The muscle mass in the human body depends on your genes, sex hormones, and age. You can train your body to build more muscle when engaging in physical activities encouraging muscle growth and ingesting the proper protein intake.
Of course, there are numerous things you would have to do to gain and maintain muscle. It’s quite frustrating for gym-goers to think that there’s a risk they will lose the muscle they gained at the gym if they consume fewer calories than they exhausted.
Thankfully, you can use various techniques to avoid muscle loss and maintain muscle mass through proper diet and exercise. This article will discuss what you should do to maintain your gained muscles successfully.
Maintain and Eat Proper Protein Intake
Maintaining muscle mass would be much easier if you eat healthy foods and the right amount of protein. But, of course, this would depend on your activity level. To retain muscle mass, you need to consume at least 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein every day for every kg of your body weight.
What makes protein-rich foods so valuable for gym-goers? Well, these foods are broken down by the body and turned into amino acids. Amino acids are then used to create and maintain muscle.
Protein-rich foods include chicken, red meat, yogurt, beans, turkey, eggs, fish, and many more. Of course, you can also take pre-workout supplements that retain muscle to maintain the proper amount of protein. With the right diet and proper exercising, you’ll soon get that ripped body you want.
Get Enough Amounts of Sleep
Getting proper sleep is the key to helping you recover. During exercise, your muscles experience stress and micro tears. When you sleep, the body starts repairing and rebuilding these micro tears.
Aside from recovering and rebuilding, your body also helps improve its immunity. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to become ill than those with a proper sleep schedule. So remember, don’t lose out on that valuable shut-eye time, and let your body recover!
Eat the Right Amount of Calories
When you’re physically active, the carbohydrates you consume are used as energy (along with fat). So, when you’re not working out, the excess calories in your body are stored as fat. While good fat is the body’s requirement, reducing carbohydrate intake is still necessary to maintain muscle mass. So, during each meal and snack, ensure that you consume at least 15 to 25 grams of carbohydrates.
Build Your Routine
As mentioned above, you may already have a clue, but discipline and routine are key to retaining muscle. First, you must have enough discipline to follow your routine. A routine doesn’t have to be extravagant; it can be a simple routine with the intent of going to the gym after eating breakfast or lunch.
Creating a routine and ensuring that you’re consistent with it allows your body to get used to the routine you’ve created. For example, your body would get used to going to the gym after lunch, it would get used to drinking supplements at a certain time of the day, and many more.
Combine Cardio and Resistance Training
Your training also plays a big role in maintaining your muscle mass. Any weight-bearing exercise is crucial if you want to achieve your fitness goals. Cardiovascular exercise is good for maintaining overall health and preventing diseases; however, it won’t go as far as retaining muscle mass.
Focusing too much on endurance exercises can lead to muscle loss since the body would attempt to become much lighter. It’s so that your body can easily endure the training. However, combining resistance training with cardio exercise can improve your body's ability to maintain muscle.
When incorporating resistance training into your workout, ensure that you focus on the hypertrophy style training. A proper training routine, such as hypertrophy training, will help you build muscle mass and prevent muscle loss. This training focuses on developing your muscles in the biceps, back, thighs, and calves.
You should also lift weights three or more times every week and train every body part at least twice a week. Of course, the amount of exercise you do will progressively increase as you continue to see growth in your training and muscle mass.
When you’re thinking of what cardio exercise to include in your fitness plan, consider the following examples:
Cardio ranges from moderate to high intensity to lose fat and retain your muscle mass for at least 150 minutes a week. You can opt for social cardio exercises like basketball and volleyball if you have friends or a local club you can join. You can build your muscle and also gain new peers.
Consult With a Professional
Speak with a professional to ensure you’re on the right fitness path. Consult with a certified nutritionist or a dietitian about your exercise and eating plan.
Working with a professional to meet your fitness goals is especially important if you have existing health conditions or special dietary needs you have to think about. It’s also useful for people who can’t change or don’t know how to improve their eating habits.
Having a personal trainer can help you create an exercise routine perfect for someone with your physique, fitness level, and goals. A trainer can also help you use the proper form and correct weights in your exercise. Remember that your form is essential to how your muscles would look so that you won’t strain your body.
As you progress with your goals, a professional can continue tailoring the program that helps you advance. It also gives you added motivation and ensures accountability.
If there’s a possibility that you can’t work with a professional, don’t worry since there are other options! You can find a buddy instead to create a fitness and eating plan. Together with your friend, you can motivate each other to succeed.
Increase Your Omega-3s Fatty Acids Intake
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial when you’re looking to maintain your muscle because they can increase protein synthesis. It’s the process where one’s body turns the protein you consume and turn it into fuel that your muscle needs to grow and stay strong. So when you increase your omega-3s intake, you can also increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis.
So, in addition to increasing your protein intake, you should include omega-3 fatty acids in your food plan. You can find high concentrations of it in the following foods:
If you’re looking for one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, then look no further and purchase that salmon! This fish contains high-quality nutrients and proteins. It also includes high amounts of B vitamins, selenium, and vitamin D.
Research suggests that individuals who regularly eat fatty fish, e.g., salmon have lower risks of getting dementia, heart disease, etc.
Flaxseeds are tiny yellow or brown seeds often pressed, milled, or grounded to extract oil. It’s by far the richest whole food source of omega-3s. But it also has numerous nutrients in it! It has high amounts of magnesium, fiber, and even omega-6!
You can eat walnuts as a pre-workout snack! You can also eat it at any time of the day because it’s just that addicting, and there are numerous benefits. It contains high amounts of fiber, copper, vitamin E, manganese, and other nutrients. Ensure you don’t get rid of the skin since it’s part of the walnut with numerous health benefits.
You may know mackerels as those small, fatty fish, but it’s rich in nutrients! It’s commonly eaten as whole fillets or smoked. It’s delicious, and you only need little preparation! So get enough fill of your fatty fish with mackerel.
Cod Liver Oil
Cold liver oil is more of a supplement than a food. So if you plan on adding this to your diet, be prepared to drink it in a capsule form.
Like its name, it’s the oil extracted from a fish’s liver, a cod fish. A cod’s oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and loaded with vitamins A and D. Be sure to speak with your physician about your recommended dosage.
Compared to mackerel, herring is a medium-sized fish. It’s also only! It’s eaten pickled, cold-smoked, or pre-cooked, then sold as a canned snack. Herring is popular breakfast food in England, called kippers in the country, and it’s usually served with eggs. Try out the English way of eating breakfast!
You can eat these tiny oily fish as a snack, appetizer, or delicacy. Despite its size, it’s highly nutritious, especially if you eat it as a whole. It contains every nutrient a body needs to retain muscle.
Oysters have more zinc compared to any other food. You can eat oysters as a snack, appetizer, or whole meal.
Raw oysters are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. When you go to a seafood restaurant, ensure you get your fill with oysters to retain those muscles!
Anchovies are often sold canned or dried. You would have to visit the wet market to find anchovies sold fresh.
You can eat these in small portions since you can put them anywhere! You can stuff it into olives, use it as a pizza or salad toppings, and many more! Keep in mind that it has a strong flavor. It’s why it’s used to flavor numerous sauces and dishes, e.g., Ceaser dressing, Worcestershire sauce, remoulade, and Tteokbokki base, a popular Korean street food.
Anchovies offer numerous nutrients, including selenium and niacin. Bones anchovies are also high in calcium. So when you order a pizza, ensure that you ask for anchovies to make your order guilt-free!
Have you ever had caviar? We only tend to see caviar in movies and exclusive restaurants, but did you know it’s also rich in omega-3s and choline? Caviar consists of roe or fish eggs.
It’s considered a luxurious food and often eaten in small quantities. It’s usually paired with bread and eaten as a teaser, garnish, or appetizer.
Chia seeds are a staple in a bodybuilder’s diet! You can add it to your drink and food! When mixing your workout supplements, you can add chia seeds to ensure you get your dose of selenium, magnesium, manganese, and other nutrients.
Soybeans are an excellent source of vegetable protein, fiber, folate, riboflavin, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and omega-6 fatty acids. You can enjoy its numerous benefits by adding it as a side dish to your meal.
Improve Your Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is crucial in protein synthesis. Now that you know what protein synthesis is, you need to ensure that you’re ensuring that it’s done at the best possible level. Vitamin D helps build muscle strength.
You can get your vitamin D from sun exposure. However, if there are instances where you can’t take your vitamin D the usual way, you can take supplements instead! Just ensure that you consult with your physician first before you start taking a new supplement. A physician knows your entire medical history and fitness goals, so it’s better to ask if you must take supplements.
After all the work you put in the gym, to have it all go away just because of a few days of neglect is devastating. Continuously going to the gym can already be dreadful for some, so losing the muscle mass you’ve gained shouldn’t be a picnic either.
Thankfully, you can take the necessary steps to maintain your gym goals. You just need the right motivation and will to ensure you retain your muscle mass and fitness goals. Use this guide to learn how to successfully keep those muscles you’ve worked so hard for at the gym.