It happens to everyone at one time or another. Some holiday or party happens and it makes you lazy or you get really busy at work and you don't have "time" to do any exercise. Despite my preachiness about fitness, this is exactly what happened to me last week and now I am paying the price.
It started with a friend having a party and I had let's say, a little too much fun. Ok, a lot too much fun. This resulted in a hangover of legendary proportions and we all know that we only have ourselves to blame for that. I'm not trying to blame the friend who threw the party, or a specific type of booze, or anyone other than me. I realize that. However, this began a week-long cycle of laziness that I really try to avoid.
This resulted in me not even considering exercise of any sort the next day, nor doing anything in the way of work-related activities. This bad decision put me a day behind schedule work-wise, and because the next day still had lingering factors of the previous day's hangover, I didn't get much done that day either. Now I needed to do much more work in the next several days to make up for my "1.5 days off." While this was all going on I started to think about college and how I would procrastinate as far as a project or paper was concerned even though I knew that by doing so it was going to make the project / paper far more difficult in the end because of my procrastination.
During this catch-up phase, I didn't do any exercise at all.
I don't expect anyone out there to remember my personal fitness goals but basically I was doing a 5-10k jog every day and then doing as many chin-ups as I could at the local park. I was quite pleased with myself because I had been making real progress in both things: My per km time was dropping and I had made my way to 8 chin-ups in a row (my goal was 10 and that would take me to the top 25% of the global population.)
When I finally did get back into my routine of running at least a little bit every day, and doing pullups every day I found that after just one week my ability at both of these things had diminished dramatically. It was as if I had never progressed at either of these things at all. I was back to struggling to do a 6 and half minute km in a 5k (I struggled to complete the 5k at all) and I could not do 8 chinups. I struggled to get the 6th one done and the 7th I barely made it halfway up from a dropped position.
I know that I will get it back by the end of this week but I learned something about this that I didn't really "get" when I was only weight training: The cardio side of things disappears a lot faster than muscle mass.
I'm a normie, so I do not know the physiological reasons behind this and also realize that it might not be true for everyone but I am a big believer in muscle memory when it comes to mass and in my own personal experience the return to former glory as far as weights are concerned is a very rapid transition. I don't believe this is the case with cardio.
In my own life just a little time off from training is extremely detrimental to your fitness goals. In retrospect, I should have at least gone for a walk and see if it could have turned into a jog even though I was extremely hungover. Who knows? Perhaps the jog would have actually helped me to get over the hanger, and in the future I am going to try to just that because sitting on the sofa and eating greasy food did NOT help make the hangover go away - this was a tactic that always worked for me in college but for me, college was 20 years ago.
I can't speak for all men in their 40's but in my personal situation I learned something last week and that is that I can't take time off. Maybe I can step it back a notch in order to have a partial rest day but taking a full week off of training has seriously set me back on my goals and I am disappointed in myself for having done so. In the future I will need to heed my own advice and get out there anyway, even if it hurts, and just do SOMETHING.
Hopefully by this time next week I will be back to where I was before I went to Jeff's awesome party .
Have you ever experienced a fitness setback like this? I'd like to hear about it if you have