1

votes

How to prevent muscle atrophy?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 02, 2012 at 3:58 PM

What can be done, in addition to weight training, to prevent muscle atrophy?

  • Weight training is 1st on the list, but feel free to share specific protocols & research related to that.
  • I lose muscle very easily, see below for recent evidence of that, and the reason for this question.

Context:
  • I'm a skinny-fat hardgainer (ectomorph?). Never seen my abs, yet the rest of my body is very lean.
  • I lose muscle very easily & rapidly. The last few weeks are evidence to that:
    1. On January 13th I weight 68.5 kg (151 lbs).
    2. On January 14th I left for holiday in East Africa.
      • Throughout that time I only had 1 weight training session in a make shift gym in Moshi, Tanzania.
      • Mostly sitting (transport, dinner) and some hiking.
      • Diet shifted to more carbs (mangos!) though on some days meat was plentiful
      • Had travellers diarrhoea for 2 days which could contribute to some weight lose
    3. On February 1st (18 days later) I returned home. Now weigh 64.5 kg (142.2 lbs)!
      • The lose was mostly from muscle. I don't have hard proof of that, but I am much weaker in the gym and my look did not improve at all (same belly fat).
      • I've not been this light in many many years (before starting weight training).
  • I've been actively weight training for a long time which has mostly just allowed me to keep what I had and add a little muscle.
  • Max I've ever weighed is 72.5 kg last year. I lost some of that (in muscle) over Christmas & New Years holidays.
  • These levels of weight fluctuation never happen during my normal working and training routine. Only when away from training (I get 36 days of vacation/holiday, plus public days, which all gets used).
  • I've had 2 comments since returning like: "I didn't think you could lose any more weight". And not in a good way.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on April 15, 2013
at 09:39 AM

Have just noticed this post is more than a year old. Would be nice to have an update :)

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on February 03, 2012
at 12:30 PM

Scotty - Of course

07243c7700483a67386049f7b67d90a4

on February 02, 2012
at 11:56 PM

My Understanding is that the cortisol tests are unreliable. If your suspecians are strong could just presuming a cortisol excess be an option ?

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on February 02, 2012
at 11:31 PM

Think it's cortisol in my case since all the fat is at the lower belly. Need to get the cortisol blood tests done, but it's not quite so easy in the UK.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on February 02, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Obviously a bit more detail on exactly what would help, but you could probably stand to eat more.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:57 PM

Yep. I'm all over BCAA and Leucine when home. My problem is I like to travel too much and bags of white powder and pills don't always go over too well (not to mention I travel light) :P

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:55 PM

JayJay - 4 kg (8.8 lbs) for a day or so of diarrhea? And then the massive strength lose. I blame genetics for how fast my muscle falls off when not actively pushing them. I don't like to use the genetics excuse but damn it happens fast. I don't lose when training very often.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:53 PM

PrimalDanny - When not travelling normally 2500-3000 kcal. When travelling it's not so easy to track and lots of non-paleo stuff sneaks in.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:51 PM

Matt - I'm 6'1"

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 02, 2012
at 06:28 PM

TBH I'd blame the 2 days of diarrhea for most your woes. But for the rest there is this http://www.marksdailyapple.com/hardgainer/#axzz1lFaMK4Bg....

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on February 02, 2012
at 06:16 PM

Also, how much are you eating?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:49 PM

"staying active is key" this is very true. If I have a really busy week and don't workout at all, I see noticeable difference.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:16 PM

How tall are you?

  • B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

    asked by

    (1634)
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8 Answers

3
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on February 02, 2012
at 04:46 PM

I deal with possible muscle atrophy a lot, and risk of muscle loss. Though I've never tracked it carefully, here's what I know anecdotally.

One, staying active is key. This has sometimes meant doing simple bodyweight exercises when I'm otherwise in a place where I would be sedentary. I've actually found that bodyweight / isometrics are more effective than weight training, at least in terms of feeling leaner and stronger.

Two, I try to eat more protein earlier in the day when moving, and more carbs or fat at night to both help with sleep and with muscle maintenance while I'm resting. I've found that doing this keeps my muscles fueled and I'm able to bounce back more quickly, thus able to stay active and keep building muscle.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:49 PM

"staying active is key" this is very true. If I have a really busy week and don't workout at all, I see noticeable difference.

1
Cf4576cbcc44fc7f2294135609bce9e5

on February 02, 2012
at 05:00 PM

to avoid muscle loss durring weight loss two things are needed. eat more protein. use your muscles.

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:36 PM

Eat protein. Have a cup of cottage cheese before going to bed. Have whey post workout.

0
07243c7700483a67386049f7b67d90a4

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I have found that ectomorphs are usually under some sort of metabolic stress or a hormonal flux of some sort. My primary thoughts are that histamine or cortisol could be high. This is why the 'eat more protein' etc doesn't always work.

For myself it was histamine was the culprit, when I stopped sneezing; muscle loss stopped being an issue when having extended training breaks.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on February 03, 2012
at 12:30 PM

Scotty - Of course

07243c7700483a67386049f7b67d90a4

on February 02, 2012
at 11:56 PM

My Understanding is that the cortisol tests are unreliable. If your suspecians are strong could just presuming a cortisol excess be an option ?

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on February 02, 2012
at 11:31 PM

Think it's cortisol in my case since all the fat is at the lower belly. Need to get the cortisol blood tests done, but it's not quite so easy in the UK.

0
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on April 15, 2013
at 09:33 AM

First thing I'd do is go visit your doc and get a complete hormonal and thyroid panel. Being generally lean but struggling with belly fat seems to me a possible body composition issue that seems caused by a bad hormonal profile. So checking for total and free testosterone, DHEA and estradiol may give some insight. If low testosterone, then maybe that should be what you should address, and I bet you'd instantly see some improvements in muscle mass. If not, then let's look for other reasons.

Thyroid issues may also be playing a role. When not working correctly they make energy balance and body composition a difficult thing. So full test of TSH, free T3, T4 and reverse T3 could show us some things going on.

If you can check for HDL and LDL ratios and HS CRP It would give an idea on overall body inflammation state, if there's an issue with inflammation then you can bet I'll manifest in difficulties on metabolic function also that can halt your progress.

Also a salivary cortisol test may be useful. If you were under sever stress then all the rest of the hormones would be downregulated and you would enter catabolic state which is muscle breaking. You want to be in an anabolic state, that is an optimal body state to promote muscle growth or at least maintainance mode for what you have gained in the past. Also don't underestimate your need for sleep.

Having plenty of protein and proper training as recommended on the other posts is needed and an important part of the equation, but for the whole picture, a correct hormonal balance is also needed and equally important if not even more.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on April 15, 2013
at 09:39 AM

Have just noticed this post is more than a year old. Would be nice to have an update :)

0
2868160b2451e55bbdc924b43e715a01

(0)

on April 15, 2013
at 09:19 AM

Probably look at why you have atrophy, maybe look into HGC?

0
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on February 02, 2012
at 04:52 PM

You could try all meat diets too. That could slow your digestion down and keep a massive amount of protein for maintenance.

0
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 02, 2012
at 04:17 PM

Apart from increasing protein, possibly have a look at supplementing with BCAA.

I personally take just short of 10g (a level tablespoon of powder) in the morning, and then the same pre-workout. I lose muscle really quick too and am currently playing with a http://leangains.com IF schedule. I make sure I am not reducing calories at all but simply fulfilling my calorific goals in two meals. I certainly feel pretty good, I have started tracking my weight and development this month. But as they say you can simply use a mirror or judge by how your clothes fit. Sounds stupid but I watch how well my GAP stretch tshirts fit.

B124653b19ee9dd438710a38954ed4a3

(1634)

on February 02, 2012
at 08:57 PM

Yep. I'm all over BCAA and Leucine when home. My problem is I like to travel too much and bags of white powder and pills don't always go over too well (not to mention I travel light) :P

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