Regular training stimulus (overload) is required in order for adaptation to occur and to be maintained.
Real World Example: If you stopped using pythagorean theorem back in high school, chances are you need a quick lesson to jog your memory.
If you don't use it, you loose it!
How it works
The length of time to begin to see the reversed or diminished returns is different for everybody. However, on average if you stop training for more than 4 weeks at a time, you will begin to a slight decline in your strength, endurance and/or body composition.
This is why consistency in any training program is so important.
If you a power lifting athlete, and your main focus is on strength progression, you'll likely being to see your strength regress before any of the other components. This is because you've seen such a large increase in that area over a short period of time.
So, how do I do it?
- You will want to stay as consistent with a program as you can, or adaptations will be lost. Create a schedule well in advance to give an opportunity to create a long term, consistent program.
- Schedule tapers, de-loads and de-training weeks according to your life schedule.
- Check in regularly to determine stress levels, sleep quality, motivation and plan for these things accordingly. For example, if you have been over sleeping, or overly stressed at work, this can actually be causing more harm than good if you try to overloading your training.
By having consistent check-ins, you can adjust your fitness program on the fly based on the above factors to ensure the program is properly tailored to that time.