This Is What Happens When You Stop Lifting Weights

Regular exercise comes with a lot of benefits, and not just for appearance, but also health. Weight loss and toning is the common reason why some people exercise. For others, they simply enjoy the feeling of exercising. After all, as Dr. Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist at Stanford University told CNET, working out "increases endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, and endocannabinoid — these are all brain chemicals associated with feeling happy, feeling confident, feeling capable, feeling less anxiety and stress and even less physical pain."

Fitness experts and trainers often advise their clients to exercise on a schedule. As to how many days a week, it depends on the type of workout. Cardio, for example, can be done every day for a certain amount of minutes, while high-intensity exercises, or HIT, should be limited to three times a week, according to Greatist. As for resistance exercise, aka strength training or lifting weights, this type of workout can improve the body's strength and increase muscle mass. But again, the frequency at which you lift weights should be monitored. Healthline recommends two to three times a week.

Working out too much can backfire. Then again, doing less movement with the body can also have negative consequences. Maintenance is the key to keep the body fit and healthy, and being consistent with your workout routines is one of the ways to achieve your dream body. Without it, you will always be back to square one. This said, inevitable circumstances, such as injuries, accidents, or gym closure due to the lockdown, can of course affect your progress.

Can muscles turn into fat when you stop lifting weights?

In exercise, consistency is a must for maintaining the gains — particularly in weight lifting. "Unfortunately, exercise is truly 'use it or lose it.' If you stop strength training, you'll likely notice decreased strength (making it harder to perform daily activities), energy loss, impaired balance, and weight gain in as little as 3-4 weeks," Meghan Nagel, a fitness specialist at Virtual Health Partners, told PopSugar. Experts also say that the strength you gained from lifting weights will disappear entirely in eight weeks of no training. Losing muscle gains and definition can also happen within four weeks.

Some people believe that inactivity after weeks or months of working out can turn muscle into fat — a common misconception. When bodybuilders stop weight lifting for whatever reason, they lose muscle mass, not fat. Changes may occur only after a long period of hiatus from weight training. If taking a break for only a couple of days to a week — nothing drastic can happen to the body. The short break can even be beneficial to the body for recovery. Nils Hestermann, head of strength and conditioning at Precision Athletica, explains that a decrease of metabolism can happen when losing muscle mass — which then "increases body fat if you keep the same eating habits as when you were training" (via DMARGE).