What Happens to Your Body Naturally When You Stop Lifting?

I heard a lot of people gained weight and getting fatter. But for me, I lost shit ton of weight. Crazy how I was still going to the gym for the last 9 months but I didn’t train as hard as my diet was crap because I was so busy with work and life recently. I didn’t starve or anything and was still eating normal but not enough protein as I was eating out or ordering food most of the time. I lost about 15 pounds while my bodyfat stayed similar which meant I lost 15 pounds of muscle in 9 months

It doesn’t necessarily mean you lost muscle tissue, you could just be storing less muscle glycogen. Getting back into training hard and increasing carbs might get you back to where you were.

Some people get fat, other turn to twigs, others keep most of their results and everything in between.

It depends on what you eat, how active you are, how stressed you are after you stop and your genetics


I get fatter and weaker and slowly start to lose muscle mass (especially in my upper body)…of course it depends exactly how long you go with no training + food intake etc.

I lost way more strength than I did muscle.

Lost muscle but gained fat and about a 5 lb. weight gain. Among other things. Those improved health markers-bp, cholesterol, etc. actually do have an impact in the long term.

Lost weight- probably mostly muscle. Strength’s coming back

That’s the opposite of me. My strength only went down a bit. Like 2.5-5 lbs in isolation exercises and 5-15 lbs in compound lifts. Not a major loss compared to the muscle mass. Might because I was still training regularly but I wasn’t getting enough protein.

Might be true but I am still getting my carbs in my crappy diet. Also I don’t feel depleted so it is most probably muscle loss

I don’t plan on ever finding out


Well, you can plan not to, but sometimes shit just happens

In April, I went in for a visa medical exam and walked out learning that I had 17 years of fluid buildup in my right kidney…

Muscle cell volume can change drastically. Something like 30x by volume or something of that magnitude.

Loss like that falls under basic atrophy and can be gotten back pretty easily. It’s not like muscle loss from trauma or disease.

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Getting some carbs doesn’t mean you are effectively storing a lot of glycogen in the muscles. The liver can store glycogen as well. What exactly does “feeling depleted” even feel like?

Did you lose a lot of strength? If you didn’t, what makes you think you lost muscle? If you have lost a ton strength, then of course there’s no question you lost muscle so why ask?

I have gone through some similar things because I get flattened out pretty bad preparing more martial arts tournaments in late spring and late fall. And I have to watch my weight at those times so I can’t just load up carbs and lift harder. Pretty everything gets focused on conditioning and technique. But in offseasons I have no trouble gaining weight back and visibly improving body composition. I firmly believe its mostly fluctuating glycogen stores in the muscle.

Anyway this could all be a moot point if you just get your diet in order and train harder, because you will probably gain everything back within 2ish months

Warm apple pie.


Faster muscle wasting occurs when this muscle mass is mainly due to sarkoplazma hypertrophy. If the hypertrophy is myofibril and the muscle mass is built from the muscle tissue, then the loss is more difficult and slower. Realistically, we need to distinguish between muscle volume and real muscle mass. In most cases, the muscle volume is lost, and by measuring the circumference it is seen that it has decreased, but realistically this may not be muscle tissue, but other substances that have filled this volume.
One example is professional bodybuilders who, if they stop exercising very quickly, will lose their volumes. This is not the case, however, with the powerlifters and the olimpic lifters. Because their muscle mass is real and built mainly by myofibril hypertrophy.
Naturally, in bodybuilders there are other factors, such as do drugs that strengthen the hypertrophy. And when they stop practicing and drink these medications the fall is very fast. Consider, for example, a bodybuilder how it will look if 6 months does not train or take any additional stimulants. You will not recognize him. Then look at someone who powerlifters and the olimpic lifters , if they don’t train for six months, how they’re going to look. Changing them will not be so tangible. Because built muscles with real strength workouts are real, they build up harder, but they get lost a lot harder if a person just stops practicing for a certain period. It is true that the two types of hypertrophy do not go separately, but the important thing is which of them will prevail more.

I’m just coming off of a 2 year layoff. Pulled 495 last week pretty easily on squat sore legs on my first deadlift workout/system check. It felt like I’m “used” to 585 feeling when I was at my lifting peak.

I gained about 10 lbs during the layoff and have never used any sort of anabolics. I was active training Jiu Jitsu and occasional light DB and kettle bell work, but no barbells.

In short I got fatter and weaker but it’s not like my gains disappeared. I’m expecting a whole new round of beginner gains as I re-acclimate to lifting.


I generally have the same experience when I go through a layoff. Strength comes back pretty quickly and I end up with a new round of beginner gains. Steve Reeves used to take up to 3 months of the year off and focus on hiking and other things, he was quoted as saying it made for a good re-set.

I’ve heard the term Muscle Memory used two ways.

If you stop lifting you don’t 100% forget how to do the movements. You still kinda remember how to lift so your strength comes back fast.

When you lift you damage muscle cells, then many little satellite cells come to repair the damage. After that your muscle cells have more nuclei. When you return to lifting muscles grow back faster than they initially grew.

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I used to lift up until the age of 18/19 when I got a whole bunch of injuries not related to lifting. I couldn’t even jog or do pushups for several years. I’m now 25.

It took nearly 3 years for me to not look like I lifted anymore, which was longer than I thought it’d take. Most of my strength remained too, which was also weird. Muscle memory is awesome. I can still do DB Overhead Presses standing with 65lbs somewhat easily, which took me a while to get to as a newb.

Well strength is about the nervous system. When you do an activity, develop a skill or lift weights, your brain will create neuronal connexions (like at first you cannot feel or flex your lats) and those do not disappear. You also becole better at recruiting muscle fiber through your CNS