This post was inspired by a recent conversation with a client.
The client had been traveling and they had to take a week off. The week before they only got one workout in. So, it had been some time since they were doing their normal workout program. Prior to this, I don’t think that she missed a single day since she joined.
After working out for the first time in over a week, her body was pretty beat up. Since she had taken some time off, the readjustment to training took a toll. Not a big toll, like she couldn’t do what she was doing a week before, but things that were normally easy, weren’t as easy.
The client asked; would she have to keep up a training regiment of 3 days per week, for the rest of her life if she wanted to keep reaping the benefits from this style of training?
That’s not the case at all.
Training is like building a savings account. The money you have in your account is your fitness. The more fitness you have in the bank, the more fitness (strength/cardio/mobility/motor control) you can buffer without losing any.
This client has only been practicing strength and conditioning for 4-5 months.
Early on in your practice, you will need more consistent exposures to training to maintain what you’re doing. This doesn’t necessarily mean training 6 or 7 times per week. It means working out with consistency, week in and week out.
For example, I have been training for over 10 years now. Because of this, I have a big savings account. I’ve earned enough money (with hard work/dedication/consistency) to be able to take a week or two off here or there and not have it affect my strength or conditioning very much. What I do lose, usually comes back quickly.
Initially, you must keep up the exposures to maintain the desired benefits. Eventually, once you build a large enough savings account, you will be able to live off that savings more.
Same thing holds true for motor skills. Take a retired professional baseball player who hasn’t swung a bat in 10 years. I bet within a few minutes they could crank one out of the park. Why? Because they put in the hours and built their savings account.
The point is that training is part of your lifestyle. It’s something that you should want to do for the rest of your life. But, as you increase your training age (how long you have been doing it) the benefits are more likely to stick around – and you’ll be less sore/less affected when returning to workout after a brief hiatus.
No matter how big your savings account is though, there will always be a point where it runs out. Never stop. Train for life.