There are numerous legitimate reasons for missing workouts. For example, if you’re a full-time student, study time and exams will require missing workouts. During mid-terms or final exams, take two days off and devote yourself to the books. Trust me – you won’t lose muscle(the only size lost will be in your mind). Besides, scoring low on your exams will impact yourlife far more significantly than a couple of missed workouts.

Maybe you are no longer a student and are now a full-time businessperson. Staff meetings,business proposals, visiting clients and extra paperwork could all prevent you from hitting the gym. If you can foresee any of these delays, try rearranging your workouts ahead of time. For instance, if you know you’re in for a late night at the office on Tuesday, change your split routine, go twice on Monday, or slip in for a quick workout over your lunch hour. If your job requires a lot of travel, you can manage because most hotels have fitness centers. If not,simply go to the nearest gym and pay a drop-in fee. If you’re constantly traveling, check out the chapter “Bodybuilding on the Road,” later in the book for some tips on keeping, and even improving, your physique with a demanding travel schedule. 

There are also a number of personal reasons why you may need to miss workouts. If you have kids, a school play, track and field competition or soccer game will usually take precedence over your workout. Most parents know about these important activities in advance, so aim to work your schedule around them. If you have to stay home because your child is sick, then you’ll just have to try to make up that workout the next day. If you live in northern latitudes, severe weather may force you to miss the occasional workout. 

While most gyms try to stay open during rough weather, a severe snow storm may shut them down for a day or two. Even if the gym stays open, is a workout worth potentially getting stuck in the snow or getting into an accident because of freezing rain? We think not! It makes more sense to grab a set of dumbells left over from your home gym and perform a light modified workout at home. Besides, you can get creative during the bad weather, and stimulate your muscles in a totally different way than you do at the gym. Speaking of weather, don’t forget about the good old common cold that often comes along with it! It’s bound to catch you at least once. 

Do yourself and the other gym members a favor and stay home to rest. Intense training will only weaken the body’s ability to fight off the infection. You will also run the risk of developing pneumonia or bronchitis. Transportation issues can also throw your training schedules off. If you drive an older car,you may find yourself hoisting a wrench on arm day instead of a dumbell! In case your car does break down, or you simply lose your ride, keep a copy of a bus schedule or the number of a taxi on hand. Buses are cheap, relatively clean and punctual, and go within one or two blocks of just about everywhere.

Sometimes financial issues can also interfere with training. Maybe you can’t afford the gym on a monthly basis or are forced to consider dropping your membership because of the costs. Don’t panic. As we discussed in Chapter 10, it is possible to build a great-looking physique at home. Also, don’t underestimate the power of bodyweight exercises such as chin-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips between chairs, and one-legged squats and calf raises. If you are really creative and good with equipment, try building your own bench! That’s right – actually build it. Just make sure it’s stable and can take the weight – yours and the weight you’ll be lifting. Some of the biggest and strongest guys around got started in garages using equipment built out of old car parts. The original Gold’s Gym in Santa Monica, California, was filled with equipment built by Joe Gold himself.

The final reason why you may miss a workout is ... because we highly recommend it! Even with the best form and technique, the human body, particularly the tissues that surround the joints (i.e. cartilage, ligaments, tendons, etc.) can only endure so much. The vast majority of bodybuilders have nagging aches and pains. In fact, a large majority of them are probably over trained. 

Yet they refuse to take the time to rest because they fear losing size and strength. The truth is, once you’ve been consistently training with progressive resistance for awhile, you’d need to take a couple of months off before you would honestly experience any loss in strength and size (even if this does occur, you can regain it in a matter of weeks). It is during recovery time that your body recharges itself and makes the most gains (because it is getting a chance to rest). The time off will also increase your motivation. After a week’s rest,you’ll be attacking the weights with renewed vigor!Regardless of why you miss a workout, maintaining the overall commitment is crucial. As long as you do this, a missed workout, or even a week or two off (in the case of overtraining),will not affect you long term.

Source: Robert Kennedy: Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, The Complete A-Z Book On Muscle Building. 2008 Nick Evans: Bodybuilding Anatomy. 2012 Arnold Schwarzenegger: The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, 2013