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    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Muscle memory affected by age?

    Just turned 40. Also just finished a 6 month cut that I started back after Thanksgiving. Kept it going through quarantine with limited equipment at home, definitely wasn't able to keep up the intensity of the gym, no bench/rack/45s...mostly just pull ups and dips with 1 dumbbell for accessories.

    Anyway, I'm finally at the body fat level I was more or less shooting for...but at a lower body weight than last time I cut. I'd say I'm about 5lb lighter at same body fat, meaning obviously I've lost some lean mass.

    When I get either gym access or better equipment, and can return to my former intensity for lifting, will whatever I lost come back "quickly" despite age?

    I know we can still build muscle well into our 40s/50s and beyond...I was just curious about muscle memory as honestly this is the first time since I've started lifting I'm finishing a cut LIGHTER than my previous cut.
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  2. #2
    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    At 67 I’ll tell you that yes it is a real thing. This is why guys shouldn’t stress so much about some muscle loss when cutting. As long as you can resume the training you had during your last mass adding phase and you actually had the muscle you though you had it comes back fast. I’ve had several periods over almost 50 years of training where I had to stop training and
    The muscle came back every time quickly.

    The last time I was 55 and had no problem putting the muscle back on. You HAVE to be able to train with the intensity and volume that will allow the muscle to come back and the issue is as you get older the recovery can really fall off and compromised recovery means compromised training unfortunately
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    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    At 67 I’ll tell you that yes it is a real thing. This is why guys shouldn’t stress so much about some muscle loss when cutting. As long as you can resume the training you had during your last mass adding phase and you actually had the muscle you though you had it comes back fast. I’ve had several periods over almost 50 years of training where I had to stop training and
    The muscle came back every time quickly.

    The last time I was 55 and had no problem putting the muscle back on. You HAVE to be able to train with the intensity and volume that will allow the muscle to come back and the issue is as you get older the recovery can really fall off and compromised recovery means compromised training unfortunately
    Good point on recovery time. You can still get the same results, it just takes longer.

    But it's great to hear about the muscle memory. I'm pretty sure I've lost a few pounds of muscle, though without "real" weights I haven't been able to test my strength on any of the big lifts. But it seems pretty clear from weight/body composition.

    Thanks.
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    Good point on recovery time. You can still get the same results, it just takes longer.
    Actually the problem is if you can't use the same volume and intensity on a weekly basis as before it's most likely to not going come back at the same level. At some point the joints just don't like to do these things anymore, exacerbating the outcome. As you age the muscle can come back however as the years roll on it becomes increasingly difficult to hold the size
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    Actually the problem is if you can't use the same volume and intensity on a weekly basis as before it's most likely to not going come back at the same level. At some point the joints just don't like to do these things anymore, exacerbating the outcome. As you age the muscle can come back however as the years roll on it becomes increasingly difficult to hold the size
    Makes sense...I forget the %, but you lose a bit of muscle with each decade you age, that combined with more recovery time it all adds up...hopefully won't have to wait too long to find out. Another couple months and I'll look like I've never lifted in my life lol.
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    Makes sense...I forget the %, but you lose a bit of muscle with each decade you age, that combined with more recovery time it all adds up...hopefully won't have to wait too long to find out. Another couple months and I'll look like I've never lifted in my life lol.
    You'll look like you lifted more than those that didnt. Sean you'll just have to be satisfied with being good for your age. It sucks but it is what it is. There just becomes a point in life where other things matter more and you're just happy to be healthy and fit. You have a ways to go however that time does come and you need to be good with it.
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    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    You'll look like you lifted more than those that didnt. Sean you'll just have to be satisfied with being good for your age. It sucks but it is what it is. There just becomes a point in life where other things matter more and you're just happy to be healthy and fit. You have a ways to go however that time does come and you need to be good with it.
    Thanks Tommy, yeah I'm at peace with aging. It's just crazy how fast you can lose it...10 years of diet/training etc and a few months of no gym and I've lost 2 years progress. But it is what it is - use it or lose it, as they say.

    But trying to maintain a good physique as you age is a good way to stay healthy too - staying active, weight control, diet etc.

    In the end I agree - "happy healthy and fit" is enough for me.
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sunsean View Post
    Thanks Tommy, yeah I'm at peace with aging. It's just crazy how fast you can lose it...10 years of diet/training etc and a few months of no gym and I've lost 2 years progress. But it is what it is - use it or lose it, as they say.

    But trying to maintain a good physique as you age is a good way to stay healthy too - staying active, weight control, diet etc.

    In the end I agree - "happy healthy and fit" is enough for me.
    youll always lift and be healthy however you just won’t be so focused on perfection.
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    you can check video How To Build Muscle After 50 - With Lee Labrada / youtube.
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    Sean,

    Most of the studies that I have read on this have shown that you retain the muscle nuclei developed from initially building up the muscle even after you stop working out and allow the muscle mass to decrease. That is why it is generally easier to regain "lost" muscle than it is to build it up in the first place. Basically, once the muscles are stressed again, the already developed nuclei allow for fairly quick recovery of the lost mass.

    The only caveat to this is that some recent studies seem to indicate that there may be a limited time window before you start to lose some of those developed nuclei which seems to begin at some point after 12 or more months of inactivity.

    Adding to that, I have definitely seen some of this in my own experience.

    At one point back in the mid-90s, I managed to get to roughly 10-11% BF (with "abs" ) at about 172-174 pounds.

    Jump forward over 20+ years of being lazy and having terrible diet choices and today even with a great diet and a ~lot~ more dedicated weight training, I am currently at 14-15% BF at 164 pounds. I noticed that I did still manage to recover some muscle fairly quickly at the very beginning of my attempts to put myself back together but clearly not all of what I had 2+ decades ago.

    So the combination of long term absence from the gym + age has definitely reduced the amount of my overall "recoverable" muscle mass.

    However as far as you are concerned, this shouldn't really be an issue for you unless the gyms where you are decide to stay closed for 2+ years.

    ~ Like Tae-Kwon-Leap, my goals are not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.
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    Registered User sunsean's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    Sean,

    Most of the studies that I have read on this have shown that you retain the muscle nuclei developed from initially building up the muscle even after you stop working out and allow the muscle mass to decrease. That is why it is generally easier to regain "lost" muscle than it is to build it up in the first place. Basically, once the muscles are stressed again, the already developed nuclei allow for fairly quick recovery of the lost mass.

    The only caveat to this is that some recent studies seem to indicate that there may be a limited time window before you start to lose some of those developed nuclei which seems to begin at some point after 12 or more months of inactivity.

    Adding to that, I have definitely seen some of this in my own experience.

    At one point back in the mid-90s, I managed to get to roughly 10-11% BF (with "abs" ) at about 172-174 pounds.

    Jump forward over 20+ years of being lazy and having terrible diet choices and today even with a great diet and a ~lot~ more dedicated weight training, I am currently at 14-15% BF at 164 pounds. I noticed that I did still manage to recover some muscle fairly quickly at the very beginning of my attempts to put myself back together but clearly not all of what I had 2+ decades ago.

    So the combination of long term absence from the gym + age has definitely reduced the amount of my overall "recoverable" muscle mass.

    However as far as you are concerned, this shouldn't really be an issue for you unless the gyms where you are decide to stay closed for 2+ years.

    Good info, thanks! On spread with you

    So far its been about 2.5 months so I guess I'm good for a while. And as I said, I haven't stopped working out completely, it's just simpler and less intense, mostly pull ups and dips, no bench etc. So I think I'm slowly losing muscle due to less resistance but still slower than if I weren't working out at all.

    And I hear you - "use it or lose it" right? Glad you're back on the horse.
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    Don't forget age-related muscle degeneration.

    From the time you are born to around the time you turn 30, your muscles grow larger and stronger. But at some point in your 30s, you start to lose muscle mass and function. The cause is age-related sarcopenia or sarcopenia with aging.

    Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss.

    There’s no test or specific level of muscle mass that will diagnose sarcopenia. Any loss of muscle matters because it lessens strength and mobility.

    Sarcopenia typically happens faster around age 75. But it may also speed up as early as 65 or as late as 80. It’s a factor in frailty and the likelihood of falls and fractures in older adults.
    Also, your metabolism and cellular regeneration will decrease as well:

    As people age, their metabolic rate changes. Basal metabolism rises as a child matures and peaks at around 16 or 17, after this point it typically starts to decrease.

    A low BMR means you have to eat less calories in order to lose body fat and weight. The Metabolic age is calculated by comparing your Basal Metabolic Rate to the average BMR of your chronological age group. If your metabolic age is higher than your actual age, it’s an sign that you need to improve your metabolic rate.

    Increased exercise will build healthy muscle tissue, which in turn will improve your metabolic age. Keeping track of your metabolic age will give you an sign when its best to gain more muscle mass.
    What is known is that aging is related to the decline in the body’s ability to regenerate new tissue, causing joints, blood vessels, and other parts of our anatomy to function differently than they do when we are younger.

    New evidence indicates that a progressive decline in stem cell frequency and function may significantly contribute to the conditions related to aging, but it is not known why this is.
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