Holidays and Training


Holidays and Training

Rest, Recovery, Detraining, Adaptation, Holidays

The summer holiday period is upon us. Most of the country will be jetting off to enjoy the sunshine either abroad or in the UK. But what happens to your training?

Holiday Training

When it comes to training on holidays do you:

a.Sack it off, I’m on holiday?

b.Find a gym near my hotel/campsite?

c.Book the hotel/campsite based on a nearby gym?

d.Take equipment with you?

I’ve personally done a and b, and whilst I may not have booked a destination based on or found a gym nearby, I have found local Judo clubs to train at.

Is this all necessary?

What is the purpose of going on holiday?

Regression, Adaptation, and Injury

There Training is serious stuff. We dedicate specific leisure time in the pursuit of physical greatness, whether that be improving our physique, health or sporting performance. Does one or two weeks of holiday demand this much attention?

Having a week or two off from training may appear non-negotiable due to perceptions of regression. ‘I’ve worked so hard I don’t want to lose it’ is a common statement. Realistically how much will the body regress during the holiday?

Strength- Lifting heavy enough within the chosen rep range once a week is enough to maintain athlete’s strength in a competitive season5 and very little detraining in recreational lifters is seen before 6 weeks4. Therefore, missing a week/one session realistically is not going to regress much strength.

Conditioning- After 24 weeks of endurance training in untrained men found endurance dropped to pre-training levels after 4weeks3. Only after 24 weeks of training and the training was not particularly ‘difficult’, means the majority, after one week off, again would not regress much.

The body isn’t going to regress to a

pre-training status if you’ve been training

consistently for an extended period prior to

going on holiday. An alternative view is of

holiday as an adaptation period. After an

intensive phase of training that produces

extensive soft tissue and neurological

fatigue, some time away to recover and

adapt would make sense. Remember,

training causes stress on the body, in

recovery the body adapts to the stress

becoming stronger and fitter. However, as

in the Principle of Supercompensation2, there

is an optimal time where stress needs to be re applied, otherwise adaptations may be lost. If this is a consideration I refer you back to the earlier point, ‘the body isn’t going to regress to a pre-training status if you’ve been training consistently for an extended period’.

Research into training loads can provide another aspect. Professional sports teams monitor exactly how much load each player receives from a given training session. Weight sessions can be ‘KG x Reps x Sets’, and conditioning or sport specific sessions ‘RPE x Duration’ or ‘Distance Covered at various speeds’ or ‘Heart Rate Zones’. This gives daily, weekly and monthly loads. A sweet spot for performance has been found and excessive or insufficient loads can both produce drops in performance and increase the likelihood of injury in the 2-3 weeks after the drop or increase in load1. This would suggest having a week off may be detrimental. However, context needs to be considered. Professional athletes, which the research was conducted on, can participate in 9-12 training sessions plus matches in a week. Most recreational players/trainers reach 3-6 across a week, therefore it may be argued losing a week may not be as dramatic as it seems.

To Train or Not To Train?

Is there a clear answer? No.

Maybe look at why you are going on holiday: release mental stress? Maybe physical activity will help. Spend time with family? Going to the gym won’t help this. We’ve established physical attributes wont regress to pre-training status, so having a week off isn’t something to worry about.

However, there are simple ways in which to continue physical activity without having to attend a gym away from family and missing the sights.

Activities- most holiday complexes offer various fun activities as a group where you can have fun and interact whilst getting your heart rate up and moving.


Walking/Bike Rides- most people holiday in beautiful areas, so hire or take your bikes and go explore. Alternatively go walking which is free and easy. The heat will make it a good work out.

Swimming- have fun in the pool, play games or just mess around. If you get a quiet time then maybe you can do some lengths. For the better swimmers, the shorter pools may frustrate you so challenge yourself by seeing how far you can go underwater.

Playing- football, catch, bat and ball, chase/tag, tickle time. Don’t forget simple games and activities that require little to nothing, but can give so much in bonding with family in friends.

In short, don’t worry about missing a week or two of training. After a week of training you’ll be back into the swing of it and bar being relaxed you’d never know you’ve been on holiday. If you feel you must do something, make it fun and not feel like exercise. Remember, why are you going on holiday in the first place?

For more information and programs to do on holiday contact FAST at  or call/message 07737120005


1.1.Gabbett, T.J. 2016. The training-injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter and harder? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50, pp. 273-280

2.Issurin, V.B. 2009. Generalized training effects induced by athletic preparation: A review. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 49, pp. 333-345

3.Lo, M.S., Lin, L.L.C., Yao, W., and Ma, M. 2011. Training and detraining effects of the resistance vs. endurance program on body composition, body size and physical performance in young men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(8), pp. 2246-2254

4.NSCA. 2008. The Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (3rd Ed). Beachle, T.R., and Earle, R.W. (Editors)

5.Silva, J.R., Nassis, G.P., and Rebelo, A. 2015. Strength training in soccer with a specific focus on highly trained players. Sports Medicine, Open Access 1:17