How rapidly is muscle lost when you stop lifting?

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    How rapidly is muscle lost when you stop lifting?


    Assuming a person has packed on substantial muscle through diet and exercise, how rapidly would you expect muscle to be lost if they completely stopped lifting but continued to eat at maintenance?

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    When u stop lifting eating would only maintain what muscle needed for daily activity. Without stimulation excess muscle will become softer and absorbed by the body. This process is known as catabolism. I took off a couple months for some joint issues. There was an obvious notice for me in my strength and size when I re-started training. The old adage "if you don't use it you'll lose it" is not a myth.
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    Catabolism is a jerk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by supraseed48 View Post
    When u stop lifting eating would only maintain what muscle needed for daily activity. Without stimulation excess muscle will become softer and absorbed by the body. This process is known as catabolism. I took off a couple months for some joint issues. There was an obvious notice for me in my strength and size when I re-started training. The old adage "if you don't use it you'll lose it" is not a myth.
    Nailed it. It might depend on the person and your training intensity, but I take about a week before I start seeing things go. 5 days is the sweet spot when I can go back and the gym and start up where I left off, but if I take off 6 or 7 I have to start below that. Maybe if you train at a lower intensity you would take a little longer before things slide since part of the strength loss is your CNS/sanity trying to recover.
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    Quote Originally Posted by demolition
    Catabolism is a jerk.
    True dat!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by supraseed48 View Post
    When u stop lifting eating would only maintain what muscle needed for daily activity. Without stimulation excess muscle will become softer and absorbed by the body. This process is known as catabolism. I took off a couple months for some joint issues. There was an obvious notice for me in my strength and size when I re-started training. The old adage "if you don't use it you'll lose it" is not a myth.
    This is all true, and leads to a (perhaps) more pertinent discussion - how you prevent disuse induced muscle loss?

    So, to the OP, why can't you lift...and if you cannot lift, there are ways to maintain a high degree of muscle with minimal volume and frequency. These include simulated resistance training, isometric exercise, and body weight movements.

    Br
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    i took roughly 8 months off due to shoulder injury and wife being pregnant, saw little size difference. though i did continue to diet and had a physically demanding job.
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    I recently had a minor triceps injury and haven't lifted in 6 weeks. I have also been cutting rapidly, down 20 lbs, 195 to 175. I went from 145.5 LBM to 137.8 LBM during that time according to Bod Pod tests. Personally, I'm not a big believer in catabolism. As long them muscle doesn't go completely unused, like if it's in a cast, then the size/strength loss won't be anything you can't regain in a few weeks of heavy lifting. I'm betting I will be setting personal records again in a month. I'm just starting back in the gym today, so assuming my injury doesn't relapse I'll know if I'm right a month from now.
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    Not a big believer in catabolism? Uh,,, it isn't a theory. Must be nice to have a body that defies science. How were the winters on krypton anyway?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torobestia View Post
    Nailed it. It might depend on the person and your training intensity, but I take about a week before I start seeing things go. 5 days is the sweet spot when I can go back and the gym and start up where I left off, but if I take off 6 or 7 I have to start below that. Maybe if you train at a lower intensity you would take a little longer before things slide since part of the strength loss is your CNS/sanity trying to recover.
    Not calling you a liar, but I don't see anyone getting visibly less muscular just because of a week off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by R1187 View Post
    Assuming a person has packed on substantial muscle through diet and exercise, how rapidly would you expect muscle to be lost if they completely stopped lifting but continued to eat at maintenance?
    Stop lifting and eat at maintenance and you will find out. Although I would think it would depend on the individual.
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    Quote Originally Posted by R1187 View Post
    Not calling you a liar, but I don't see anyone getting visibly less muscular just because of a week off.
    I believe he was referring the strength...not aesthetics.

    Br
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    I have always heard that once you reach a certain point in size or strength, it is much easier to get back to that point. Some people believe that once the facia is stretched, it stays stretched, making it easier to regain the muscle. I have heard that if a bodybuilder breaks an arm, as someone else mentioned, and the cast comes off, he can easily regain his size. To answer the question, I would say about 10 days for me to start to lose strength. I took 8 months off a couple of years ago and I lost everything, but was back to my top strength in less than four months. That's just my 2 cc's, I mean cents.
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    Quote Originally Posted by R1187

    Not calling you a liar, but I don't see anyone getting visibly less muscular just because of a week off.
    It is possible to look a little less muscular just because you would have absolutely no pump after 7 days off.
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    Yes it's definitely easier to regain the list muscle.

    Great point, I forget the exact mechanism of this but even though muscle may be lost, the body "knows" how to build muscle in those areas and can gain muscle back much much faster. I believe it's a combination of muscle memory- not like the repetition of a motion in sports but rather the body understand how that muscle was originally built and can do this again much more efficiently- as well as increased vascularization and nutrient delivery pathways from previous muscle.
  

  
 

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