This is a topic that scares a lot of lifters. What happens when you stop training? Do you start losing your muscle? If yes, how long will it take after you stop training? Weeks, days, hours…?
These questions have been debated endlessly on Internet forums and in gyms worldwide. Lots of professional and recreational lifters are scared that if they don’t train constantly they’ll start losing muscle mass. They report feeling smaller and weaker in just a matter of days and they feel anxious to get back to the gym as soon as possible, lest they more muscle.
The truth is that you will definitely lose muscle mass if you stop training. But, it doesn’t happen instantly. It’s not like some people think that your muscles will immediately shrivel if your stop training for a week. But not training for several weeks will most definitely cause you to lose your muscle strength and size.
Or, as the saying goes: if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. You need to put your body under enough mechanical stress in order to elicit the right response and give it a reason to become bigger and stronger. It’s worth noting that if you lost some muscle it can be regained a lot quicker the second time around. This phenomenon is known as muscle memory. You can rebuild muscle tissue a lot faster and easier than you had before, then to build it in the first place.
So, even though you might have spent a year or two building up to a certain level of musculature, it’ll be easier to return to that same level within a shorter time frame. The most important thing you need to pay attention to is to train consistently and make weight lifting a regular part of your overall lifestyle, and not look at it as a thing you do for a couple of months and then quit.