T Nation

Do Muscles Last Forever?

Let’s say that someone makes the mistake of stopping working out from one day to another,just like that…Boom!

More or less,for how long does our lean mass stays the same ?!

PS I know it depends on several factors:age,gender,nutrition…but anyways a “general answer” is welcome.

General answer? I doubt anybody knows, I’ve looked all over for the answer to this question.
The best answers you will find is looking at astonaut studies. Some of them have shown people to lose an incredible amount within a week.

The body is about economy. If it feels like it doesnt need mass, it will drop it because that mass has an extra caloric cost.

Suddenly ceasing physical activity removes the stimulus to which the body has responded by building more mass. Since the body no longer needs this mass to accommodate for the stressor (training), it will consolidate itself and work to become more efficient.

Look at it this way, if you had to make a purely economical decision, you have a semi truck and a prius. You no longer have to haul anything, but simply to transport yourself. Are you going to continue driving the truck?

The body begins to lose aerobic performance after the loss of activity at 14 days (I’ve read this all over) so you can probably assume it’s somewhat the same with muscles.

[quote]fightingtiger wrote:
Look at it this way, if you had to make a purely economical decision, you have a semi truck and a prius. You no longer have to haul anything, but simply to transport yourself. Are you going to continue driving the truck?[/quote]

Yes! Because it just looks cool!

I just wish I could convince my body the same thing.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
General answer? I doubt anybody knows, I’ve looked all over for the answer to this question.
The best answers you will find is looking at astonaut studies. Some of them have shown people to lose an incredible amount within a week.[/quote]

Why would you be looking all over for a general answer of how long muscle mass stays around without any continued stimulus? The “general” answer is it won’t stick around long if you aren’t eating enough to support it or lifting weights heavy enough to cause it to remain.

How long that is exactly would be based on the individual, their diet, their age and too many other factors to put a specific time limit on. It would vary from person to person meaning you wasted a whole lot of time in your search for the one right answer.

One thing we do know is that you won’t gain 50lbs of lean body mass, quit working out and keep all of it it 5 years down the road. Genetics would also be a huge factor as far as how much lean body mass remains. This question is generally asked by people who lack motivation and are hoping they can lift weights real quick for their beach vacation and then quit working out again.