What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Working Out?

THE SITUATION: You ran a half-marathon, which you trained for like a fiend, then gave yourself a few weeks to recover.

THE EFFECT ON YOUR BOD: A break like this isn't a major problem aerobically for someone who was in really good cardio shape. "You'll be down from your competitive edge, but it won't take long to come back," says Westcott. "Just don't expect to come back at full-speed right away." He recommends easing back in using your heart rate (the zones may have changed from when you were at your peak) and perceived exertion—a seven on a scale of one to 10.

He also recommends strength training as a muscle-building complement to your cardio workouts.

THE SITUATION: You've been really into yoga but now miss the CrossFit you stopped a few months ago.

THE EFFECT ON YOUR BOD: Swapping one workout for another isn't a bad thing, necessarily. Just know that if you go back to program "A" after doing program "B," you may not be able to bring your A-game to "A" as you once could. "Unfortunately, training is very, very specific," says Westcott. He points out that at the peak of his cycling career, Lance Armstrong was (very arguably) the best athlete in the world, yet when he took up marathon running, his first race was a respectable-but-not-remarkable three hours.

In the case of bodyweight training (yoga) versus weight training (CrossFit), expect your strength to be down when you first return to the gym. Which isn't to say you should stop your Oming—no reason you shouldn't have both in your repertoire.

More from Women's Health: 50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds

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Women's Health

Lively, fun and provocative, the Women's Health brand addresses 360 degrees of life for the new generation of contemporary, confident, ambitious women. By connecting with our readers in the frank, irreverent voice of a trusted girlfriend, the clever, service-driven content transcends the title, making the brand a true one-stop lifestyle resource for millions of women who are making their mark.
Lively, fun and provocative, the Women's Health brand addresses 360 degrees of life for the new generation of contemporary, confident, ambitious women. By connecting with our readers in the frank, irreverent voice of a trusted girlfriend, the clever, service-driven content transcends the title, making the brand a true one-stop lifestyle resource for millions of women who are making their mark.

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