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Tips to Avoid Losing Muscle

You take a couple weeks off from your training, come back, and can barely lift that 150 pound squat you’ve been lifting like its a peanut. Why is this? How can one lose muscle and how does this effect your training?

This article will discuss the concept of muscle loss and how you can avoid falling victim to it.

Muscle loss, or muscle atrophy as it is called among fitness professionals is defined as the decrease in muscle mass.

In most cases, only some of the muscle is lost, but in extreme cases (cancer, coma, burns) the entire muscle can atrophy. In the context of this article, atrophy will refer to the process by which muscle mass is lost due to disuse of the muscle or inadequate nutrition. Naturally, as muscle mass is lost so is muscle strength. The loss of strength and muscle mass can be devastating to bodybuilders and even those who are only training for the health benefits.

The two most important ways to avoid losing muscle are: be consistent in your training - don’t take weeks off at one time, and eat properly for your body weight. This may seem like simple advice but it is surprising how many people neglect these two principles and then wonder why they can’t lift as much as they could the week before. It comes as a shock to most people that you could lose around 10% of your strength if you stop lifting for two weeks.

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To avoid losing muscles, follow these bodybuilding advice and tips:

1. Stick with your workout plan! If you miss a couple days for work or family, or fall off the bandwagon for some reason, get back on as quick as possible. Once you stop, starting to lift again will be hard and typically make you sore - and you don’t want that!

2. If you absolutely need to miss training for an extended period of time, try to lessen the effects by performing some type of calisthenics (jumping jacks, pushups, body weight squats, etc). This is a good way to get some type of workout in during a vacation or work trip.

3. Sometimes, situations are unavoidable and you are going to miss training sessions. Especially if you suffer an injury and are unable to lift for long period of time. Don’t fret, the good thing about our muscles is that they remember what it is like to lift the weight and you’ll be able to get back into the swing of things in no time.

4. Nutrition plays a very important role in keeping muscle mass and avoiding atrophy. Those who choose to lose weight often experience muscle loss because their body is not receiving the calories or nutrients it needs to run. Once your body has burned fat, it moves to muscle, which leads to decreases in strength and mass.

A simple way to prevent this is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, that provides you with enough calories to perform. Eating an adequate amount of protein is key, and supplementing your diet with BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) is also recommended.

Following these tips will help you keep your hard earned muscle and increase your size and strength week by week. Remember to train consistently and eat properly!

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