Physical activity and exercise, specifically strength training, are helpful to build muscle mass and lose fat mass.
Having more muscle mass on your body leads to improved body composition. With this improved body composition, your basal metabolic rate increases which can improve your metabolism at rest.
This helps you to burn more calories throughout the day.
Whether you are an advanced athlete or simply a weekend warrior, proper lifestyle habits can improve your athletic performance as well as your ability to gain muscle mass.
Be sure to consider these four lifestyle habits below, in addition to your physical activity plan, in order to more adequately gain muscle.
1. Carbohydrates & Protein
To train well, you must fuel well. It is very important to eat a balanced diet, meaning that you consume a range of foods.
It is ideal that these are mostly in whole food form, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, dairy, etc. With a balanced diet, not only will you intake enough calories overall to power your workouts, but you will be able to replenish your body and build muscle.
Physically active individuals need to include enough carbohydrates in their diet. When we exercise for a short period of time, we use the body’s stored form of glucose, which is called glycogen. After working out, it’s important to replenish the body’s supply of glucose through the intake of carbohydrates.
Additionally, when we practice strength training in an effort to build muscle, we break down the fibers in our muscles. To properly repair this damage, we must eat enough protein.
It is most beneficial to consume protein right after a workout to provide the building blocks of muscle to the body right at the time your body needs it.
Proper hydration is incredibly important, especially as the duration of the workout increases.
Fluid needs are estimated at around 16 to 24 oz of water per pound of body weight lost during exercise.
While water is incredibly important, especially in hot climates, it is not often enough to hydrate properly, especially for those that sweat a lot during their workouts. Rather, water should be consumed along with electrolytes.
When we sweat, we lose a lot of sodium as well as key minerals like potassium, with fluid. These electrolytes are essential for proper bodily function. During long workouts, where a lot of sweat is lost, it’s vital to replace fluid and electrolytes during exercise.
Electrolytes powders like Nakedade can be a good solution for adequate rehydration. It aids in rehydration and muscle growth with the inclusion of sodium, potassium, and carbohydrates.
These electrolytes help to restore your body’s proper fluid balance, which is vital for any athlete’s lifestyle.
3. Sleep & Rest
Rest days and proper nightly sleep are essential for the body’s ability to repair. Each day, regardless of your physical activity regimen, your body requires sleep to restore from the activity of the day.
With intense workouts, more rest is required. By giving your body time to restore and repair damage from exertion, you are priming your body to tackle the next workout. Without taking a rest day or getting proper sleep, you are prone to experience more injury.
Do yourself a favor and be deliberate about taking the rest days you need and getting adequate sleep each night.
A little effort and discipline taken in this respect can be a gamechanger for your athletic performance.
Lastly, research shows that physical massage and stretching can be beneficial to reduce muscle soreness and increase your flexibility.
Physical massage can be a sports massage that is performed by a masseuse or more simply, it can be done by yourself with a tool such as a Theragun or the like. Regular massage or stretching can help to repair muscle damage and aid in recovery.
By decreasing the muscle soreness you feel, you are better able to perform during your next workout.
It’s necessary to take these steps to improve your ability to exercise and gain muscle mass. While not always desired, taking care of your body and including more self-care and rest is essential for athletic performance.
The Bottom Line
While these four tips are not the only things you can do to increase muscle mass, they offer a great starting point to get you started.
Be sure to eat enough carbohydrates and protein at each meal and after each workout. During each workout, sip on fluids with electrolytes to restore your body’s fluid balance.
Get at least 6 hours of sleep nightly and take rest days when your body needs them. Incorporate stretching daily and massage your muscles at regular intervals.
Try to incorporate these lifestyle habits into your weekly routine in order to increase your athletic performance. Soon you will notice that your ability to gain more muscle and improve your body composition.