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Muscle memory

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A very interesting sigma nutrition episode on muscle memory, exercise, anabolic steroids, structure of muscle cells, mononuclei density and so on:


I'm in the processo of listening to it, half way thru and it is fascinating. Understood may aspects previously unkown to me.

First of all, it underlines the evidence of the existence of muscle memory due to the accumulation of mononuclei in the polynuclear structure of muscle cells. Satellite (stem) cells duplicate with the proper anabolic signal, donate one nucleus to the muscle cells, the latter increase in mononuclear density which is retained even if catabolic conditions occur and the muscle shrinks. As a consequence, when for example starting exercise anew after a period of forced rest, the muscles will grow much faster until they reach the previous size, due to the past 'memory' that is the previous high mononuclei density. Another aspect is higher androgen receptors density after exerecise which may be in part retained as part of the muscle memory.

Mononuclear density decays after many years (hypothesis: 15 years)

More so, steroids also increase mononuclear density hence they increase the memory of past muscle size even if their use is interrupted (as known in the bodybuilding environment) . Steroids also seem to bypass the mTOR masterswitch and cause growth independently.

some practical applilcations for health and longevity:

  • We should not fear too much muscle shrinkage when fasting or restricting calories for a while, after refeeding the muscles will grow again
  • It's useful to practice resistance exercise when young, so the muscle at an older age will retain muscle memory and be much less subjected to myopenia and age-realted anabolic resistance
  • Steroids may be advantageously used in sarcopenic subjects in intermittent cycles, a continuos usage is not needed to stimulate anabolism

Of course, since the use of sterodis expresses about 80 more proteins in users than in non users, there might be some expression deleterious to health and longevity. A double edged tool which must be used only if expected benefits overcome potential detriment.


In my personal case, I can testify that, after 26 years of forced interruption of exercise in the upper body, muscle memory appears to have been retained to an extent. There is sure anabolic resistance and proclivity to inflammation and higher recovery time, but the re-acquisition of some muscle size was relatively easy. Maybe mononucleai density decays very, very slowly.





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  • 4 weeks later...

Heck Clinton, I'm a total wimp compared to you! When I was young I reached those loads sometimes with dips, but not with chins as I remember.

Also, your pecs display a good level of hypertrophy. With your low caloric level, that's a feat in itself.

👍 🏆


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