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At some point, everyone misses a workout (or two). It isn’t a matter of if — but when. From injury to illness to vacation and work stress, there are plenty of reasons you might miss a workout. But how many workouts can you skip before you start losing your hard-earned gains?

Missing a workout isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, taking as much as a one week off from training can sometimes be a smart strategy that can help you gain more strength or develop greater aerobic fitness in the long run.

For example, if you’re following a marathon training program, your coach may have you back off for a week to give your body a longer time to recover and rebuild from all the intense training sessions. Instead of seeing your performance decline, you might even see it improve when you get back to your routine, “especially if you were pushing yourself too hard and not fueling properly,” However, once you start creeping past the one-week mark, you may start noticing some decreases in strength and fitness.

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