What happens if you don't work out for 6 weeks?
"Someone less trained will not show a whole lot of change in that first one-to-three-week period, but after four to eight weeks, that fitness ability or aerobic capability is more likely to go back to zero." More rigorous exercisers can expect their losses to plateau after about four to six weeks, keeping their ...
In general, you lose your endurance before your muscles. Your aerobic capacity drops by 5 to 10% after three weeks of no exercises, and after two months of inactivity, you'll definitely find yourself out of shape.
Three weeks seems to be the general threshold at which people will begin to lose muscle mass and strength. However, if you need to stay away from the gym for longer, don't be afraid to do so, especially if you are already in good shape.
“There's no hard and fast rule for how long a 'break' from exercise should be,” Ting says. “It may be as short as a few days, but it's important to realize as well that it can also be up to one to two weeks without any significant detriment or loss in previous fitness gains.”
Kuehl notes that after two months of logging 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least three times per week, you increase strength and endurance between 10–15%. Stop exercising and those gains disappear in as few as two weeks. “It takes a lot longer to get in shape than to fall out of shape,” he says.
Don't forget how long it took you to get to where you are. A day, week, or month off doesn't need to deter you from your fitness goals. Taking a break may be just what you need to get back to your workouts with more energy and enthusiasm.
If you take a week or two away from the gym, you probably won't lose strength or muscle mass. If you take more than three weeks off, you'll lose at least a little bit of strength and muscle, but you'll regain it quickly when you start lifting again.
"A lot of people feel and look less tight and toned when they stop working out," he explains. "It's more of a cosmetic thing." When you aren't working out regularly, your body composition starts to change. With little physical activity, muscle cells will shrink.
After one or two weeks off, you won't suffer a significant drop in strength, power, body mass or size – or witness a noticeable gain in body fat. And it takes even longer to see any decline in aerobic capacity, stamina or VO2 max.
“At 6 to 8 weeks, you can definitely notice some changes,” said Logie, “and in 3 to 4 months you can do a pretty good overhaul to your health and fitness.” Strength-specific results take about the same amount of time.
How much muscle will I lose after 6 weeks?
Some athletes see a loss of about 6% muscle density after three weeks. Some power lifters see losses of as much as 35% after seven months. Young women who trained for seven weeks and gained two pounds of muscle mass, lost nearly all of it after detraining for seven weeks.
Typically, I recommend that people take a few days off from exercising every six to eight weeks, assuming you work out at a good intensity and are consistent. This gives both your mind and body a chance to recover and adapt to the previous weeks of training.
It's very unlikely to start gaining weight if you missed a few gym sessions. If that's happening, you probably blew your diet.
"Based on research, an active person can go up to three weeks without working out and it will not have too much of an impact on their muscle size or cardio output. Take the vacation—when you're in a relaxed head space, it works wonders on the body, too." So yeah, that break is about so much more than recovery.
In the first ten days to two weeks of inactivity/de-training, there is a measurable loss in cardiovascular fitness, but even this level of decrease is only about 2-3% drop in values such as VO2 Max, MAP (maximum aerobic power), or FTP (functional threshold power).
We know that skeletal muscular strength stays about the same during a month of not exercising. However, as mentioned above, athletes can start losing muscles after three weeks of inactivity. You lose cardio, or aerobic, fitness more quickly than muscle strength, and this can start to happen in just a few days.
Your Muscles Shrink
Your diminishing strength could be a sign that your muscles are shrinking. During inactivity, you will start to lose muscle mass very quickly. The muscles that you have spent so much gym hours to develop, will be shrinking in just a few days.
After a month of exercise:
Most of the improvements in strength and function are from more efficient nerve connections into the muscles, so that the firing patterns of your muscles is more selective and responsive. The blood vessels into the muscles have grown and become more efficient (angiogenesis).
According to the research of pro bodybuilder Jeff Nippard, the timeframe to get your muscle gains back is typically around half the time you took off. So, if you had a 2-month break from lifting, it might take just a month to get all of your gains back. Took six months off? You'll need three months to gain it all back.
You may be losing weight and gaining muscle
If you're losing inches but maintaining your weight and you regularly strength train, you may actually be losing fat and gaining muscle. The process of gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time is called body recomposition.
Why do I look small but weigh a lot?
Muscle is denser than fat, and as it is more compact within your body, as you gain muscle mass, you end up looking thinner, no matter your physical weight. So, if you've been doing a lot of strength training lately, it's likely this is the reason that you're looking fantastic but not dropping those numbers.
While seeing results from working out heavily depends on the person and their current level of fitness, "My [clients] generally see initial changes within four to six weeks, and actual results within eight to 12 weeks," Wilson explains.
If a bodybuilder goes from an active building phase to an inactive cut, he or she can lose as much as two pounds of muscle in a single week. If they keep up that inactivity for a month, that lifter will lose up to eight pounds of muscle along with any fat they've shed.
Whatever the reason, before you know it, you're out of shape. Neglecting the gym every once in a while is nothing to worry about — after all, sometimes your body needs to rest and recover. But, when you hit pause on your workouts for more than a week, you might actually be throwing your fitness level into rewind.
You will likely gain muscle mass and may begin to lose some fat mass. Muscle weighs more than fat, but it also burns more calories. Closely tracking your weight during this window can be confusing—your clothes may feel looser while the number on the scale stays the same or even goes up a few pounds.