What happened to my body during this time?

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2008/05/18 05:44:18 (permalink)

What happened to my body during this time?

Okay, so I got lazy and haven't lifted weights in like 2 weeks. However, mainly it was because I was working a temp job that had hours that were crazy. Having been used to being a night owl beforehand, I had trouble getting enough sleep and getting up very early in the morning (4:30a.m.) in order to get ready for work. For about 5 days straight, I got about 3 to 5 hours of sleep per night. I tried to find healthy food to take for my breaks...but I still ate a lot of snacks that were considered more of a 'healthy junk food' if that makes sense. Not as bad as some things, but they sort of substituted food...it was awkward to bring an actual meal to that job, for a lot of reasons. Having to take public transportation to get to work (in a downtown area that is a nightmare to drive in...most people take the pub. transportation) made it near impossible to go somewhere to get something to eat. There really wasn't anything nearby to do that in 1 hour.

I'm not that big physically...only about 5'8, 130 pounds...25 years old and male. I've been working out on and off since I was about 14 years old. Though I have a very high metabolism and just try to keep myself in pretty good shape, because I obviously will not be a 'monster guy' or anything like that. lol It is hard to realistically eat enough food on a daily basis, to gain weight and keep it. 130 seems to be my body's set 'weight' that I maintain...even if I skip a meal in a day. It never really drops below that very much, but I can eat a lot and not really gain very much, either. On some of these days during that temp job, I skipped breakfast because it was...well...4:30a.m. and usually the body doesn't want breakfast at that time.

Some days I could barely hold my eyes open at work. This assignment is now over, and I'm glad. My diet was poor, and my body was very much abused and deprived of sleep during this time. I looked in the mirror today and my physique looked horrible. I looked so 'skinny' (not that I am not quite skinny, but...I looked skinny to my own self...and was previously fairly big muscle-wise for my body structure and weight). It's like I lost half of my gains that I worked on for years.

It just seems like I've not lifted for weeks or a month in times past, and the results didn't seem so drastic. Why did I lose muscle mass so quickly? I've read somewhere that you lose something like an inch of muscle mass per year, when you quit working out. I look so much smaller now...and it honestly looks like half of what I used to be, is no longer there. I hit the weights again today...I appear to be able to lift the same amount of weight. Just, of course, I get tired quickly and maybe can't do quite as many reps due to my lack of recent workouts. My muscles still seem to perform okay and lift the weight...but just look bad outwardly?

I know that a lot of this had to do with my very poor diet and that lack of sleep for all of those days didn't help at all. I'm just wondering if this was due to my poor diet and extreme lack of sleep in itself; or if muscle mass really gets 'lost' that quickly in a couple of weeks of just not working out in general? I'm sure it was a combination of both, for me. But I guess I'm just looking for some kind of comments.

One person told me that it is due to my high metabolism, and that I lose muscle after a period of time...but that it should not disappear that fast.

Another person said that the 'good news' was that muscles have 'memory' and it won't take me long to get back into shape. Umm...'memory?' Can somebody confirm this to me, because this doesn't make any sense to me? They also said that the bad news is that you start to lose the effect of a workout after three days of inactivity, and therefore I lost a bit of size/strength over those two weeks or so.

Interestingly enough...after having hit the weights today, I feel 'stronger' already. The muscles that I worked look a little bigger and my body seems to be slowly bouncing back from this and sort of rejuvinating itself. But of course...the muscles I didn't work, still look 'little.' I'm just looking for comments on what I was told, mainly....

Generally, how fast does the body lose muscle if someone just quits working out? For me, it seems to be very quickly...though I know that can vary.

Do muscles really 'remember' how big they were and get back to that point quickly, when you start working out again?

In general, I have noticed that when I didn't work out for 2 or 3 days, my muscles looked smaller and basically lost their typical 'pumped/active' look due to inactivity.
post edited by jmr1068204 - 2008/05/18 06:06:45

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    American Dream
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    RE: What happened to my body during this time? 2008/05/18 10:22:36 (permalink)
    I think its partly in you head, your perception of your body. Your muscle size wont have changed that much during them two weeks. Have you physically measured yourself?
    Im exactly the same, if i miss a workout my muscles start to look flat and i generally dont feel so good. You lose the pump out of them after your day of workout.
    Muscle memory is definately true for someone who's had a long break from lifting.

    I think you need to crack on with your diet tho, sounds like you dont eat enough in a meal or enough times a day. You obviously have a fast metabolism so you have to consume more.

    "Continuous effort -- not strength or intelligence -- is the key to unlocking our potential."
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    RE: What happened to my body during this time? 2008/05/18 11:00:45 (permalink)
    Mate even if you only had one meal a day and not trained the whole 2 weeks what you would loose muscle wise would be un-noticable.

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