We all skip a workout once in a while but does cutting back shortchange your fitness progress? People love to lament that it’s hard to get in shape especially after 40. But even when you work out hard, not many realize that all their hard work can slip down the drain if they take a few weeks off from their regular workout schedule. Even if your weight remains the same, the body shape changes. So how much effort do we need to expend to maintain this level of fitness, cardio capacity and muscle mass?
Let’s say you’ve been training for months to lose the weight it took you years to gain. You look great, your friends tell you that you look years younger and are silently jealous that you can show up at the pool in a tiny bikini. But now that you got what you wanted, you are wondering, “now what?” Can you keep your new body without the time commitment required for hard-core conditioning? I tell my clients who achieve their goals, whether it’s weight loss or training for marathons, races or body building competitions, to allow your body adequate time to repair itself. Here are a few tips to maintain your progress:
6 Steps To Maintaining Your Fitness
Commit to Cardio: Don’t skip on it, just do lower intensity or cut your program in half for a couple weeks. If you don’t maintain cardio, your hard-earned aerobic capacity would be gone in a flash.
Keep Up Resistance Training: 50 percent rule applies here as well. You can engage in regular weight routine half as often as long as you increase the weight and reps.
Don’t Binge Eat: You want to reward yourself and many people binge. If you are one of those people, binge smart. Especially if your goal is to continue to look great. By binging incorrectly, you could cancel out months of hard work and seriously interfere with your metabolism. Binge on protein and veggies, but if you just can’t resist and load up on donuts, bread and pasta, stop after one day. If you continue for more than two days, it can change your brain chemistry, causing an addiction to junk food.
Drink lots of water: The more water you drink the less junk you would crave. Since thirst is often mistaken for hunger.
Stay away from alcohol: Alcohol will dehydrate you even further. Alcohol also has an extremely high glycemic index, meaning that your body turns it into glucose very quickly, messing with your metabolism in the process. More than once ofr twice per week will likely lead to weight gain.
Rest: Catch up on all the sleep you need. Your body and brain engage in restorative processes while you sleep, and if you fail to catch up on rest now, you run the risk of suffering burnout and losing the motivation to continue your workouts.
Remember that achieving a goal, competing in a race or running a marathon do not represent the end of the journey, but rather just one milestone that will come and go as your career continues. Maintaining your fitness requires work, but an amount that you can do.