You realize a week has gone by and you start to feel guilty and a little concerned about how exactly you’re going to get yourself back to the gym. There can be some pretty noticeable setbacks in terms of your endurance and strength that can take twice as long to build up again. This is why you simply can’t miss more than 10 days of gym time.
First, working more than three or four times a week is not a realistic expectation. You need rest days and time to do life. So this isn’t about how often you go, but how long of a break you take between going. But if you’re only working out twice a week versus six times a week, you will notice your losses sooner.
You have to think of it like this: every workout you do makes the next workout that much easier. If you miss a week, it’s not going to crush you. But if you dip into that second week, your body starts to react. You have to “use it or lose it.”
Muscles recover during the hours following a workout, gaining strength and going through repairs. If they’re ready to go again, but you’re still “resting,” they begin to lose mass. You will start losing muscle tone instead of fat. Fat will continue to hang out in storage while your body taps into the muscular cells for energy. This is especially so if you're not eating so well. Click here for the best muscle-building foods.
The weaker the muscle fibers become, the more difficult it is to perform like you were before your extended break. You also lose muscle memory. One of the reasons you become better at certain exercises is because you repeat them, conditioning the body to excel at it. It does take longer to lose this “memory,” but you should be able to get it back along with your previous muscle mass within a couple weeks.
So, if you think that taking about 10 days off from the gym sounds like a good idea, think again. Rest periods are excellent when used appropriately. Abusing them will make your workouts that much more difficult upon return, which is why a lot of people fall off the wagon. Don’t let this happen to you! If you can’t get to the gym, find a quick workout you can do at home (bookmark the Skinny Mom video workout page now!) to stay moving and motivated. No one wants to spend weeks trying to put the pieces back together.