What Is Muscle Memory?
Muscle memory is a concept that’s largely embraced by both workout devotees and fitness novices for what it is and how it can help now and in the future. Little did you know, as you exercise, your body is taking notes. Let’s take a look at what muscle memory is precisely and how it can help you regain muscle faster. We’ll begin by breaking down the two ways in which your body retains muscle memory.
Explaining Memory in Your Muscle Fibers
When you work out, you’re building up the cells that make up your muscle tissue; by doing this, the size and shape of the cell changes and increases the mass of the already largest group of cells within the human body.
The exciting and unique thing about muscle cells is that they have data-storing nuclei within their fibers. Essentially, when you engage in muscle building activities, you’re expanding the muscle mass already in existence and stored within the muscle cells, instead of building new muscle cells. These muscles then fuse together and continue to grow.
Now, here comes the best part: the data stored within your muscle cells’ fiber nuclei stays there forever, according to scientific studies. This means that, should you ever lose muscle mass for any reason, it can be easier to build it back up again due to previously stored data within your cells’ nuclei.
Explaining Neuron Memory
There’s another way your body stores memory, and that’s through your motor neurons. Neurons are primarily used by your brain to retain memory on how to use your muscles to perform the skills needed. While this portion of memory doesn’t enhance the size or strength of your muscle cells, it works hand-in-hand with the process by enabling you to use pre-learned skills to continue to build muscle.
The Importance of Building Muscle Now
By focusing on building muscle now, you’re increasing the likelihood that you’ll be able to retain and rebuild muscle down the road as you get older. Building muscle as you age becomes increasingly difficult due to the slow of hormone and testosterone production. Those that focus on building muscle within the ages of 18-35 can optimize muscle growth and build important memory cells for later development. This means that, when you’re well into your 60’s or 70’s, you can have a much easier time still seeing gains and staying in good shape. Put the hard in work now, and reap the rewards later!
How to Build Muscle Memory
Establishing a workout plan for strength training and muscle building is essential to building your muscle memory. There are four main elements you’ll want to incorporate within your plan:
- Nutrition – Nutrition is a critical element in establishing a great workout plan. By both gaining energy through carbohydrate consumption and through the consumption of fats, you can set yourself up on the right path to amplifying your muscle-building workouts.
- Exercise Variation – When structuring your plan, you’ll want to incorporate as much neuromuscular activity as possible. Be sure to change things up often within your regiment to keep things fresh and work out all muscle areas.
- Cardio Moderation – While cardio is important in maintaining your health and a balanced workout routine, when you’re focusing on building muscle, it’s important that you dial back the cardio. Monitor your cardio and heart rate to ensure your exercise is efforts aren’t within “muscle-burning” zones.
- Consistency – Whether you’re working out three days a week or five, consistency is vital. For best results, stick to the same workout schedule each week, while rotating your exercises, to ensure you hit your muscle memory building goals.
Nutrition and Muscle Memory Building
As mentioned previously, eating the right foods goes hand-in-hand with building up muscle. Here are some healthy food examples that you can partner with to enhance your muscle-building:
- Tuna – Tuna is high in protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids, making it an excellent choice for nutrition.
- Salmon – Another fish that’s high in vitamins, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can help with muscle building.
- Eggs – Eggs not only contain a large amount of protein and vitamins, but they can also help with increasing energy.
- Shrimp – Shrimp contains about 18 grams of protein per every three ounces, making this food a suitable choice in muscle building.
- Soybeans – Soybeans are loaded with protein, vitamins, and iron.
- Greek Yogurt – Greek yogurt has a unique blend of proteins that have been shown to promote the production of lean muscle mass.
- Chicken Breast – Chicken breast packs a whopping 26 grams of protein per every three-ounce piece, making it an ideal choice for muscle building.
- Tilapia – Joining salmon and tuna, tilapia is another high-protein food rich in vitamins that’s perfect for your workout nutritional plan.
- Chickpeas – Chickpeas are an excellent way to add both carbs and protein into your muscle-building diet.
- Scallops – Scallops are a protein-packed and low-calorie food choice that can easily be incorporated into your nutritional plan.
- Quinoa – In every cup of curry, there are about eight grams of protein and 40 grams of carbs, making this an exceptional muscle building nutritional source.
- Tofu – Tofu is a very versatile food and can be eaten in many different ways. That being said, tofu also has a moderate amount of protein per every serving and an estimated six grams of fat.
- Almonds – Not only are almonds hearth-healthy, but they also can provide you with 16 grams of protein in each serving.
- Milk – Milk offers the trio you seek with muscle building nutrition – high fat, proteins, and carbohydrates.
How Long You Can Expect Muscle Memory to Last
Depending on the person, their current muscle mass, and various fitness levels, muscle density loss can be seen anywhere from three weeks to seven weeks and more once workouts have stopped. That being said, once workouts are resumed, it is generally much easier and faster to build muscle back up due to memory cells! Unfortunately, it’s not known precisely how long muscle memories can be expected to last. However, the general consensus is that it can take a while, perhaps years.