Detraining

by Jillian on December 1, 2011 · 5 comments

Even though I haven’t been working out, I’ve still been eating healthy and nutritious meals. Of course, there are still Thanksgiving baked goods and even Halloween candy around that taunt me, which I naturally give into. But, there is nothing worse than not being able to work out and then eating bad on top of it.

This morning, I went with Kath’s super simple pumpkin oatmeal pancakes. There are so many healthy pumpkin pancake recipes out there, but this just seemed to be the most simple to me. I can remember it without even having to look it up!

I topped them with a bit of everything: TJ’s pumpkin butter, sunflower seed butter, honey, nonfat greek yogurt, and 1/2 of a banana.

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As I haven’t worked out since Thanksgiving day, I’ve been inclined to wonder about a few things. I know that I am not going to lose all of the muscle that I worked hard for over the last few years, but taking a break has to have some sort of effect, right? I began googling, of course, and found this article: How long can you go without lifting weights and not lose muscle?

This pretty much hit my question right on the nose. It refers to the loss of muscle as “detraining”. Whenever we decrease the volume, frequency or duration of how we train our muscles, the effects of detraining begin. Apparently, we will see these effects in four areas.

Muscle Strength and Power: Strength has been shown to not show a huge decrease even after a month has passed. Power, on the other hand, begins to decrease after about a week.

Muscle Endurance: Muscular endurance can begin to decrease after only two weeks of detraining. Endurance relates to the way our body uses oxygen and stored energy, so we will begin to feel fatigued earlier.

Speed, Agility, and Flexibility: Speed and agility are easily retained, while flexibility can cause stiff muscles during any period of inactivity.

Cardiovascular Endurance: Your cardiovascular endurance will also suffer. According to authors Wilmore and Costill, “With 20 days of complete bed rest, athletes have shown increased heart rates, decreased stroke volumes, decreased cardiac output and decreased maximal oxygen consumption“.

It’s actually amazing how quickly your muscle and cardiovascular endurance can deplete. Luckily, the article does state that you are able to regain positive adaptations quicker than you lose it! Of course, it depends on how long you were active before your took a break and how long your break actually was. It also mentions to try to stay mobile regardless. I should have been doing some more stretching this past week, which is probably just about all I could have done. My hips are definitely stiff.

I think I will be fine! After two solid years of training and only a 1.5 week break, I should be back to myself in about 1.5 – 2 weeks. I also took some time to set up my workout plans for next week! I am still tackling Jamie Eason’s LiveFit.

I added a “workout” calendar to iCal and planned out my week. Hopefully, writing it down will motivate me to do it. The new gym in our area opened, so I may be switching up some of my cardio with a 5:15 AM spin class. We’ll see!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chels R. December 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Pretty interesting info. I try not to get too frustrated when I miss days of working out. I’m pretty self motivated so I just pick back up and hop to it and I’m back in the groove again.

L.O.V.E. early morning spin classes!

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2 Marilyn December 1, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Not to worry. You will get back on track at the gym.

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3 Jamie aka "Sometimes Healthy" Girl December 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm

So impressed with your plan of action to get back – and do not worry – 1.5 – 2 weeks is nothing! I hope everything is going okay for you and that whatever has thrown the ol’ life offtrack is back on track. We should get together soon and catch up. Send me an email (or I’ll email you) and we can make it happen :-)

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4 Jillian December 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I know, we def need to! I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since HLS!

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