How to avoid muscle loss?
Supplements and General Health • • 1 minute to read • By Najid Sheikh, INFS Faculty
Author: Najid Sheikh
Preserving the hard-earned muscle is very important when one is either trying to lose fat or trying to maintain the physique. Unfortunately, muscle size is volatile. If one doesn’t take care of them then they will simply go away. Though it takes a few weeks of a very sedentary lifestyle and bad nutrition to lose muscle size, it is a good idea to take precautions in the event of a bad phase in life when one is traveling or very busy to take care of each every minute detail of their fitness routine. So here are a few tips that can help to avoid muscle loss.
Resistance training: Just simply performing resistance training can help a person to preserve muscle mass. If one can’t go to the gym then it is recommended to do at least some bodyweight training at home or wherever possible. Bodyweight training itself has the potential to build the desired muscle mass. However, if one is very busy then even training for only a few sets or only a few days for 10-15 mins can be beneficial. The idea is to just train the muscle even if the volume is lowered. This study ( Bickel et al.,2011 ) showed that even a very less volume of resistance training is sufficient to maintain the gains.
Smaller deficit: If the goal is to lose fat then one will have to create a deficit. In order to lose fat at a faster rate, one would probably try to reduce the calories further to increase the deficit but this approach comes with a cost. The cost is muscle mass. Being in a larger deficit can put you in a risk of losing muscles. It is recommended to create a smaller deficit where one loses the weight at a rate of 0.5 % of the body weight in a week.
Protein Intake: Having an adequate protein intake is one of the best ways of retaining muscle mass. The recommendations for the general population can be 1g/kg of body weight and for elite athletes, the recommendation is higher, that is 1.6g/kg of the body weight ( Hector et al.,2018 ).
Sleep: Sleep plays an important role in maintaining muscle mass. It is seen in a study( Nedeltcheva et al.,2010 ) that less sleep with a caloric restriction diet can make a person lose most of the weight from muscle mass rather than fat mass and a regular 8h (approximately) of sleep can help a person to retain a significant amount of muscle mass.
In the event of traveling or any other situation where one is not following anything in specific, it is advisable to estimate the calories so that they don’t eat too less or too much of anything with an adequate amount of protein. Moreover, dedicating only a few minutes of physical activity helps a lot in maintaining the gains. Lastly sleeping enough is the easiest of all to maintain muscle mass.
- Bickel, C. S., Cross, J. M., & Bamman, M. M. (2011). Exercise dosing to retain resistance training adaptations in young and older adults. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 43 (7), 1177–1187. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e318207c15d
- Hector, A. J., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Protein Recommendations for Weight Loss in Elite Athletes: A Focus on Body Composition and Performance. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 28 (2), 170–177. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0273
- Nedeltcheva, A. V., Kilkus, J. M., Imperial, J., Schoeller, D. A., & Penev, P. D. (2010). Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of internal medicine, 153 (7), 435–441. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006
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