When we stop exercising for a while, it is normal to lose muscle mass progressively. However, if you go back to the gym, you will most likely be able to regain your fitness in less time. Why is this happening?
Many studies have shown that muscles have "memory." When we train, muscle fibers increase in size and their nuclei, which are responsible for muscle growth. So when we stop exercising, the fibers decrease in size, but the number of nuclei stays the same for a long time.
In this sense, muscle memory is believed to last even for several years; so if you get back in the gym, you can quickly regain your fitness. This also applies if you have an injury and need to stop exercising until you fully recover.
3 tips to reduce muscle loss
If you can't exercise for a while, there are a few things you can do to prevent losing muscle mass. Among some of these tips we can highlight the following:
- Keep up your protein intake. At a minimum, you should consume 2 grams for every kilogram of your body weight. In this way, if you do not stimulate protein synthesis with training, you can at least do it through diet.
- Try to make your calorie intake equal to calorie expenditure. If you generate a caloric deficit, then it is likely that instead of eliminating fat, the body will lose muscle mass.
- Move as much as possible. Even if you can't work out in a gym, try to stay active to prevent muscle atrophy.