I’ve been super quiet on the blog for a couple of months as I’ve just had so much going on in my personal life.
I’ve recently had to schedule in a six week break from the gym, under strict orders of no training and only light cardio.
It’s a daunting prospect for any serious gym goer to plan to take any amount of time off the gym, whether that’s a week, two weeks, a month, two months or beyond. Often people take a break because they’re going on holiday, visiting friends, travelling or away with work.
It was no different for me; the prospective of giving up the gym for any amount of time was terrifying. In the past four years the most I’ve taken off the gym is 10 days, so six weeks seemed like forever!
Part of me was really looking forward to a break whilst another part of me was really quite worried about what was going to happen to my body and how it would affect me…
Coping with the break
I’d love to give you some glorious story about how I prepared really well and I did an amazing job, I look exactly the same and that I haven’t lost any gains.
But that would be a complete fabrication.
What actually happened is the first week I ate half a kilo of chocolate. Following that I behaved myself a little better, but I wasn’t watching what I ate too much and wasn’t anywhere near as careful as I normally I am.
I just found it so easy to relax – my nights are normally filled with meal prep and the gym. Now they were filled with bumbling around the house, perusing the supermarket aisles and cooking something interesting for tea.
During this break I put a bit of weight on (around 3kg) as I’d been eating above my maintenance and not doing anything other than walking. I mean it doesn’t take a genius to work out what was going to happen.
I’m not worried though, I feel like having this break has really made me excited and motivated to return to the gym and get myself back on top. That being said I learnt my lessons and hopefully you can learn from my mistakes:
Keep a structure and routine
If I could do this again I’d replace my normal gym time with something else productive or active – like another walk or teaching myself a new skill.
I think having your “me time” is really important, and you need to keep that time allocated to investing in yourself.
Keep an eye on your food
If you’re worried about losing gains, keep your maintenance calories in check and make sure you’re eating enough to hit that.
If you’re worried about putting on weight (like me) then, erm, firstly, don’t eat half a kilo of chocolate in four days. Secondly, just bring your calories down slightly – if you’re gonna be doing less activity you’re going to need less calories so adjust accordingly.
I’m pretty good at this one anyway but if you’re taking a break I think its quite easy to feel a little down about your appearance. Going to the gym is part of “looking after yourself” so it’s natural to start feeling a little mopey. Keep in mind this is a temporary break and you will no doubt bounce back – your body is clever like that.
I personally think it’s good to knock your body out of its rhythm every now and again, and give yourself a rest – if you train regularly your body is constantly having to repair itself, giving it a nice break won’t do you any harm.
Do you have any ideas for surviving a break from the gym? Let me know!