How quickly do we really lose our fitness levels?

By RV Merano | Photo by Quino Al/Unsplash

Losing fitness level is one of the most dreaded states we try to avoid when preparing for an event. We usually feel anxious when missing a workout because of work, school or fatigue. But there are unavoidable circumstances that force us to skip training. The bigger question though is how quickly do we really lose our fitness level when we stop training?

First, we must know that there are two kinds of fitness levels. Aerobic fitness or, in simpler terms, endurance. The other is structural fitness or the ability of our body to withstand the stress of triathlon training. Both are key components in determining our fitness level and both have different rates when it comes to losing fitness.

For most triathletes, it takes two weeks of no training for their aerobic fitness to decline. What we lose first are the gains we’ve made in the last weeks of training. It means that the longer we’ve been training, the longer it will take for us to lose our valuable endurance level

How Quickly Do You Lose Your Aerobic Fitness?

Surprisingly, it takes a little while before we start to feel a decrease in our athletic endurance. For most triathletes, it takes two weeks of no training for their aerobic fitness to decline. What we lose first are the gains we’ve made in the last weeks of training. It means that the longer we’ve been training, the longer it will take for us to lose our valuable endurance level.

How About Structural Fitness? 

Structural fitness affects our physical ability like muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion. It takes time to achieve structural fitness as opposed to aerobic fitness. Therefore it takes a lot longer before our structural fitness deteriorates. In some instances, it’s better to rest our body to achieve structural fitness. Resting makes our muscles recover, thus muscle strength and growth are achieved.

If we train constantly, we don’t have to worry about losing our fitness level as much as we were just starting out. On the other hand, beginners need to take it slow when coming back from a long break. If you’re busy, tired or just plain lazy, keep in mind that triathlon is just our hobby and not our profession.