Muscle retention is a topic which is over looked – people spend so much time concentrating on ‘’bulking’’ and ‘’cutting’’ that they miss this very relevant point. How do you maintain lean muscle tissue whilst dropping body fat? It’s all very well and good getting lean but if you sacrifice all of your size then it’s not worth it, surely? We are going to cover 3 key areas you need to consider whilst ‘’cutting’’ in order to retain as much muscle as possible.
1 – Make Gym Time Count
People get into this mind-set when they are ‘’cutting’’ that they need to do loads of volume and more than that lots of drop sets, giant sets and do loads of reps. All of these things are good in moderation BUT the emphasis should be on quality over quantity. Let’s talk science – the body retains and builds muscle tissue that it NEEDS. Because it’s so metabolically active it’s a hindrance to the body so you need to give it a reason to be there. With that said STRESS is key. This means lifting heavy even if it means reducing the volume drastically. If the muscle is challenged with weight it isn’t comfortable with then it will have to be kept by the body to deal with it. Simple!
2 – Stimulate Frequently
We know from studies that muscle protein synthesis levels remain elevate after a training session for 48 hours. It is during this time we are optimising muscle recovery and growth (and retention). Therefore we need to stimulate MPS more frequently to help retain mass. Aim to train muscles at least twice a week, sometimes 3!
3 – Supplementation
Whilst in a calorie deficit it would be more than prudent to utilise specific supplements which will help combat catabolism and in turn protect your muscle mass. These supplements include amino acid blends such as BSN Amino X and BCAA products such as Reflex BCAAs. Combined these supplements will help with muscle retention by stimulating protein synthesis.
The next time you find yourself cutting on a quest to get shredded remember that retaining muscle isn’t just key for your look; it will also help you because muscle tissue is metabolically active. As a result you will handle more calories without doing anything, the more muscle mass you carry.