You know that in order to seriously practice any kind of sport, we need to have in place several important elements. First of all, there is a need to put in a lot of hard work and dedication, there is a need to invest a lot of time and energy.
We all have ups and downs in our lives. Life is an unpredictable thing and if today everything is OK and has its normal course, tomorrow may happen something that completely changes all our plans. And vice-versa, nothing lasts forever. Finally, comes a day when all issues are being solved and we are able to continue with our dreams and goals.
I think you have heard at least once about the term “muscle memory”. Have you asked yourself: Does muscle memory work? Let’s find together the answer to this question !
Ugh… I Have Made a Break…
Let’s say you was working out for a period of time and at some point, for some reason, you have to make a break for a few weeks or even months. You are discouraged by thinking that you have to take it from scratch and that you will have to go through that “nightmare” with muscle fever when you can not climb the stairs.
The surprise is that after a few training sessions, besides not having made such a strong fever, you feel like you are getting in fast enough. You may think that something is wrong with that, but the truth is that memory muscle exists and works !
According to some recent studies, if you have been practicing sport and at some point made a break that lasted quite long period of time, when you come back to your training, you will not have to start it from zero. Your muscles “kept in mind” when they were more vigorous and kept these memories in DNA.
This can be applied to almost everything we do in our lives. If we did in past dance lessons, knowledge that we have accumulated about how to perform certain moves in dance are stored in our brain. When we start to dance gain, our brain says “Hey, I know how to do that !” 😉 And gives your muscles the necessary information that allows you to perform the moves that you taught previously.
Let’s say, you were learning a foreign language and did a good job on that. Then, there was time when you wasn’t practicing the language anymore and at certain point, you have got a job offer where you can apply your foreign language knowledge. It is much more easy for you to remember how to speak in that specific language, isn’t it ?
How is This Possible ?
Let’s see exactly what it is about. Muscle memory is the name used to designate a physical activity that your body manages to execute easily after repeating several times.
Before we get into the problem, we’ll get to know the basics. You need to know that a muscle fiber is made up of several microfibers, like a string with multiple ties.
These adjacent muscle fibers form a beam that, in turn, together makes the muscles as a thick twine. At the base of these muscle fibers there are textures called myonuclei.
At the moment you train, the quality of the muscle fibers increases, which leads to the fusion between them and the satellite cells. These satellite cells provide the muscle fibers with the myonuclei. Alone, the myonuclei can support only a limited amount of cytoplasm, and once the density of the muscle fiber increases, the myonuclei grows.
Why it is Easier to Develop Quality Muscle Second Time ?
Due to the fact that you have trained in the past, myonuclei have remained in the same number, they haven’t lost, even if the muscle fiber is low. Even after years of workout break in which you have lost the muscle mass, those myonuclei are still large.
Muscle fibers remain unchanged, even in a period of rest. What actually really happens is the decrease of muscle quality and you may have covered the muscle with a layer of fat, but if you do not see that muscle, it does not mean it’s gone.
If you decide to get back to your training after a couple of months or even years, the myonuclei will help muscle fibers to regenerate faster than the person who starts the training for the first time.
For example, a person who has been trained for several years and has taken a break for several months, can return to muscle and strength in a few weeks without having to take it all back from the start. Is not that wonderful?
Training Has Nothing But Advantages
It is well known that, as we age, we begin to lose muscle and muscle fiber quality decreases, due to reduced satellite cell functioning and their number. So after a certain age, it slows down and at some point stagnates.
However, the fact that you have been trained in the past benefits you because you will face this problem later than a person who has not trained, thanks to our good friend – the myonuclei.
Even at an advanced age, a person who loses muscle mass due to aging, can get an extension of the muscle mass if he has been trained in his youth.
Just think about this like a long term investment in yourself, your good looking, your good state of health and your overall well being. You will be definitely way too different from the rest of the people who ignore sports in their lives.
Exercise has an effect on our bodies over a longer duration, than previously thought. It means that those who participate in competitions in various sports when they are children, can remain vigorous even when they become adults. The return to sport after a long rest is easier than it was when starting from scratch.
I Have Experienced This On Myself Too
I am not different with anything from you or from the rest of people. Since I started to practice this sport, I also had moments when I couldn’t afford enough time to workouts. I had breaks of several months and even several years.
Yes, you do lose muscle mass during these breaks. The biggest amount I have lost was about 10 kg. I know it might be very discouraging since the gaining process is not an easy one. Instead, when you are coming back to your training, you will see that you are getting the lost shape very quickly, literally in a few weeks.
I had moments in my life when I hadn’t time to train at all. The most interesting part is that even on those times people were telling me: “Hey, how do you find time to train in these days of your life?” Probably, they didn’t know about the power of muscle memory. Even with 10 kg of body weight lost, I was still attracting people’s eyes and thoughts.
When you are on your workout, try to do as many exercises as possible and pay closer attention to more complex exercises. Practice them and learn the right moves. They will be kept in memory and will help you to progress.
Does muscle memory really works ? Yes, it works ! I am saying you this from my own experience and there are also scientific studies made on this subject. Go and benefit from this information, try it on yourself and don’t forget to keep me updated about your progress!