Staying in shape can get tedious and difficult, which is why it is very important to keep it constantly changing. Once we start to see all the positive benefits, our brains choose to go one of two ways: Rock even harder to see more results, or Take the changes for granted and start slowing down. Th negatives of slowing down? The body takes about twice as long to get in shape as it does to get out of shape.
Imagine a runner that runs for about 20 miles a week, running almost every day to meet his goal. The body starts processing oxygen differently, and the runner builds not only a great physique, but builds tremendous endurance as well. Working steadily for about a year, that runner can run 10 times longer and harder than when he/she started. Every muscle becomes just a little bit stronger as well.
Now, imagine that runner gets bored and decides that he needs a break. The one week break turns into two, which turns into a year of lack of physical activity. How long do you think it would take his body to get back to where it was? Studies have shown that it takes about 3 weeks to a month for an athlete's endurance to plummet. 3 weeks? That seems too fast, right?
What's worse is that the more endurance we build, the faster a person seems to fall. As we train, our bodies learn to maximize the use of oxygen, and after a couple of months of a very "in-shape" individual not exercising, we could be right back where we started.
Have you ever seen someone who stopped exercising try to get back on the horse? It's sooooo difficult. Why? Because that body knows what it is to be fit, but it just can't work that way anymore. So they get frustrated with themselves, and then end up giving up and starting over. Over and over again.
This whole topic is not to say that you should never take a break when you need one. Rather, it is to discourage you from letting those breaks extend longer than they should because the body does not reward us for inactivity. Even when it is hard, giving up makes life even harder when we try to get back on the horse.
So don't give up! I'm pretty certain that where you are today is better than where you were a month ago. Do not let that hard work get lost. If you need encouragement, you know where to find me :)
Cheers Eights & Weights!
Photo credit: Chacha.com