following a set, structured and well-developed program other than just playing around on a treadmill.
In essence, you have made it. The hardest part is over. Training isn’t as hard as it once seemed and now you are used to the change. You won’t have to start over again. You know you can conquer a new exercise, live through a few tight muscles and you know you can hold your own if your mates or lady friends challenge you to a max push up or squat challenge on a yacht party or a BBQ at 1 am in the morning. Well done.
But what happens if you don’t train for a week? What happens if it’s summer and you go back home? Or you fall ill? Or suffer a mild injury? How much of your hard work will you lose?
- Your muscles don’t actually turn into total mush. Yes, they may seem less tight and lean, but no real size loss here. This is simply due to your body ‘deactivating’ the unused muscle fibers that aren’t’ t used often. You may lose up to 10 % power in 2 weeks’ time only. More strength losses occur after 3 and 4 weeks. The more muscle mass you have the more you can lose.
- Many studies show a 1 to 2-week break may just be a perfect time to rest. Sometimes resting is more important than training every day. You won’t lose dramatic numbers in strength, speed, and power in his period.
- Staying active in other forms of training. Recreational sports like running, tennis, football, or swimming are excellent ways that you can use to minimize losses, maintain muscle tension, stay tapped into those feeling good hormones while you enjoy your rest. It’s worth a mention that you need to be specific if you are aiming to maintain your gains – cycling which is a predominantly aerobic and lower body for instance won’t cater to upper body muscle mass maintenance. this is even more evident after 3 weeks of inactivity.
- The extra food you may take during a break and less calorie usage during this time can even provide a boost of energy for when you get back into training.
- Running and aerobic fitness can decrease up to 20 % after 3 weeks of inactivity if you maintained a relatively high level of fitness prior to a lengthy rest. So once again a 1-2 week break where there are fewer losses is quite an alright period for a break.
Increases and decreases, ups and downs in fitness and performance ability are very normal. Even the top athletes in the world purposefully go through cycles and rest to improve overall ability. A 1-2 week break is long enough for sufficient rest and short enough to minimize serious losses. And…..The harder and the more regular you train, the easier it is to get back to your best level, so no worries.
Coach Hannes, Iconic Fitness