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You’ve spent countless hours at the gym crafting your version of a perfect body. So much sweat, time, and money have gone into creating the version of yourself that you want to see in the mirror. However, at a certain point, you might begin to think that you can take a day off or add an extra cheat day. After all, the muscles you’ve worked so hard to develop took a long time. How much could you actually lose by taking the occasional break?
Rather than risk the loss of all that hard work, consider adding a few things to your routine in order to preserve all the work that’s gone into creating this newest and greatest version of yourself.
Exercise doesn't have to be for hours.
Maybe your schedule has changed or work has become more demanding. Whatever the case, you may be finding less time to go to the gym. Rather than giving up or taking a break that you say will only be a week, before turning into months, consider redesigning your workouts to work with the changes that have suddenly appeared in your life.
In order to maintain the same amount of muscle that you’ve cultivated up to this point, you should be aiming for 20 minutes of strength exercise at least three times a week. 20 minutes is a much easier time frame to fit in a workout. Of course, it’s not the typical hour or two that you’ve become accustomed to, but it will provide you with enough time and effort to preserve what you’ve achieved up to this point.
Pay attention to your diet.
Of course, loss of time to exercise may not be the leading cause of your fears regarding your loss of muscle. Perhaps, you’ve grown tired of your current dietary regime and are looking for a change, or maybe you’re going on an extended vacation and won’t have the regular access to your usual diet. Whatever the case, there are ways to maintain your current level of muscle, so don’t be afraid that a change in your diet is going to wreck all of your hard work.
Whether you’re new to the fitness game or a seasoned veteran, protein has always been a key component in developing and maintaining your physique. It makes sense, then, that it would be an important thing to maintain even if your diet, exercise or other routines change. Research has shown that maintaining muscle, including in older people, can be aided by consuming 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Ensuring that you continue to get enough protein in your diet will help maintain your ideal body. Ideally, this would be paired with physical exercise, even if it is just the 20 minutes previously mentioned.
Supplements are your friend.
As an addition to your diet, exercise, or both, you can consider adding supplements. Many people, especially those who are already well-versed in weight and muscle gaining, know of supplements like creatine, which is a molecule the body produces naturally that supplies energy to muscles. There are, however, other supplements that could be considered when hoping to maintain muscle mass. In addition to creatine, you can consider protein supplements, telogenesis, or weight gainers. Telogenesis is a supplement that contains the enzyme telomerase, which protects your cells against aging, something that can help maintain muscle and joint strength. While not a perfect solution to maintaining muscle mass, supplements can provide a useful way to maintain the physique that you’ve developed, especially when paired with exercise or diet.
An important note here: If you are considering the use of supplements, be sure to consult with your physician. While many of them don’t have side effects, it is always best to get the advice and expertise of a healthcare professional.
No matter your reasons for wanting to maintain your muscle mass after hours and days of hard work, there are practical options for you. It’s entirely up to you and the circumstances you’re dealing with, but you have several options. Pick one or pick all of them. The choice is up to you, but rest assured that you have ample opportunities and ways to maintain the best you.