Taking a break from training? Read this.
You know we’re big fans of rest days, but what about rest weeks?
Rest is an essential part of your fitness routine. Resting prevents fatigue and injury, helps reduce soreness, gives your mind a break, gives your muscles time to repair and grow, and allows you to return to training with more intensity.
Of course, when a few days’ rest turns into a week (or weeks) away from the mat, it can begin to impact your fitness levels. Here’s what you need to know if you’re taking time off training over the holidays.
When you’re about to hit a wall, some time off could be just what you need…
What does time off do to your cardio fitness?
It can take anywhere from 7 days to 4 weeks to notice a reduction in aerobic fitness, depending on how often (and how intensely) you usually train. The greater your cardio capacity, the longer you can take a break before you notice a dip.
If you notice you’re more puffed when you return to your workouts, don’t stress – aerobic capacity is also relatively easy to get back.
What does time off do to your strength?
In the long-game that is strength and muscle-building, a few weeks off is no big deal. It takes about three months of total inactivity (e.g. bed rest) to lose your strength gains. In fact, if you’re doing heavy training consistently, a 1–2 week break can actually help you get stronger, which is exactly why Centr Power has deload weeks.
The benefit of taking a break is that your muscles, tendons and ligaments have more time to repair, and your glycogen energy stores are fully replenished, so you can get back to the gym ready to work harder and lift heavier.
If your time off does stretch out longer than planned, the good news is it’s easier to regain muscle you have lost than it is to gain it in the first place.
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How to nail your holiday nutrition
Turkey on the menu? Great. When you’re taking a break, keep your protein up, even on days when you’re “holiday eating” (i.e. not sticking to the meal plan). This will help to keep you full, hence avoiding overeating, and to maintain muscle.
Here are 4 collections with easy and comforting meals to take the pressure off during the holiday period:
Centr’s nutrition expert Angie Asche recommends taking a self-compassionate approach to indulging over the holidays.
“The first thing I recommend is to not stress out about it. Stressing out and thinking you need to start a strict diet will only make matters worse,” she says.
“What you do consistently throughout the year matters more than what you do in one blowout meal or over a few weeks’ vacation.”
Remember the most important thing...
Enjoy yourself! If you already know your schedule won’t have room for your regular training this month, that’s okay. Accept that this time will be different, do what you can when you can, and enjoy your time off.
If you know you’re going to be out late several nights this week, get to bed early on the nights you’re at home. If you’re eating your way through non-stop family events, stick with your meal plan (and the foods that make you feel good) when cooking for yourself. If at any time it all gets a bit too much, hit pause and breathe: our Express meditations will help you reset and go again. As we always say, life is about balance.
Remember, this is just a short fragment of a long year. Take a break, look after yourself, and don’t forget we’re here to help you through it.
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