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Three seemingly innocent daily habits that can lead to muscle loss

by , 05 January 2018
Three seemingly innocent daily habits that can lead to muscle loss
You eat clean most of the time and hit the gym fairly regularly - so why is it that your once firm, sleek upper arms and thighs appear to have been replaced with dropping skin and fat?

As it turns out, muscle loss is more than just a vanity issue. Diminished strength also means a reduced quality of life. Everything becomes more difficult - think doing chores, going for walks and climbing stairs - even living life to the fullest becomes a challenges.

You'll be surprised to learn that certain things you do (or don't do) in the gym, in the kitchen or between the sheets can speed up the process of muscle loss. Keep reading for three reasons why you're losing muscle.

Three surprising reasons why you're losing muscle

#1: You’re not eating enough protein at breakfast
You already know that consuming adequate amounts of protein is key to building up muscle, but did you know that when you consume your protein matters, too? For example, consuming a high-carb breakfast like toast or sugary cereal capped off with a big serving of meat or plant protein at dinner isn’t the right way to do it. Why, you ask? Because essentially, you’re waiting until the last meal to provide your body with most of its muscle-building materials. Try swapping out some of the carbs in your breakfast with protein-rich foods like Greek yoghurt or eggs to help spread your protein more evenly throughout the day. Also try to get 10 g to 15 g more protein within 30 to 60 minutes of your workouts for further muscle-building benefits.

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#2: You’re not eating enough fresh produce
While protein is the supreme muscle-building macronutrient, proteins along with refined grains and salt create acids inside your body that can start to eat away at muscle over time, according to a review on diet and sarcopenia in the journal Osteoporosis International. Luckily, mother nature has a solution for this – fruits and vegetables provide a healthy dose of magnesium and potassium that buffer these acids and protect your muscle tissue The antioxidants in some produce, such as leafy greens and berries, combat reactive oxygen species that can damage muscle fibres in the long-term. Aim to eat at least two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables per day. Smoothies are a great shortcut to meeting your daily fruit and vegetable quota.
 
#3: You aren’t changing up your strength training routine
You know that strength exercises like weightlifting are important for building muscle, but lifting the same 2 kg dumbbells every day can result in a plateau or even a backslide as the effects of age take over. “Muscles need continual overload to respond and get stronger,” explains Paul Gordon, PhD, professor and chair of health, human performance and recreation at Baylor University in Texas in th United States. Start with one day a week of strength exercises that target your legs, hips, back, abs, chest shoulders and arms using weights that you can comfortably lift 15 to 20 times. Increase the frequency and intensity of your workout over time until you’re targeting every major muscle group twice a week with weights you can only lift 10 to 12 times.
 
Follow these tips to reverse your muscle loss before it’s too late!

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