Most of us will take time off training at some point. This may be due to an injury, illness, holiday or a number of other reasons. During these break periods, people tend to get worried that they’ll lose all their gains because they think there’s no way to maintain gains without training. This mindset can lead to a slippery slope of discouragement and may cause some to extend their break or even give up altogether.
This article is here to provide a few tips on how to avoid muscle atrophy during a break period, without over consuming calories and getting fat.
Stress is a killer of gains. When you stress your body over-secretes cortisol; a hormone that is necessary when naturally produced, but if it’s overproduced your body will begin to store excess body fat (especially around the midsection and love handles) & inhibit muscle growth.
It’s important to remember that you will not lose muscle from 1 week off training; it takes the body between 3 – 12 weeks of inactivity before muscle deterioration occurs. At most you may lose strength, but not muscle.The reason your muscles may begin to feel flat after a week or so of inactivity is because a large portion of
The reason your muscles may begin to feel flat after a week or so of inactivity is because a large portion of muscle is water. When you’re training your muscles are micro-tearing and expanding; allowing for the storage or more water. So if you feel as if your muscles are deteriorating within a week/fortnight, it is likely that your muscles are actually just retaining less water.
HMB (Hydroxy methylbutyric) is a derivative of leucine, which is an amino acid that assists in building and maintaining muscle. HMB is (in my opinion) an underrated supplement that can provide significant assistance minimizing muscle breakdown, especially during a break period.
Eat More Fat:
When you’re in a break period you won’t need the energy benefits provided by carbs, so try reducing or cutting them out altogether. Instead, eat a variety of fat sources, as fats are important for a healthy hormonal profile. It is a common misconception that fats will make you fat when in fact; there are many healthy fats that provide energy and help with breaking down vitamins and minerals. Look for foods containing polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats and avoid saturated and trans fats.
Focus on Rest:
If you weren’t already planning on resting during your break period, you should. Getting rest will give your body time to fully recover from all the exercise you have exposed it to prior to your break. Rest also helps in reducing stress and will make you feel fresh and recharged when you return to training.
By Xavier Wills
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