What is muscle memory and how it can help you achieve the body you desire?
The mark of a bodybuilder is more than just his larger overall size. It’s the balanced look of his musculature. If you want to have enough muscle to turn heads at a pool party, you’ve to train all your muscle groups hard. You’ve to spend each sunup separating egg whites and gulping down protein shakes until you become brawny.
But then, here comes the twist…
You lose muscle. All your blood and sweat goes in vain. Conceivably your body becomes a mass of bruises, or if you have been forced to take a hiatus from the gym, even if your inner demons are telling you “Don’t be a wuss.”
”…Oh, wait, that muscle memory thing? Does that work? “
The good news is your body, like mine, is hardwired to hold onto muscle, not to lose it, and regain it quickly when it actually is lost. Here’s how our brain and muscles learn, and how we can use it to our advantage.
WHAT EXACTLY IS MUSCLE MEMORY?
Muscle memory refers to the muscle’s ability to achieve a certain size again after previously being there. In the gym world, regaining muscle after taking time off from training is called “muscle memory”. It’s a type of motor learning called procedural memory. Through the act of replication, your brain affixes that action into its neural pathways.
It’s the science behind why you never forget how to ride a bike. Even if you haven’t pedaled in decades. Think about the last time you played a video game. These are the skills that you pick up and they become etched in our memory. There are some tasks you never forget, once you’ve mastered them, no matter how long it’s been since you last tried it. Skills are developed through nervous system activity and strength is a skill.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
According to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found, you lose 12% of your muscle power with just 14 days of detraining- nerve-racking, right?. Thank God for muscle memory! If we forget what fitness once felt like, our muscles recollect. Muscle fibers are subjected to micro-abrasions or traumas, due to the mechanical stress we undergo during a workout. These traumas are healed during the recuperation period and the muscles grow. This is also known as hypertrophy of muscles, which further depends on the cytoplasm. This cytoplasm is called the myonuclei present in the muscle fibers.
Muscle strength is directly proportional to the number of myonuclei in the system. According to research, when the muscles deteriorate, the myonuclei that were produced as a result of rigorous training stays in the muscle fiber. It makes it easier for the muscles to grow when a person gets back to exercising after a long break. While this phenomenon allows you to quickly regain muscle you’ve lost, it doesn’t help you build muscle you’ve never had before.
There’s no shortcut for that, there’s just lots of heavy weightlifting, high protein dieting, and pensive management of your calories. You no longer have to fear losing muscle. In almost every single case of muscle loss, there’s a way to get your gains back. Even people who’ve taken steroids before, retain their gains. Muscle memory is a munificent gift of nature, you can use this to your advantage. Consume lots of protein and push your boundaries, that way you should find that you get back to where you were in record time. Lastly, don’t forget to hustle for that muscle.