As we draw to the end of the season, it’s easy to start thinking about getting the feet up and having a few weeks off. Here’s a little food for thought though as you think about when to start your off season and pre season training. You’d be surprised at how quickly training effects can be reversed.
In the first couple of days, hormone levels will be effected negatively effecting mood states. By days 3-5 muscles start to lose elasticity and aerobic qualities can drop by up to 5%. At just over a week, VO2 max can drop by up to 10%. 10 days without training and your metabolic rate will drop meaning you’ll have to drop the amount you eat or you’ll start to put on weight.
Getting up to 2 weeks you’ll see changes in muscle tone and the amount of work your heart can do can drop up to 15%. At the start of week 3 loss of muscle mass and strength will occur along with a drop in your cell’s ability to create energy. By the end of that third week your VO2 max can drop by up to 20% and by the end of the 4th week you can lose 10-15% of lean muscle mass to be replaced by a nicely padded increased fat mass.
That’s a lot of scary numbers but these only apply if all training is stopped completely. It’s important at the end of the season to mentally recover from the stresses and strains of a competitive season, but this doesn’t mean that all training should stop though. This will reduce the chances of detraining and mean you start at a higher level of performance when you get back into full preseason training.