T Nation

Putting Muscle Back On Easier...

Once you’ve put on a few lbs of muscle and subsequently lost some of them because of a hiatus from training, does it become easier to get to one’s old peak mass/weight, or is it just as hard the second time around?

I find it easier to get up to where I was if I’ve been away from the gym for a couple of months (once a year this happens) and then come back. I’m often about 5 lbs lighter but after a few weeks of training, I manage to get the the muscle back. I’m your typical hard gainer and I loose mass really quickly when I’m not working out. Even if I’m eating like a pig.

Well, most call it “muscle memory”. There are several theories as to why it works, but the one I give the most credit is related to stretching of the sarcoplasmic “bag” around muscle tissue. It is believed that, once stretched, it is easier to “refill” again. It is why I give credit to bulking up for being able to produce more muscle gains than those who might choose to stay leaner when gaining. I have always noticed that, after bulking up, and after dieting down, that I gain much more muscle on the way back up in weight afterwards. I think this may be why. That bag can be stretched due to water/glycogen/fat retention in and around the muscle belly…which may lead to more growth. I know it is only a theory, but I think it may hold some truth and may also be why some people believe that synthol use can lead to actual gains in muscle mass.

Excuse the ramble.

I was off for 6 months started new cycle just before Thanksgiving and have already passed where I left off at for benching. I’m 39 and it seems to come back way easier than the first time around.

I also wanted to add the I think the CNS plays a big role in gaining old muscle back. All the training you did to gain the muscle previously also made your CNS more efficient so when it comes to gaining the muscle back you will still be stronger then when you were a newbie.

I’m just comeing back from a 3 month layoff and first time back to deadlifts was able to get a 2 sets of 3 with 205lbs at a BW of 122lbs. When I first hit this BW when I started training I couldnt lift nearly this much in deadlift, and Im sure in the next couple of weeks I will pull even more weight no problem. Obvioulsy being able to lift more weight is going to make it easier to make gains in BW.