The Summer Slump! How many workouts can I miss before I backslide?

By on July 15, 2019

by Tami Mungenast


summer slumpWith summer vacation underway, trips, picnics and outings quickly filling our calendars, finding the time to work out can be tricky. Often one missed workout turns into a week or more of missed workouts. People often wonder how many workouts they can miss before it becomes a hindrance to the progress they have made. 

Missing a workout once in a while is not necessarily a bad thing. If you are a regular exerciser and you miss a few workouts your body might actually thank you. In the long run, taking a little break from exercise (up to a week) can help you increase your strength and endurance in the workouts after the break. However, once you creep past the week mark you will start to notice some decrease in strength and cardiovascular conditioning. This is especially true if you are new to exercise when consistency is critical.

Two weeks of missed workouts, especially cardio/endurance training, will begin to cause declines in endurance. Within four weeks declining conditioning can be significant. A recent study of recreational runners revealed that fact. According to the Journal of Applied Physiology, “Four weeks of detraining led to a 3.6 decline in blood volume as well as a significant reduction in left ventricle mass.” Muscular conditioning and strength can be maintained for up to three weeks of missed training. Much of this is dependent on how long the person has been exercising. It appears that a person who has been exercising for an extended length of time is able to maintain conditioning longer than someone who is new to exercise. 

If you are exercising to lose weight or maintain lost weight and suddenly stop training, your diet will be an important factor in weight gain. If you keep eating the same amount of calories and carbs as you did when exercising, you are likely to start putting on pounds when you stop. It’s a good idea to dial down the carbs and calories a bit for each day you are on vacation or temporary break from your workouts.  

While on vacation or busy with summer activities, try getting one or two full body 45-minute workouts in per week and you will likely not lose ground with your progress. Fuse these workouts with cardio intervals in between resistance training sets to burn the candle from both ends. And remember, no matter how far off track you might get, you are never too far to get back on track again! Happy summer!