4

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No exercise + adequate protein & calories = no muscle loss?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 22, 2011 at 7:37 AM

Not sure if this is an entirely paleo question, but if any community can contribute a logical answer, it would be this one.

I've been working out with weights, but have not made it to the gym in about 2 weeks. This got me wondering: Assuming I am getting adequate protein, say .75-1.0g per lb. of lean body mass, and enough calories, how could I possibly lose the muscle I have?

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on April 23, 2011
at 02:13 PM

But then astronauts drink Tang! Would a Paleo diet help mitigate lean mass loss? I doubt the foods sent to space are adequate.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on April 22, 2011
at 02:47 PM

In two weeks everything will start to reduce, including strength and muscle mass

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 22, 2011
at 12:35 PM

It should also probably be noted that among muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility, muscular strength is the LAST to go after adaptive stimuli cease. It can take up to a month (studies were done on SAD subjects, I assume) before significant losses in muscular strength are seen after stopping training. The other pillars of fitness tend to take between 1-2 weeks to lose significant adaptation.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25482)

on April 22, 2011
at 12:25 PM

Depends upon your baseline hormone status. If good it will be fine. If youre not optimal you can lose gains in five days

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4 Answers

2
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on April 22, 2011
at 12:15 PM

Your body adapts to environmental stress over time, within genetic/environmental limits. If you have put your body in an environment (via weightlifting and eating properly) that requires and can sustain increased muscle mass, your body will adapt by building more muscle. For the past two weeks, your environment has changed: there is no longer any demand for more muscle, and the muscle you do have is probably in excess of what you need to meet the day to day stresses you're placing on your body. So your body will adapt by reducing the amount of muscle you have.

You can modify the slope of the muscle loss curve via diet, but if you are starting out with a trained body, the slope will pretty much always be negative once you stop training. Once you get past the first few days (where you might see an increase due to recovery), you will start to see declines. If you starve yourself, those declines will be rapid. If you eat a reasonable diet, those declines will be less rapid. There probably is some diet which will create the gentlest decline curve - but there is no diet which will magically maintain your body in a trained state forever.

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 22, 2011
at 12:35 PM

It should also probably be noted that among muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility, muscular strength is the LAST to go after adaptive stimuli cease. It can take up to a month (studies were done on SAD subjects, I assume) before significant losses in muscular strength are seen after stopping training. The other pillars of fitness tend to take between 1-2 weeks to lose significant adaptation.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on April 22, 2011
at 02:47 PM

In two weeks everything will start to reduce, including strength and muscle mass

1
Medium avatar

on April 22, 2011
at 06:35 PM

The only way to do what you're talking about is with supraphysiological doses of exogenous anabolics. I suppose it's possible that if someone had low testosterone all of their life, started addressing micronutrient deficiencies with organ consumption etc. and doubled or tripled their testosterone as a result, this would result in an increase in lean body mass without any increase in physical activity. Astronauts lose significant amounts of muscle and bone mass no matter what they eat due to the lack of resistance.

In general though, the burden of proof is on you to convince your body that the resource investment in muscle is a worthwhile endeavor. Your body will remain ever skeptical about it given how potentially wasteful, and historically speaking, dangerous it could be to your survival. If you present a case that involves always present nutrients coupled with always present loads, your body has no choice but to increase muscle anabolism because you've simulated an environment that requires more muscle to survive.

This is an interesting little paper about the "Disuse Syndrome:" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1011199/pdf/westjmed00183-0115.pdf

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 22, 2011
at 05:06 PM

Think about astronauts in space. With no gravity, no muscles engage, so they lose mass incredibly fast.

You need to engage them to some degree. To what degree, I have no idea, but it is definitely a case of use it or lose it.

0d2dec01a5ed9363a9915e111ae13f7e

(4583)

on April 23, 2011
at 02:13 PM

But then astronauts drink Tang! Would a Paleo diet help mitigate lean mass loss? I doubt the foods sent to space are adequate.

1
535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on April 22, 2011
at 12:22 PM

If you stop working out you will lose most of the muscle you built lifting weight. Your body adapted to the heavy weight you were lifting and built muscle, it will also adapt to a new sedentary lifestyle. When you lift weights you are forcing your body to adapt, drop the stimulus and your body will revert back.

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