Not the name of some new game, muscle memory is quite an amazing phenomenon. It’s the way that I was able to go from a twig, to a beefed up guy, back to being small, and finally hitting my stride! When we really start to look at just how muscle memory even happens, it can really wow you. This special type of memory happens the more that a muscle learns to do something. When said action is done repeatedly and over a long period of time, this sticks with us. To be more specific, it sticks with your muscles that get used to the habit of doing the same action over and over again. An older man that I would end up going to the gym with had first told me about this. He explained this memory as how he was able to end up taking home a local trophy in a show that he did. He had been working multiple jobs and just starting out with a family of his own. This was quite the change of scenery for someone who was used to spending most of his free time doing what he wanted to do. He wanted to appear at one more show and knew he would have to sit down with his wife to talk this over with her. At first, she was not on board with the idea but eventually decided it was best to let him do what he wanted to.
At this point, he was so excited to be able to train again that he dove in head first. I admired the courage that he had to start from scratch, so to speak, but felt like he was sprinting in a marathon. Seeing him in the mindset that he was in, day after day, I really wanted to believe that he could get anywhere close to the shape that he used to be in. As we approached out third trip to the gym, this was when muscle memory came to his aid. When I saw him pull his car into the gym parking lot and get out, it was like he never took time off at all! This blueprint that he had spent years, if not decades in creating had revived his muscles into going back to the way that they were. Like stepping out of a time machine, memories stored within his mind had transferred back the way that they had looked before.
As magical as it may seem, you don’t want to make a habit of using muscle memory as an excuse to be lazy and neglect doing some work. This can lead to your internal organs going into a frenzy from a rollercoaster ride. Instead, look to applying muscle memory in extreme situations where you know that working out is just not going to be a priority. Isn’t it odd that someone will stop working out and not come back to starting it up again because they think it will take all of that time? If more people knew about muscle memory, I think that we would see higher percentages of them sticking with a less sedentary lifestyle. If you are reading this now and used to train but have since stopped, your muscles will still remember. It might take days, or weeks but this amazing memory that we have will kick in. When this occurs, expect everything to start coming back.