Maintain Muscle Mass
After putting in your heart and soul into weight training, you finally manage to gain the type of physique you want, but you need to know that you’re going to lose that progress if you don’t know how to maintain the mass you’ve gained. Sometimes, sickness, injury, vacation, and even a crazy schedule can keep you from pumping iron and maintaining your gains, but there are other mistakes that may be making it difficult for you to keep your muscle mass. Here are some rules to follow to avoid losing muscle.
Don’t Let Workouts Make You Feel Overtired
If you are working too hard at the gym that you reach your exhaustion point every day, you are actually gaining no lasting benefits. Balance is required in all spheres of life and working out is no exception. Performing more than 15 repetitions per set or more than 20 repetitions per muscle group leads to overtiredness and your muscles become inflamed. This usually means swollen muscles and that may cause a temporary pump but it is not actual muscle growth.
Don’t Engage in Too Much in Isolation Workouts
A traditional old school workout schedule involves intense training of only one part of the body, like the chest or arms, every day and ignore the other parts. With this schedule, muscles are not trained to work in coordination which is essential for real-life tasks. Contemporary trainers focus on whole body workouts which tone each muscle and increases the overall strength of the body. The traditional workout methods do not help in attaining a prolonged body muscle mass and the gain, if achieved, is temporary.
Avoid Getting into the Starvation Mode
When your body is not provided with an ample amount of food and often starved for hours, it goes to the starvation mode. This means everything you eat immediately after long intervals will be stored as body fat so that it can be consumed in case of longer starvation. As a result, instead of gaining muscle mass, you start putting on body fat. Also, when you don’t eat anything for hours, your body metabolism starts getting slower and it taking more time on digestion to absorb nutrients. If you stick to this ‘starving’ routine, you will not be able to maintain muscle and lose it before you realize what’s happening.
Maintain Correct Exercising Posture
Exercising is only beneficial if performed with the correct posture and technique. Wrong exercise techniques, especially in the case of muscle toning exercises, do not provide the required stimulus to the muscles to grow properly. It’s always a better idea to start with the basic versions of the exercise than slowly and gradually move towards many advanced variations. Some high-level exercises may fascinate you and urge you to start with them directly but they won’t be beneficial unless you have mastered basic exercising skills.
Avoid Delayed Fueling Up after the Workout
After every workout, it is essential to fuel up your body with some instant high energy drink or shake. This instant energy will help restore the muscular energy consumed during a workout and also repairs and strengthen broken muscles. Skipping energy drinks right after the workout is one of the main reasons for losing muscle mass. Your muscles require immediate repair and nourishment and avoiding it is certainly not wise and healthy.
Get Plenty of Omega-3s
Proteins are essential for muscle building whereas omega-3 fatty acid in our body enhances the utilization of proteins by the muscles. The absence of omega-3 fatty acid often results in losing muscle mass by the body. So, in order to make your muscles stronger and protect them from getting lean, it is essential to include omega-3 in your daily diet. Omega-3 is found in fish, leafy vegetables, tofu, and walnuts. If you will include these food components in your daily diet you won`t need any additional supplements for balancing omega-3 in your body for muscular growth.
Stick to Right Weightlifting Techniques
Weight lifting requires proper techniques to follow. What matters most is not how much weight you are lifting but how well you are lifting it. Lifting appropriate weight according to your muscle strength with correct technique requires a good deal of hard work and is enough to make your muscles grow.
If you are unable to master a particular weight lifting technique it is advisable to keep practicing with lighter weights until you attain perfection. If a particular technique seems unattainable, try switching to an easier alternative technique and then try again after you master that one. Take the assistance of your trainer or fellow gym member to learn the correct technical skills.
Lifting heavy weights the wrong way will keep you from making any gains, increase your risk of injury, and even make it difficult to maintain what you have already gained working out in the gym.
Give Your Body Time to Recover
Your body requires enough time to completely repair broken muscles and build new ones. Not allowing your body enough recovery and rest time between workouts is dangerous and will result in loss of muscle mass. Working out consecutively for seven days a week is very tiring for the nervous system and it cannot cope well, as a result, your body becomes exhausted.
Sleep is the ideal time for muscle strengthening as it is the time when your body growth hormones are released along with other crucial muscle-building chemicals. If you are not taking a sufficient amount of sleep you are hindering your body muscles from growing stronger. Additional stress is as harmful to the muscle building as excessive workload so it’s better to avoid both.
Say No to Excessive Cardio
Cardio is considered as an ideal exercise for weight reduction and it shows significant results in weight loss. But cardio, besides consuming body fat, burns out muscles as well. If you are taking less than required calories and doing an hour of cardio, what you are losing is not body weight but in fact, muscle mass.
It is therefore advised to pair cardio with muscle training to get optimum health benefits. Furthermore, doing a lengthy one-hour session of cardio is quite dangerous for the body and may cause injuries and joint pains. It’s better to split the workout into small sessions with proper rest intervals.
Load Up on Protein
Without getting an adequate amount of protein, you’re not going to gain and retain muscle mass. While most men are aware they should be loading up on protein, they don’t realize the importance of taking the right amount of protein at the right time.
Not taking your protein first thing in the morning can slow down muscle growth. You’re not going to gain muscle if you taking only 10g of protein for breakfast and lunch and then consume over 60g for dinner. It is better to spread your protein intake and include about 20g of protein in each meal, taking at least five meals a day.
Additionally, you should be consuming protein within half an hour of working out – aim for about 20g of lean protein within 30-60 minutes of completing your workout, as it will help build and retain muscle mass. Keep in mind that loading up on protein alone is not the best strategy to retain muscle mass. You need to include veggies and fruits in your diet because they provide magnesium and potassium that protect your muscles from acids found in different protein sources like dairy and meat. So, be sure to keep fresh produce in your diet to enjoy having your muscle mass.
Say No to Alcohol
To ensure you don’t end up losing muscle, you should stay away from alcohol. If you find it difficult, you should at least limit your intake to avoid becoming dehydrated. Understand that dehydration is your enemy and hampers muscle growth and alcohol will dehydrate your body along with hurting you in many other ways. You should also know that alcohol is empty calories containing no nutrients whatsoever, which means you will become hungry and that may make you chomp on the wrong stuff.
The fact of the matter is that gaining and losing muscle is a lot more complicated than you might think. It takes serious hard work to put on muscles, but it takes a disciplined life to retain that mass. There are so many ways to sabotage your progress, which is why you need to understand the science behind gaining and retaining muscle. For starters, ensure you don’t drink alcohol and prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water, take at least 8 hours of sleep each night, change your workout routine regularly, and take the right amount of protein, from the right sources, at the right time.