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How quickly do you lose muscle?

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Old 08-26-2011, 09:50 AM   #1
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Default How quickly do you lose muscle?

I've been sick for about a month and haven't been able to workout hardly at all (probably 3-4 times in this past month, counting today!). For the last 2 weeks I haven't worked out AT ALL and today was my first day back because I was so sick.

During that time I lost a lot of weight, much more than normally (I basically had no appetite either) and I'm worried that some of it might be muscle? If you've been lifting regularly and then take about a month break, can you already start to lose muscle?

Today during my workout it was HARD, really, really hard and I did less reps than normal (8 instead of 10) and one less set than normal (2 vs 3). I kept the weight about the same as what I normally do. I haven't been this tired after a workout in a long time! Granted, I'm still sniffling a bit but otherwise I feel like I'm back to normal, so could it just mean that I've lost some muscle in this past month?
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:25 AM   #2
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no, muscle is quite hard to lose, and GAIN for that matter, with the exception of loss occuring under certain conditions and ailments


"If the mass loss is due to a sedentary lifestyle, (meaning that the couch is your best friend) it will occur more slowly. It will take months or perhaps years of disuse before muscle atrophy will occur." The article goes on to say that if loss does occur, regaining the strength can happen very quickly.... http://www.brighthub.com/health/fitn...les/56431.aspx
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by mkroyer View Post
no, muscle is quite hard to lose, and GAIN for that matter, with the exception of loss occuring under certain conditions and ailments


"If the mass loss is due to a sedentary lifestyle, (meaning that the couch is your best friend) it will occur more slowly. It will take months or perhaps years of disuse before muscle atrophy will occur." The article goes on to say that if loss does occur, regaining the strength can happen very quickly.... http://www.brighthub.com/health/fitn...les/56431.aspx


That's great news, thanks!

I must still be recuperating then.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:16 AM   #4
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I was sick awhile back for three weeks and while the number on the scale made me very happy, I noticed that my first few sessions were hard and I thought I'd lost muscle too. Just ease back into it, you don't want a relapse. Glad to hear you're feeling good again.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:17 AM   #5
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Yes, you probably haven't been taking in enough food (energy). Once you get back on track with your nutrition, your workouts should back to where they were. And if you lost any muscle, it will come back quickly. Muscle memory!
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loli View Post
Yes, you probably haven't been taking in enough food (energy). Once you get back on track with your nutrition, your workouts should back to where they were. And if you lost any muscle, it will come back quickly. Muscle memory!
It's funny that you say that because the last three days I've been STARVING. I've been trying to be spot on with my plan and eat lots of protein, veggies, fruit, and whole grains. Do you think I should eat a bit more these few days until my body settles down? Seriously, all I want is red meat! It's a good thing I don't ever see any cows walking around or I might attack one!
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitmom View Post
I was sick awhile back for three weeks and while the number on the scale made me very happy, I noticed that my first few sessions were hard and I thought I'd lost muscle too. Just ease back into it, you don't want a relapse. Glad to hear you're feeling good again.

How long did it take you to get back to normal? Today I really made sure not to push myself and I think this weekend I might just take it easy and go swimming instead of lifting just to be on the safe side.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:31 AM   #8
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Thanks for the link to that article!
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:33 AM   #9
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How long did it take you to get back to normal? Today I really made sure not to push myself and I think this weekend I might just take it easy and go swimming instead of lifting just to be on the safe side.

It took me about a week. My first instinct was to jump right back in but I didn't want to get sick again so I did some shorter workouts and nixed the running for walking until my energy levels (and appetite) returned. Listen to your body, you'll know when you can amp up the intensity once again.
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:09 PM   #10
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I agree with fitmom. But when it comes to your caloric intake, I wouldn't go overboard. If you did lose any muscle and you take in too many calories, you may gain some fat. I would keep your calories at your weight loss number - but make the calories count. And take your vitamins and drink your water.
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:48 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone! I've been pretty good so far. I actually saw a nutritionist on Tuesday so I'm really trying to follow her plan since I return in about 1.5 weeks. I have been trying to get more of my calories from protein than ususal just to curb some of the hunger, though. Oh, and I'm definitely taking my vitamins and drinking lots of water in the hopes of getting the last bit of this out of my system.

fitmom- thanks for sharing your experience. I just went walking (briskly on an incline) today on the treadmill and even that wore me out. I'll just take it slower for the next week and hopefully then I'll be back to normal.
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Started at 240
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:18 AM   #12
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This is a really useful thread. I once read that you start to lose muscle 72 hours after your last workout (!?!?!?!) and that has made me paranoid ever since. It looks like after reading this thread that is a bunch of hooey. Thanks for dispelling this absurd myth I've had stuck in my head years.

Also, runningfromfat, just saw your ticker after talking with you months ago on other threads- wow you are doing AWESOME! Congratulations!! Keep up the great work!
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:27 AM   #13
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Thank you all for this thread, I've also been worried that I would lose muscle mass due to the fact that I'm also sick and havent excercised in a week and a half.
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Old 08-27-2011, 07:59 AM   #14
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A lot slower than you would think.

I was deadlifting about 200lbs when I found out I was pregnant, stopped for 9 months (still stayed active but no lifting above 100ish lbs), and started up again, my 1RM was about 160lbs -> so that's 40lbs less lifting after 10-11 months and a massive body change. Not bad!

Anecdotal of course, but I think muscle loss is slower than people think. When one becomes inactive for very long periods of time or does damage to their body (ie. eating disorder), then you'll be okay. Muscle memory is also a great thing.
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:08 AM   #15
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I'm glad this thread has been useful to others! I've been wondering about this for awhile but I was never sick long enough to really ask. I'm sure glad that I did! I feel so much more relieved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by indiblue View Post
Also, runningfromfat, just saw your ticker after talking with you months ago on other threads- wow you are doing AWESOME! Congratulations!! Keep up the great work!
Thanks! I'm slowly getting there. I've got 25lbs left until my big mini-goal of a healthy BMI so I'm eagerly waiting for that.
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Starting Measurements (B/W/H): about 51/40/46, 240 lbs Goal Reached Pre-Pregnancy: 39/29.5/38, 156lbs Current: about 43/34/42
Mini-Goals
Started at 240
Onederland 199 (Jan 6, 2010, exactly 2 years after my previous due date!)
Overweight BMI 185 (Aug 3, 2011, one year after joining 3FC!)
Pre-pregnancy weight 175 (Oct 18, 2011)
Called Goal 156

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