T Nation

Stomach Flu- 2 Weeks Off and Pissed


So I caught a nasty stomach bug which put me out for the last two weeks. I ate very little, and what I did eat had to be force fed. I'm pretty pissed because I've lost quite a bit of mass (especially glute mass) and I leaned up considerably, which I don't like.

I know I know, muscle memory. But is it really that reliable? I mean I'm super pissed because I put in some serious time to get the body I want, and I feel completely back to square one due to this damn flu.

Also, what do you think my strength will be like on my first day back? Should I de-load considerably or not at all? I was on some other bodybuilding forums online (I know, fuck me right) and they were saying that any loss of strength is more than likely a mental thing, and that two weeks really shouldn't make that big of a difference. What do y'all think?

Do you think this was just the shock my body needs and I'll come back quick even better, or do you think it will take some time to get back to where I was? Thanks, appreciate it!


2 weeks? Doesn't matter. I don't care what I am benching next month(for example) I want to bench big next year. Don't be so nearsighted and look at the whole picture over a course of years to your ultimate goal.


Muscle memory is no joke. I've been put out for months and was back to 90% of where I was probably in no more than 6 weeks.

I feel you though... that blows so bad. Good luck.


2 weeks is nothing. In fact, even undereating, I highly doubt you lost any real muscle. You may have depleted your msucle glycogen, and appear a bit smaller, or flatter, but while many people think a day, or even a few days off from solid training and dieting will set them back, it really doesn't work that way.

Strength levels can vary based on a few things. How hard were you beating yourself down before? For some people who just smash themselves, time off helps recovery and they come back stronger. Also, how coordinated you naturally are. I know that while I don't lose muscle when I take some time off, my muscles sometimes lose the "groove" of certain exercises. THat doesn't mean my strength went down, merely that it takes me a few more sets, or even until my 2nd training session back to reach that mindless-deep-focus that I usually have when in the midst of training.

Also, "muscle memory" refers to the extra nuclei in your previously trained muscle cells that now allow for more protein synthesis when you return to training after an extended (not a couple of weeks, we're talking months, years...). THat's why someone who used to be pretty built from hard training, can come back to it several years later and seemingly puff up faster than the first time. 2 week off from training? You won't need muscle memory, you just might need to refamiliarize yourself with the movements, and refill your muscle glycogen if it's been depleted.



Hey y'all thanks for the replies, I'm actually pretty relieved to hear everyone tell me I'm worrying over nothing. Glad y'all are setting me straight! Thanks for taking the time to respond and ease my mind. I don't mean to stress out over this. I'm realizing exactly how stupid I'm being. Hahaha. Thanks


Read 531 and some of Jim wendler articles and you'll never sweat stuff like that again


So an update on how things went when I lifted. I 20% expected to have the same strength levels, and 80% expected to have to de-load just a bit. In reality? I had to de-load considerably. I'm used to starting at 315 (hip thrusting) and got a good solid set of 7 in before I realized I had to take some weight off. Usually pyramid down doing sets of 8.

I usually (did) 315, 305, 295, 275, 245, 225.. etc. But my sets went a little like this: 305 (for 7) 275 245.. etc. I feel like I majorly lost strength. Not only that, my QUADS were SOOO fatigued. They were shaking by my second lift, so I ended up cutting out leg press and lunges (and just sucked it up and did some front squats anyway, which I had to de-load down to 65 lbs from 95.

It will be a good 4-6 weeks before my strength is where it was. But I do think my body needed this shock because in reality my measurements haven't changed all that much. I'm thinking that I'm probably going to get bigger than before, but then I think back to an article I read comparing power-lifting to bodybuilding. It was discussing how your muscles adapt and can get stronger without getting bigger.

But I mean I'm hitting the sets of 8 and getting a good burn in (and experiencing the pump [occlusion]), and my whole body feels absolutely taxed (metabolic stress?).\, and when I'm in the actual moment of lifting, the muscle feels like it's going to rip off the bone (mechanical tension?) and I experience soreness so. Do y'all still think it's safe to say that perhaps I will be getting bigger than I was before being sick, even though I'm building back up into the same strength levels?

Am I thinking about this too much?????


Muscles don't know how much weight you are asking them to lift at any given time. They simply understand intensity, or "holy hell this is hard!"

This is why you hear fairly often about bodybuilders employing means to decrease the actual weights they are working with in an effort to spare their joints, yet still provide a form of resistance to a muscle under strain.

Relax. As I often tell a buddy of mine when we get all nitty-gritty bodybuilding talk: It ain't rocket science -lol :slight_smile:



It will be 1 or 2 weeks tops, you really just need to get your diet and workout routines back on track.

Without a doubt, yes. :slightly_smiling:


Yes. I was recently kept out of the gym for months because of an ulcerative colitis flare.

Am I weaker? Sure. But that's just the way it is. Know what I'm doing? The same thing I always did. Being out of the gym hasn't changed anything.


Strength is a skill as much as it is an ability, many times being out of the gym for a few weeks you simply loose the "skill" aspect a bit, or as Stu put it above you lose "the groove" of where things should be, etc...

What if a trumpet player took 2 weeks off? She would probably come back and have to practice for a few days to get back to where she was prior... But in no time at all she will be playing just as good, and eventually surpass her old skills if she continues.

Weights and strength are no different. It is very disheartening, trust me I have been there many times, but rest assured that if you just keep plugging away you WILL be better than you were before. Its like the stock market... In the long run it is up but there may be some little dips, or huge dips (things major injury), along the way.


Here's a decent question. What do you guys do if you START to feel sick? As in, you think you're about to get sick? Vitamin C and take some time off? What else?


This is bro-science galore, but if I feel sick, I usually just gorge that day/night. Just try to get at least 300+ g of Protein and like 5000 kcal minimum. Usually drink at least a half gallon of OJ with that as well. I just do that because I used to be a very sickly kid, and I noticed I'd feel sick one day, not eat much (because I wouldn't feel like it due to the sickness), and then BOOM, the next day or so I'd get a full on sickness.

I figured if I just basically soak my body in nutrients, it has a better chance of 'fighting' the illness. It seems to work for me, but like I said, it's all bro-science lol


The only thing I've ever found to "cure" a coming or already onset low level illness is to double down on sleep. I know this is a luxury that few have, but if you have the kind of lifestyle that allows you to stay in bed for a day, and have the ability to sleep while you do (I've found not everyone can sleep for 18 hours or so) I've been able to knock out many a cold this way. Eat up too, because a cold increases your metabolism 10%.


1) Work hard for what you want.
2) Accept what you get
3) Go back to 1.

If you get ill, you get weaker, you break a leg. There's nothing that can be done about it so it is pointless stressing about how far back it set you. You are where you are and you have work ahead of you. If a set back is going to derail you, you had problems well before you struck the obstacle. Be thankful the obstacle raised your awareness for you


Ah yeah. The reason I asked is cause I felt that familiar tingling in my sinuses in the morning, so what I did was what you said, sleep. I slept like 5-6 hours in the day, took alot of vitamin C, still ate a good amount (plus more fruits), and at night I sweat it out and now I feel normal. Thank the good lord!!