There will come times when you’re sick, have stuff come up or just flat out just not feeling like working out.
This is normal and with that usually comes up a common question of, “how much muscle will I lose?” or something very similar.
This is why I decided to put together this article to help ease your mind a little and also give you some insight on how to minimize the loss of your gains as much as possible.
If you stop putting strain on your muscles aka working them out then eventually your body will realize it has no need for keeping those muscles stronger.
You won’t really notice much loss if you just take a week off or even two off.
Any longer than that and you can expect to notice some drop in strength and a little bit of muscle loss.
It’s how our bodies operate so don’t over think of how to try to prevent it.
With that being said there are some ways to minimize the amount of muscle being lost or at least delay it.
Tips For Minimizing Muscle Loss
Your diet should be averaging a certain amount of protein per day during your typical week when you are working out.
You should try your best to hit this same amount of protein intake or somewhat close to it for when you’re taking your time off.
If you find yourself having a hard time hitting your protein intake then add in a protein shake to your daily diet. A protein shake doesn’t have to be consumed only after a workout, you can use it on off days as well.
If your problem is getting to the gym then try to do some bodyweight exercises instead, such as pushups for example.
A common health supplement that will also be able to help is BCAA or branched chain amino acids. This is actually a pretty cheap supplement that can help against muscles going catabolic (muscle loss).
Another important tip is to try to eat above your maintenance calorie limit or at least not under it. This will help prevent your body from pulling nutrients from your muscles to make up for the lack of from your diet.
What Is Muscle Memory
The good news regarding muscle loss is that muscles can come back much quicker once you start working out again thanks to muscle memory.
I would try to explain what this is but it could take a full article to go into it in detail. Here is a good article explaining it in depth if you’re interested in it.
My short version is that it is muscle has already been built so it’s not having to build up from nothing, it’s more like inflating a muscle that deflated.
Pretty good analogy, yeah!? I thought so too!
With muscle memory I can notice myself getting back to my old strength/size within a month after taking 2-3 months off, to give you an idea of a timeline.
The Mental Part Can Be The Hardest
Those who have worked on their physique and grinded out a look that they’re happy with can find themselves pretty down if they aren’t able to get their regular workout in.
This is why it’s not uncommon to see people go on vacation and find a gym nearby to get a workout in.
Usually, there seems to be a brief period of where a person can feel relieved that they don’t have to go workout.
This feeling tends to quickly go away after about a week or two when they start noticing some muscle loss or maybe clothes fitting a little tighter.
Speaking from personal experience, this is usually enough motivation alone to want me to get back in the gym asap.
How much muscle loss or weight gain depends on a good amount of variables but the tips I mentioned in this article hold true for most people.
This is not taking into account of medical conditions, that is something that your doctor would have to guide you on.
I honestly would not try to dwell on the negative of missing some time out of the gym (easier said than done, I know)
This becomes much easier down the road once you have taken some time off and notice how quickly muscle memory aids in getting you back to your previous physique.
I hope this article has helped give you an idea of what to expect if you decide to take a little gym break or even maybe a long gym break, just don’t make it a permanent break!
Sterling is a writer, fitness junkie and loves all things technology. Sterling is the owner of ChainsToGains.com or over on his Tumblr, which is where you can get in touch with him if you have any questions/comments.