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EVERYONE has skipped a workout at some point in time (myself included!). Sometimes taking few days off exercise can be great, and exactly what your body needs. Sometimes a few days off can lead to a week off, then a few weeks, and then before you know it, you’re struggling to get back into the swing of things.

So is taking a whole week off exercise a bad thing? After 2 weeks off, will I have lost all my fitness and strength? Will I start to gain weight? Let me answer these questions for you!

rest days and taking time off from exercising

TAKING A BREAK IS GOOD FOR YOU!

If you are someone who trains hard and consistently and whose workouts are intense, taking a week off is a great thing for your body. Rest is really important and you should listen to your body. I have written a previous blog post on rest days here. Having a rest day once or twice per week is great, and having an entire rest week can also be great.

WHAT ABOUT 2 WEEKS OFF?

The only reason you would ever need to take 2 weeks off is if you are injured, sick, exhausted or have a condition that prevents you from exercise. If you are healthy and can exercise, there’s no need for a full 2 weeks off. So what happens to your body if you have 2 or more weeks off?

IF YOU EXERCISE REGULARLY

It’s usually much easier to get back into a regular exercise routine if you already exercised previously. Once you get started again, you begin to develop the habit and can stick at it consistently. After 2 or more weeks off, you will lose some strength, but not a significant amount. Unfortunately, you will lose your cardiovascular fitness quicker than your strength. But it is easier to get back!

IF YOU DON’T EXERCISE REGULARLY

Taking 2 weeks off can be more difficult for you, and harder for you to get back into the habit. If you’re more of a newbie and are finding it hard to stick with 5-6 sessions per week, start with 3-4 sessions per week, rather than going too hard too soon and then needing to take a week or two off.

Newbies make strength gains relatively quickly in the first 12 weeks. This makes it easier to retain. However the loss in cardio is the same (if not worse) as those who exercise regularly. You will lose significant cardiovascular fitness, so this is a great reason not to take too long a break!

rest days and taking time off from exercise

WILL YOU GAIN WEIGHT?

This really depends. The more you exercise, the more you need to eat to fuel your body. If you exercise a lot and then take a complete break, but do not adjust your food intake, you will gain weight / fat. If you only exercise 3-4 times per week, your differences in diet when you exercise and when you don’t won’t be as dramatic. However, if you do not adjust your diet, you too will gain weight.

My best advice if you are taking a break is to make sure you are great with your eating! This can be difficult because regular exercise keeps you more motivated to eat well. But is a must! And if you can, go for light walks to keep active and burn some calories.

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

2 Responses

  1. Will I gain weight staying in the hospital for more than two weeks, eating their food and not being allowed to exercise?

    1. Hi lovely! This will depend on the amount of food that you consume but the most important thing is that you listen to your doctor’s advice and keep your diet as healthy as possible in order to recover quickly and be healthy again! We wish you all the best hun! <3

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