Lean muscle mass is commonly associated with looking fit and feeling stronger, but the truth is, it’s vital to our long-term health for many reasons beyond that. Since it tends to deteriorate with age and inactivity, it’s important to know how to maintain and build lean muscle mass naturally.
What is lean muscle mass?
Lean muscle mass refers to an element of body composition that calculates the weight of everything (including organs, skin, and bones) in your body, minus the fat. In addition to improving strength, building lean muscle mass has many other advantages.
Building lean muscle mass with exercise
When you think of muscle-building exercises, you likely picture barbells, dumbbells, and a lot of heavy lifting. While weight training is certainly beneficial to muscle health, activities like power yoga, high intensity interval training, and body weight exercises have more benefits to building lean muscle mass specifically. Two to three strength training workouts per week is the ideal, and bonus – you don’t have to have any special equipment to engage in these exercises.
Work towards a mix of isotonic and isometric exercises in your routine. Isotonic exercises involve movement and muscle contraction, and include things like pushups, situps, squats, and tricep dips. Isometric movements are static, meaning they don’t involve repetitive movement and contraction – think plank holds, wall sits, and boat pose.
The effects of aging on muscle
As we age, we progressively begin to lose muscle mass, which can eventually lead to a condition called sarcopenia. This loss of muscle mass can lead to a higher risk of mobility issues and balance, which increases the risk of injury.
A decline in muscle mass is primarily due to protein synthesis slowing down in the body, resulting in a greater muscle breakdown rate. In addition to this, as muscle ages, its response to inactivity becomes more sensitive. That being said, keeping an eye on dietary protein intake and periods of inactivity can help aid muscle maintenance as we get older.
Diet and lean muscle mass
Lean muscle is affected by diet – in particular, protein intake. In order to repair and grow new muscle fibres, we need to eat complete proteins that contain essential amino acids. When we eat a complete protein, the body breaks down the protein into amino acids, and these work to build new muscle, support metabolism, and repair tissues.
Dietary sources of complete proteins include:
What are amino acids?
There are roughly 20 amino acids, and out of those, 9 are essential. This means that the body cannot produce them, and we must get them from our diet. Foods that contain all 9 of the essential amino acids are referred to as complete protein sources. All animal-based foods are considered complete proteins, while most plant-based protein sources are considered incomplete proteins. That’s not to say these don’t contain any amino acids – they just don’t contain enough amino acids to accomplish things like building lean muscle mass. For those who are plant-based, it’s important to eat a wide variety of proteins in each meal to ensure they’re getting all the required amino acids.
How can I ensure I’m getting enough?
If you feel as though you’re not getting the essential amino acids you need from your diet alone, supplementing is a great option. Innovite MuscleRescue™, powered by Reginator®, is a completely vegan source of essential amino acids, with twice the muscle building action compared to whey protein. It’s ideal for anyone who is looking to conquer muscle loss, particularly those who are plant-based, lactose intolerant, those with limited mobility, or individuals looking to maintain and easily build more lean muscle. It’s a source of the essential amino acids needed for muscle protein synthesis and is clinically proven to reverse muscle loss without exercise.
By taking into account the effects of aging on lean muscle mass, as well as adequate exercise and dietary considerations, you can easily maintain and build lean muscle naturally.