Ever heard the saying ‘If you don’t use it you lose it’??
Well, it’s true! Your body is an efficiency machine. It’s in your DNA.
When you lift big weights, it is inefficient and unsafe for your body to have small muscles as they can’t keep up. Therefore, they grow. When you stop lifting weights it is inefficient for your body to have big muscles as they require a huge energy expenditure to upkeep. Therefore, they get smaller. When you do cardio it is inefficient for your body to have normal/average levels of blood volume, red blood cells and mitochondria (you can’t perform at your best). Therefore, these levels increase. When you stop doing cardio it is inefficient for your body to have a huge amount of blood, red blood cells and mitochondria to have to upkeep (again requiring huge amounts of energy). Therefore, you lose these “fitness indicators.”
De-conditioning happens to us all when we stop. But here’s the good news! The rate at which we lose conditioning is dependent on three factors:
How fit you are to start off with (the fitter you are, the slower the rate of deconditioning)
How often you train (the more frequently you train, the slower the decline)
How long you’ve been out of action (longer = worse)
Don’t Stop. If you have to train less then that’s ok; just maintain what you can. Research has shown that significant cardiovascular de-conditioning happens after just 1-2 weeks off, whereas strength loss happens after 2-3 weeks. Science also tells us that maintenance sessions work wonders for maintaining your current levels – aim for 2 sessions resistance training to maintain muscle and 2 hours of moderate cardio to maintain most of your cardiovascular gains!
Next time you feel like throwing it all in, take a small break but don’t stop! Maybe even cut your workout down to half but keep that momentum going!
Good luck Team,
Swedish Alex 🙂
Swedish Alex is a Yoga Teacher, Group Fitness Instructor, qualified physiotherapist and Women’s Health & Fitness Magazine cover star. She has a true passion to help and motivate others reach their fitness goals. Train Swedish Alex’s workout program on the Strong Body App now