Don’t let anybody tell you different—everyone has skipped a workout at some point. At Greatist, we’re firm believers in cutting yourself some slack and taking time off from exercise when you need to. But we also know how easily three days off can snowball into six, then 10. Before you know it, you’re asking that question we’ve all asked when the gym feels like a distant memory: How long does it take to lose my fitness?
Source: How Long Does It Actually Take to Get Out of Shape?
If you have a regular gym habit, you may be able to take a four-week vacation without losing much strength. When it comes to cardio, loss occurs faster: after that same four week vacation, you may lose 20% of your aerobic capacity. The good news is that cardio fitness is easier to gain back. Staying active while you’re injured is money in the bank, even if all you can do is hobbling around.
Something to keep in mind if you taper – a week is fine, two not so good depending on how little you plan on doing. My sprint triathlon tapering currently is taking Saturday off. I used to get stir crazy, taking in a yoga class and walking my run route. But lately I’ve been falling asleep if I’m not active, so my training plan has been evolving… 🙂
Prior to this, and what prompted me to take up triathlon, was that I’d worked up a decent amount of cycling fitness. Then I was off the bike for a month, and the article confirms how I felt when I got back on the bike – rock bottom. I was desperately working at it for months before giving up. I jumped into a beginner triathlon camp for two months, and it kicked my butt. It was seriously brutal to do running speed work on Thursday, followed by swimming, and then bike on Saturday. I remember wanting to ride faster, but my legs were used up from the running. But even if I didn’t do tri’s, I found I liked the cross-training/variety of activity vs just doing more cycling. And this fits my schedule better, partly because I don’t like cycling with lights.