Losing muscle when taking a week or two off from training is something a lot of athletes and bodybuilders worry about.
Do you lose muscle when taking time off? Do you lose muscle from taking only a week off from training?
The truth is that losing muscle when taking time off is a complete myth. You will not lose any noticeable size or muscle mass when taking only a week or two off from your training.
If you’ve dedicated yourself to working out, training hard and eating properly for 6 months or more, there’s no way you can lose all that hard earned muscle in the space of a week or two. Taking a week or two breaks from your training is actually a great way to make more gains and can even help you break through a weight training plateau. Intense weight training sessions and good nutrition will certainly put you on your way to building muscle and achieving a great physique but let’s face it, there is no way you can train 3-7 days a week every week for the rest of your life.
You will eventually need to take a step back from your training and allow your body sufficient time to rest, grow and recuperate. Unfortunately, this is extremely hard for some gym rats and bodybuilders as taking a week’s break seems like a waste of time. To many athletes and bodybuilders if they’re not lifting they feel like their losing muscle. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. As long as you do not take prolonged periods of time off from training you will not lose muscle mass or size.
Taking a week’s break is one of the best things you can do after a long period of continuous heavy lifting.
While weightlifting provides the stimulus your body needs for growth it is when we are sleeping and resting that our bodies will actually grow bigger and build muscle. Physically our bodies need a week’s break every couple of months or so. If you, however, feel that your training is going well and has not been affected from the continuous weeks of heavy lifting then you may be able to give it 3-4 months before taking a break.
Some people are different and will not need a week’s break so early on in their training. Others will, so when you feel that your workouts are slowly becoming less productive or your motivation levels have begun to drop take a week’s rest and get back to it the following week. You will not lose muscle from taking this week’s break, chances are you will continue to build and maintain muscle while giving your muscles and body a well-earned rest.
When taking your week or two off from training your diet should not change. This is important. Stick to getting your 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day and stick to eating over your maintenance level of calories. Since you are not working out and burning off additional calories through training during your week off make sure you do not stuff your face with junk food as you will be prone to put on more fat.
Rest periods from training are not an excuse to eat whatever you like.
Be Careful How Much Time You Take Off
Taking time off from your training once in a while is, of course, good for your body both mentally and physically. However, taking too much time off can be counterproductive. Let me explain. When we workout and lift heavy weights your are sending signals to your body that it needs to grow and adapt to this type of stress to cope with your weekly workouts. As a result, with the correct nutrition and rest your body will adapt and grow stronger.
If you suddenly take a month or two off from your training your body will begin to realize that it doesn’t actually need the extra muscle in your body and will slowly begin to dispose of it. This doesn’t mean that you will lose all your muscle and size by taking long periods off from your training but you will begin to lose some muscle and size at an increasingly faster rate. Some people will lose muscle a lot faster than others which are down to genetics. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this.
The best thing to do if you’re thinking of taking a break from your training is to take around 1-2 weeks off. Taking this time off from the gym will not lose your muscle and should motivate you more to come back and lift even harder than ever before. You do not lose muscle when taking only a week or two off from training!