Getting Back Into Shape
Question: If I stop working out, how long will it take to get back to my previous fitness level?
Surprisingly, you don’t have to “start from scratch” just because you haven’t worked out for a little while. The exact answer to this question will depend on how long you’ve gone without exercising, or without performing a particular kind of exercise.
The first thing you have to know is, if you stop weight training completely, it actually takes an entire month to lose an appreciable amount of muscle mass. What you WILL lose after the first 5 days of no weight training is some of your muscle “tone,” which refers to the amount of tension within the muscle fibers due to water and carbohydrate stores. So your muscles will still be there, but they will have lost their “pump” to some degree. After one month away from training, your body will start to shed muscle tissue. Since you are not forcing g your body to lift heavy objects, your body doesn’t feel the muscle is needed anymore. After the first month, you will continue to lose more muscle tissue. You will lose the most muscle if you are eating insufficient calories, and protein in particular. The good news is that you can maintain the muscle you already have with as little as three sets of weight lifting per week for each major muscle group—provided that you lift the heaviest weights you can.
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