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Question
Posted by: Ms fit | 2007/04/07

How much fitness will I lose?

I'm 22 years old and very active. I see a personal trainer 3 times a week for toning/weight training and also run for fitness. I am however going for a breast augmentation surgery (I have virtually no boobs because of my fitness level and low fat but I'm opting for a fill B size - not going ridiculous!) My question is: How much will the surgery affect my fitness level and muscle toning? The doctor said I can definately not exercise in the first 6 weeks after the operation and then I can only walk or do low intensity exercises and no weights! Basically he said he'll suggest only starting to think of weight training again after 12 weeks... so that's at least 3 months off the weights. How long will it take me to gain my muscle back again? and how likely am I to gain fat and how much because of the lack of exercise? Any information regarding this will be highly appreciated! Thank you!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Ms fit

Unfortunately, a 6 week layoff is really a long time. And so if you are completely inactive then you are basically going to have to start off from pretty close to the start again. Obviously, this depends on your level of fitness when you stop - if you are very well trained and fit, then you can quite easily get back into it, at a reduced level, but withing about 4 to 6 weeks, you can make up the difference. However, for most people, a break of 6 weeks would require about 8 to 12 weeks to return to normal again. And in your case, no weight training for 12 weeks means that you will most likely lose quite a lot of strength. Just note that losing strength is not the same thing as losing muscle mass - you will lose muscle mass, sure, but it's not like you'll just waste away in 12 weeks. So I think you can expect it to take up to 2 or 3 months to get back that muscle mass, and you just have to be conservative in your goal setting. When you do go back to the gym, rather be very conservative and undertrain for the first few weeks. Whatever you think you are capable of, back it off by at least 20% more. And then build it up slowly. And in about a month, you'll know where your limit is, and then you are back on a normal programme, albeit at a reduced level.

Good luck
Ross

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