For a long time, we have suspected that muscle memory was a real thing.
Gaining strength and muscle the first time around can be difficult.
Regaining strength and muscle is much easier.
Our experiences in the gym back up the idea of muscle memory, but there hasn’t been convincing scientific research backing this concept.
I’ll discuss this new research after a quick music break.
The music theme for this blog post? Killer trance & house tunes from around the year 2000.
The year 2000 was almost 20 years ago.
Hard to believe.
A few days ago my friend Tim Steele sent me a link to a new review paper published on January 25th, 2019.
Tim is author of the Amazon Best Seller, The Potato Hack.
He’s busy writing another detailed book that will definitely become an Amazon Best Seller.
He doesn’t have time to write about this paper.
…so I’ll run with it.
Here’s the title of the paper (link):
Skeletal Muscles Do Not Undergo Apoptosis During Either Atrophy or Programmed Cell Death-Revisiting the Myonuclear Domain Hypothesis
I want to simplify the findings as much as possible.
Let’s talk about muscle growth.
Here are some nerdy bullet points:
- Muscle cells have more than one nucleus.
- Each nucleus can only support a certain amount of sarcoplasm when a muscle grows.
- If that nucleus reaches capacity then new nuclei will be added to the muscle cell in order for it to continue to grow.
When a muscle grows, the number of myonuclei increases within each muscle cell.
It used to be believed that when a muscle shrank that the myonuclei would die and decrease over time.
New research suggests that once you gain these nuclei in your muscle cells, you retain them for life.
Kind of like my love for Susanna Hoffs.
About 10 years ago…
I remember reading a study that came to the conclusion that myonuclei stuck around for about 2-3 months after muscle atrophy (muscle loss).
Short layoffs were fine, but…
It was thought long layoffs resulted in loss of the nuclei within the muscle cells.
Why did we think this was the case?
Researchers once believed that we lost myonuclei because they had a hard time telling the difference between myonuclei and other types of nuclei within the muscle.
“Muscle is a complex tissue with many different cell types, and one of the problems in the field is how to specifically identify the myonuclei for study”.
With time comes technology.
We now have the tools to measure myonuclei accurately.
Modern cell-type-specific dyes reveal the fact that myonuclei stick around.
Muscle memory goes beyond what is happening in the muscle fibers.
Your nervous system plays a strong role.
I cover this extensively in this article.
This article explains how gaining strength can increase “true muscle tone”.
Gaining strength is in some ways like swinging a golf club.
The more you repeat that activity the more you reinforce those neural pathways.
I consider this a type of muscle memory as well.
What can you do with this info?
If you have ever been strong with true muscle tone this is incentive to train to get back to that point.
It should be easier the second time around.
I also HIGHLY recommend training hard when you are young… to gain a bit of muscle, strength and muscle tone.
…teach how to gain an ideal amount of muscle quickly, then how to maintain muscle size while increasing “true muscle tone”.
If you are 35 or under?
Your hormones and recovery ability put you in the ideal place to build base muscle.
Don’t waste this window of opportunity.
If you are over 35 and have EVER been in great shape?
Now you are out of shape.
Your myonuclei have been waiting for you!
They have been loyal to you for years.
Don’t let them down.
They want to make you pretty again 🙂
As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.
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