Muscle layoff

There was an interesting question asked in the “Malegrams” section of the August 2007 issue of Men’s Health:

Q: How long can I go without lifting weights before my muscles disappear?

Answer (provided by trainer Mike Mejia): Contrary to popular belief, your muscles don’t turn to mush as soon as you stop lifting. In fact, a recent study of recreational weight lifters found that 6 weeks of inactivity resulted in only a slight decrease in power (10) percent after 2 weeks) and virtually no drop-off in size or strength. You could go the whole summer without pumping iron – as long as you’re keeping fit with activities such as swimming or tennis. These sports help retain muscle mass and offer the perfect physical and mental break from the tedium of the gym. Come fall, you can return to the gum refreshed and ready to take your workouts to the next level.

Interesting. Obviously if your goal is to put on a ton of size, you don’t want to go an entire summer without so much as looking at a weight. But those who get sick of the rigors of a gym routine can find solace – at least from Mr. Mejia and his research – that if you partake in sports and other physical activities, you won’t resemble Calista Flockhart by August.


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