How Long Can You Go Without Training Before Losing Muscle?

It's a very common question that we ask ourselves when we go on vacation or need to stay away from our training routine for a while, due to schedule issues or injuries.
How Long Can You Go Without Training Before Losing Muscle?

Last update: 27 September, 2018

There’s no denying it, working out can be addictive, especially when results start to show. But sometimes we obsess so much over exercise, that we even fear going on vacation because we believe that all the effort we’ve made, will go to waste. That’s why many people wonder how long they can stop training for, without losing muscle mass. Let’s answer this question together.

Muscles don’t exist without exercise

It’s true that our muscles are always there, but they can fade. This could happen because you went on vacation or because you suffered an injury that prevented you from working out.

Once you’ve toned your body and achieved the way you want to look, you may think that the results will last forever because, above all, you’ll never stop training! You even complete workout sessions during your vacations! But, what happens if you suffer an injury and cannot train? There’s nothing you can do to keep your muscles in shape.

Girl running at the beach without worrying about losing muscle.

It’s true that muscles may become soft if we have a certain amount of time without working out. But, there are different factors that can play a role in this, such as:

  • The kind of workout you do
  • The condition of your muscles before you stopped training
  • Your age

How long you can go without training before losing muscle?

The type of workout you do is one of the most important factors when it comes to losing muscle, this is due to a training layoff. Doing resistance training isn’t the same as doing strength training.

If you do strength training, it’ll be about two weeks before your muscles start to fade away. However, if you do resistance training instead, you won’t start to lose muscle for up to two months.

Of course, neither option means that you’ll have no muscle mass left after two months. That’s just when you’ll begin losing muscle.

You also have to remember that when you train, your muscles experience micro-tears that create new muscle fibers. So, even if you suffered an injury and you lost muscle mass, you can quickly gain this back once you start training again.

Girl training to avoid losing muscle.

Age also plays an important role in this. When two people with the same muscle mass stop working out for the same amount of time, the older person will be affected sooner, than the younger one. Keep in mind that a slow metabolism can be a determining factor when it comes to muscle loss. This is because it will burn fewer calories while you rest and those calories will turn into fat. If you have a fast metabolism you’ll face it better.

Don’t obsess!

If you want to go on vacation, do it! Even if you go away for a whole month, there will be no noticeable difference and you’ll be able to recover as soon as you get to work, and start training again.

If you’ve suffered an injury, we can understand that you feel frustrated because you can’t work out, but have you ever heard the saying, “If the problem can be solved, why worry? And If the problem cannot be solved, worrying will do you no good”? There are things that we can’t control, having an injury that prevents you from working out is one of them.

Don’t obsess over it, enjoy your vacation or recover properly from your injury. Nothing will happen if you can’t work out for a few weeks or even months. Remember that your muscle fibers are still there, and the muscle mass will increase as soon as you’re ready to get down to work.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.