6 nutrition tips to maintain muscle mass

If you do not eat enough, or the timing of your meals is off, you’re on the path to losing muscle mass, depleting energy stores and hitting the proverbial “no energy” wall. Here’s a simple game plan for avoiding this:

Eat breakfast every day. It does not have to be a huge, but it will kick start your day from an energy standpoint and help you focus.

Eat often. That roughly means every three hours. Some can be small snacks, but doing so will keep your metabolism and energy levels revved up.

Trying to gain weight? Add a small snack right before bedtime. Something on the lighter fare; higher carbohydrate and low-fat protein.

Trying to lose weight? Don’t eat after dinner, or up to about two hours before bedtime.

Pre-workout snacking tip. It should consist of a high carbohydrate source, consumed around 30 to 60 minutes prior to workout.

Post-workout tip. This snack should be higher on the protein side (e.g., protein shake, chocolate milk, smoothie, etc.) and consumed as soon after the workout as possible — ideally, within 30 to 60 minutes.

Ken Mannie is the head strength and conditioning coach Michigan State University. His column, Powerline, appears regularly in Coach & Athletic Director magazine. 

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