HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO REGAIN MUSCLE AFTER A LONG LAY OFF?
I touched on this in an article on July 11th entitiled How Much Time can You Take Off Without Losing Strength/Muscle?
But now we’re going to use a real live test-on me. I just came off a ten week layoff for medical reasons and started back in the gym on July 25th.
During that layoff I lost somewhere around 12 pounds. But I need to explain the loss being so big.
· I had already begun a “cut” before the surgery (losing excess body fat on purpose-trying to get below 12%) I had lost down from 213 to 207.
· About 8 of those 10 weeks of layoff I had little or no activity. (not ideal)
· With the almost total lack of activity, a higher percentage of that 12 pound loss was muscle.
· My nutrition went to hell. With no activity I had little appetite.
Here’s where I stood when I was able to get back in the gym.
· Body fat (Using Defender Body Fat Calipers) = 14.5%
· Weight 195 pounds
WEIGHT= 207 195
CHEST = -2 inches
UPPER ARM= -2 inches
QUADS= - 3.5 inches
CALF= -1.5 inches
BODY FAT % 13.5 (27.94 lbs) 14.5(28.3 lbs)
The result: I gained less than ½ pound of fat but lost almost 12.5 pounds of muscle.
Loss of muscle could have been minimized if I could have maintained some activity and done a better job with nutrition.
The general rule is, for every week of the layoff, it will take about a week to gain back what you lose. We’ll see how I do.
I started on July 25th at only 35% of my 1 Rep Max (1RM) shooting for 20 reps .My usual loads are between 60% and 80% of 1 RM for 9-12 reps.
No lower body exercises except calves for now. That will slow muscle gain somewhat.
The plan is to increase loads by about 5% of 1 RM per week where I can, cut fat and increase protein on the nutrition side. We’ll see how I do.