So you guys. I have not put forth any appreciable effort in the gym for almost a month, and I took a total of 12 straight days completely, totally off.
Let me just clear up a couple of misconceptions.
You are not going to lose an appreciable amount of strength or muscle in 1-3 (or even more!) weeks. The NSCA book I'm studying states that de-conditioning in strength athletes only begins after at least 3 weeks of no activity.
This week, I started easing back into serious workouts and decided to test my strength. A few months ago I did 25 push-ups in one minute. I tried this fitness test again, and here are my results:
That's 24 in 1:08 - but I'm tucking my elbows much more, which makes push-ups more difficult because it puts more stress on the triceps and shoulders, which are generally weaker than the chest.
As far as muscle? I haven't done jack for my legs in almost 4 weeks, and this is how they're lookin':
I love slipper socks :D
I know one of the things I was most worried about right after my injury was the possibility that I would lose all motivation for the gym. That obviously didn't happen. I used what would have been gym time to read everything I could find about lifting, recovery, and injury prevention. I'd like to think that will help me down the road.
So to conclude: Take time off if your body needs it. Don't freak out about it. The gym - and your strength, determination, and motivation - will be there when you're ready to go back.