Having to take time away from training is something that everyone has to face at some point, due to illness, travel or just difficult circumstances. They may be planned in advance or be completely unexpected. However in either case, if you are anything like me, having to take time away from the gym can be a difficult through to swallow.
Below are just some of my tips about how to stay positive during this period and how to make the most of this time.
REMIND YOURSELF WHY YOU ARE TAKING TIME OFF. If you’re recovering from an illness or injury, trying to train can be counterproductive – you probably won’t be hitting PBs and will just be delaying your recovery.
DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR NUTRITION. Apart from my holiday, within 3 days after the op I had started tracking protein and calories again. I had a range of calories and knowing I was hitting protein helped. Keeping protein high and keeping calories at maintenance will help maintain muscle and promote a speedy recovery.
IF POSSIBLE, STAY ACTIVE. Unless you’re completely bed bound, you can probably go for a walk and even have a step goal. The fresh air will help your mood and moving will help with digestion (I need every little help I can get with my tummy 😂).
REALISE THAT YOUR MUSCLE BELLIES WILL BE A BIT SMALLER – BUT THIS WILL COME BACK QUICKLY. Did I like how I looked when I wasn’t training? No – but I definitely didn’t hate it. I did look smaller but most of it was due to muscle glycogen depletion (and the water attached), lack of inflammation in the muscles from training and just my head messing with me – very little, if any at all, of this loss in size was from muscle atrophy.
This being said, it wasn’t easy but it had to be done and I was actually shocked at how well I coped with it, in a pretty subjective and (on the most part) a non-emotional manner.