Does taking a week off hurt your fitness level?

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We’ve all been there.? You are back to your normal workout after taking a week or two off.? Everything feels harder and you feel out of shape.? But, do you really hurt your fitness level by missing a few workouts?

In short, yes.? Research is showing that you lose some strength if you miss several resistance workouts.? The good news is it’s not usually a significant amount.? You feel less strong upon returning due to a loss of neural connection from brain to muscle.? When you start a resistance program, the brain begins making strong connections to the muscles.? Think muscle memory.? You become aware of how your body moves in space and muscles adapt.? You’re less strong because your brain takes a vacation, not because your muscles shrunk.

Everyone responds to training breaks differently which is likely due to hormone activity.? But as soon as you return to your regular program, your strength will return.? Don’t decrease the amount of weight you lift during that first workout back.? And don’t try to make up for lost time by lifting more than usual!

If you regularly strength train and reduce the days per week you lift, make sure to lift at least one day per week in order to maintain your strength.? It’s true that something is better than nothing!? Realize that during your short time off, you haven’t lost your fitness completely.? It takes more than a couple weeks to return to pretraining levels.

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