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I'm currently working on adding muscle and have been pretty successful over the last 6 weeks (adding well over a stone in weight, albeit a little fat as well as muscle).

Last week I injured my shoulder. I experience a minor pain in the rear of my shoulder blade when moving my arm and when bending down to reach something.

Whilst I am injured and obviously not lifting weights, I don't want my body to start shedding the muscle that I've worked so hard to attain. Because I have such a high metabolism, is this likely to happen? If so, what can I do to stop my body from shedding muscle?

So far I have stuck to my diet which I changed following the advice of this website (high protein meals around 200 calories every 2-3 hours). I have also added in an extra protein shake a day to make up some more healthier calories along with plenty of fish.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

In general, your body will maintain its muscle mass with .5g of protein per pound lean body weight (i.e. how much you weigh without fat). Muscle tone and strength might change, but you will be able to protect the muscle you have. To gain muscle mass, increase the protein to 1g of protein per pound lean body weight.

Someone that is 250lbs on the scale but only has 165lbs muscle mass will need the same amount of protein as someone who is 215lbs on the scale but has 165lbs of muscle mass. In both cases, you would consume 83g of protein to maintain or 165g of protein to gain muscle (not fat).

That said, you will probably lose some muscle tone. I can't say anything about whether you can lose strength while maintaining mass, but I'm pretty sure its possible.

In the interim, you you might be able to do a light treadmill workout while your shoulder is healing. You'd want to stay away from anything that will shock your shoulder, so no running. However, a good walk keeping your heart rate in the fat burning zone will help burn a bit extra fat while you are recovering.

As to resources, check out:

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Great answer, thankyou. – Jaitsu May 2 '11 at 21:34

Of course you'll lose strength, strength is about neuro-muscular conditioning and strength decreases pretty rapidly. Good news is though that because you've already built those pathways you 're-learn' strength at a much more rapid rate than you initialy built it once training resumes.

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