Will you lose your fitness, when you cannot workout?

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer
Founder and Head Coach
Will you lose your endurance, muscles, strength and skills when you cannot workout?

Sometimes, you cannot go to the gym for example because you are sick, you have an injury, you have too much work to do, or you’re traveling. Will you lose your endurance, muscles, strength and skills? Well, yes and no.

Yes, you will lose your gains, strength and skills if you turn into a couch potato and stop being active for over two weeks. Chances of that happening are small: The fact that you’re reading this article means you’re motivated to prevent that from happening.

Our three- step action plan will help you to prevent losing everything you’ve worked so hard for at the gym:

Step 1: Focus on the positive and the present

This is life, you cannot always go to the gym whenever you like. Do what you can right know, what is within your reach and possibilities today.

Maybe you can squeeze in a hotel room workout while traveling. Or a lunch walk on a very busy day at the office. Stand behind your desk instead of sitting down. Walk around at home and take the stairs several times a day even if you don’t have to go anywhere. Set the alarm every 30 minutes and move for 2 minutes: do squats, burpees,  pushups, runs on the spot, dance, whatever! Play sports inside your home, for example badminton! All small stuff helps to stay in shape.

If you have an injury, ask your coach for a tailor made workout adjusted to your injury. Or maybe you just need to rest and recover from being sick…

Staying positive and realizing this will not last forever will help you to stay motivated. Good to know: a negative mindset increases stress which negatively affects your physical and mental health.

‍Step 2: Invest in a massive comeback

You have a choice: You can feel very sad because you’re not able to work on your goal of deadlifting 100 kilo’s. Or you can seize the opportunity to dissect that lift into little components and practice your hip hinge with a dowel, or the sit-up to stance-exercise for explosive hips for example. Or train your brain- muscle connection by visualising the lift. Research shows even thinking of using your muscles activates muscle cells! You can be sure by the end of your time- off, you will reap the benefits.

Step 3: Get a goal  

Set a new goal: what do you want to achieve when you enter your gym again? Write that down as specific as possible. For example to be more conscious of your previous injuries by joining mobility every Sunday, booking an appointment with a physiotherapist, and not doing several training sessions in one day. Or maybe your goal is no more skipping training days when you have the time to go to the gym.

By setting a goal, you are committing yourself to your health journey, to your motivation and to your comeback. This prevents the temporary time-off from becoming a never-ending time- off.

Progress is never made in a straight line. Some days are good, others not so. Some days you can go to the gym, other days are meant for something else things. Focus on the bigger picture and do not let a “crisis” go to waist.