If you’re like most people, you want to build muscle and lose fat. But what if you’re losing muscle mass and don’t even know it?
The most common symptom of losing muscle is a decrease in strength. You might be able to lift the same weight but not be able to do as many repetitions. You could also find yourself having trouble performing daily activities that require strength, such as carrying groceries or climbing stairs.
The good news is that in most cases, these issues are easily reversible. Here are some telltale signs you’re losing muscle mass:
- You have a hard time recovering from workouts. If your body isn’t recovering well from workouts, it’s telling you that it needs more protein to build more muscles. If your recovery times are longer than normal, try adding more protein into your diet.
- You don’t feel like exercising anymore. If you used to love going to the gym or doing an intense workout at home but now dread going because it’s so much work, then something might be wrong with your workout routine or nutrition plan. Maybe you’re doing too much cardio without enough weight training and may need more balanced workouts including both cardio and weights.
- You’re not sore after workouts: If your workout days are going by with no soreness or fatigue, then this could be an indication that your body isn’t recovering well from your workouts. Soreness is a sign that you’re breaking down muscle tissue and forcing it to grow back stronger than before. If you aren’t getting sore after workouts, then it’s likely that you aren’t doing enough resistance training or using heavy enough weights during your workouts.
So what are the best ways to preserve your hard-earned muscle mass when you’re trying to shed pounds? Here are some tips:
- Eat protein at every meal
Protein is necessary for maintaining muscle mass, so eating enough of it is important for keeping your muscles strong. Aim for about 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily — so if you weigh 150 pounds, for example, aim for 75 grams of protein each day.
- Choose high-quality protein sources
You can find protein in almost any food source (including plants), but some foods provide more protein than others do. Good sources of lean protein include eggs, turkey breast, salmon and tuna (canned or fresh), Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. These foods also tend to be low in calories and fat, which makes them a smart choice when trying to lose weight.