my friend (who reads this blog as well) has sent me a fantastic link to a blog entry which is very motivational. This post explains very well what happens to the body when you stop exercising for a while.
It is exactly this fear of losing all of my hard earned fitness which keeps me going at any time. I hope it can motivate you as well…Don’t give up! You will be losing out big time!
But here is the post:
Getting fit and getting fit again
don’t know about you, but for me, getting fit is hugely rewarding and addictive. Week after week of progress, better times, higher numbers, larger weights, more reps. That kind of objective positive feedback can have you hooked. Especially once you start reaping the benefits on the track too. “hey, I skated every jam for an hour and didn’t even get out of breathe! This is awesome!”.
Good old Aristotle says:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
So what happens when you drop out of your routine for a little while?
It could be due to injury, exhaustion, a holiday, or life taking over and you just can’t fit your regular training sessions in.
It only takes two to three weeks of not training (or detraining as it is known) to notice a dramatic drop in your aerobic fitness. Within 4 to 7 days of detraining the walls of your heart become thinner, therefore having reduced blood-pumping efficiency. Within 2 to 3 weeks of detraining our VO2 max reduces by around 4%. Plus that wonderful stuff Glycogen that helps fuel our muscles and keep us springy on our skates drops by up to 40% after just 4 weeks of detraining. 40%!!!!!!!! I love Glycogen! It’s the reason I schedule a plyometrics workout before a scrimmage session. Knowing how fast your body loses fitness goes some way to explaining why it’s so hard to get back on the fitness horse. It can feel like all those hours spent sweating and working hard have been completely wasted and that you are back to square one.
The cause of a break in training isn’t necessarily down to a weakness of will or lack of motivation, but getting back into the habit of training takes much more strength of character than was required to get fit in the first place. It’s just not quite as fun doing 20 press ups and collapsing when you could do 40 pressups just 3 weeks ago.
You can put this down to how demoralising it is to realise you are performing less well than before your break. And everyone knows that it is easier to keep up habits that make you feel good about yourself than those that make you feel bad.
The toughest training session to do isn’t, therefore, the first one back after a break. That’s when you are still kidding yourself that you’ve kept active going for walks or doing your physio so can’t have lost that much fitness. It’s the one after that when you aren’t bouyed by the fact that you are in a stage of fitness growth, but have realised just how far back down the fitness ladder you have fallen. Yet if we go back to that Aristotle quote, we have to find a way of making fitness a habit again. Sometimes this might be about approaching it from a different angle or taking up a new class so that the differences in before and after detraining are less apparent. If you can’t directly compare how good you were at something because you’ve never done it before you can kick start those ‘learning and growing’ endorphins. If you got fit originally on the Insanity Workout, why not try Cross Fit instead?
Ask yourself the question ‘Do I want to keep playing competitively?’. If you really can’t cope with the fact that you were once better than you are now then maybe it’s time to hang up your skates or join a recreational league. Memories of greatness are strong ones and they’ll linger in your head demotivating you if you let them. Eating away at your confidence and self-worth.
If, on the other hand, you do want to keep getting better then you just have to let go of where you were before and strive to build up your habit of fitness again. Grit your teeth for long enough and you’ll stop comparing yourself to who you were at your fittest, and start acknowledging those small steps of progress you’ve made since yesterday.
Everyone has tough times when they can’t put in what’s required to have a constant upwards progression. If capitalism has taught us anything, it’s that constant growth has a price. Instead, focus on doing what you can, when you can, and make a habit of it.