How much muscle will I lose in lockdown 2.0?
As predicted – the 2nd wave is here and it’s bigger than the first.
Again – the country has been placed in to a lockdown which is slightly different from the first but one really important thing remains the same – gyms are closed!
Prior to the national lockdown there was a great stance from the fitness community in Liverpool who opposed the local lockdowns and kept their gyms open.
As a gym goer you know how vital regular exercise is for our overall wellbeing, both physically and mentally.
A lot of us were back in the groove and making progress after the lengthy lockdown period which saw us having to adapt and try to get our best workouts in different circumstances.
Muscle Loss in Lockdown
If you consistently lift – it’s all about the gains – how much muscle and strength we are developing over time with progressive overload.
The potential for this has now been brought to a stop with the government’s latest COVID strategy!
If as planned it only lasts 4 weeks (don’t hold your breath) your progress may definitely be halted for a short period of time.
The real question, and fear for many is, how much muscle will I lose?
We are here to answer that question!
There are so many different factors which play a factor on how muscle you will lose and this varies from person to person.
There are however a set of fundamentals to follow to limit the loss of muscle.
Will your body use muscle before fat?
In short – you can lose most types of weight from your body (water, fat, lean tissue).
However – because muscle is such a necessary part of your function then your body will tend to want to hang on to it. This is because it makes our body work better, stores nutrients and it provides the power for our metabolism.
How can I limit muscle mass loss during lockdown?
3 really simple measures:
- Stay Active – reduced activity levels result in muscle atrophy (muscle loss). This can occur naturally with age as we become less active.
- Protein intake – protein – as we all know is the building block of our muscles, ensure you are hitting between 1.6-2.0g of protein per kg of bodyweight. An example being – a 60kg woman should be aiming for 120g protein per day, an 80kg man should be aiming for 160g protein per day maximum.
- Calories – keep your intake similar to what you do usually when working out. This helps to give your muscles enough of what they need to function properly. Dropping your calories could result in loss of muscle – this is the fuel they need!
The rule here is continue with great nutrition and aim to be active – just in a different way. You won’t gain much muscle in 4 weeks anyway, but switch your focus to preserving it and you should remain on track for when gyms re-open.
How long does it take to lose muscle?
This is a really broad question – but it does depend on the individual and many factors. Such as how much you train, nutrition and your general fitness levels – plus if you are male or female.
Trained individuals who are fitter actually lose muscle faster than untrained, less fit people.
Let’s use some research to answer the question properly and get a better understanding.
- Total bed rest without any activity - total bed rest – up to 2 pounds of muscle in 1 week!
- Muscle size can decrease by up to 11% within 10 days without exercise, even if you are active and not in bed.
- Decreased muscle size does not necessarily mean muscle loss – this can be due to glycogen depletion and water loss from not training in your usual routine. Your muscles can lose size of up to 20% in one week for this reason along
The good news is that it all comes back very quickly after such a short break when you get back to your routine!
How can I exercise to keep my muscle during lockdown!?
Losing access to gyms, for many, will mean loss of weights and machines.
These are needed to provide stress to the muscles in order for them to damage, heal and grow!
For preservation purposes – we just need to create some stress and fatigue for the muscles.
If you have weights then this is excellent – you can continue to work in a similar routine. But if not dont worry, all you need is 1 resistance band!
If you have a reduced amount of weight or no weights/equipment, there are a few things you can be doing.
- Increase your reps – if you are using weights/bodyweight – perform your exercises but with extra reps than what you would usually do. Try and fatigue your muscles by doing more! If you have been using heavier weights – it’s easy to stress your muscles – with less weight it can be harder but it can be done. No particular rep ranges are recommended – just work to failure!!
- Slow your reps – slow the tempo of your exercises so that your muscles and tendons are being stressed for a longer period of time and being subjected to more stress.
- Pause/Hold Reps – pausing your reps at certain stages or repeating the rep through the middle range to increase stress on the muscle.
Stay calm, don’t panic – and keep the gains!
It has been stated that regaining lost muscle can take you 3 times longer than the period you were inactive to gain the muscle back – but that doesn’t matter!
Because that isn’t going to happen!
Follow our simple steps and keep your gains bro (and broettes!)
Get some training in, let your body rest from its usual routine and work your body in a different way which will ultimately make you function better.
Lockdown is also a perfect time to get treatment and rehab in. Use the time away from the gym to sort any issues out and get yourself back to your best for when the gyms open again.
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We have now been classed as an essential business during this time - please continue to book as normal and we can continue to help you achieve your goals!
Happy Lockdown – from the MSK Sports Injury Clinic Newcastle
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