Getting back into shape will be more complicated than it sounds. Missed a workout? And then another one? Without panic, sooner or later, everyone is faced with this. The problem is different for everyone and when you skip a workout, this may not reflect the best on your form.

How quickly can you lose shape if you give up training?

 It’s okay to skip a workout occasionally. A few days without exercise will not turn your muscles into fat. Short breaks will even be beneficial – the body needs time to recover, and muscles grow not in the gym but during rest. Recovery time depends on the stress level – on average, it is from 48 to 72 hours. If classes are missed more often, then it can still affect the figure.

But how quickly this happens depends on the duration of the “truancy” and the level of physical fitness. For those who train regularly, it will be easier to return to their previous form. We are talking about three to four sessions per week and not about one workout every six months. Muscles remember everything so that training will play into your hands. It will be more difficult for beginners – until the body gets used to the stress, a break can significantly affect physical fitness. So it is not worth it to skip a workout too much.

During training, the body is under stress, so a short break, on the contrary, will be beneficial. After a short rest, the indicators of strength and endurance will be even higher than before. There is no need to worry at all for the first few weeks – it doesn’t matter if it’s a professional athlete or a beginner. That is, at first, all sports indicators will be within the normal range.

What happens to strength and cardiac output in 2-4 weeks without training?

Two weeks

Strength indicators: with a sedentary lifestyle (a trip to the nearest store is not considered), the muscles will begin to lose their appearance in two weeks. During this time, the muscles decrease in volume – this is due to the loss of water in the muscles. Without training, the production of glycogen decreases. Hence, the muscles “deflate.” But this is reversible – after two or three weeks after the start of training, they return to their previous shape.

Endurance: For cardio enthusiasts, this is not the case. Compared to muscle strength, which is more tolerant of absenteeism, endurance scores fall faster. Without training, the heart muscle malfunctions because it needs to be trained constantly. At first, after the termination of exercise, the VO2 max drops sharply – the maximum amount of oxygen that the body consumes during training. After ten days, these indicators decrease by 7%, even later – by 15%

Four weeks

Strength indicators: with light loads (climbing stairs, walking to the subway), muscle strength decreases after about four weeks. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from the American College of Sports Medicine. They studied the effect of a break in training on the solid performance of athletes and weightlifters. And here’s what it turned out: the athletes began to lose shape only four weeks later without exercise. In track and field athletes, the first to “hit” was slow muscle fibers – the ones that withstand many repetitions and are used mainly in cardio workouts. Weightlifters suffer from fast muscle fibers – large muscles that are not designed for multi-repetitive work.

A month after resting, muscle glycogen stores decrease. The fact is that there are specific nuclei in the muscles, which become larger during training. But it is worth stopping classes, as they fall in volume.

Endurance: After four weeks without training, endurance is reduced by 20%. In 2018, scientists found that VO2 max (maximum oxygen consumption) readings decreased in runners four weeks after stopping training. A year earlier, scientists analyzed the sports performance of football players after the end of the competitive season and came to a disappointing conclusion. Running speed and cardiovascular health deteriorated.

Endurance is lost much faster than muscle strength, especially if there has been no physical activity for a month. This is because the volume of blood plasma decreases. The blood becomes more viscous, which “inhibits” the entry of H2O into the tissues.

How to start exercising after a long break?

After a long rest (from three months or more), you will have to start everything from scratch – this is long and detailed work. You need to increase the load slowly and gradually – both in cardio and in strength.

A half-year break will cost you 1.5-3 months of recovery. It is unrealistic to return the muscles to their previous shape in a month.

In the first two weeks of training after you skip a workout for a long time, the body will resist. But after three or four workouts, it will be easier to practice.

If the passes were no more than ten days, you could start with light walks. Then move on to more active sports, where the heart rate zone reaches 125-150 beats per minute. In this case, the heart muscle works more actively, the aerobic capacity increases.

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