what will happen if you stop gym

What will happen if you Stop Gym and Exercise? (Scientific Explanation)

Many people have asked us what will happen if you stop gym and exercise. Do we lose our hard-earned gains? Or are there any other side effects that’ll happen if we quit the gym? This article will clear all your doubts on this issue, so read till the end. 

what will happen if you stop gym

A situation may arise when we are forced to discontinue gym. Perhaps it’s an increase in job pressure, lack of motivation, or indulgence in other activities which may lead you to quit coming to the gym.

Whatever your reason might be, you’re likely to face these three major changes:

  • Decrease in your overall fitness levels.
  • Loss of muscle strength and mass.
  • Increase of the fat percentage of the body.

Let’s discuss in detail what about these points.

Decrease in Fitness Levels/ Cardiovascular Fitness

This is what will happen if you stop gym. Firstly, you’ll notice a decline in your cardiovascular fitness. We can measure this with the help of VO2 Max. 

According to Wikipedia, ‘VO2 max is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during an exercise of increasing intensity.’

When you stop going to the gym, the cardiovascular strength and VO2 keeps on declining. And in the first 2 weeks, the VO2 can drop up to 20%.

However, the impact of quitting the gym also depends on your fitness levels. A pro-athlete will experience a massive decline in his/ her performance, whereas, a beginner won’t notice that much change.

The Decline in Strength and Muscle Mass

The decline of strength and muscle mass also depends on your experience. If you’re a professional, i.e. you follow a proper diet and exercise regime, the decline will be slow. You may start noticing a decrease in muscle mass after 3-4 weeks.

Whereas, the decline will be rapid in the case of amateurs. They’ll slowly return to their normal fitness state within a week or two.

This happens because when you stop training, your body’s glycogen store slowly starts to decrease. Glycogen stores water in your muscles. After some time of quitting the gym, the glycogen secretes water making your muscle look smaller.

Fat Gain

The increase in fat after quitting gym is related to a term called insulin. When we exercise, our body absorbs and uses insulin efficiently to create more energy.

When we leave the gym, the need for energy decreases and so does our body’s insulin sensitivity. In other words, our body starts converting carbohydrates and sugars into fat instead of energy.

This is why the fat accumulates.

How Quickly can we Gain our Muscles Back?

what will happen if you stop gym

So do we have to repeat everything from scratch to gain our muscles back? Thankfully, the answer is no. There’s a thing called muscle memory that will help you regain your muscles quickly.

Do you forget riding a bicycle, or swimming, even if you haven’t partaken in the activity for a long time? No. The same thing happens with your muscles. Thankfully, when you work out, nuclei of muscle fiber called myonuclei start building in your body.

Even though you quit the gym for a year or more, the myonuclei remain present in your muscle. It helps you regain your previous physique faster.

Summing it up!

So, this is what will happen if you stop gym and exercise. If you’ve got any doubts or want to add something we missed, feel free to use the comments section. We’d be happy to clarify ASAP.

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