10 Struggle-Worthy Things That Happen When You Fall Off Your Workout Plan

November 8, 2016  |  
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We’ve all been there: You were going strong for a few months, hitting the gym every day or every other day, eating better, gaining muscle and dropping fat. And then, just that quick, something happened. Maybe you went on vacation. Maybe you got sick for a few days. Maybe you just got sick and tired of devoting so much time to a workout routine and decided to give yourself a break. It was a nice break, too! But, in no time flat, you started seeing changes that you weren’t so excited about.

That’s the struggle of stumbling with your fitness routine. When you fall off, you often fall off hard.  Check out 10 things that happen when you stop exercising and throw in the towel on your workout plan.

When Mama Muffin Top comes out to play (and ruins the silhouette of a crisp and tucked in shirt), that’s the sign that things have gone too far. Clothes fit differently when you start to lose weight, but they also do the same when you gain it — in a confining way.


People Ask You If You’ve Gained Weight — Kind Of.

One of the major ways I knew that things had taken a turn back in the day was through the way people around me commented on my appearance. I was either complimented for looking a little “thicker,” or flat out asked if I’d put on a few. It wasn’t the kind of attention I was looking to get…


You Struggle to Go Up and Down the Stairs.

Nothing says that it’s been too long since you did some damage in the gym like finding yourself out of breath at the top of a flight of stairs. The active you could run up a flight without missing a step. The out-of-shape version of yourself pants for at least two minutes once you finally make it to the very top.


Your Body Forgets the Work You’ve Done.

Trust me, it takes very little time for your body to start undoing the work you’ve done. “Skipping sweat sessions causes a drop in your VO2 max, or the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use,” wrote Maria Masters of Health.com. “It can dip by about 10% after two weeks.” Not to mention that you can also see a dip in your strength after two, sometimes four weeks of getting your couch potato on.

ladies night, women hanging out

Your Social Life Improves.

On the bright side of things, with less time spent at the gym, you have more time to spend with your inner circle. The downside, however, is that most of those circle members will likely ask you to spend time together in a restaurant or bar. Drinks? Large portions? Calories.

woman eating

You Start Eating Recklessly.

When you’re not exercising as often, for some people, you end up not being as mindful when it comes to how you’re eating. While meal replacement protein shakes and lean meats were your go-to selections for food while churning out workouts three times a week, bowls of ice cream and all the bread your body can handle end up on the menu when you take a break.

woman thinking

You Begin to Feel Guilty.

When you know the work you’ve put in and the commitment you made to yourself, that extended break can start to wear on you and make you feel bad. We all deserve some time to relax, recuperate and not feel so bogged down with responsibilities. But when it runs a little too long, you can feel like you’re betraying your goals and efforts.

woman muscle

You Could Lose Muscle Definition.

Now, this happens when you take a pretty long break and start to gain fat. But when you stop doing strength training, your body decides to stop building muscle. But the good news is that it takes quite a bit of time for your hard work to go to waste in terms of muscle mass.

brain health

Your Brain Could Change.

Exercise has been found to be good for brain health, particularly in terms of memory. A recent study actually tracked runners who took a 10-day break from exercise and found that their brains showed a reduction in blood flow to the hippocampus, which is associated with memory. Slowly but surely, even short breaks can have an impact on your brain.

exercise fitness

It’s Harder to Get Started Again.

This is the biggest Debbie Downer of a workout hiatus. Once you get going again, you often find yourself winded easier and more sore than usual the day after. Sometimes you just don’t find the motivation you’re looking for to even get going again. But don’t let slip-ups turn into long-term backslides. Take a rest when it’s needed and get to work when it’s not.


Images via Shutterstock 

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