Muscle maintenance in a time of reduced activity

Muscle maintenance in a time of reduced activity

With lockdown extended, 3 weeks of reduced activity suddenly turned to 5 weeks. By this time, motivation is starting to run low and the limitations of training at home are starting to have an effect. Most people are concerned about either putting on weight or losing the muscle mass that they worked so hard to gain.

So how can you ensure that you maintain muscle mass within the confines of your lockdown residence? Follow these tips to reduce the effect of muscle loss.

1) Adequate protein intake – Consuming enough protein will ensure that you maintain muscle mass and can help build muscle when combined with the right training. Try to include protein in all 3 meals during the day.

2) Stay active – Try to train at least 3 times per week to reduce muscle loss.

3) Do the right kind of training – Do not focus only on cardio and high intensity exercises. Include enough resistance training by using your own body weight or by utilising heavy objects around your house.

4) Maintain a proper diet – Do not over-indulge in high-carb and processed foods.

5) Try to get some sun – Vitamin D can help alleviate muscle weakness and a vitamin D deficiency can lead to muscle wasting.

6) Focus on push exercises – These types of movements utilize body weight the best and can offer you resistance training without equipment. (e.g. push-ups, squats, lunges).

7) Utilise your supplements – Make sure to keep using your muscle building and maintenance supplements even if your activity is reduced.

8) Increase red meat intake if you don’t consume a creatine supplement – Red meat is a good source of creatine that will assist you in maintaining muscle mass and strength.

9) Avoid excessive alcohol consumption – Unfortunately, after you drink alcohol, the chemicals in your body make it easier for your body to break down muscle and harder for it to build muscle.

10) Utilise muscle memory – Try to do the exercises that you would usually do. Your body will react better to them due to muscle memory and can actually assist in building new muscle with less exercise. The results will be reduced, but it is better than losing muscle.

This unprecedented situation has forced us out of our comfort zone and has taught us to adapt to overcome the challenges facing us. Luckily with resources and education it is easier to overcome these challenges.

Try to always aim for consistency and keep in mind that proper nutrition is key to all your goals. Try to keep structure to your days and nights as this will make it easier to stick to a plan. Be safe & stay home.

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