Sometimes, the thing called “life” can get in the way of regular exercise routine. Whether it’s your job, family, something serious such as an injury or as simple as showing some self-love and taking a break from hard-core workouts.
Often than men, due to family responsibilities, young mothers tend to stop exercising, which raises an important question: What happens to the body when you stop going to the gym? And is there a way to maintain a healthy weight only with food?
The last thing you want is to gain back all those pounds that you lost over the years of dedication and hard work.
Therefore, we bring you detailed guidelines and a diet plan to help you maintain the desired body shape and weight. This plan is for 30-year women who have exercised regularly (4-5 times a week) for years.
First of all, we need to understand how intense workouts affect the body.
Physical activity is a movement of the body produced by skeletal muscles, which consumes energy during the process. It affects the health and development of the body.
Back in the day, physical activity was essential for the survival of our ancestors. Today it’s part of one’s lifestyle and personal choice.
Regular physical activity helps with building muscle mass and is key to maintaining muscle throughout life. It is essential for cardiovascular health and the prevention and treatment of vascular diseases, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, and other metabolic and neurological diseases. In summary, regular physical activity has a positive impact on the physical and mental health of our bodies.
What happens to the body when you stop with the regular exercise?
Once we stop exercising, body performances start to decline gradually.
Aerobic capacity – Percentage of the drop in the aerobic capacity depends on what level it was before you stopped. The general rule is, the more fit you were, the faster the decline will be. The most significant reduction in aerobic performance happens in the first three weeks. For the next 12 weeks, the form is still maintained and then continues to decline.
Muscle strength – Like everything else, muscle strength and performance also drops gradually, it’s just that the rate of decline depends on genetic predispositions. For some, it will take weeks and, for others, up to several months.
Movement techniques -The ability to perform particular movements that use specific muscles decreases as soon as you stop training. For example, swimmers start to experience loss of energy in the arms as early as one month of rest. Although the movement technique itself is retained (it’s like riding a bicycle), the muscles used to perform a particular exercise lose strength and thus affect the performance.
It’s common for people to think that once you stop with the regular exercise, muscles will turn into fat. That is far from the truth. Just like you didn’t convert fat into muscles, you won’t magically turn it into fat. Due to insufficient stimulation, muscles start to atrophy, lose strength and volume.
If we eat too many calories (energy), the fat cells will grow and the body will start to accumulate fat and gain weight. Which leads us to a conclusion, if you regulate your food intake, you will avoid weight gain.
For example, depending on the intensity, during a workout session, an average woman could burn around 500 calories, which equals to one large meal. Therefore, to avoid weight gain, you’ll have to adjust food intake to eat 500 calories less in a day.
How to avoid weight gain?
- Ideally, you should maintain a certain amount of physical activity even after you stop working out regularly. Don’t say no to casual walks, jogs, hiking or swimming.
- Reduce kcal intake by 500 per day. That it should be enough to compensate for the lack of physical activity.
- Hydrate the body by drinking at least 2 liters of water per day
- To speed up the metabolism, have 3-4 meals throughout a day
- Before you jump out of regular workout routine, keep a journal and track calorie intake. If the body weight didn’t change for a longer period, then it means that you had a good ratio of food intake and energy consumption. When you stop exercising, you will need to eat fewer calories. By looking at the journal, you should be able to see exactly how many calories you should eat less.
- Between meals, eat fruits. Choose seasonal fruits and mix them with cereals or yogurt.
- Eat lots of fibers. The best bet to do so is to eat regularly eat vegetables. Besides fibers, your body will be thankful for getting lots of vitamins and minerals as well.
- Carbs should be consumed in the early hours and shouldn’t be more than 50% of the total daily calorie intake.
- Fats should make up 25-30% of your daily calorie intake. Use quality sources of fat such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts. Be careful with nuts. A handful a day is enough.
- Proteins are still important for maintaining a healthy diet as it promotes a sense of satiety. Our recommendation is to eat 0.5 grams of protein per 1 lbs of body weight. Divide the total protein amount between all of your daily meals.
- Final tip, be mentally strong. Some people eat well while on a regular workout regime, however, as soon as they take a break, healthy eating habits disappear. Keep the habits in place as long as possible.
Gradually, the body and apetite will get used to the new lifestyle and diet.
Below, we bring you 1675 kcal daily diet plan – 30% of daily calorie intake comes from proteins and fats, and 40% from carbohydrates. It is specifically designed for 30-year women weighing around 130 lbs that doesn’t regularly workout.
Breakfast – scrambled eggs
- 60 g (1 L-size egg)
- 20 g non-fat ham
- 60 g / 1 small whole-grain pastry
- 150 g / 1 medium apple
Cut the ham into cubes and fry it on the pan. Whisk the egg in a bowl and season to taste, then pour it over onto the hot pan. Stir occasionally until baked. Serve with a little pastry and an apple.
Between breakfast and lunch – Sandwich
- 2 slices of whole-grain toast
- 20 g non-fat ham
- 20 g low-fat cheese spread
- lettuce, pickles, tomatoes
- 150 g low-fat yogurt
Make a sandwich from the above ingredients. Toss in some lettuce, pickles, tomatoes or vegetables as desired.
Serve with a glass of yogurt.
Lunch – Vegetable risotto
- 200 g chicken breast
- 50 g whole grain rice
- 1 cup mixed vegetables (zucchini, tomatoes, peppers)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bowl of lettuce
Cut the chicken into strips. Heat a tablespoon of oil on a pan. When the oil is hot, insert the chicken and season it. Bake until it has a crust and then place it on the side of the plate.
Add chopped vegetables to the same pan. When the vegetables are slightly browned, add the chicken back.
Boil the rice in boiling water and season with salt. When the rice is almost cooked, pour in excess water and add the rest to the pan with vegetables and meat.
Stir everything well and cook until the rice boilis cooked through. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of parmesan and serve with fresh salad seasoned with a little olive oil.
Dinner – Vegetable soup with chicken
- 1/2 onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 liter of water
- 1 cup of vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower)
- 100 g chicken
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bowl of freshly grated cucumbers
Add one tablespoon of oil and onion to a pan and fry it for about 10 minutes, then add pressed garlic. When softened, add spices (salt, pepper, parsley, turmeric, basil) and chopped vegetables and pour over half a liter of water. Lightly fry chicken pieces on the pan.
When the soup water starts to boil, add the chicken and let it boil for 30 minutes.
Serve with fresh cucumber salad that you seasoned with a bit of olive oil.
Without a doubt, change in the level of physical activity changes our body and metabolism.
Even though you are no longer able to go to the gym, try to keep some level of physical activity in your spare time. It does not always have to be active outdoor training, sometimes detailed housekeeping or gardening is enough.
Understand that you’ll need you less food to maintain the same level of body weight. Choose high quality foods and keep all the good eating habits you have adopted while training.