Why regular training is so important for you
It’s a law of nature. Only if you train regularly will you stay fit. However, if you are inactive for a more extended period, muscles and blood vessels will regress. The body no longer needs them. Unfortunately, this happens very quickly. That is why regular training is so necessary.
The athletic performance decreases fast
Our body is constantly striving to establish a balance. The technical term for this is homeostasis. So if you exercise regularly, your body will react and adapt. The muscles grow, the heart works more effectively, new blood vessels sprout. As a result, your fitness level increases, and the more powerful you are, the longer your athletic performance remains at a high level. Even if I skip one or two training sessions. But breaks more prolonged than a week are not recommended.
What inactivity does to your body
- Your body notices that specific demands on the muscles or the cardiovascular system are no longer made and react accordingly.
- A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology has shown that a two-week sports break leads to a significant reduction in muscle mass. The performance of the heart and insulin sensitivity also decreases.
- If you can’t train for seven days for any reason, you have hardly anything to fear. You will find your athletic performance again quickly. However, from the 14-day of a sports break on the performance decreases continuously and significantly.
The role of the muscle fibers
The body reacts very differently to the decrease in physical performance. This is mainly due to the different types of muscle fibers. First, there are the slow-reacting fibers, which are called slow switches or ST fibers. They are responsible for endurance performance. On the other hand, fast-reacting fibers are known as fast switches or FT fibers. They are mainly used for intensive strength training or quick exercises such as sprints.
Repetition maximum is lost most quickly
ST-fibers also have to work a little when walking or sitting. Ft-fibers are usually only required for intensive training. The logical consequence is that FT-fibers lose their performance significantly faster than ST fibers. As a result, your bench press performance decreases because you need FT fibers. But there is also good news: Those who have already been well trained have a decisive advantage: the so-called muscle memory. Two aspects play a role here.
- Movements and exercises that you have performed regularly are still stored in the brain. That’s why even after a long break, you work more coordinated and effective from the beginning. So if you have done bench press regularly, you will reach a higher level faster.
- The muscle grows when the existing fibers are strengthened. This requires a donation of cell nuclei. For example, when you do weightlifting, the muscle fibers splice open. Tiny cracks appear, and these attract satellite cells. They produce protein material, repair the “injured” part, and fuse with the muscle fiber. This leads to muscle growth.
- All the changes triggered by satellite cells persist for a very long time. In other words: After a long pause, it is much faster to return to the previous form. But please keep in mind: If you train regularly, you don’t have to catch up.
How to return to regular training
If you have taken a long break from sports, you should pay attention to a few things:
- After a training break of only one week, there are no restrictions regarding the intensity and duration of your training.
- During a two-week training break, it is advisable to reduce the intensity of strength training and endurance units by about 20 percent. If you then exercise regularly again, you can increase the power by ten percent after one week.
- After a training break of four weeks or longer, it is advisable to reduce the intensity by at least 30 percent. During strength training, it is best to determine the repetition maximum. During endurance training, you should orientate yourself on your pulse. A full-body workout is vital for both endurance and strength athletes. Above all, a good core plays an essential role in quickly reaching a high level again.