How Long is Too Long Between A Workout?
Making a trip to the gym a daily routine can be tough enough for almost anyone. Sometimes you are too tired to go after work or have no motivation to wake up early on a Saturday morning to work out. For the most part, missing a few days at the gym is nothing to worry about. But missing your workout for more than a week could actually throw the level of fitness you worked up to into reverse.
Dr. James Ting, a board-certified sports medicine physician with the Hoag Orthopedic Institute states, “As a general rule, the fitter you are, the longer it will take your muscles to turn to flab. Your physique doesn’t like change; it’s constantly trying to achieve homeostasis. So the longer you have been exercising (and the fitter you are), the more time it will take for your body to think it doesn’t need to build muscle anymore.”
A study described in the Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that easing up on your workouts for just 14 days can significantly reduce your cardiovascular fitness, lean muscle mass and insulin activity. However, it can take at least two months to see a complete loss of your fitness gains. But before you rush to put on your running shoes and gym clothes, a break from hard training and exercise can be a good thing. According to Assistant Editor-in-Chief of the Strength and Conditioning Journal, Brad Schoenfeld, taking breaks from your workout might help improve your strength, muscle development and aerobic fitness.
When you decide to get back into your workout routine, your body is on your side. As Schoenfeld explains, muscle memory involves your body’s ability to carry out movements in a coordinated fashion and to learn which muscle fibers it needs and doesn’t need.
Everyone’s body and fitness level is different. You might have needed to take a break from your consistent workout but the break lasted longer than you wanted it to. The good news is, once you decide to get back at it, it should take just a few weeks to get your body back into shape.