You've worked hard on your body for months and years to get to where you are, but when the family holiday rolls around you're probably worried that you'll lose it all. Shhhh, it's ok. This fear is common, but just know that everything will be all right when you return from time off.
Image by Damian Gadal.
Studies seem to vary, but the typical timeline for strength losses can set in at around two weeks while muscle losses can show around two to four weeks. Losses in cardio tend to happen faster. These timelines will vary due to fitness and training level, type of training (cardio versus strength training), and even if any activity occurred during the holiday.
Hey, don't freak out.
Simply, taking time away from the gym can do wonders for your body and mind because regular workouts can be a major stressor, after all.
The good news is that anything you do lose will be recovered quickly. Because muscle memory and all that. In fact, you might even find the hiatus to be a huge boon to your progress. You may soon feel stronger, faster, and more refreshed, and perhaps even find your muscles to be responding more acutely to your training again.
These are all positive things, but dedicated fitness-goers are typically the most stubborn about taking time off. For these hyper-enthusiastic folks, this study published in European Journal of Applied Physiology showed promising data about how alternating between 6-week periods of training and 3 weeks off for 6 months yielded muscle and strength progress similar to that of uninterrupted training throughout that time.
If you're worried, you're better off staying active in some manner while on holiday rather than doing nothing. That doesn't mean you need to work out in the traditional sense, though. Why not try a new activity, like biking, surfing, climbing, or doing paddleboard yoga. Just get out there, and make it part of your fun!
If it makes sense to have an actual workout while on holiday, then do it. If not, don't worry about it. Do something fun, and enjoy your holiday for goodness sake.