It Takes Four Weeks To Get ‘Out Of Shape’ For Weights, Less For Cardio

It Takes Four Weeks To Get ‘Out Of Shape’ For Weights, Less For Cardio

How much of a break can you take before you start falling “out of shape”? The answer can vary, depending on how fit you were to start with and whether we’re talking strength or endurance.

Photo by Laura D’Alessandro

Over at Greatist, Nick English runs through the possibilities. If you have a regular gym habit, you may be able to take a four-week holiday without losing much strength:

For most people, strength loss occurs after about two and a half to three weeks of inactivity, says Molly Galbraith, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and co-founder of Girls Gone Strong. But it depends on why you take the break.

“If you are sick, your body is overstressed, so you’ll start to lose strength after two to three weeks,” she says. “If you’re not sick, and especially if you’re able to get in some movement and light exercise, you can probably take three, four, even five weeks off without significant strength loss.”

When it comes to cardio, however, losses occur faster: after that same four week break, you may lose 20% of your aerobic capacity. The good news is that cardio fitness is easier to gain back.

If you’re new to exercising, the rules are a little different. Since newbies are progressing so quickly, they may have an easier time keeping their gains.

Read the full article at Greatist for all the details, including some tips for slowing losses by keeping a little bit active during your break.

How Long Does It Actually Take to Get Out of Shape? [Greatist]


  • Interesting.

    Cardio fitness is very easy to regain, I normally only do about three or four runs in the week prior to doing a half marathon. I usually average under two hours for the half marathon distance at a relaxed pace.

    Kuala Lumpur half marathon last year I did with zero training, haven’t run for at least three months and knocked out 2 hours and 6 minutes without any strain.

    Marathons are a different story, I still need to put in a good three or four months of training.

  • This is what has happened to me, I got sick with acute bronchitis about 5 weeks ago now and I’m only just getting over it now. I used to be able to ride up the local mountain ranges no problem before I got sick, when I tried on the weekend I struggled just to get up the first pass!

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