Have you been working really hard in the gym recently, and worry that taking a week off will derail your months of hard work? Whether you’re off on a hectic work trip or are lying in the sun in Spain, when you know how much effort goes into making progress in your health and fitness journey, it’s understandable that you don’t want to come back feeling like you’ve moved 3 steps backwards…
If you have a tendency to over-train, smashing out HIIT session after HIIT session, then a break is probably the best thing you could do for your body. When it comes to good health, we preach quality over quantity, as doing too much exercise can lead to poor performance, fatigue, lack of progress, irritability, lingering muscle soreness, injury and more. Many athletes and serious exercisers, who follow a properly-planned training programme, will schedule a week off every 8-12 weeks to ‘de-load’ and give their body a break. However, even if you feel like some time off might be just what you need to properly rest and recover, how long will it be before you your fitness levels start to drop?
- It takes about 2 months of inactivity to completely lose all progress and gains.
- Muscle strength and endurance last longer than aerobic fitness, as muscle memory can help your body retain strength for weeks and detraining is less noticeable.
- For the average person (and not a professional athlete), most experts will agree that you’ll start to notice changes in your cardiovascular fitness at around the 2-week mark.
So, there’s no reason to panic about taking a week off and enjoying yourself on holiday – that is the purpose of them after all! However, on a mental, rather than physical level, going from all or nothing can make starting again seem like a daunting prospect, especially if you’re still quite new to working out. So, doing just a couple of active sessions, whether that’s a quick run, a 20-minute outdoor bodyweight or even just some lengths in the pool, will make it seem so much easier to get back into the swing of things on your return.