How to Maintain Gains
You’ve done it. You’ve reached your fitness goal. All of that hard work and effort that you dedicated to burning fat and building muscle has finally given you the body that you’ve been dreaming about. While you are enjoying taking pictures and re-stocking your wardrobe, there’s one more thing you need to start thinking about: maintenance. Maintaining your results is just as important as achieving them. Here are the top tips and tricks to maintain muscle mass.
BEST TIPS FOR MAINTAINING FAT LOSS
This is THE area that people find themselves slipping up in after they’ve hit their goals. When you don’t have readily made healthy meals, the temptation to break your diet gets louder. The solution is to prep your meals each week.
Sunday is a popular choice for meal prep. Ideally, you’ll want to cook enough food for lunch and dinner each night of the week. If you have to choose one meal, go with dinner.
- Make one large meal batch or separate it into two smaller meals.
- Then lay out proper servings in your plastic ware containers.
No temptation and no stress to cook when you get home.
Hit Up the Sauna
Would you believe it if I told you that a day of pampering yourself at a sauna will also boost your fat burning? Science is discovering the power of the sauna in a big way. Spending time in a sauna has been shown to provide you with the following benefits:
- Increases your metabolic rate
- Supports a higher level of fat burning
- Boosts higher EPOC levels (calories you burn AFTER you leave the sauna)
- Promotes overall cardiovascular health (1,2)
I’d recommend sitting in a sauna for 10 to 15 minutes for at least three days a week.
BEST TIPS TO MAINTAIN MUSCLE MASS
Focus on Protein
You already know that gaining mass requires a caloric surplus. Now that you’ve hit your goal weight and muscle size, you’ll want to cut back on the calories. Your goal each day to maintain muscle mass is to burn as many calories as you consume. If you happen to slip up and burn MORE calories than you consume, should you be worried about burning away your muscle? Not if you have enough protein.
A new study shows that even if you are on a restricted calorie diet and you are performing intense resistance training six days a week, as long as you focus on protein, you will NOT lose muscle mass.
The best form of protein is whole food, of course, but you can also supplement with whey protein blends and amino acids. Aim for 1 gram per pound of bodyweight. (3,4)
Change Up Your Routine
You might be sick of hearing this one but that doesn’t make it any less true. You NEED to change up your workout routine. Doing the same routine day in and day out will cause you to plateau. While your goal may be to maintain muscle mass, you still need to introduce new methodologies into your workouts to maintain or even build more muscle.
That doesn’t mean you need a complete overhaul of your workout. If you have a good thing going then changing the acute variables will produce the results you need. Here are the acute variables you need to alter every 4 to 6 weeks.
- Rest breaks
- Exercises (try one new exercise each time you change)
Ready for a new way to lift? Check out my blog on advancing your muscle building program here.
Have these tricks worked for you? Tell us about your results!
Do you have your own tricks for ensuring you stay lean and built? You may also like the article on High Protein Diet and the Rich Protein Foods.
Are you ready to break through your plateau?
- Crinnion, WJ. “Sauna as a valuable clinical tool for cardiovascular, autoimmune, toxicant- induced and other chronic health problems.” 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Web.
- Dalleck, Lance. (2015) “Acute Benefits of Exercise with the Kutting Weight® Sauna Suit: Technical Report” Gunnison, CO. Western State Colorado University.
- Thomas M Longland, Sara Y Oikawa, Cameron J Mitchell, Michaela C Devries, and Stuart M Phillips. Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2016 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.115.119339
- Pasiakos SM, Cao JJ, Margolis LM, Sauter ER, Whigham LD, McClung JP, Rood JC, Carbone JW, Combs GF Jr, Young AJ. Effects of high-protein diets on fat-free mass and muscle protein synthesis following weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. FASEB J. 2013 Sep;27(9):3837-47. doi: 10.1096/fj.13-230227. Epub 2013 Jun 5.