Due to a very busy schedule (cross country move, new job, new house, children, school, etc.) I stopped lifting heavy things for about 40 days. I jumped back in too aggressively and got hurt (muscle strain), which resulted in another month off. After all that time off, I knew I'd be weaker, but I didn't think I'd drop from benching 205 lbs 5 x 5 to 145 5 x 5! That's a decrease of about 30%! I was probably hypocaloric for much of my break, but I didn't lose more than a few pounds, and I remained largely primal. What rate of strength loss should one expect to experience when taking an extended break from training? Would a particular dietary strategy (higher protein, higher carbs, etc.) be more muscle sparing than others (VLC, etc.)? It took me 6 months to break 200 lbs, and now I'm starting all over again--it's very frustrating!
You'll be back up in no time. Don't sweat it. Initially you will feel really weak but I notice that when I lose gains they always come back very quickly. Make sure you are eating enough.
Welcome to the club! It's been 6 months for me off from the gym. I started going again last week. The initial soreness is the worst I've ever had in my life and I roughly calculated that I lost about 25% of my original strength and endurance.
I've done this before and each time it takes shorter to catch up to original form. I'm anticipating to be back to normal within the next 3-4 weeks assuming proper nutrition and rest.
You'll get back in no time. Muscles are more influenced by usage than by diet. If you're knowledgeable about periodization, this might be a blessing in disguise.
Originally Posted by djxprice
What Does 'Periodization' Mean and How Does It Work? | Trifuel
If you had a muscle strain, going light and working your way back up methodically while concentrating on form might reduce your risk of injury overall. About a year ago, I suffered a shoulder injury from boxing and could barely press a 45 lbs barbell over my head. Before that, my max was 100lbs. Now I rep with 135 but achieved it with a slow linear progression. Also, I didn't stop lifting, I just avoid any direct shoulder work and instead concentrated on my legs and back (pulls). My theory based on literature that was available at the time was that strength training with compound movements with any part of the body should illicit an increase of testosterone which could possibly spare muscle.
Last edited by pacificBeef; 10-27-2011 at 02:42 PM.
You'll get it back more quickly than before, don't worry. Use the Starting Strength guidelines to get your starting weight: start with the empty bar, rep out 5. Add a 10lb plate to each side, rep 5, etc until it starts to feel heavy or you compromise form. That's your starting weight, finish with sets across. Use a linear progression until you stall out, and continue with your old program from there (unless it was also LP, in which case you drop volume or start periodization).