You need to strike a balance both physically and mentally when maintaining your muscle mass while taking your schedule rest days. You need to let your body recover and you need to keep a mental checklist for maintaining muscle mass, in order to maintain those hard earned gains.

There are probably two different circumstances that might take place in which training in any meaningful sense is likely to become a bit tricky.

One is where you are injured, ‘off games’ and need to recover from whatever has confined you to the sidelines. And the other might be when you are traveling for business or on vacation.


Rest days due to injuries

With the injury situation you can assess with your doctor if you would be able to perform certain exercises around the injury. That way you can continue on with your training regimen and not have to deal with any psychological ramifications and maintain the appropriate amount of calories, thus preserving your muscle mass.

Rest days due to business/vacation

With the business/vacation situation, you probably would not lose any muscle mass if you took even a week off from training. Some people might feel smaller during that time and this could be contributed to your nervous system being less stimulated. It is likely to be more of a mental than physical perception.

maintain muscle mass during rest days_2In addition, you while you are training your muscles look more swollen and tighter due to inflammation, so you might think that you are losing muscle mass when the swelling goes down and the inflammation subsides. But I can assure you, you are not.

So, based on the individual, the longer it took you to attain your current level of muscle mass, the longer those gains will stay with you.

Calorie maintenance

The key to the travel/vacation situation would be to set your calories to a “maintenance “level.

Do not take the approach of consuming too many calories, this surplus without the training stimulus that signals muscle growth is potentially setting you up to gain fat.

Also, you do not want to consume too little in the way of calories, this could lead to weight/muscle loss. Keep your protein intake adequate based on a percentage of your body weight per day.

Maintaining your body


One formula you can use is to convert your body weight to kilograms and then multiply your kilogram weight by a factor of (.8) and that total number will be your grams of protein per day.

Make sure that you are drinking enough water per day, getting enough sleep and consuming enough of the macro and micro nutrients from quality food sources. Remember that your fuel is key here too. Without the right kind of diet, your training will always be suck on the back foot.

In summary, the rest days are a great opportunity to assess how you are training and the frequency and intensity of your workouts. Also, you can catch up on more recent articles about nutrition and how it relates to the building and preservation of muscle mass.

Connect with Expert Jim Cleveland.

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