3 Tips for Maintaining Muscle Mass
Have you noticed maintaining muscle mass gets harder as you age? This can be less of an issue when you’re younger, but as you get older, your muscles can start to deteriorate, especially as you decrease your level of activity. Two common health complications we tend to see in older adults are sarcopenia, an accelerated loss of muscle mass and definition, and osteoporosis, which causes weak or brittle bones.
It’s important to start thinking about maintaining your muscle mass before you start to see signs of deterioration, as this can help counteract the effects of these common issues. The good news is there are plenty of ways to increase your muscle mass and bone density to try and prevent these issues in the future. Let’s take a look at the three important things you can do now at any age to help maintain muscle mass from our exercise specialist, MacKenzie Rowand, CSCS.
Live an Active Lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle is not ideal for maintaining muscle mass or bone integrity, as frequent periods of inactivity will not challenge your body to grow stronger. Instead, you should aim to live an active lifestyle where you encourage your muscles and your bones to get grow over time with routine exercise. A good place to start is by incorporating enough exercise or activity to meet the recommended guidelines from most health organizations, which is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
You also want to ensure you’re including a healthy dose of resistance training in your weekly workout routine, as this is how you challenge your muscles and bones to grow stronger. You can add resistance training with simple weights (like our signature 9RoundNOW Punching Weights), heavy bags like we use at the studio, or simply choosing to walk up an incline rather than a flat surface.
Pro Tip: When choosing a new exercise program to start helping your body grow stronger, you want to make sure it’s sustainable. That's why we recommend coming into our studios just three times per week to provide time for rest and a workout pace that is consistent and easy to maintain for years to come.
Fuel Your Muscles with Food
If you want your muscles to grow stronger and get bigger, then you’ve got to give them enough energy to make it through your workouts and the recovery process that follows. This is where a proper nutrition plan comes into play.
We all know the key ingredient for muscle growth is protein. Getting enough protein in your diet and correctly timing your meals after your workouts is going to help accelerate the muscle growth process, which will in turn help you build more muscle mass. You never want to skip out on your protein during meals, as it will not only aid the muscle repair process, but also satiety – which means it will keep you feeling full for longer to help you eat less throughout the day.
To make sure your nutrition plan is on point, be sure to include lots of lean protein in your post-workout snacks and meals. Aim to eat something with high amounts of protein within one hour of completing your workout, as this will give your body the nutrients it needs to kick off muscle protein synthesis, which is the process that helps your muscles grow stronger.
Remember to Rest and Recover
The amount of rest you get is just as important as the amount of work you do. This is something we constantly try to emphasize, as your muscles need time to recover after a tough workout.
Muscle soreness is a result of microtears that happen during exercise, and your body needs time to start the healing process, where these tears will be repaired, and your muscles will grow stronger to try and adapt to the intensity of your workouts. You want to ensure you’re giving your muscles enough time in between workouts to finish their recovery, or you might be setting yourself up for an injury.
To give your muscles the time they need, you should aim to work out just three days a week at first. If you are comfortable doing more, we still recommend at least having one full rest day throughout the week. Active rest days are a great way to still get in some extra movement while allowing your muscles to repair over time. You also want to try and get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, as sleep is a critical part of your body’s recovery process.
Challenge your muscles with our KILLER kickboxing-themed workouts! Sign up for a FREE Introductory Workout using the link below, and we’ll show you how our fitness program can help you grow stronger with each 30-minute workout.
This is not medical advice. Please speak with your doctor regarding any health concerns and before starting a new workout routine. This article was written in conjunction with our certified 9Round Exercise and Nutrition Specialist, MacKenzie Rowand, CSCS, NASM-CNC.