It is very unlikely that you will go your entire training life without either voluntarily or involuntarily taking a break from the gym. This can be either a holiday, illness, injury or just to rediscover your passion for training.
Whether you intended to take the break or not is irrelevant. What is important is maintaining your hard work even whilst not at the gym. You may have put years into creating a physique you are proud of and you would not want to see all of this effort undone in a matter of a couple of months due to not being able to train. Whether the break is 1 week or 1 month there are methods you can adopt to maintain your muscle mass and condition.
These methods are lifestyle, diet and training related.
Here are my top 3 tips on maintaining your physique whilst you are not able to get to the gym.
Maintain good diet –
It is the main temptation by people taking a break from the gym to take a break from good diet as well. If for example you broke your leg and were unable to train, you should NOT give up on your diet as well. Maintaining a good maintenance calorie level diet with plenty of protein, low GI carbs and EFA’s will help your body to avoid catabolism so you will retain muscle, whilst also not giving your body excess calories to store as fat. Not going to the gym is not an excuse to give up eating healthy and pig out. Maintaining this diet will help you to stay on track for when you can get back in the gym.
Avoid alcohol –
If you are going on holiday and can’t get to a gym or even follow a structure diet, the very least you can do is not overindulge on alcohol. Alcohol is probably the worst thing for anyone to ingest if you are trying to maintain muscle and avoid fat gain. Alcohol will increase estrogen and make it very hard for your body to avoid catabolism. It also contains a huge amount of calories that will add to your daily intake and be sored as fat. Usually if you indulge in drinking alcohol it is likely that you will lose your dieting inhibitions and have that take away you desired earlier.
Train what you can –
If you are on holiday then there is no reason you cant go for a run, do some press ups, lift weighted objects and just generally do some body weight training. If you are injured then why not train your uninjured body parts. If you are ill there is very little you can do about it but in most cases there is no reason why even the smallest amount of training is not possible. Training of any kind will raise testosterone, stoke your metabolism and force your muscles to store glycogen. This will aid in maintaining muscle and keeping the fat off of all areas.
So these are my top 3 tips. Next time you have a break from the gym, take these into consideration and don’t lose all of the hard work you have put in.