How long a break before losing significant muscle/strength?
- 01-05-2007, 12:28 AM
How long a break before losing significant muscle/strength?
Traveling for the holidays disrupted my normal gym schedule, and it got me curious... How long can you take completely off from lifting before you start to lose significant muscle and/or strength? (Assume continuation of high-protein diet with at least maintenance kCals.)
- 01-05-2007, 12:32 AM
I think after two weeks of inactivity i personally can tell if ive been slacking. If im doing other physical activities i dont really notice. Im going on three currently but do meanial little tasks to keep me fresh.
- 01-06-2007, 08:53 PMBoard Sponsor
- 5'10" 215 lbs.
- Join Date
- Jan 2006
- Rep Power
Many studies I have read have alluded to a 14 day period before muscle atrophy ensues; however, these studies were not done on resistant trained individuals. I think it also depends on the rate of one's metabolism as a unit. For myself, I have seen very significant muscle loss after 21 days. During a shoulder injury period of three months I lost a total of about 21 pounds, continuing even with maintenance calories. However, my metabolism is extremely fast.
01-06-2007, 08:57 PM
Around 2 weeks I will notice a temporary loss in strength, and muscles start to feel flat/lose hardness.
01-08-2007, 07:32 AM
I took 3 weeks off for xmas break, and lost 4lbs and 1/3" off my arms. During this break I caught a flu though.
01-08-2007, 10:42 AM
- 6'2" 241 lbs.
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
- CO Springs
- Rep Power
You have to understand that everybody is different. But, for me I can notice a difference after a week of not lifting. I never like to go any longer than that.
01-08-2007, 07:40 PM
I've gone a week without noticeable loss. Everytime I take 2 weeks off I notice considerable drop offs in strength and endurance, not to mention mental focus.
Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life. Lao Tse 6th century BC
01-09-2007, 09:15 PM
I got busy and or lazy.. ( Work related ) and I took off for about 6 weeks.. I lost 2 inches on my chest.. 1/4" on my biceps, and I was very weak when I went back.. I have only been back for a week now, and it is murder..
01-09-2007, 10:23 PM
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- Somewhere between a 4x12 stack and a power rack...
- Rep Power
A professional bodybuilder and nutritionist once told me that it takes about 8 weeks of inactivity for a muscle to truly atrophy. I know I start to feel ****ty after about 5 days of not hitting the gym...but after a good workout everything comes back almost immediately.
01-11-2007, 06:17 AM
I always take a full week off every 2 months. The week I get back I'm weaker but the week after that I'm usually a little stronger then before I left. I did take my week off once just to get sick the following week. I noticed then a big drop off in strength.
04-07-2007, 09:12 AM
I think we all start to notice it within a couple weeks, but I don't think you will get a significant drop until about four weeks or more.
Of course that will spped up if you're not eating also.
When my second marriage broke up, it was pretty devastating for me. A long story too. Regardless, I didn't workout or eat anything (less than 500 cals per day) due to the depression for a good six weeks. I lost over 25 freaking pounds in that time. I went from 235 lbs to under 210. That was bad! There are some truelly evil women out there.
On a good note, four years later, I now look better than I ever have and she's gained at least 80 pounds! Gotta love karma!
04-07-2007, 03:41 PM
04-07-2007, 03:47 PM
04-07-2007, 07:21 PM
$hit, i feel like a bad person when i take more than 3 DAYS off. i think it gets in your head if you take too much time off. you lose that feeling of knowing you can put up heavy weight. it then turns into a " i hope i can still lift that".
04-12-2007, 10:49 PM
A highly conditioned/ trained person can begin losing muscle very fast and the rule of thumb is about 3-4% per day. It depends on the quality of muscle you have and it varys from person to person on how fast it happens.
04-19-2007, 05:57 AM
hey i have a similair story. I wont go into details but now shes gained alot of weight. I was depressed and hardly ate, let me tell you! I had the craziest abs ive ever seen on me. Not to mention cuts galore but, it did a toll on my strength for sure.
Anyway, Im going on a 1 week vacation and Ill probably just do pushups in the morning or something to keep in a little shape.....this thread helps ease my mind.
04-19-2007, 11:47 AM
04-19-2007, 12:16 PM
I don't even remember if I had abs after that weight loss bout, the whole thing is still kind of a fog to this day.
04-19-2007, 12:22 PM
Simple study on Anabolic/Catabolic Ratio explains the answer genetleman.
Losing 42% is highly unlikely. Because of the stamenet mentioned above.
04-19-2007, 03:46 PM
04-19-2007, 04:46 PM
TS: I should have been clearer…I side with you on the percentages as if you re-read my post.
But unless I am mistaking, we all here eat and sleep, train daily. So our environment is in favor for positive state of change. Since we actually favor anabolism by a few percent, thus will result in new muscle.
But when we stop (for long periods or short) our “perceived normal” state of being or balance of homeostasis will come into effect. Thus means the ratio at which we react to losing muscle will dictate PTOR (rate at which protein based tissue (muscle) is gained or lost, due to anabolic/catabolic ratio. Muscle atrophy does occur in about 72 hours of no stimulation.
But as I stated, many factors also influence how fast we can lose hard earned muscle. If one just stopped inducing positives gains and suddenly took in phytoestrogens, soy, and a hell of a lot of stress…25 pound lose quickly could feasibly happen. Or better yet, cancer! (Which I know all to well)…but my simple reply to the orginal question is one starts losing serious muscle in 4 days. I say serious because it is so hard to gain it, why not to try to keep it.
But a good vaca is needed every now and then too...
04-19-2007, 09:59 PM
04-19-2007, 10:28 PM
Diet does not have much to do with it at all, the reason you come back stronger is prolly because your muscles get completly replenished. The thing is what you do while your taking time off if you are bedridden and sendentary it happens very fast and drastic. If you are more active then you will keep more. Why would your body want to keep extra muscle it just takes up space and is basically extra mouths to feed for your body.
04-23-2007, 07:52 AM
well its been almost 5 days, jet lag, new home, finally being a daddy (stress haha), not my normal diet and walking my only excercise, i already feel small and weak. Just woke up and did some push ups, DAMN! I can feel the difference and i still have about another 5 days of this! i think diet is a BIG factor honestly. I have not protien shakes here and im just taking a multi. ....Very curious to see what performance will be like in the gym when i get back home.
04-23-2007, 08:45 AM
04-23-2007, 03:12 PM
No why would it make a difference? That would dictate how fat you get. If you are not using your muscles then why would your body feed them more energy? Our bodies are efficient like that. Its not like when you eat protein and brocolli it turns into muscle imediatly, if that were so we we just sit on the couch and do eat.
04-23-2007, 03:38 PM
04-24-2007, 10:28 AM
Diet has everything to do with how fast you lose muscle.
04-24-2007, 12:04 PM
04-24-2007, 01:50 PM
04-24-2007, 03:15 PM
Well of course if you are under your maintenance cals you will lose that is true evn if you are workin out out. Besides what do you consider "enough protein" if you take care of yourself and eat well then you should be ok maybe add a shake in the morning and at night at the most. If you are sedentary for weeks on end you will loseat a rapid rate regardless. We can argue this all day ex, if you maybe just did 50 pushups, 100 bodyweight squats and maybe 25 hindu pushups throughout the day evryday then you could probably keep more but if you are completly sedentary say bye bye to your hard work. Also it has to do with how long you are taking off, if its 3-4 weeks then ya eating well will help pastthat I dont think it makes a diff
06-04-2007, 04:23 PM
usually i notice a tapering down of strength around 2.5-3 wks; 4wks without any work at all = disaster!
06-06-2007, 03:54 PM
I went almost 6-7 weeks without any direct shoulder work, and didn't lose much strength.
I went basically 6 weeks without doing legs and didn't lose ANY strength.
Muscle memory is a great thing, and I'm a small guy.
06-07-2007, 11:14 AM
I think al ot of it is water and glycogen.
I never take more than a week and a half off, I start shrinking or something.
06-12-2007, 01:41 AM
I took a month off and lost 15 lbs
08-08-2007, 09:20 PM
i just came back from a 6 week layoff. I lost 10 pounds of muscle (i'm very lean) and pretty much all of my lifting stamina (3 sets of deadlifts felt like a damn marathon)...yet after just 1 week of workouts my strength is right back where it was. weird.
08-08-2007, 10:01 PM
I heard that for the first 3 weeks that you take off you loose 30% of your mass but is this just a rumor.
I went on a break during the summer last year because i wasn't near a gym at all so i didnt lift for about one and a half months and i could lift more when i got back to the gum
08-09-2007, 03:19 AM
01-17-2008, 02:30 AM
I would think a lot of of it would have to do with how fast your motor units dimish the body is very efficient and usually does not like to maintain things that are not used
02-10-2008, 09:41 AM
Diet,routine,and sleep are equally important.without one you'll fail.If you could do better with one or the other,then well,a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.I beleive the pro's are sure of how important diet is,if you read bb mags and websites,you'll get sick and tired of allways reading how important diet is.I lifted from 18-almost 21without proper diet or routine(did the same thing and too often).i worked out at home and didnt read or know anyone who lifted or let alone into bb.i went from 130 138-142.started eating and traing right and in 1 year shot up to 180(183 was pr).Now i'm at 168(much leaner than 183) from screwing up a cutting phase and it's killing me arms are about 1/2" smaller and quads 3/4,but don't necesarrily look it.Didn't notice a decrease in strength untill i took 4 days off to recuperate.I had been back to bulking for probably 3 weeks before i took time off.Don't know what this proves,just my experience.
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