Many things can get in the way of your fitness regime. Suffering an injury, taking a break to focus on something else, or simply losing interest. Most recently, Ramadan has been underway and has meant a month of fasting and a more relaxed lifestyle for many. The question is, how soon and to what level will you get out of shape if you stop exercising?

Like many health-related questions, there are lots of determining factors that influence an answer that might suit any one individual.

Short breaks

If you’re a devoted and highly-trained athlete, then it’s likely you’ll notice a bigger drop in your performance levels than those who train recreationally.

You probably won’t notice much of a difference if you simply trained for a few months before your sabbatical. If you’ve been training for a year or longer, you may find that your endurance levels have dropped substantially.

Muscle strength will most likely not be affected. After a short break, it’s usually simple to bring your statistics back up to speed. However, some athletes, particularly those who are well-trained, may notice a reduction in power after a brief pause.

Due to decreased water retention, a decrease in muscle glycogen may cause your muscles to look smaller. It may also cause you to become weary more quickly when you return to exercise. There’s no need to be concerned; once you’re back on track, this impact will swiftly reverse.

The hips, trunk, and spine may experience a loss of flexibility. That means when you return after three weeks of no training, that position you had finally nailed in your yoga class might be a bit more difficult!

Long breaks

After a longer break, you will notice a significant drop in your performance levels and you may even return to your pre-trained state. You might be at risk of losing all your cardio levels because the functioning of your whole cardiorespiratory system is slowly returning to its original state.

The decrease of lean muscle mass begins gradually. This is physiologically similar to the regular ageing process. When it comes to strength, the evidence is mixed. The pace at which you lose strength appears to be dependent on how many years or months of training you have completed, the sort of training you have completed, and your age.

Despite the fact that muscle mass declines, it does not “transform into fat.” A prolonged rest, on the other hand, may undo the fat-burning benefits of earlier exercise. It’s difficult to say if exercising, calorie restriction, or a combination of the two has a greater impact on fat metabolism. So, whether you gain weight or not during your break is determined by your metabolism and eating habits.

Can the negative effects be minimised?

If you know a break away from your fitness goals is on its way, then it’s not all doom and gloom.

We would recommend upping the intensity of your workouts if it means reducing the frequency of them. If you’re injured, always go to a medical professional first to get their advice on what you can do and what you shouldn’t. Depending on the injury, swimming can be a great activity for preserving fitness levels.

Throughout it all, it’s hugely important that your diet is taken care of so that you can give your body all of the correct nutrition it needs to stay healthy and energised.

Are you ready to get back into a life of health and wellbeing? Get in touch with FLOW Wellness Group today to find out more about how we can help.

In wellness,

Coach Andrew

A healthy lifestyle starts in the kitchen

Get your free protein recipe book