If your intention behind working out is to gain muscle instead of losing weight, congratulations! Most people simply go by the numbers on the scale and often confuse muscle loss with weight loss. Knowing the difference between the two is a great start, but you must also keep in mind that working out is not enough to achieve your goal of gaining muscle mass.

There are various other factors that come into play, which often get overlooked. That is why there are so many people who, despite exercising regularly and eating well, find themselves feeling weaker by the day. They see their biceps and triceps dwindling in size and shape. This makes them lose the little motivation they had mustered towards following a healthy lifestyle. AskMen India shares six things you should stop doing to prevent muscle loss:

a Sedentary lifestyle

Sedentarism is the biggest curse of modern society. Among the many health problems it causes, muscle degeneration tops the list. People tend to take exercising for granted in their teens and twenties, as their naturally high metabolism makes up for the lack of activity. However, as soon as they enter their thirties, their muscles start degenerating if they’re not being challenged and constantly put to use. This happens at a slow rate at first, and then suddenly, very fast, leading to low energy levels, unexplained fatigue and loss of balance. If you want to keep your strength and stamina intact as you age, start working out every day.

Excessive cardio

When we say start working out every day, we don’t just mean the exercises which you enjoy doing, but all those necessary to keep your body strong and muscular from head to toe. Cardio may be your favourite form of training, but it’s not enough to do just that. It may help you lose weight and improve breathing capacity, but to gain muscle mass, you must also do strength training. Striking a balance between the two is super important. Those who only focus on cardio end up burning muscle along with fat.

Poor sleeping habits

The importance of a good night’s sleep is highly underestimated in modern society. Given how integral a part of our lives social media has become, people stay up late scrolling through Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, looking for yet another kick of dopamine. These apps steal their attention subliminally and before they know it, their phones become an inseparable part of their existence. It’s sad how it makes sleeping, which is a natural human process, a struggle to achieve. This causes physical problems like muscle degeneration, as well as mental ones like dwindling attention. For the sake of your long-term health and happiness, keep your electronic devices away an hour before bed time. Start sleeping early and see the difference in your strength and stamina the next day.

aN imbalanced & Unhealthy diet

What you put inside your body will have a direct impact on your health. If your diet is well balanced and contains all the macro and micronutrients to nourish your system, you will feel strong and energetic. Iron, for instance, helps in the making of haemoglobin, which carries oxygenated blood to all the cells in the body. It supports every function from respiration to digestion to excretion. It enables the muscles to repair from the wear and tear subjected to them all day. Without this important nutrient, your muscles will start degenerating. Similarly, your meals should have an adequate amount of protein, good fats and carbs, vitamins and minerals.

Smoking

Smoking is the worst. It deteriorates your lungs, making it difficult for oxygen to enter the bloodstream and be transported to all the muscles in the body that need nourishment to carry out their functions of movement and maintenance. This means that even if you’re exercising regularly and eating clean, your muscles won’t be able to recover from the wear and tear subjected to them all day and absorb the nutrients from the food. Moreover, the nicotine contained in cigarettes causes inflammation and inhibits protein synthesis, which in turn, prolongs the muscle recovery process.

Drinking alcohol

Alcohol is another intoxicant that you should steer away from if you want a strong and shredded physique. Other than all the life-threatening diseases it causes, it inhibits your bodily functions and makes everything from protein synthesis and calcium absorption more difficult. This, in turn, weakens all your muscles and makes it twice as hard to carry out day-to-day activities. Alcohol also stunts the communication between your brain and body, thus prolonging the recovery period after workouts.

Gaining muscle mass requires a complete lifestyle change!

Cover artwork by Dhaval Punatar/AskMen India

You May Also Dig:

Source link: https://in.askmen.com/fitness-workouts/1128320/article/6-main-reasons-youre-losing-muscle-mass by Ritu Ailani at in.askmen.com