Ever Wondered What Two Weeks of Being Lazy Does to Your Body?

It’s the season of poolside piña coladas, lazy days, and vacations from the gym — which, as any swimsuit-wearing gal or chest-baring guy can attest, adds up to less-than-desirable results. How fast, exactly, will your muscle tone and strength deteriorate? That’s what researchers from the University of Copenhagen set out to determine in a new study, published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Source: What Two Weeks of Being Lazy Does to Your Body

It’s personally interesting, given that I broke a rib in March.   It was a week before I felt I’d dare try cycling.  It would be weeks before I’d try swimming, which in retrospect I still should not have done.  Back to my cycling – I went from leading the group to barely hanging on.  The best I could do was 2/3rds of the ride, and I’d get dropped on the hill climb because I no longer had the sustained power necessary to at least stay in the pack or be close enough to sprint up to the group after the hill.  I have to be more economic about my riding… for now, but I can dig in if necessary.

I’m roughly a little better than where I was last year, starting from zero in March.  So I’m waiting for cyclocross season in September to do what it did last year – race to a higher degree of fitness.  It was a shame to loose that fitness as triathlon season started, but I’ve got time.  I did better than I expected leading into 2015, so I fulfilled my promise about investing in a real road bike for next season.

“Fitspiration” Is Bad For Your Motivation

Just a forewarning – this is unlikely to be your standard “fitness blog”, where I tell you the 49 best ways to improve your squat, or the secret list of foods that will kill your belly fat stone dead… This is going to be more of a first step into some aspects of the fitness industry that lie just beneath the surface, but are very rarely discussed.

Source: Why Fitspiration Is Killing Your Motivation

I find the “fitspiration” to be counterproductive.  People are fed this idea that if you work out, then you’ll look like these people! In reality, particularly for women, the body fat percentage of the people in fitspo images is extremely, extremely difficult to obtain. By starting out with an unrealistic standard, you’re greatly reducing the chance that people will stick with exercise… that body fat percentage takes a very specific diet, and people aren’t always aware of that, so they consider the exercise a “failure” if they don’t start looking super cut.  See: Why Don’t I Look Like My Goal Physique?

This was where I think the cross training for triathlon was good.  I’ve never been fond of running, but I attributed aspects of fitness/strength increases in other things (swimming, cycling) that motivated me to want to maintain that.  I’ve reached a point where I’m happy with my body fat percentage.  I eat now to maintain, but could stand to eat a little less if I want to see more definition.  But it’s not a priority.  What a difference a year has made.

How Long Does It Actually Take to Get Out of Shape?

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.