It’s one thing to make sure you have a good workout routine: a great diet, good rest, and a regular amount of exercise are a sure-fire way to help yourself grow bigger and stronger. There are lots of sites hosting information on how to maximize your gains while you’re working out - but what about when you’re not working out?
Today we’re going to be looking at some suggestions from bodybuilding experts and personal stories from trainers and athletes who know that it’s not always practical to maintain your workout routine. In any situation you find yourself that you’re not able to work out as much as you’d like to, take the following tips into account.
1. Drink Wine
But also don’t take this tip out of context and start getting wasted every night, because that will be counterproductive to any of the muscle you’ve gained, as well as every other aspect of your life.
Moderate consumption of wine, on the other hand, is a great way to help you maintain the muscles that you have gained over the course of your working out. This is because wine contains a lot of antioxidants, one of these which is known as resveratrol.
Why does that matter? Resveratrol is an interesting antioxidant because it helps to prevent the breakdown of protein, as well as fighting oxidative stress and preventing premature cell death. It’s not hard to see how all of these things can benefit someone who wants to make sure their muscles stay toned while they’re out of the gym.
2. Eat creatine (or hamburgers)
Creatine is a nutrient that you’ve probably heard of and may already be familiar with. If you’re familiar with it, then we don’t need to tell you that it’s an ideal supplement for helping people maintain muscle strength and size.
The benefits of creatine go beyond that of just the immediate time before and after your workout. Supplementing your diet with creatine when you’re injured (or eating a lot of burgers, because they’re loaded with the stuff) will help you make sure that your muscles stay strong and toned until you’re able to get back to the gym.
3. Watch your protein
Protein isn’t just important to stack into your diet when you’re working out. Everyone needs protein, not just bodybuilders, because it’s what your muscles need to stay strong. If you don’t eat protein, no matter who you are, you’ll start facing physical decline because your body won’t have access to the amino acids it needs to build up muscle tissue.
The best protein sources are animal protein, like fish, eggs, and meat, but if you’re not into contributing to the slaughterhouse industry then you can get great protein from plant sources like soybeans, nuts, and seeds.
4. Watch your carbohydrates
If you want to make sure that you maintain your figure while you’re not able to work out, make sure you pay attention to the carbs that you’re eating. While it’s no secret that everyone needs carbohydrates, it’s also important to remember that we don’t need a huge amount of them.
Carbs are used as fuel when you’re workout out, but if you’re not using up a lot of energy, then your carbs will just be stored as extra fat. Granted, you have to eat quite a bit of carbs to actually see any significant weight gain - but if you’re worried about your tone and physique, you’ll want to stay within your own safe range.
5. Use visualization
You might not personally love the idea of positive visualization, but scientific studies have proven time and time again that visualization is a great way for people to improve their lives. The mere act of visualizing a change can cause the body to respond physically.
You might typically associate visualization with fantasizing, but that’s not just the case. Visualizing is working with a positive intent to create a psychosomatic response - a physical response that’s catalyzed by a mental state.
Studies have shown that people who had casts placed on their arms over 4 weeks lost only 24 percent of their muscle strength when they visualized flexing their forearms, compared to 45 percent with the study group that didn’t use visualization at all.
6. Pump up before your break
This is kind of similar to imagining someone eating a big meal before they go for a long journey. You want to have the necessary fuel to keep yourself charged up. The same thing goes for taking a break from bodybuilding - you can try and go really hard before you take a break to make sure you have a bit of extra muscle mass to compensate for what you might lose.
Obviously this won’t work if you get injured because you won’t be able to prepare for it. However, if you’re taking a vacation or are in need of surgery, this could be a good thing to do.
7. Work around your injury
Of course this is only necessary if you’re taking a workout break because of an injury. If that’s not the case, adopt one of the previous techniques.
Unless your entire body is injured, then chances are you’ll be able to work out the other areas of your body until the injury is healed. You’ll probably have to adopt some new techniques so you don’t end up twisting or hurting the affected area, but hey - you’ll be learning some new skills.