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6 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Don't Work Out For 2 Weeks

October 15, 2015 3 min read

Winter gives us lots of reasons to skip the gym. The weather is bad. It is too cold. It is dark so early and we're tired. With summer feeling so far away, and sweatpants calling your name, who cares about your swimsuit body? If you forget your beach bod for a second and think about your overall health, you will make it a point not to skip the gym. Two weeks may not seem like a long time but according to fitness experts Stephanie Dietz, a studio director and lead “cycologist” at Cyc Fitness, and Sam Karl, an instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp, two weeks can actually feel like a lifetime!

Your body starts to change after 3 days

Dietz says that muscle mass starts to decrease as “fibers lose their fat-burning capabilities,” which means you will also lose strength. You won't be able to see these changes in the mirror but the “slow and fast-twitch endurance muscle fibers” (necessary for strenuous and efficient exercise) become more “easily fatigued muscle fiber types.” But if you've been skipping the gym in favour of extra sleep, don't panic. The muscle groups you use most often, like your hamstrings, for example, will lose their tone more slowly than others you use less often, like your abs.

You'll have to work extra hard to regain what you are losing

Dietz says that your fitness level and muscles will take "double the amount of time you took off" to regain their former glory. So if you take two weeks off, it will take you a full month get back to where you were! But Sam Karl reminds us that a break isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you don't over indulge. He says, "If you take two weeks off and keep your protein intake high, you could come back even stronger."

Ever wonder why you can't stop thinking about comfort foods?

When you've given the gym a miss, you are far more likely to reach for something comforting, usually something high in fat and carbs, instead of something healthy. Dietz explains that this is because you are lacking the positive influence of exercise on your mood, energy and stamina. If you are taking time away from the gym, Karl recommends sticking to the same nutrition routine. He says it could actually "help you maintain the muscle it took you so long to build.” But even this requires care. Because your metabolism is higher when working out and you are burning more calories, you are likely eating more calories to stay energized. When you aren't exercising, your body doesn't need them and this could lead to weight gain.  

You're stressing yourself out

Exercising releases endorphins. Even if it has been only two weeks, the  lack of “natural release of endorphins” you’re used to could potentially lead to emotional stress, says Dietz. To make things worse, not only are you missing out on the feel good nature of endorphins and serotonin, your body will begin to carry tension. For example, if you work at a desk all day, on a computer, you are likely carrying tension in your shoulders. This tension is released, according to Karl, when you exercise.

Forget sleeping like a baby

If you aren't blowing off steam and releasing stress during a work out, you are likely going to have a hard time resting your mind at bed time. If you haven't worked out for a short period of time, that "extra nervous energy," as Karl calls it, is a key factor in making shut eye so much harder to come by.

It is okay to take it slow

All is not lost when you take a little time to hibernate. It just might take a while to rebuild your strength and muscle gains. Dietz says group fitness classes and an overall positive, health-conscious community can help you get back on track. Karl suggests “basic body weight exercises,” like squats, pushups and lunges without weights, are helpful to get back to it. Start small, work slowly and before you know it you will start seeing and feeling all those benefits that prompted you to start going to the gym in the first place! Have you taken a gym hiatus in the past? How long did it take you to get back into it? Source: Elite Daily

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