The foundation of any successful fitness regimen is built upon healthy habits. Whether your goal is to run your first marathon, set a deadlift personal record, or commit to a daily walking routine, the key is sticking to regular habits that nudge you along the path to a healthier, fitter you. However, when it comes to reaching your health and fitness goals, knowing what not to do is often equally as important as knowing the right things to do. Building and maintaining muscle mass is no exception to this universal rule. To help you develop and hold on to your lean muscle, we’re sharing five bad fitness habits that cause you to lose muscle mass so you can avoid them at all costs.
You can spend countless hours in the gym and train with Tazmanian devil-like intensity, but if you have lousy fitness habits, you’re shooting yourself in the proverbial foot and are unlikely to reach your fitness goals. Fortunately, by making minor tweaks to your nutrition, workout routine, and daily behaviors, you’ll avoid the pitfalls of bad habits and drastically improve your ability to grow muscle. Certified personal trainer Kate Meier, CPT of Gym Garage Reviews shares the lowdown on which bad fitness habits you should avoid like the plague. Keep reading to find out what they are, then check out The 5 Best Diet & Exercise Tips To Regain Muscle Mass.
A surefire way to lose muscle mass is not consuming enough energy (calories). Food is fuel for your muscles, and not eating enough calories means your body will run on an empty tank.
“Significantly cutting calories combined with intensive cardio will lead to muscle loss over time,” says Meier. “Speak with a nutritionist or use an online calorie calculator to help determine how many calories your body needs to support everyday functions and your training regimen.”
“Training consistently is a key aspect of building muscle, but overtraining can have the exact opposite effect,” cautions Meier. Unless you’re an endurance athlete who runs marathons or competes in triathlons, working out too much can lead to overtraining syndrome (OTS), a condition that occurs when you don’t allow for proper recovery after consistent, vigorous training sessions, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). Additionally, reduced muscle glycogen levels and muscle weakness are associated with overtraining, research shows. Common symptoms of OTS include extended fatigue, poor sleep quality, low energy, persistent muscle soreness, and mood swings, according to the HSS.
Sleep is likely the most powerful (yet most underrated) aspect of any health or fitness goal. Practicing good sleep hygiene and making high-quality, restorative sleep a top priority will help you maintain and grow muscle. Research shows that not getting good quality sleep, or not sleeping enough, can heighten your risk of losing muscle mass.