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Muscle Atrophy After Two Months?

If you don’t work out for say, two months, how will your body respond? I have not been training long enough, nor have I taken any major breaks, to know for myself.

I was at my doctor’s yesterday and after telling me how bodyweight squats are much better than weighted squats for a while, he told me that any bodybuilder will lose more than 50% of his muscle mass after only two months of doing no maintenance.

I’m just curious here. I realize that even if you are in a situation where you can not progress for whatever reasons, it’s pretty easy to compromise somehow just to maintain until you can get into a gym or get proper nutrition again or whatnot. If a bodybuilder does go around 2 months without lifting, what happens to their gains? How much easier is it to re-gain said gains?

The doctor also told me that all of their muscle will turn to fat. I told him that muscle can be burned for energy without proper nutrition to maintain it or that you could gain fat and lose muscle at the same time if eating the same amount as you used to while at a more muscular state, creating the allusion of muscle turning directly to fat. He basically told me to go finish high school and get a medical degree and then talk to him, but what do you guys all have to say about this?

[quote]Artem wrote:
If you don’t work out for say, two months, how will your body respond? I have not been training long enough, nor have I taken any major breaks, to know for myself.

I was at my doctor’s yesterday and after telling me how bodyweight squats are much better than weighted squats for a while, he told me that any bodybuilder will lose more than 50% of his muscle mass after only two months of doing no maintenance.

I’m just curious here. I realize that even if you are in a situation where you can not progress for whatever reasons, it’s pretty easy to compromise somehow just to maintain until you can get into a gym or get proper nutrition again or whatnot. If a bodybuilder does go around 2 months without lifting, what happens to their gains? How much easier is it to re-gain said gains?

The doctor also told me that all of their muscle will turn to fat. I told him that muscle can be burned for energy without proper nutrition to maintain it or that you could gain fat and lose muscle at the same time if eating the same amount as you used to while at a more muscular state, creating the allusion of muscle turning directly to fat. He basically told me to go finish high school and get a medical degree and then talk to him, but what do you guys all have to say about this?[/quote]

I have to say I’m tired of hearing what some doctor said second hand. I have a hard time believing a medical doctor told you that muscles TURNS INTO fat. In fact, until I actually hear a medical doctor say anything like that, I will assume your story is slightly exaggerated with the goal of getting several posts of, “wow, that doctor is a dumbass”.

Considering I can ask my patients to repeat what I said after I just said it and most of them couldn’t recall two words, it is amazing that so many of you remember entire conversations word for word and the medical professional is always the dumbass.

As far as how much muscle you can lose, that has everything to do with GENETICS and FOOD INTAKE.

Why someone would take two whole months off is a mystery to me. That’s called QUITTING.

I am really not exaggerating the story. This doctor has said a lot of sketch things to me, but he definitely did say that. I questioned him on it and said how one tissue can not turn into another and he called over his apprentice or whatever and asked her: “Can fat turn to muscle?” her: no. “Can muscle turn to fat?” her: yes.

I wouldn’t call that quitting. Bodybuilding can not always be a first priority, but you can always do something to attempt to maintain. If you are put into a position where you have no gym for two months and less than optimal nutrition, I wouldn’t exactly call that your fault. The military would be a good example.

What you could do in such a situation is find whatever you can to work out with, eat as much as you can, and sleep as much as you are allowed to.

Well, when I stop training, my muscles shrink. And rather quickly. Of course hard training spikes my appetite which is normally low.

my genetics are a joke and taking any significant time makes me lose a lot of strength which causes significant loss of reps/sets

this is why “taking a week off” for others may work great but is a disaster for me

as for training without a gym there are still options like pushups, bodyweight squats, chinups/pullups and lifting various heavy objects

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I have to say I’m tired of hearing what some doctor said second hand. I have a hard time believing a medical doctor told you that muscles TURNS INTO fat. In fact, until I actually hear a medical doctor say anything like that, I will assume your story is slightly exaggerated with the goal of getting several posts of, “wow, that doctor is a dumbass”.

Considering I can ask my patients to repeat what I said after I just said it and most of them couldn’t recall two words, it is amazing that so many of you remember entire conversations word for word and the medical professional is always the dumbass.

As far as how much muscle you can lose, that has everything to do with GENETICS and FOOD INTAKE.

Why someone would take two whole months off is a mystery to me. That’s called QUITTING.[/quote]

Posts like this crop up pretty damn often on this board, always involving some Average Joe getting ridiculous misinformation from a professional (doctor, college professor, etc). Average Joe calls them out on it, the professional gets snippy and falls back on their degree(s) to put Average Joe in their place.

Average Joe comes on T-Nation to share.

This formula is getting pretty old - I can’t imagine where these people go for their education or health care if they routinely bump into people like that. I have nothing but good things to say about my doctors and professors so far.

Then again, I don’t go to people who operate out of their garage for my check-ups.

[quote]anonym wrote:
Professor X wrote:
I have to say I’m tired of hearing what some doctor said second hand. I have a hard time believing a medical doctor told you that muscles TURNS INTO fat. In fact, until I actually hear a medical doctor say anything like that, I will assume your story is slightly exaggerated with the goal of getting several posts of, “wow, that doctor is a dumbass”.

Considering I can ask my patients to repeat what I said after I just said it and most of them couldn’t recall two words, it is amazing that so many of you remember entire conversations word for word and the medical professional is always the dumbass.

As far as how much muscle you can lose, that has everything to do with GENETICS and FOOD INTAKE.

Why someone would take two whole months off is a mystery to me. That’s called QUITTING.

Posts like this crop up pretty damn often on this board, always involving some Average Joe getting ridiculous misinformation from a professional (doctor, college professor, etc). Average Joe calls them out on it, the professional gets snippy and falls back on their degree(s) to put Average Joe in their place.

Average Joe comes on T-Nation to share.

This formula is getting pretty old - I can’t imagine where these people go for their education or health care if they routinely bump into people like that. I have nothing but good things to say about my doctors and professors so far.

Then again, I don’t go to people who operate out of their garage for my check-ups.
[/quote]

Exactly. I just don’t understand most of these comments and I have a strong feeling that things aren’t as “black and white” as most of these guys portray on this board. Considering most patients barely hear 20% of what comes out of doctor’s mouth, it is very surprising that all of the geniuses on earth come to this forum to complain about some idiot doctor who doesn’t know biology at all and who needs some classes from the patient.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
anonym wrote:
Professor X wrote:
I have to say I’m tired of hearing what some doctor said second hand. I have a hard time believing a medical doctor told you that muscles TURNS INTO fat. In fact, until I actually hear a medical doctor say anything like that, I will assume your story is slightly exaggerated with the goal of getting several posts of, “wow, that doctor is a dumbass”.

Considering I can ask my patients to repeat what I said after I just said it and most of them couldn’t recall two words, it is amazing that so many of you remember entire conversations word for word and the medical professional is always the dumbass.

As far as how much muscle you can lose, that has everything to do with GENETICS and FOOD INTAKE.

Why someone would take two whole months off is a mystery to me. That’s called QUITTING.

Posts like this crop up pretty damn often on this board, always involving some Average Joe getting ridiculous misinformation from a professional (doctor, college professor, etc). Average Joe calls them out on it, the professional gets snippy and falls back on their degree(s) to put Average Joe in their place.

Average Joe comes on T-Nation to share.

This formula is getting pretty old - I can’t imagine where these people go for their education or health care if they routinely bump into people like that. I have nothing but good things to say about my doctors and professors so far.

Then again, I don’t go to people who operate out of their garage for my check-ups.

Exactly. I just don’t understand most of these comments and I have a strong feeling that things aren’t as “black and white” as most of these guys portray on this board. Considering most patients barely hear 20% of what comes out of doctor’s mouth, it is very surprising that all of the geniuses on earth come to this forum to complain about some idiot doctor who doesn’t know biology at all and who needs some classes from the patient.[/quote]

At least he didn’t ask us whether or not it would be a good idea to print off some T-Nation articles and bring them to his next appointment.

Of course your muscle shrinks when you don’t train… but I’ve seen and experienced first hand that it’s much easier to regain muscle you’ve lost than to build new muscle. My cousin stopped training for over a year, lost 30 pounds and in 2 months gained nearly 20 pounds (19 as of this morning :P), with only minimal fat (he was at 5% before stopping, must be 7ish now). So don’t stress too much about that.

And about your doctor, does it matter who’s right anyway, just don’t stop training and you won’t have to find out.

most family doctors are in pretty poor physical shape themselves. You get around sports medicine types it is different.
I have had a dr. tell me that aerobics were more benefical than weight training, just smiled and nodded my head.
During one of those quickie physicals you get when applying for a job, I asked about a sore shoulder, and was told to stop lifting. This is not an option, I will work around it, I will change exercises, but I am going to do what I do.
I scratch and claw for every gain, and at 51 gains are slow, sometimes just maintaining is a gain. I lose it quick, there are times when I back off for a bit, but there is no time off.

[quote]Artem wrote:
If you don’t work out for say, two months, how will your body respond? I have not been training long enough, nor have I taken any major breaks, to know for myself.

I was at my doctor’s yesterday and after telling me how bodyweight squats are much better than weighted squats for a while, he told me that any bodybuilder will lose more than 50% of his muscle mass after only two months of doing no maintenance.
[/quote]

And how much weight do you think you would loose if you stopped eating for two months?

How many teeth would you have if you stopped brushing them for two months?

How many girlfriends would you have if you stopped showering for two months?

The obvious meaning to all this is that your health, hygiene, fitness, and life all take maintenance. Your body is designed to adapt. So it will always adapt to whatever is or is not required of it.

So the fact that you will lose muscle if you stop working out is no different than losing another aspect of your health if you stop maintaining that as well.

So the fact that muscles need to be maintained should not be a barrier to anyone wanting to gain or keep muscle mass and health.

The heart surgeon I’ve talked about training, I was at his house talking about how I want to get up to 200 lbs, and he was flabber gasted, if I may use those words.
LOL.

He couldn’t fathom why I would want to put on weight, seeing as I look fine the way I am/was.

He went on to say, what’s going to happen when you don’t keep up with it in a few years, I’m going to end up being fat, yada yada yada, lol.

I explained that this is what I do for a profession so it’s not like I’m going to just give up one day and say you know what, this exercise stuff isn’t for me.

[quote]jehovasfitness wrote:
The heart surgeon I’ve talked about training, I was at his house talking about how I want to get up to 200 lbs, and he was flabber gasted, if I may use those words.
LOL.

He couldn’t fathom why I would want to put on weight, seeing as I look fine the way I am/was.

He went on to say, what’s going to happen when you don’t keep up with it in a few years, I’m going to end up being fat, yada yada yada, lol.

I explained that this is what I do for a profession so it’s not like I’m going to just give up one day and say you know what, this exercise stuff isn’t for me.[/quote]

What will happen if he doesn’t keep up with being a scrawny weakling? He will be even weaker and more pathetic in a few years. That line of thinking that you shouldn’t do something because you will have to maintain it is retarded. It goes against all current scientific knowledge.

[quote]Lorisco wrote:
jehovasfitness wrote:
The heart surgeon I’ve talked about training, I was at his house talking about how I want to get up to 200 lbs, and he was flabber gasted, if I may use those words.
LOL.

He couldn’t fathom why I would want to put on weight, seeing as I look fine the way I am/was.

He went on to say, what’s going to happen when you don’t keep up with it in a few years, I’m going to end up being fat, yada yada yada, lol.

I explained that this is what I do for a profession so it’s not like I’m going to just give up one day and say you know what, this exercise stuff isn’t for me.

What will happen if he doesn’t keep up with being a scrawny weakling? He will be even weaker and more pathetic in a few years. That line of thinking that you shouldn’t do something because you will have to maintain it is retarded. It goes against all current scientific knowledge.

[/quote]

Tradition. That is the only explanation for why that even makes sense to someone.

“Don’t brush your teeth because if you ever stop brushing them, they will decay and fall out. It is better to never grow any in the first place.”

[quote]anonym wrote:
Professor X wrote:
I have to say I’m tired of hearing what some doctor said second hand. I have a hard time believing a medical doctor told you that muscles TURNS INTO fat. In fact, until I actually hear a medical doctor say anything like that, I will assume your story is slightly exaggerated with the goal of getting several posts of, “wow, that doctor is a dumbass”.

Considering I can ask my patients to repeat what I said after I just said it and most of them couldn’t recall two words, it is amazing that so many of you remember entire conversations word for word and the medical professional is always the dumbass.

As far as how much muscle you can lose, that has everything to do with GENETICS and FOOD INTAKE.

Why someone would take two whole months off is a mystery to me. That’s called QUITTING.

Posts like this crop up pretty damn often on this board, always involving some Average Joe getting ridiculous misinformation from a professional (doctor, college professor, etc). Average Joe calls them out on it, the professional gets snippy and falls back on their degree(s) to put Average Joe in their place.

Average Joe comes on T-Nation to share.

This formula is getting pretty old - I can’t imagine where these people go for their education or health care if they routinely bump into people like that. I have nothing but good things to say about my doctors and professors so far.

Then again, I don’t go to people who operate out of their garage for my check-ups.
[/quote]

Why is it so hard to believe that some doctors (or other professionals) say dumb things sometimes and wave their credentials indignantly? I am a scientist and my wife is a physician. During our training and professional lives we have run across MANY colleagues who, though generally competent and smart, hold some bone-headed ideas lodged firmly in place. Usually not in their areas of expertise, granted, but expertise can be pretty narrow. And there are absolutely many physicians who do not respond well to questions from patients and develop over time a rather exalted self-opinion. Having said that, Prof X is certainly right that many patients can’t hear what their doctors tell them, however carefully explained, and the doctor will USUALLY know much more than the patient.

  • MarkT

[quote]Artem wrote:
If you don’t work out for say, two months, how will your body respond? I have not been training long enough, nor have I taken any major breaks, to know for myself.

I was at my doctor’s yesterday and after telling me how bodyweight squats are much better than weighted squats for a while, he told me that any bodybuilder will lose more than 50% of his muscle mass after only two months of doing no maintenance.

I’m just curious here. I realize that even if you are in a situation where you can not progress for whatever reasons, it’s pretty easy to compromise somehow just to maintain until you can get into a gym or get proper nutrition again or whatnot. If a bodybuilder does go around 2 months without lifting, what happens to their gains? How much easier is it to re-gain said gains?

The doctor also told me that all of their muscle will turn to fat. I told him that muscle can be burned for energy without proper nutrition to maintain it or that you could gain fat and lose muscle at the same time if eating the same amount as you used to while at a more muscular state, creating the allusion of muscle turning directly to fat. He basically told me to go finish high school and get a medical degree and then talk to him, but what do you guys all have to say about this?[/quote]

You won’t lose actual, contractile muscle tissue, but you’ll lose “fluid hypertrophy”.

A HUGE part of the “bodybuilder appearance” is the result of sarcoplasmic / fluid hypertrophy which includes:

Residual vascularity from regular, high volume weight training
Muscle hardness due to glycogen depletion followed by super-compensation

The effect is just as bad, however. Anyone who has cut carbs and reduced calories for a week has seen how drastically that “fluid hypertrophy” can affect your appearance.

And your doctor could further his education by reading the teen section of Bodybuilding.com.

[quote]MarkT wrote:

Why is it so hard to believe that some doctors (or other professionals) say dumb things sometimes and wave their credentials indignantly? I am a scientist and my wife is a physician. During our training and professional lives we have run across MANY colleagues who, though generally competent and smart, hold some bone-headed ideas lodged firmly in place. Usually not in their areas of expertise, granted, but expertise can be pretty narrow. And there are absolutely many physicians who do not respond well to questions from patients and develop over time a rather exalted self-opinion. Having said that, Prof X is certainly right that many patients can’t hear what their doctors tell them, however carefully explained, and the doctor will USUALLY know much more than the patient.

  • MarkT[/quote]

What is hard to believe is that it happens this much and that all of those people find their way here to complain about it. Yes, I do have a very hard time believing a medical doctor claimed that muscle turned directly into fat. I think it’s bullshit.

I also know that while most of the doctors I’ve known (and that is quite a few) may have egos the size of mack trucks, I have not known many to speak on topics to that degree that they were truly clueless about. I don’t doubt that it happens, but I do doubt the frequency that many claim.

I also know that docs are human just like everyone else. That is why many believe the same crap the general public falls for when it comes to topics like bodybuilding/weightlifting unless they also lift weights. However, muscle turning directly into fat is something lay people believe, not doctors who have cut people open.

Wait up - I remember your post from a little while back.

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=2147863

Is this the same quack who claimed he could pick the supplements you need by placing them in your hand? What kind of doctor is this guy?

More importantly, why are you still seeing this guy?

Yea, that’s the guy.

He’s covered by our insurance and I just go to get physical therapy once a week, which is helping my back. I’m helping my own back mostly by correcting my posture and adjusting my back:chest training ratio, but free physical therapy is nice.