Considering this fast spread of COVID-19, lots of gyms and fitness centers are prohibited to open, so people need to do home workout and maintain body shape, but home workout does not have the same effect as the gym with equal movement. The more you know about the workout skill, the more chance you have to maintain the good body shape and muscle power.
How long it takes to weak your muscle?
Before we get into talking about the body reaction after stopping exercise, we need firstly to know about what pressure do to our body. the normal steps are providing stimulation, removing stimulation, adapting to higher level of stimulation, this exercise mode helps us build muscle and grow the power, making your body stronger. As long as you continue to provide enough stimulation and then recover, you will get stronger. In terms of strength training, this progressive-overload exercise means gradually increasing the body’s stimulation to match the body’s new higher level of ability. Once stopping exercise, we are on the anther way that the body stimulation stops, many of us believe that the muscle degeneration is obvious. But what really happens physiologically?
Actually, the thing is better than you think and the muscle remains strong even you stop exercise. Muscle gaining is a slow process, but once you have a certain amount of muscle, it.s not easy to lose it again. Many studies show that your muscle begins to loss after 2-3 weeks non-exercise, this means you do not any exercise during these 2-3 week, so there is no way that your muslce loss in a few days, and considering the measurement method for the body assessment, the result may be a little higher in the muscle loss. More specifically, these scientists only measure the lean body mass – everything that is non-fat. If your lean body mass has decreased, it is assumed to be muscle loss, however, lean body mass is not only about muscle, but also a large amount of glycogen, which takes up large percentage of the consist of muscle – for every 1g of glycogen stored, an additional 3-4g of water will be stored.
Studies have found that additional glycogen and water can increase muscle capacity by 16%. When you stop exercise, your muscle glycogen level goes low – It drops by 20% for one week of non-exercise, and 50% after 4 weeks of non-exercise. Within a month, the decrease in glycogen and water can cause muscle volume to decrease by 10%. However, when you restart strength training and consume more carbohydrates, the lost lean body mass will return quickly. Therefore, even though studies have found that lean body mass will begin to lose after about 2-3 weeks of stopping training, it may take longer to lose real muscle. However, after 4-6 weeks of complete rest, the risk of muscle loss is greatly increased. The good news is that when you start lifting iron again, you will grow muscle faster than you did at the beginning. This is also confirmed by scientific research, called “muscle memory”
Muscle cells are larger than most other cells, and they contain more than one nucleus. When you use strength training to put pressure on muscle cells, it will grow new nucleus. In fact, the number of nucleus in muscle cells is one of the most important factors in regulating muscle size.
Although stopping exercise will result in a smaller muscle volume, the new muscle nucleus increased during training can be maintained for at least 3 months. Lots of evidences indicates that these muscle nucleus may never be lost, which means that strength training can permanently change the physiological structure of muscle fibers. And the study conducted in 2013 well proved this: People in group 1 keep exercise for 24 weeks with no interruption; people in group 2 take exercise for 6 weeks, then stop for 3 weeks, and then take exercise 6 weeks, this goes for 24 weeks, and the result shows people in two groups grow the same muscle mass. so stop-exercise for a few weeks will basically not have a big negative impact on muscle mass. And here we can get the conclusion that: There is no muscle loss within 1-2 weeks after stopping exercise, after 3 weeks, you may lose muscle, but it is not enough to see a big difference in appearance. Around the 4th week, the change in your muscle is obvious. But when you resume training, the lost muscles will quickly grow back.
How fast is your strength loss?
If you stopped training for a week before for some reason, you may find that the first few training sessions did not feel good when you resume training. The exercises you used to do before are more difficult to do now, because in order to lift heavy weights, you The absolute power of the person only accounts for a part, and the movement skills are also part. After stopping for 1 week, you may need a few exercises to remember the details of the action, such as where to put your hands when squatting, how to set the bench press and so on. In general, similar to muscle loss, the loss of strength will return soon after resuming training.
How to maintain muscle shape and strength？
During this uncertain situation, many of the gym centers remain closed or shut up again, and here are some tips to help you maintain the good shape of muscle and body power:
> Adequate calorie intake
Your body’s ability to maintain muscles is very much related to your food intake. During the suspension period, I do not recommend that you eat too little. In other words, you don’t need to create a calorie gap. Your daily energy intake should be approximately equal to your daily energy consumption. However, you should not increase your calorie intake drastically. After all, when you are not doing strength training, you are not giving your body the stimulation of muscle growth. At this time, the extra calorie intake will be stored as fat, rather than muscle growth. Therefore, I suggest that you keep your calorie intake to maintain your weight
> Protein intake
In addition to calorie intake, your next priority goal is protein. Protein is essential for the maintenance of muscles and strength, so everyone must not ignore it. But I think this should not be a big problem. After all, there are still a lot of big fish and big meat during the Spring Festival. Everyone must have enough protein. So I’ll just mention it here, you just need to make sure you don’t eat too much.
> Home workout
When it comes to working out at home, the rule still applies. In fact, exercising where you live may make your fitness routine more likely to stick. and you only need a small space to do exercise and you can get any movement you want, which makes the workout easy to access.
> Get moving
Strength training is not the only exercise that can maintain muscles. In fact, daily activities, such as walking, doing housework, shopping for vegetables, etc. can provide us with a little stimulation.
Contrary to many people’s perceptions, 1-2 weeks non-exercise will not cause significant loss of muscle and strength, even if you stop training for a month. Once you start exercise again, the muscle mass will quickly grow back. During the training period, everyone can stay active, do some self-weight training, and eat more protein. These methods can maintain our muscles.