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CuriousLoner's avatar

How fast do you lose gains of your fitness or muscle loss?

Asked by CuriousLoner (1808 points ) August 4th, 2012

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10 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Do you mean if I am sedentary for a while?

I recently was in an accident and could not do much of anything for about a month, and then another 6 weeks until I started back to my usual exercise, which is mainly zumba, and some swimming. In the two months time I think I lost more stamina than muscle strength. I noticed it especially when I swam, because I usually would do 20–25 lengths, and the first time back in the pool at 10 I was done.

As far as the muscle, I have muscle trouble anyway so it is harder to gauge. I was very careful when I first started back to zumba and doing things around the house, I was on a restriction for how much weight I could lift, so I didn’t really get to test how week or strong I was, and so I worked my way back slowly anyway. I have found now and in the past muscle strength comes back quickly. Within a few weeks if you have had some loss with lack of activity you can build back up. Unless you are a body builder or very extreme in your exercise.

I remember hearing on some show talking about weight loss how much fat and muscle is lost when people diet on average. I would guess there a scientific studies on musce loss when simply not working out or being bed bound, etc. Hopefully someone will have more scientific information.

Coloma's avatar

Everyone has something called ” muscle memory” and how much memory your muscles have is unique unto you.
I have great muscle memory and if I really push myself I can quickly regain my former tone. Of course I have not been pushing myself lately so my muscle memory has a bit of alzheimers right now. lol

ETpro's avatar

I had to lay off for about 6 weeks after a really bad fall while running. I was heaing into a sun that was low on the horizon. Had dark glasses on, but I still didn’t see the raised section of sidewalk and went down hard at a full sprint. Not long after that, a cataract surgery (maybe if I’d been able to see better…) and that meant I couldn’t work out for 3 weeks. Same when the second eye was done. In all cases, once I could start back into my routine, it only took a few days to get back up to a full cardiovascular workout reaching top target pulse for my age.

prasad's avatar

A year before I left my previous job, I had to work late, mostly everyday. I used to get up at 6 in the morning and rush to the company. Worked till late and used to come back at 1 in the night. This went on for six months. I worked one and half months continuously without a weekly off (I had Thursday off). After six months, I lost my strength and one day fell on the floor when I got up out of bed. I could not eat (because of lose motions) for a week; I was really on water. I could see my bones through my skin. After then I left that job. It took me two to three months to become normal again.

Mariah's avatar

I have the feeling the poster might mean the general “you” in this question. Correct me if I’m wrong, poster.

The statistic that nurses have told me is you lose about 8% muscle every day that you are sedentary. It goes fast!

funkdaddy's avatar

I’d say nutrition and age play as big of a role as the exercise when it comes to muscle loss. If you’re starving, your body will use muscle as food. If you’re getting enough of everything it’s more the stamina that will fall away, the muscle itself will stay around for the most part.

To think about it a different way, most people with plenty of food will gain weight slowly over their adult lives until a point. Then they no longer have the hormones and possibly the intake of food to maintain the weight and start lose muscle as well.

If everything other than exercise stays constant it will take a long time to lose the actual muscle gained.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve been in excellent shape all of my life. I quit doing a whole lot of physical stuff a few years ago…for example, I quit playing volleyball 15 years ago. But I’m still tighter and leaner than women half my age. No flab, no fat. I credit years and years and years of being in shape. I don’t think it will ever quite leave me.

CuriousLoner's avatar

@Mariah That would mean I have lose roughly 50% at this point. That seems like an absurd amount, but I am not saying its wrong – I have no idea hence I am asking haha :)

And yes I did mean in the general “you”, but I found people’s personal answers on it insightful. If anything maybe there is no REAL set value of decline maybe more so on how your body and mind dictates that it is necessary to keep it or lose in a loose general sense…I guess everyone is different. An average of loss is more accurate I suppose. It does seem people have rather varying portions of it though.

Mariah's avatar

@CuriousLoner Keep in mind that the 8% compounds. What I mean is that it’s not as though in 6 days you lose 48%. The first day you lose 8%, the second day you lose 8% of the remainin 92%, which is actually 7.36% of your original amount, and so on. Further, I’m pretty sure the nurse who told me this meant that that’s what happens if you’re lying in bed all day. Even just walking around your house a bit will prevent such extensive muscle loss.

But yeah, it’s just a very general figure, and lots of factors could reduce that number.

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