Blame your job, your kids’ hugely busy routines, or any of these millions of reasons to skip your workout, but it’s going to happen sooner or later. Going more than a week without your normal physical fitness regimen can throw your entire fitness progress into rewind.
You worked hard to get fit, whether by regular morning jogs or pursuing brand-new personal bests in your bench press. When your exercises fall by the wayside, exactly how quickly you fall out of shape depends on more than just how much time you spent away from the gym.
Your total health and fitness, the type of workout you’re missing, and your diet will all impact your rate of muscle loss.
How Fast Will You Fall Out Of Shape After You Stop Exercising?
As a basic rule of thumb, the fitter you are, the longer it will take your sculpted muscle to turn into flub. You see, your body doesn’t like change; it like balance, and so once something becomes your norm, your body makes millions of micro-adjustments to try to keep everything just as it is.
This means that the longer you have been ‘in shape,’ the longer it will take your body to drift out of its fitness state. You may be surprised by how long you hold on to muscle even after completely stopping exercise.
That is unless your lack of working out also accompanies a massive change to your diet, and your body is starved of nutrients it needs to maintain muscle. Or if you were taking a performance-enhancing chemical and have now discontinued use of that, resulting in a hormone imbalance, it may lead to faster than normal muscle mass loss.
Still, if it’s only been a week since your last workout, don’t fret; you likely haven’t lost any of the progress you’d made. In fact, for most people with a healthy diet who have been exercising regularly for years, it can take 3 months or longer to see total losses of your health and fitness gains if they were to just completely stop exercising for that entire 3 month period.
Endurance Or Strength: Which Will You Lose First?
Your body will certainly respond in a different way depending on whether you’re missing endurance workout or strength training.
This is due to the fact that your muscular tissues have slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers. Slow-twitch fibers add to endurance performance, while fast-twitch fibers are the ones you use primarily during strength-training.
During your daily tasks (like walking, speaking, sitting at a desk, etc.), your slow-twitch fibers are the ones doing the bulk of the work. You actually have to work to get your fast-twitch fibers into gear.
When you take a break from a workout, your slow-twitch fibers are most likely still being used regularly, while fast-twitch fibers may be being used hardly at all.
Because of this, fast-twitch muscle fibers are the first to decrease when you stop any and all fitness training.
Fast-twitch muscle fibers tend to be the most visually distinct muscles. They’re the ones you can actually SEE.
This is why if you don’t do any strength-training for an extended period of time, you’ll notice the size of your muscles getting smaller before ever feeling like you’ve lost any real core strength.
Final Thoughts On What Happens To Your Body When You Skip Your Workout
Overall, the amount of time it takes you to lose all your gains depends on several lifestyle, genetic, and diet factors, making it difficult to set a specific time-frame for how long it would take someone to fall out of shape.
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