While at first it may not seem like you will be able to eat enough to be able to build muscle, eventually as you progress through your journey you will be able to eat more as your needs are going to adjust. Generally this happens anywhere from 12 months post-operative to 2 years post-operative. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to building muscle post surgery that will help you. Remember the more lean muscle you have the better your metabolism will be, the easier it will be to keep the weight off.
Tip 1: Don’t skip recovery days
While some people think that exercising 7 days a week will lead to better muscle gains and overall health, this isn’t true. Unless you are competitively competing in a sport, then there is no reason why you can’t have what we call active recovery days. These days are full of things like yoga, stretching, foam rolling, light walking, etc.
Although exercising is important for strength and muscle growth, rest and recovery is just as crucial. Your muscles break down when you exercise, and the growth happens when you rest. If you exercise everyday without any recovery, your muscles continue to break down without repairing themselves. If you’re doing full body workouts, train 2-3 days per week, and if you follow an upper/lower body split routine, 3-4 days is ideal, with recovery days in between.
2. Don’t Change Up Workouts Too Often
If your goal is to build muscle mass, continually changing up your workouts isn’t the best route to take. It may be fun to switch up your exercise routine, but sticking to the same program for 4-6 weeks before you change things up is the way to go if you want to gain muscle.
At about the 4-6 week mark, we re-evaluate our programs and see if anything is work or if something maybe not working due to our busy schedules. You may go to school, work a full time job, but prioritizing your health is also important, but you can build a schedule around your busy lives without having it affect other things.
3. Do Increase Your Protein Intake
Protein is key to building muscle. Protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks to gaining muscle. Aim for 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. It’s important to get some form of protein at every meal, and even more important to consume protein immediately after you workout. Your body has the greatest anabolic window post-workout, sending protein to your muscles for quick repair. Protein supplements are a great way to ensure your muscles are getting everything they need for building, breaking, and repairing tissue.
4. Don’t Cut Carbs
Cutting out carbs is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to gain muscle. Carbs contain essential macronutrients required for optimal health. They help you feel full for longer and give you the energy you need to get through your workouts. If you eat too little carbs, your body will dip into your protein supply for fuel. This takes fuel directly from your muscles, causing them to stop growing as quickly as they would with a balanced amount of carbs and protein.
5. Do Lift Heavier Weights As You Become Stronger
As you become stronger and your muscles begin to grow, it’s important to lift progressively heavier weights or perform harder bodyweight exercises. Lifting light weights doesn’t promote muscle growth, no matter how many reps you do. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups and lifting weights creates mechanical tension, which slightly damages the muscle, causing a growth response. If you don’t continue to increase the weight, you’re not likely to gain more muscle.
Foods that Will Help Build Muscle
Eggs are a great source of high quality protein, which we already know is essential for muscle repair and growth. Eggs contain a large amount of the amino acid called leucine, which is particularly important for muscle gain. On top of protein, eggs contain healthy fats and nutrients like B vitamins and choline, which help with functions like energy production.
Salmon has a hefty dose of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and a number of important B vitamins. Omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in muscular health and can even increase muscle gain during exercise.
Shrimp are pretty much pure protein. They’re low in fat and have zero carbs, and while healthy fats and carbs are essential to a proper diet, eating shrimp is a great way to get your protein without too many added calories. Like eggs, shrimp are high in the amino acid leucine, needed for optimal muscle growth.
- Chicken Breast
Chicken breast is packed with protein, and contain a good dose of B vitamins niacin and B6- both particularly important if you live an active lifestyle. These vitamins help your body function properly during physical activity and exercise that leads to muscle gain.
- Turkey Breast
Turkey breast is high in protein and low in fat and carbs. It’s a quality source of the B vitamin niacin, which helps process fats and carbs in your body. Like chicken breast, the presence of B vitamins will help muscle gain by supporting your body’s ability to exercise.
Beans such as black beans and kidney beans are an excellent source of protein, and also contain fibre and B vitamins. On top of that, they’re high in phosphorus, magnesium and iron, so are crucial to your health overall. They’re a must for a lean muscle gain diet.
Chickpeas are an amazing source of carbs and protein, and have a good dose of fibre as well. While animal protein is still seen as the “best” source of protein, chickpeas are an amazing source of protein for anyone following a plant based diet, or who wants to cut down on meat.