The Training Truth We Don’t Talk About
“Having some bad days won’t derail your overall progress,” he says. “If anything, you’ll be surprised how fast you rebound. In fact, this is incredibly important from a mental health standpoint—although it may seem counterproductive, it’s like taking one step backward, but two steps forward.”
Luke Milton, the Hollywood trainer and founder of Training Mate, agrees. His program emphasizes that physical health, social health and mental health are all part of the healthy lifestyle we’re striving for. “So if you’re enjoying something that isn’t traditionally ‘healthy,’ just make sure it’s adding to your social or mental health,” he says. “I truly believe in moderation. It’s important to enjoy life and whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up for over indulging every now and again, results are achieved with consistency.”
Gravett says he’s been on both sides of the equation. “For years, I used to be very strict with everything. I’d put my diet and training above all else because I thought that when I reached my goals, I’d be happier and essentially have a better life,” he remembers. “Unfortunately, I never felt like I could enjoy the present moment or was happy with my life because I was always at the mercy of my diet and training.” Now, he understands that the give-and-take is much more sustainable and provides room for relaxation. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond proud of where I am today,” he says. “But what I’m most proud of is being able to let loose and bounce back after falling down.”
Because you will bounce back. But you might not be able to pick up right where you left off. A recent study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, for example, found that taking a break from physical activity for just two weeks can result in a rather substantial reduction of muscle strength and mass. The goal is to fix the body, not break it.
Milton says the number one mistake he sees with clients trying to get back into exercise is going too hard at the start, then losing interest or burning out. “Start back with an activity you enjoy and I’m obviously a big believer in finding a training mate—someone you enjoy hanging around with and will help you with accountability.”
The bottom line: Your body, especially if you’ve been mildly consistent with working out and eating right in the near past retains a good amount of muscle memory. Far more than we might think. So just start. The sooner you begin, the faster you’ll see results return. Just heed the trainers’ advice and listen to your body as you go: You’ll want to push it so you’re gradually challenged, but not stressed. That’s just what I’ll be doing as I get up to work out tomorrow morning.