Muscle breakdown and fat building through a training break? How is that exactly?

muscle breakdown

Holidays, holidays, you are sick or you just don’t feel like it… What happens during a training break? Will you lose all your muscles again?

How quickly do your muscles disappear and do you add fat?

A training break, also called a detraining , causes the loss of adjustments that you have achieved with the training. How much you lose depends on your body, your training status and the length of your training break.


Your stamina is the first thing that is compromised during a training break. Already after a few days deteriorates stamina.

Muscles and strength

Don’t worry, your muscles won’t disappear overnight. But a phase-out process is also taking place here. In the first 1 to 2 weeks the muscle tension will decrease and the muscle glycogen will be reduced.

Your muscle cells store less moisture. The result: Your muscles look smaller. But this is not yet muscle loss !

From about week 2 , your body will slowly start to break down muscle mass , because your muscles are no longer used as intensively. Little by little you lose strength. But your coordination and flexibility also suffer from a longer training break.

Fact: a short training break of 1 to 2 weeks really only has a negative effect on your stamina. There is no major muscle breakdown yet.

The benefits of a training break

But a training break of 1-2 weeks also offers benefits. Your body can recover from a workout. Stress hormones are broken down. Your muscles have time to recover properly.

Your ligaments, joints, and tendons take twice as long to adapt to a particular load. During a training break you can be sure that they have enough time to recover.

A training break also has a positive effect on your motivation and mentality. You collect new physical and mental energy for your next training session! You can take it again.

5 Tips against loss of muscle mass

# 1 Proteins, Proteins, Proteins

Your muscles are largely made up of proteins. And you don’t just need these proteins for muscle growth. Proteins also protect your muscles from breakdown! Try to eat about 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

# 2 More exercise

Try to integrate more movement into your daily life. Explore the area on foot, swim a few laps in the pool. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a winter walk or have a snowball fight with your family. Stay active.

# 3 No calorie deficit!

If you are not going to exercise or work out – eat less. Wrong! If you want to protect your muscles , you have to eat more. Your body needs the energy to maintain your muscles.

# 4 Get plenty of sleep

Use the training break to really relax. Sufficient and good sleep is very important. If you sleep poorly, this can promote muscle loss . Try to sleep at least 7-8 hours a night.

# 5 Fruits and vegetables

Provide your body and muscles with all important vitamins and minerals, even during the training break. Try to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

What is the effect of your muscle memory?

Your muscles have a kind of muscle memory . If you have exercised regularly before the break, you will also return to your old form more quickly. Your muscles have “stored” their old state, as it were. Thanks to the regular training stimuli, they react faster and they also regain their old shape faster.

Our tip: Don’t start your workout with your old weights right away after a break. If you are just starting out, reduce your training weight and then build it up slowly. This way you prevent injuries.


  • A training break of 1 to 2 weeks does not cause serious muscle loss.
  • First, your stamina decreases.
  • Provide your muscles with enough protein during a training break to slow down muscle breakdown.
  • B body active during your training break.
  • Your muscle memory helps you get back into shape faster after a break.

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