Time Away From Your Exercise Routine: My Experience with Detraining and Smartraining

Last month, I underwent multiple emergency eye surgeries to repair the retina in my right eye. Four surgeries and 3 weeks of recovery later, I finally have my doctor’s go-ahead to workout again. Can you believe this is the first time in my adult life I have gone this long without exercising? I am happy to be back at it, for sure, but the silver lining is the valuable firsthand experience I’ve gained in coming back to Smartraining after an extended break from my workout regimen. Chances are, at some point, you’ll be faced with coming back after time off. The good news is, the Koko Smartrainer makes it safe and easy to reintroduce your body to your fitness routine. Let my experience help guide you back!


A Break in Routine: It happens – you get sick, you travel, you get injured or you have surgery. Something interrupts your exercise routine and you don’t workout for an extended length of time. What happens to your body, and how do you build back the lost strength you worked so hard to gain in the first place?


Detraining: After only a couple of weeks “off” your workout routine, your body begins to lose strength. With about 2 months of inactivity, you will completely lose the strength gains you have made through Koko. That’s detraining. How much strength you lose depends on how long you take off and how established your fitness routine was to begin with. In other words, if you are in good shape with a well entrenched exercise routine, you won’t detrain as fast. (So no need to feel guilty about taking a week off for vacation!)


Strength Reclamation: A general rule of thumb is that it takes approximately the same amount of time to gain back your strength as you took off from your exercise routine. However, it might take more time, it might take less time. (New research on patients recovering from a broken leg found them regaining former strength levels within 3 to 4 weeks of resuming their workouts!) Again, how quickly your strength comes back depends primarily on how long you are away from your workout and your prior fitness level.


How to Smartrain After Extended Time Off


Session 1: The most important thing to remember for your first Smartraining session after several weeks away is to go easy. You won’t be able to lift the same amount of weight you left off on. Manually selecting anywhere from 30% to 50% of the weight recommended by the Smartrainer is a safe bet during that first session back. (Remember, unless this session happens to be a strength test session, the Smartrainer has no way of knowing you have lost strength due to time off and therefore cannot adjust the weight recommendations accordingly.) I have definitely lost strength. My first day back, I lifted 50% of the weight recommended by the Smartrainer.


Session 2: The Smartrainer will take the weight adjustments you made during your first session and use them to calibrate your second session. Simply follow along like you normally do. I did my second session exactly as recommended by the Smartrainer.


Session 3: The third session will progress normally from the second and you can follow along as usual, if you like. However, since I felt so good during session 2, I chose to lift a bit more weight than the Smartrainer recommended this session. You can do the same. Just remember to be conservative in your adjustments so you don’t over do it. Any adjustments you make will be used by the Smartrainer to plan your future sessions. You’ll be back up to pre-break strength levels before you know it!


So, it’s true that life throws us curve-balls from time to time, and we can’t always stick to our fitness routine. It’s ok. After an extended recovery or period away from your Koko FitClub, you will lose some strength, but you wont be starting at ground zero. And you have help: the Koko Smartrainer. It will take a little while, but time with the Smartrainer and the investment you have already made in your body ensures that you will gain your strength back!

Michael Wood, CSCS


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