THE DE-TRAINING EFFECT AND HOW TO AVOID IT

You may not have heard the term ‘de-training’ before but I am sure you have all probably experienced it at some point. We have all taken a break from exercise for a length of time. This could be due to illness/injury or a holiday. But when is it too much?

In simpler terms, use it or lose it. We are all familiar with this phrase and it can help explain what de-training is. In a bit more detail, it is when you reach a certain level of fitness then take an extended break from training, either voluntarily or involuntarily. When you stop exercising for a length of time many physiological changes can take place. Cardiovascular gains that you have made over time slowly start to decrease, and when you stop strength training, you slowly start to lose muscular size and strength.

When you stop exercising for long periods of time it can basically reverse the hard work that has been put in. It’s not all bad news though, the de-training effect varies from person to person and depends on a number of factors. It depends on your previous exercise history, your genetic makeup and how long it’s been since you stopped exercising.

HOW CAN I REDUCE THE EFFECT?

It’s now been 6 weeks since we’ve been in lockdown and 7 weeks since we closed our doors. You may currently be in one of two mind frames. Really motivated to do things due to boredom, or the opposite. Regardless of de-training, it’s really important to keep active in some way for your health and wellbeing. Whether that is your daily exercise outside to escape the house, or joining in on one of our live facebook classes. Unless you have a state of the art gym at home or are exercising everyday most of us will lose some sort of fitness.

We can offset this though. By maintaining some form of exercise routine and continuing with the same forms of exercise you previously were doing the effect will be reduced.

Cardiovascular fitness can be maintained by going running, cycling, walks or participating in one of our HIIT classes. For strength training, use whatever weights you have around  or bodyweight exercises can be equally as challenging. Play about with the tempo of exercises to increase the intensity and tension on your working muscles, for example reduce the speed of a press up (down for two counts, hold for one at the bottom and explode up). You can add variety to moves, improving body weight exercises, reduce stability, perform single sided moves or increase reps and sets. Our conditioning classes use a range of techniques to overload your muscles, so give those a try too.

If you’ve been exercising regularly for many months or years, the effect will be reduced if you’ve taken some time for yourself. If you were new to exercise before the lockdown made some progress and have completely stopped the effect is likely to be increased. If you weren’t active before lockdown but have since become active, great, your improvements will set you up ready for progression.

Any exercise you do will help, although you may not be training as often as you would have pre pandemic, even one training session per week would be better than stopping completely to help motivate you and to stop losing all fitness. 

One thing to be really mindful is, don’t be too hard on yourself. We are in really difficult times and adding the pressure of not trying to lose fitness can be stressful. Do things that make you feel good and motivated, keep active for yourself rather than for others, maintain fitness. 

Now it’s not all bad, individuals who train regularly, take an extended break and then return back to training find that their fitness levels return back quicker than those who have never really trained much before. It’s like after coming back from a well deserved holiday. You’ve heard of muscle memory right? Well it’s a real thing and the great news is it’s not just movement based but also strength response based, so when you start exercising again, your strength can return quickly.

It’s super hard once you return back to classes or the gym, but once you stay persistent your level of fitness returns. We are all in this together, so let’s keep moving and have fun with it.

AMBER JEROME – PERSONAL TRAINER

KEEP ACTIVE AND KEEP YOU FITNESS DURING LOCKDOWN WITH OUR LIVE CLASSES. CAN’T WATCH THEM LIVE? DON’T WORRY YOU CAN CATCH UP WITH THEM ALL ON OUR HOME WORKOUT HUB.