Use it or lose it … Until you use it again
"Use it or lose it" is something that sports teachers, physiotherapists and nursing home directors say a lot about, students, patients or students to inspire or impress old people. Of course, one thinks that when one does not become active – or when one has old people – one loses all the muscles, abilities or powers of thought that one currently has.
Scientists thought it was something amazing. In the case of muscle, you will not lose it, no matter how little you use it. Whatever muscles you have built in your miserable life, it stays with you forever. The muscle itself can shrink, wilt, but the muscle cores hang around like loyal beagles when Master calls them.
When you start exercising again, these "myonuclei" enable increased and faster muscle growth. This explains and confirms the phenomenon known as "muscle memory".
Scientists even suggest that young people could "stack" muscle cells for use when they are old and otherwise decrepit. Similarly, someone could make a single cycle of steroids, polish everything out, and then stop using cold turkey.
They would keep the new muscle cores that they accumulated during the cycle, and thereby gain an advantage over the non-steroidal mortals, but they would not pass any subsequent drug tests.
Because of their discovery, these scientists have suggested using the phrase "use it or lose it" to "use it or lose it … until you use it again."
Just wait for the bat signal
The root of this discovery is the so-called Syncytium, a network of cells that behave like a huge single cell. Lawrence Schwartz, author of the article describing this new truth, explains that the heart, bones, and even placenta are built on these networks of cells, but the greatest syncytia is actually our muscles.
"Muscle growth is accompanied by the addition of stem cells to meet the increased demands of larger muscle cells," said Schwartz. He believes that this thinking has led to the assumption that a particular nucleus controls a defined amount of cytoplasm, "so that the number of myonuclei decreases as a muscle shrinks or atrophies due to abuse or disuse".
But two independent studies have shown that the nuclei are not lost by shrinking muscles. You'll probably stay in the muscle syncytium forever, just waiting for you to send a bat signal to the sky by continuing your workout.
How this information could benefit you
When muscle cores stay with us, they offer a lot of implications. As mentioned earlier, some of the benefits of training at a young age have the potential to stay with us all our lives. The early-grown muscle cores would be preserved even if the surrounding muscle shrank after decades of nonuse. You just have to start training again and experience a kind of physical resurrection.
Steroid use would have an even greater effect than currently thought. They would not have to "sit" on steroids to benefit from them, as the new muscle cells gained from their use would always be there, giving users / abusers a permanent edge over their competitors.
Finally, this knowledge should comfort athletes and athletes of all kinds, that any forced discharge will not have the muscle-wasting effects that they would have thought they would do. The muscles acquired through hard training go nowhere. In the worst case, they are simply mothballed, waiting for them to grow again.
Side note on steroids and "muscle memory"
Okay. I know that some of you make fun of the idea that the muscle cells derived from steroid use would stay with one person. That's fair, because every idiot knows you'll shrink when you get rid of steroids, no matter how many new cores you've accumulated.
However, this shrinkage does not mean that you have not kept the cores. Keep in mind that the stressed muscles that occur in steroid consumers are partially cosmetic. Steroids generally increase the number of muscle cells and protein synthesis, but they also increase the so-called cell volumization, which leads to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
In simpler terms, steroids cause the fluid to fill in the cells, but this particular effect does not come with a concomitant increase in strength. Professional bodybuilders are often just as much human balloons as real muscles.
That's why you sometimes see a 180-pound athlete who easily upsets a 250-pound bodybuilder. The former may have more muscle cores and more myofibrillar hypertrophy, which translates into strength.
Steroids help you build more muscle cells and further blow up these muscle cells through increased cell volumization Cell volume decreases and eventually muscle empties into normal human size. However, based on new insights, it is clear that the new muscle cells hang around.
In this way, the benefits of a cycle give someone a long-term advantage over someone who is drug-free all their lives.
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- Schwartz, Lawrence, "Skeletal muscles undergo no apoptosis either during atrophy or during programmed cell death, with the Hypothesis of the myonuclear domain is taken up again ", front. Physiol., January 25, 2019