Fitness: Months To Gain, Weeks To Lose!


Isn't it amazing how fitness can take months and months to develop, and yet be lost in little more than a week!? Fitness is gained incrementally i.e. we get a little bit fitter every time we push ourselves beyond our comfort zone, it’s a process known as supercompensation. During supercompensation your body will gradually increase the size of muscle fibres, escalate the production of red blood cells, and improve the efficiency with which you store and mobilise glycogen (stored glucose) for energy.

The body is reactive to stimuli, so if an external stimulus (such as running) consistently places strain on your cardiorespiratory system, your body will physiologically shift in order to cope with this. Take that stimulus away for a while, such as during injury, and the body begins to downregulate accordingly.

It’s great to see hard work paying off, but unfortunately our bodies can revert back to base level in next to no time. There are two main types of fitness, aerobic fitness (cardio) and structural fitness (bones, ligaments and tendons), and although both decline during prolonged periods of inactivity, they do so at different rates. Cardio fitness will begin to deteriorate in less than 14 days via a process known as detraining, and structural fitness may take a hit over the same time period. Mercifully it seems the fitter you are, the longer this detraining process will take!

There are some nutritional provisions you can put in place to slow this process and optimise recovery including increasing protein, maximising vitamins and minerals via fruit and veg or a multi-vitamin and mineral, and ensuring adequate anti-inflammatory foods such as omega-3 from the likes of oily fish or flaxseed are consumed.

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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