You were sick, couldn’t train for two weeks and now the training of the last weeks is completely ruined. Is your horror justified? A US study gives the all-clear in any case. But of course LOOX wanted to know exactly and asked the renowned sports scientist Dr. Dr. Michael Despeghel (59).
LOOX: According to the study, not exercising for two weeks is not bad at all. At what point does the muscle loss begin??
Muscle loss basically starts at age 72. hour after the last workout. The muscle is already getting worse. This is a normal physiological process. Also for recreational athletes.
Many of our readers go to the gym every day. At what point are you a recreational athlete and when are you a high-performance athlete??
You have to differentiate. Recreational athletes are those who train a maximum of 300 hours a year – for comparison: competitive athletes have 1000 training hours, high-performance athletes over 1000. The recreational fitness athlete isn’t necessarily trained to the hilt. The normal recreational athlete generally wants to stay fit, wants his weight to remain manageably stable, and perhaps also wants to have some definition.
If the degradation starts after 72 hours, you can see it directly then?
The silhouette of the body, d. h. the change of suddenly saying "oh, my six pack is shrinking, my biceps are suddenly thinner, my butt isn’t as tight", that would take a much longer period of time for the metabolism to change. D.h., that the cell changes, the water retention in the muscle, which is the main feature, gets a different structure.
When is this point reached?
This is a point that I would see perhaps after four weeks. If you then say four weeks of total passivity, decelerated, derailed diet, then the previously defined body has already undergone a change. Alcohol before all things is also a killer. But if you don’t do anything for 14 days and keep your eating under control, you don’t have to worry too much about your body silhouette disappearing.
Our expert Dr. Dr. Despeghel published 30 books on prevention, body, mind and lifestyle, which have been translated into 11 languages and have total sales of over 1.000.000 copies have.
His latest book, "The interval diet: Efficient and healthy weight loss – with only 2 days per week", is aimed at all those who want to lose weight with pleasure. With the help of the interval diet, also known as intermittent fasting, losing weight is possible without any sacrifice or change in diet. The concept of this diet, which is not a diet in the traditional sense, is very simple: five days a week you eat normally and two days you fast. The 125 recipes accompany you on your way to the dream body!
Now it can be that I paid attention at that time in the bio instruction wrongly, but if I am right informed: Isn’t it so, that the body likes to see unused muscle mass as superfluous and accordingly tackles it in metabolic processes rather than, for example, body fat??
No, first he always takes the sugar reserves. Until protein is really dramatically substituted, until it comes to atrophy, this process must already occur with a maximum immobilization.
Are there any studies?
We once did this experiment and put people completely to bed for a week, they had no movement at all, they were not even allowed to turn the pages of a book, there was an electronic help. They had then 28% loss of maximum strength, d. h. this is a completely untypical situation, since I am always a bit on the move.
So you can give the all-clear?
So this scaremongering "Help, 14 days no workout and you’ve lost everything", as now this investigation shows, I think is a bit exaggerated. Especially since the majority of those training in the gym are not at the zenith of having developed maximum strength at all. We find the majority in the sub-moderate training range at 40 – 50% of the maximum strength with far too long breaks, badly structured training control, and they do not get this adaptation in this maximum form at all. And then the muscle has much more time.
What is it about the body losing muscle from the age of 30?. The ageing population in particular likes to lose muscle?
That is true. Do it earlier, actually from 20, every year 2 – 3 %. Statistically, the 80 year old still has half the muscle mass of a 20 year old, and that’s a creeping aspect that you always have to complain about. Above all, of course, it hits the person who does not exercise. Through training I can of course stop this very well.
So the one who works diligently on himself even in old age is at an advantage?
Yes, 100%. A small exercise in everyday life to achieve this, for those who do nothing else, would be to stand in a door frame and press the feet against the door frame on the right and left side. Then the hands over the head also right and left against the frame, now build up maximum tension. Hold those 15 seconds, six repetitions, so six times 15 seconds of holding time with 5 to 10 seconds of rest in between. Then this should counteract the everyday muscle loss of the last 48 hours.
And what is there to the so-called muscle memory? Is there really something to it, that one can say, if I once brought a certain achievement and train for a month or longer no longer that my muscle then again faster on it starts?
This is physiologically equivalent to someone who has never done this before. On the contrary, the untrained always have an advantage – they are quicker to build up muscles. But of course the trained person knows the whole performance issue, the discipline to start training, to be at the training, to make an effort, to go to the training regularly. The process has been relatively clear, if you have done this for a long time and you get back into it more quickly. If I make an effort, I also get better results. That is, what the beginner often does not manage, he notices then straight in the Fitness Workout "Uh, is strenuous, if it is to bring something" and then an avoidance is evenly unfortunately fast there. The comfort zone has to be left and the trained person who knows that, from the muscle memory, so to speak, "I know that, I’m out of the comfort zone," has a better docking opportunity.
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