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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What should my diet and exercise look like to reduce muscle mass?

    I am quite muscular/bulky from lifting weights, what should I be doing to reduce my muscle mass?
    Half-Marathons and Marathons are now my sport of choice and carrying that bulk over such distances is not so useful.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2

    Thanks

    Tim Jeans

    Exercise Physiologist

    I am an Accredited Exercise Physiologist working at Living Life Sports Medicine. I have a strong belief in rehabilitation and healthy living, which stems from … View Profile

    Thanks for your question

    Firstly, Are you still going to the gym and what is your training program, day by day? Also what is your current diet? Basic muscle physiology is, that by training a muscle with moderate to heavy loading the muscle will respond and adapt by increasing in size and strength.

    Generally speaking, If you were looking to reduce ‘muscle mass’ you would limit the heavy strength training you were performing and look to substitute that with lighter resistance exercises that were more specific to longer distance running. You would also increase the repitions to above 20odd to focus on muscular endurance and fatigue, to change the physiological properties of the muscle, in order to mimic the stress that longer distance running places on the body.

    Combining this with more cardiovascular training which is again specific to longer distance running should see you reducing your muscle mass and bulk and becoming more lean and thus more suited to half and full marathons. 

    An accredited exercise physiologist (AEP) would be perferct for you to consult in regards to your question for a full assessment, eating and exercise plan specific to your needs. To find your nearest AEP log onto http://www.essa.org.au and simply type in your suburb into the “Find an exercise physiologist” box at the top of the home page. 

    Thanks and all the best 
    Tim Jeans
     

  • 1

    Thanks

    Sharon Brooks

    Nutritionist

    Sharon, a Registered Nutritionist RNutr and Food Scientist runs a nutrition consulting business that specialises in proactive nutrition and disease prevention.Sharon runs corporate, school and … View Profile

    Hi There,

    There are also food consumption strategies that assist with reducing muscle mass. I may be incorrect but i assume you were following a high protein load with your weight training. There is a tendency for the weight lifting community to overconsume on protein shakes and eggs- if this is you, no need with endurance running.

    As you increase your endurance activity and long run training good carbohydrates become even more essential for your preparation and recovery. This will also nourish you and assist with replenishing the stores your body wants to retain for running. 

    Marathon running can be very taxing from an overall immune health perspective so increasing your vegetable and fruit intake will boost your Vitamin C, antioxidant and phytochemical consumption; all keys in maintaining health and also overcoming the pressures from marathon running. It will also contribute to energy levels and the elimination of toxic build up in muscles and blood. 

    It may even be worth seeking professional assistance from a nutritionist or dietician to ensure your dietary habits are suited to marathon running.

    Good luck with it! 

  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    Its great that you've found an interest in sports that you love such as marathons and half marathons. There is definitely plenty of evidence out there that links good nutrition to exercise performance particularly endurance sports. 

    Your best bet is a sports dietitian. They can help you to prepare, fuel during and optimise your recovery after your race and ensure that you get enough fluid and electrolytes in. Considering that everyone has different goals and physiology, individualised advice is key to your success. To find a sports dietitian head to www.sportsdietitians.com.au, alternatively you may wish to contact me for further individualised advice.


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