T Nation

Inactivity for Two Weeks


Hey there, I just had a surgery where I need two weeks of healing time. Does anyone know how much muscle loss will happen, on average of course. Not looking for an exact number, just an idea.

My stats before surgery -
6'3 224 11.8% BF

My lifts -
Bench - 350lb
Squat - 405x5(never maxed on it yet, too scared lol)
Deadlift - 605lb(my best lift)

So I am asking will I decrease a lot on these lift numbers when I come back, or will it be more of a, just get back into the swing of things and it will all come back? Also does anyone think I should try some sort of diet that will help me retain my muscle betters vs. an average high protein, mod carbs?

Thanks a lot guys for your help.


It's been my experience that two weeks won't set you back much.

If I miss this amount of time, and do occasionally, my first two or three lifting sessions are pretty weak and disappointing, but then I'm within a rep or two of where I left off.

I don't know what surgery will do to this though. Your body is focusing a lot of energy on healing itself and I'm not sure how that would play in to retaining muscle or if it would even affect you.

As far as caloric intake, I would probably keep calories from all sources high. Eat lots of protien but also carbs and fat.

Give your body food to heal most importantly and to maintain as much energy and strength as possible.

Eat like you are bulking. It won't take long to trim the two or three lbs of fat you may add in two weeks time.


Awesome, great advice sir.

My surgery has something to do with my Chrons disease, incision in the lower midsection. About 15 stitches all in all.

Diet wise that's what I was thinking also, just make sure I get a good 300-400g protein, and not really worry about the fat/carbs intake.

If anyone else has any advice please let me know. I'm going crazy here just sitting here recovering, the gym is my sanctuary.


If you are having your midsection cut open, I would seriously consider taking more than two weeks off and just dealing with losses to regain. I am not a doctor and don't know shit about medical stuff but two weeks sounds awfully short knowing how long it takes a simple scratch to heal.

Don't fuck around with surgery, especially if it is serious surgery like it sounds. You can always rebuild muscle.


Thanks for the concern, but the doc and I talked a lot about that because of how bad I wanted to get back into the gym. He basically said three weeks at first, but right before the surgery he told me two weeks will be fine. And when I went to go back to him to take out some of the stitches four days after surgery, he was still on board for the two weeks.

He has me wearing a special workout binder, and told me to wrap it in a Ace bandage, and on top of that have a weight belt on at all times during the workout.


Don't have much contribute because I'm guessing you're far more developed than me, but just wanted to give you kudos on lifting so soon after an operation. Respect!


Thanks for the concern, but the doc and I talked a lot about that because of how bad I wanted to get back into the gym. He basically said three weeks at first, but right before the surgery he told me two weeks will be fine. And when I went to go back to him to take out some of the stitches four days after surgery, he was still on board for the two weeks.

He has me wearing a special workout binder, and told me to wrap it in a Ace bandage, and on top of that have a weight belt on at all times during the workout.


When I got my wisdom teeth out I got dry sockets and couldn't eat solid food. I couldn't eat at all for a day or two.

I was also inactive for a while since any straining could make the stitches pop.

In maybe a week I lost 15 pounds. Muscle just poured off me. But once I started training again it took a little over a week, maybe 10 days tops, till I regained my weight and was stronger than before.

I had a lot of milkshakes with protein. Since I wasn't eating much at all I tried to get in a lot of fat and protein to keep my body from burning up any more muscle.

I think a diet pretty low in carbs and high in fat and protein will help slow muscle loss as much as possible. Just think that you're going into hibernation.

If you do that, I wouldn't be too concerned. You will bounce back quickly, and muscle loss probably won't be as big of a problem if you didn't get oral surgery or some other surgery that keeps you from eating.


Thanks for the feedback G87 and Scott.

Scott what do you think about taking L-Leucine with almost every other meal? I have been doing that, and hoping it will slow down muscle loss, and also I'm curious why you think I should go low carb. If you could dabble in that it would be great. Keep in mind I'm looking to keep my strength, don't really give two shits if I gain a couple pounds, that can be worked off. When I get back into the gym, I'm gonna tear it up.


Well, you're stronger than me. You probably know by now how your body responds to food.

I can see a case against going low carb. Carbs are supposed to be "muscle sparing." I have no idea what that means. I just figured if you're inactive, you won't need that many carbs. That, and if you can't forcefeed yourself per usual, then eating fat will be a more efficient way to gain calories than eating carbs. I don't think you'll gain weight unless you eat like a total pig and get drunk every other day. Who knows, maybe having a diet where you switch carbs with fats will increase your hormone levels and reduce catabolism.

I have no doubts that no matter what you lose, you'll gain it back. I was just thinking that your muscles won't be fatigued so you won't need many carbs to replenish them, nor will you need many carbs for energy either. When you cycle your carbs, you eat more carbs and slightly less protein on your most intense training days. Those are your 'high days.' on your 'low days' or your rest days, carbs are down and protein is up. Since you won't be doing anything, you're about to have a bunch of 'low days.'

I have no idea what good L-Leucine will do if your inactive. Maybe it will do some good and maybe it won't. It's supposed to be the specific trigger for new muscle growth: something you won't be experiencing over the next two weeks. If I had a big, expensive tub of that stuff, I'd just save it for when I get back to training. To me it seems like taking L-Leucine while inactive is like taking Spike while inactive - it doesn't make any sense and it won't do you any good.

But maybe I'm totally wrong about L-Leucine. Thibs just underwent surgery and he wrote about that in the L-Leucine release article. I forget if he said he used it after he got out of the hospital to put his muscle back on or if he took L-Leucine while he was in the hospital to minimize muscle loss. Don't take my advice. Go read that article and see what Thibs did. If he started taking the L-Leucine AFTER he got out of the hospital, then I'd keep the lid closed until I was ready to train.


Two weeks. No big deal in fact it is probably good for you. Your lifts will not be as good when you get back but you will get it back within 4 - 5 weeks. You will be fine. Don't sweat it.

I used to be just like you but not as worried about taking a couple of weeks off every once in a while. It will do you some good.


Thanks a lot Scott, that was a great explanation. I'm pretty good with carbs, so I might do something like 350g protein/150g carbs/70g fats.

Yea, I'm beginning to think I'm over thinking all of this. I just need to relax, and I needed a week off anyhow, I've been training 6 days a week for the last 6 months. So the extra week off might help.

Again, Thanks for the feedback guys!


depends how long you've been training, and how long you've had your current physique and weight.

but in two weeks? i say you'll lose about 1.4274lbs of muscle.


I recently took a month off to heal my ulnar nerve. Surprisingly I came back stronger. If you have a good foundation built two weeks won't knock down years of building. Nope.


I'm also 6'3 at around 225 with probably a little bit higher bf % then you (I'd guess at 15-17 %) When I had surgery on my shoulder I had about a month of inactivity but I managed actually to save a lot of muscle by maintaining a proper diet. I definitely think you can save your size by just eating what you usually eat on training days.

As for strength (I've always trained for strength myself) you'll probably go down a little bit but I honestly think that if you've trained hard prior to the surgery the 2 weeks will do you good. You'll most likely only need 1-2 weeks to regain your strength and you'll probably even get stronger from there.

As for myself, my situation sucks. I've been banned from my gym for three months and I don't have enough money to go somewhere else so I'm basically forced to work with a super light dumbbell and a 150 lb loaded barbell (I'm doing Nate Greens Built for show) at home.

I'm 19 so I still haven't hit my prime time luckily enough.

Good luck!


Here's a picture of me right now, I know it's horrible quality and bad pose and all that. But it's something to show you where I'm at in terms of body comp.

Thanks for all the great advice, so you all believe diet will be pretty important in maintaining muscle?

Right now I am doing something like this as far as diet...
Meal 1 - 2 scoops whey, 1 cup oats, 1 cup strawberries, 1 banana, 2 tbls olive oil

Meal 2 - 1 cup brown rice (uncooked), 2 6-8 ounce chicken breast

Meal 3 - 2 scoops whey/casein mix, 2 tbls heavy whipping cream

Meal 4 - (usually my post workout shake and waxy maize), but being inactive it's - 6 whole eggs, 2 tbls of natty PB

Meal 5 - 2 6-8 lean hamburger patties

Meal 6 - 2 scoops whey/casein mix, 2 tbls of cottage cheese (no fat free shit)

If anyone disagrees with my diet, or think another diet is better. Please tell me, and tell me why. Thanks guys.


To answer your questions, I've been training a good year straight. With little to no breaks, but off and on training I'd say for around 3-4 years. In terms of physique, my physique is always changing, so I don't know what you're looking for there.

In terms of weight though, I've been averaging 2-3lbs a month. I know not much, but it's all muscle weight and it all adds up.


We have about the same build to, how does your training program look like? I'm looking to hit the same numbers you've put on the Deadlift, Squat and Bench.


It's pretty hard to explain, but I'll do my best. All my exercises for each muscle group go like this: A1 - pyramid(usually bench, deadlifts, squats, and military press), A2 - basic 3x10, A3andA4 are superset together.

I also alternate between three exercises on each of my tempo exercise after my first, heres an example. A1 - flatbench, this doesn't change, but A2-A4 changes. So here is A2 - incline db, incline bench, incline diamonds. I alternate between each of those for each different week. Hope you can understand all that...

Chest day would go like this -
A1 - flat bench(doesn't change) - pyramid
A2 - incline bench/incline db/incline diamonds - 3x10
A3 superset with A4, A3 - weighted dips/pec dec/flat bench cable fly
A4 - (different angles of cable flies) downward cable flies/middle cable flies/underneath cable flies

If you have any questions let me know...


Fuck that, do light weight on your arms or something.

But that's coming from a guy who strained his whole trap and neck on Tuesday and was bench pressing today and doing curls.