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  1. #1
    Registered User jamesisere's Avatar
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    Exclamation 5 year lay off. Muscle memory??

    Hi everyone, first ever post so bear with me!

    From the age of around 19 I started weight training/bulking and gained around 5 stone (30kg), admittedly made up of a fair bit of fat.

    After 5 years I stopped due to breaking 3 of my fingers and was unable to lift at all. I was so disheartened at how quickly I lost my size and although I've tried a couple of times since then to get back into it, I've never been patient enough.

    I really want to give this a proper go again but my question is, does muscle memory still apply after 5 years of no lifting at all?

    Also, how long would it take me to regain my previous muscle? I know this is determined somewhat by genetics, intensity, recovery etc but just a ball park figure would be helpful.

    Thanks in advance
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  2. #2
    Registered User zuijo's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jamesisere View Post
    Hi everyone, first ever post so bear with me!

    From the age of around 19 I started weight training/bulking and gained around 5 stone (30kg), admittedly made up of a fair bit of fat.

    After 5 years I stopped due to breaking 3 of my fingers and was unable to lift at all. I was so disheartened at how quickly I lost my size and although I've tried a couple of times since then to get back into it, I've never been patient enough.

    I really want to give this a proper go again but my question is, does muscle memory still apply after 5 years of no lifting at all?

    Also, how long would it take me to regain my previous muscle? I know this is determined somewhat by genetics, intensity, recovery etc but just a ball park figure would be helpful.

    Thanks in advance
    Myonuceli The nuclei of a muscle fiber(single muscle cell), they increase in number when training which leads to increase in muscle size (hypertrophy)..when you stop training your muscle size decreases, but myonuclei don't just vanish (may last minimum 15 years), they are still present but are inactive, once you train your muscles again they become active again and you reach hypertrophy pretty fast, way faster than the first time you gained it.
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  3. #3
    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Anecdotal, but I quit calisthenics (gymnastics, spartan race) for about that long to dedicate to bike racing and tried to lose muscle (but didn't purposely cut it off except one bout where I got down to 145). Felt pretty strong within a few months in the gym.

    As seen in my sig, within 6 months I bulked up 15 lbs, probably 10 or so muscle, gained back all my upper body strength and more (barely increased bench press in the past 2 years after that).
    April 2021.................16 week cut.................168 lbs
    2020......................375 / 285 / 505..............186 lbs
    Pre-COVID..............335 / 295 / 499..............185 lbs
    July 1, 2019................9 week cut.................164 lbs
    Late April 2019.........285 / 275 / 440.............178 lbs
    Oct, 2018..............175x6 / 145x6 / 275x5......163 lbs
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  4. #4
    Registered User andybgr's Avatar
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    I had a similar problem and stopped 6 years ago because of an injury.

    I just started weight training again at the gym (it's the 4th week now).. I'm very surprised to see I'm getting back on track really really quick. I improve myself quicker than I was expecting.

    My first thoughts were, "wow, it cannot be muscle memory from that long ago".. well that's what it feels like. and zuijo just confirmed it with his post saying it can go up to 15 years... (that's why I'm here, to confirm it )

    Even my new trainer said it "you've done this before???"

    Is not only muscle memory, it's mental memory as well. Suddenly I just know how to do everything properly again, and that's a huge boost - I believe you felt the same.
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  5. #5
    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jamesisere View Post
    Hi everyone, first ever post so bear with me!

    From the age of around 19 I started weight training/bulking and gained around 5 stone (30kg), admittedly made up of a fair bit of fat.

    After 5 years I stopped due to breaking 3 of my fingers and was unable to lift at all. I was so disheartened at how quickly I lost my size and although I've tried a couple of times since then to get back into it, I've never been patient enough.

    I really want to give this a proper go again but my question is, does muscle memory still apply after 5 years of no lifting at all?

    Also, how long would it take me to regain my previous muscle? I know this is determined somewhat by genetics, intensity, recovery etc but just a ball park figure would be helpful.

    Thanks in advance
    If someone told you "no, you have to start at square one all over again," would you give up?

    Start again and see what happens. Almost 100% sure you'll look and feel better within a month.
    2020 maxes
    Squat 185
    Bench 137
    DL 205
    above @ bw 88.5 age 43

    Workout Journal: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=175647011&p=1630928323&viewfull=1#post1630928323
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  6. #6
    Registered User isaacr65's Avatar
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    Just be patient, buddy! The gains will come back way faster than you first gained them.. should be exciting times for you!

    Don't focus too much on getting to the end goal, enjoy the journey. Happy lifting!
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