How Detraining Affects Your Strength and Muscle Mass

March 25, 2020

With the COVID19 pandemic hitting the country and forcing us inside, it’s easy to get frustrated and come up with a number of excuses as to why our training should take a backseat. Although training at home may not be the most ideal solution, something is always better than nothing. If you think your “gains” you’ve been working so hard to develop over the last few months/years has been for nothing, I’ve got some good news for you…

Previous studies have shown that it takes roughly three weeks of no resistance training to significantly lose muscle, while it takes roughly 28 days of no resistance training to see a serious drop in absolute strength levels (>10% decrease). The following graph below shows percentage change in maximal force levels for both males and females after a two-week detraining period. Females and highly trained strength male athletes saw a small percentage dip over the two-week period while physically active males actually got stronger! 

Considering they did literally no training at all for two weeks and saw only small changes to their force output, consistently sticking to your “at home” workouts should theoretically reduce the percentage drop even further. Training at home may not allow you to truly train to your fullest potential, but it definitely is doing more to maintain whatever gains and strength levels you’ve developed so far than you think. 

We are all in this together. The current situation is far from ideal for everyone and the most important thing right now is to come together as humans and tackle this pandemic head on and together. Everyone’s safety, health, and well being are the most important things to consider at the moment, but taking some time out your day for some physical activity/movement is not only a great “mental break” but will also make sure you are still adequately prepared to hit the ground running when normal life resumes.  Here’s a few things we can all do stay healthy in the meantime:

  1. Move! 

It doesn’t have to be the hardest or longest workout in the world, any movement during the day will not only give you a mental break from your work at home routine, but also re-energized and re-focused to attack whatever you’ve got left on your to-do list for the day.

  1. Consistency

This may be difficult to do at times, but any sort of consistency/normalcy you can maintain during this “social distancing” period will go a long ways in keeping you healthy and sane. Set aside 30-45 minutes a day/every other day and move! Remember, anything is better than nothing so use whatever you have at your disposal and don’t let this pandemic be your excuse as to why you haven’t been training!

  1. High Protein Diet

Try and make sure you are getting adequate protein amounts during each meal. This will not only keep you feeling full throughout the day (and keep you from reaching for those snacks out of “boredom”) and help maintain the lean muscle we’ve spent all year building and developing. Improve your grocery list with this post from our Nutritionist, Jamie.

  1. Relax

This may be easier said than done, but try and keep calm and remember that our current situation will not last forever. We are all in this together and we’ll get through this together. Call your family or loved ones, set aside some time for yoga/meditation, open that bottle of whiskey, or put on your favorite tv show and relax. Let’s all hold each other accountable, keep being positive, and we’ll come out stronger in the end.

 

What People Are Saying About Lift Chicago

  • Great coaching in an excellent facility.

    thumb Rick Sudekum

    One of the best workouts in the city. Always challenging and thoughtful workouts. Being able to see myself grow stronger and stronger week after week is all thanks to this... read more

    thumb Maddie Pass

    Hands down the best gym and the best trainers in the city. The entire experience from start to finish is outstanding. The staff is friendly, the equipment is... read more

    thumb Kyle Portnoy
  • If you're looking to train with coaches in safe, and clean environment away from crowds this is it. These coaches have years of experience and bring their expertise to... read more

    thumb Lisa Richards

    Positive: Communication ,  Professionalism ,  Quality Love the Lift classes- they are really unique, with 5 circuits and a mix of weight stations with some cardio, too... read more

    thumb Carrie Sweeney

    LIFT is fantastic!! The trainers are motivating and push you to your max but not in a way that you would injure yourself. The work outs are challenging but... read more

    thumb Julie Scott
  • Highly recommended. If you want a personalized, thorough, concise workout this is it. Each personal trainer is excellent for listening to your fitness goals, celebrates your achievements and accommodates any... read more

    thumb Kristine Kinder

    Positive: Communication ,  Professionalism ,  Quality I’ve had such a great experience here, especially training with Coach Abby! The trainers here are very attentive and helpful, which... read more

    thumb Linda Quizhpi

    Great workout for busy professionals. Simply the best !

    thumb Chris Santiago
  • I have trained with the guys at Lift for a long time and consider my sessions to be some of my best long-term investments. My workouts there are sustainable, enjoyable... read more

    thumb Brigid Sweeney

    Can’t recommend LIFT enough. If you’re looking for challenging, yet functional, strength training program to look and feel your best, LIFT is the place. All of the coaches there are... read more

    thumb Samantha Allen

    Lift Chicago is an incredible gym. Unbelievable equipment that you cannot find at big box gyms. I’ve been working with Pete for the past two years and he consistently challenges... read more

    thumb Jason
  • I started training at Lift over a year ago, after my daughter recommended it. I typically work with the same trainers, but it varies occasionally, and all have been careful,... read more

    thumb karyn hurwich

    Lift Chicago is a fantastic full-service gym. The trainers are knowledgable and motivating, the facility is clean and bright, and they take all steps to insure health and safety. As... read more

    thumb Margaret Berg

    The whole staff there is great. You cannot go wrong training with any of them. Plus, it is super clean. I feel complete safe going there with COVID-19.

    thumb Timothy McAlister
  • I’ve been training at Lift since it opened (and with Josh elsewhere for a few years prior). As a middle aged endurance athlete, I used to think I should strength... read more

    thumb Dana Rothschild

    I have been coming to LIFT since the day they opened and have been training with Josh for years now. Nothing compares to the workouts and knowledge you’ll get from... read more

    thumb Michelle Buckmaster

    Lift is THE place to go to perfect your training, perfect your form, and have an incredible time while doing it. Josh and the other coaches are the smartest and... read more

    thumb Jake Morrissy
  • I have a very busy schedule, so my training sessions need to be very efficient, staying under an hour at all times. LIFT provides a highly “efficient” workout protocol—... read more

    thumb Pete Wilkins

    After working out at LIFT for a year now, I can't say enough good things about this place. My trainer, Isaac, is kind, knowledgeable, experienced, and careful, making sure... read more

    thumb Paula Hoste

    I’ve been training at Lift since it opened, and with Pete prior to. Everyone here is always extremely professional and so very nice. They may not know it, but they... read more

    thumb Jenny Gariepy
  • This best place to work out in Chicago. Intelligent trainers with a great atmosphere. You can tell they love what they do and are passionate about creating the best gym/workout... read more

    thumb Danielle Spellman

    I've been working with Abby 3 days a week since October 2021, and it's probably not too much of a stretch to say I'm in love with her.

    In all seriousness,... read more

    thumb Ryan Carter

    I have loved working out at Lift since my first visit and now go twice a week. I particularly like the welcoming friendly atmosphere - everyone is welcome regardless... read more

    thumb Mary O'Broin