Building solid muscle mass generally takes months and months (if not years) of regularly scheduled strength training and cardio sessions. It also takes determination and persistence—two virtues that are necessary to overcoming all of the obstacles that you could have let stand in your way when achieving your physique, but didn’t. Therefore, it would be a shame to let all of your hard work go to waste by not maintaining your muscles after you’ve created them.

Fortunately, you don’t have to. By doing just a few simple things, you’ll be able to retain the body you’ve spent all of your sweat, and sometimes tears, building to higher levels.

Keep Working Out. Because muscle is not something that once you’ve got it, you’ve always got it, you’re going to have to keep working out so that it stays in top shape. However, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to work out as often in order to achieve higher levels of fitness. In fact, one study found that strength training just two times per week brought about even better results than three weekly sessions. Staying current with your cardio workouts is important too.

Eat Higher Protein. Protein is essential to muscle growth and retention, making this macronutrient critical to your daily diet if you want to maintain your physique. Some great protein-rich sources to consider include salmon or other fish, lean red meat, chicken or turkey, nuts, seeds, and dairy.

Take Supplements. Your body still needs certain nutrients in order to keep it top physical form, so taking a multivitamin can help ensure that you get all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Sports based supplements designed specifically for men and women are additional body-maintaining options to consider as well.

You’ve worked hard to get your body to the level you have, don’t let that go to waste now.

What are some things you do to help maintain your physique?