Most gym-goers work hard throughout the year, building strength and increasing lean muscle levels with consistent strength training in order to stay youthful, manage weight, and look great.
Yet, far too many of them throw it all away when those lazy days of summer roll around, avoiding the gym in favor of outdoor activities.
Why? Do athletes stop training in the off-season? Of course not. They continue to exercise and eat right so that their bodies maintain the gains they worked so hard to achieve year-round. And that includes regular strength training.
It’s no different with your gym membership and your personal workout habits. As the summer approaches, you may think of yourself as being more “active” outside (a good thing) and may consider freezing your gym membership (a bad thing!). Before you do, you should know this: when you stop strength training, your body can “detrain” in as little as two to three weeks. That means, all those gains you worked so hard to achieve may start to reverse the longer you stay away from your workouts.
Even if you increase your outdoor cardio activity in the summer, it isn’t a replacement for strength training. By cutting back on strength workouts, you will lose lean muscle and strength, which means you’ll have to work harder to get them back.
To remain in great summer shape, don’t abandon the gym and your strength training sessions. Continue to enjoy your favorite summertime activities, but to maintain that lean, strong body you’ve worked so hard to achieve, be sure to incorporate just one or two strength sessions into your weekly workout routine. When September rolls around, you can return to more frequent trips to the gym and increase the volume of your training, but you’ll be in much better shape thanks to continued progress over the summer. Your body will thank you for it.
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About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.