If you’ve already achieved your desired body composition goals and are looking and feeling your best, that’s great news. But you can’t rest on your laurels. It can be all too easy to think that you can lay off for a little while now that you’ve hit your targets. But success can be short-lived, especially if you end up quitting the gym and gorging on fatty and sugary foods. It can be all too easy to give up once you reach your targets, so here are three simple habits to get into the make sure your success is maintained in the long term.
Simple Habit 1 – Eating Protein At Every Meal
Too many people underestimate the importance of protein, but in fact it’s absolutely vital if you want to maintain muscle. Protein is the building block that muscle is created from, so if you supplement your diet with protein, you’ll find it’s easier to keep the body composition you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
The amount of protein you need to consume each day may vary depending on your age, your body weight and your lifestyle. Athletes require far more protein each day than someone who is retired and lives a sedentary life.
Currently, recommendations say that you should consume around 0.8g of protein for every kilo of your body weight each day. But you may need to consume more than this if you work out regularly, and if you want to build more muscle, you may need significantly more than that amount.
Nevertheless, eating some protein with every meal of the day comes with a host of benefits. For a start, if you are injured and so cannot do your regular resistance training workout, consuming more protein will slow down the process of muscle atrophy.
So, what protein sources should you be looking at? There are some that are well-known to be highly beneficial when it comes to maintaining your achievements, including:
- Turkey breast
- Skinless chicken
- White fish
- Pork loin
- Lean beef
- Protein powder
- Greek yoghurt
- Protein bars
Not only is protein very important for building your muscles, it’s also satiating, so you’ll feel a lot fuller if you eat protein with every meal. That will help to prevent you from snacking on fatty or sugary foods in between meals so you can maintain your new physique in the long run without gaining weight. If you can also include at least one portion of vegetables with every meal, you will go even further towards achieving your health goals.
Simple Habit 2 – Exercising Regularly
Once you reach the age of 30, you begin to lose between 3% and 5% of you muscle mass with each passing decade. Of course, it goes without saying that muscle is important, and maintaining that muscle in the long term is vital to live a healthy and active later life.
That’s where exercise, and especially resistance training comes into play. It prevents atrophy of the muscles, particularly if you can support it with good nutrition. You do, however, have to stay consistent in your workout routine to maintain your body composition since your muscle strength will start fading if you’re inactive for just 2 weeks.
With this in mind, you need to know how much exercise you need to do to maintain your success while preventing muscle loss.
Current advice says that you should avoid inactivity and do around 150 minutes per week of either mid-intensity physical aerobic activity or, alternatively, 75 minutes each week of intense aerobic activity. You should also make sure to do muscle strengthening exercises on at least two days of the week.
A minimum of two strength training workouts each week is essential if you wish to guard against muscle loss while also maintaining your new body composition.
Going for walks every day is a good way to maintain your aerobic exercise levels. Aiming for around 20 to 45 minutes of walking at a moderate to fast pace each day offers a host of benefits, burning calories, improving your heart health, boosting your mood and immune function, and maybe even increasing your lifespan.
Simple Habit 3 – Managing Your Stress
Many people don’t realise that stress has a key role to play when it comes to fat loss and muscle gains. Stress levels actually have a major impact on your body composition, since stress causes cortisol dysfunction.
As the stress hormone in the body, cortisol is vital in life and death situations, but in the modern world, we often develop the fight or flight response for non-emergency reasons, and that leads to chronic stress. Keeping your stress level down will help you to avoid gaining weight and ruining your body composition.
Meditating each day is a good habit to get into, along with journalling. It’s also a good idea to go outside at least once each day and to spend quality time with friends and family members. Finding activities that make your feel in control, grounded and calm is essential if you want to manage your stress and maintain your hard-achieved new physique in the long term.
Following These Habits
These three simply habits hold the key to maintaining your physique all through the year. With resistance training, you can carry on making muscle and strength gains, while consuming enough protein will keep you feeling full and prevent unhealthy snacking.
Your aerobic exercise will help you to burn calories at a healthy rate while managing your stress effectively will ensure that your cortisol levels don’t get out of hand, causing you to gain weight.
It’s clear that habits are the basis of long-term body composition maintenance success. So, take these three habits on board and incorporate them into your daily life. You’ll soon find that you do them without even thinking about it every day. From this strong foundation, you’ll then be in the ideal place to ensure your new lean and toned physique will stay looking great for many more years to come.