“Long time, no see” is the best time to make big progress on your favorite exercises
When you go on vacation from your job, do you decide to quit just because it’s been two weeks and you haven’t done any work?
When your refrigerator is low on food, do you simply decide to resign yourself to eating grease-laden fast food from there on out?
So why are you so eager to quit exercise altogether after a layoff?
A layoff might happen for any number of reasons – hectic work schedule, new spawn (i.e. baby), sickness, injury, laziness, etc. – but it is no more a prescription for giving up entirely than an empty fridge or a leisurely, work-free vacation. Just like in the aforementioned cases, all you have to do is start again! And no, it won’t be from square one, so spare me your self-induced fear-mongering. More likely than not it’ll be a few steps back, but because you’re planning on getting older anyway, re-starting from a place you’ve been before and taking time to re-build yourself up shouldn’t be that big of a nuisance.
What’s more, a layoff can work to your advantage – big time, in fact. While consistency is far and away the most important attribute of anyone’s long-term training, a long layoff can be just what the doctor ordered to spur new progress and shoot you ahead in your training. Case in point: Siberian weightlifter Trofim Lomakin used to train only once or twice a week – that is, until a national or world championship was 3 months away. At that point, he’d kick his training into overdrive and crush the competition. This method was so effective that he cleaned everyone’s clock for 10 years!
Still not convinced? Consider the case of Jerry Moffat – a top rock climber in his day. He retired, only to mount a comeback two years later (not unlike KISS with their constant “farewell tours”, though he was likely far more exciting to watch) and gave the best performance of his career! This is due to the reminiscence effect, wherein your skill tends to get better after a layoff due to the “static” that has embedded itself in your technique slowly wearing off.
(The above two examples are from Pavel Tsatsouline’s fantastic books “Beyond Bodybuilding” and “Return Of The Kettlebell“, both of which contain some of the best information out their on strength, muscle-building, and taking advantage of whatever your current circumstance is to leap forward to new heights )
Don’t mistake these above examples as a convenient and easy excuse to stop training hard and often. Instead, take them for what they’re worth: all the silver you can collect from that proverbial lining in the clouds. As always, every problem is an opportunity, and if you’re willing to seize it, hopping back on the wagon will get you to the finish line faster than giving up and walking home.