Muscle Memory

muscle memory

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and there is good stuff.

Muscle memory is an action execute with a lot of repetitions physically or mentally. The body will learn to execute this action more effectively using less brain power.

Your muscles don’t have brain but rather your brain learn to create a procedure list to execute tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. The majority of the time you do these tasks in mode « procedure » of your brain and this become automatic. It’s like cache memory in your computer or smartphone.

When you play at the first time to a video game, you must learn how the controls work (and you’re really bad). You must learn to :

  • Look left and right

  • Use gun/sword

  • Jump and rolling

  • Move, avoid enemies

  • Attack, defend, cast spell

After several hours of gaming, your muscles begin to memorize. After several days or weeks, you do these things effortlessy.

  • Defeat a boss with combos, rolling, attacking, defending and spell casting.

Muscle memory isn’t only for video games. This helps for several things : driving, cut vegetables, play a musical instrument, etc.

When we decide to be healthy in the real life, this concept of « automatic response » is an important element.

Unfortunately, this can have bad effects :

  • If you spend several months to learn badly to do squat, it’s very difficult to stop this bad habit and relearn the squat in the right way.

  • If you learn to play a song in a bad way (or another activity), you learn to your body « it’s the good way to do it », even if it’s the bad way.

  • When you are busy at school/work and take candy and soda to manage stress, you brain will be train to say : »it’s the most effective way to be happy ».

We really talk about to build habit. Muscle memory can help us to understand how and why we failed in the past and how to do to change it

Muscle memory in the life

muscle memory

We’re creature of habits. The things we do everyday like the way we walk, the way we talk, the way we sleep (or not), things that make us happy or sad are the result of hundred and hundred of repetitions of these activites.

When we try to create new habits, it’s a lot, a lot of work.

For exemple, rather than going to McDonald’s, we must remember of :

  1. Go to the supermarket

  2. Take vegetables and chicken

  3. Go home and prepare vegetables

  4. Cook chicken

  5. Prepare the table

  6. Eat

If you don’t have these habits rooted in your brain, just read this list can be exhausting.

Look this exemple : rather than stay a home to watch the TV, we decided to learn squat :

  • Get under the barbell

  • Tighten the shoulder blades and place the bar correctly on the trapezoids.

  • Inhale deeply and go down

  • Knees lined up with toes

  • Explode back up with proper form

You saw these 2 cases, there is a lot of change !

Automatics things like going to McDonal’s or watch TV, come easy. We’ve always done them and thex require little effort. It’s like a second nature. The second part (new habits) require a lot of amount of effort (don’t worry, you can do it). I tell you, there can have barriers or closed doors the first few times but you must not give up.

After all these repetitions to have healthy habits, I can confirm that train and eat heatlthy is a second nature for me !

How to build

how to buid

In the Malcolm Gladwell’s book « Outliers » , he talk about the concept to master. In his research, he found the the most experts spend around 10 0000 hours to master their professions.

The most important is to not to spend 10 000 hours to practice. It’s to spend 10 000 hours to do the good practice.

Play the same song on piano in the wrong way during 10 000 hours will only allow you to play with eyes closed this song in the wrong way.

Work actively on your technique with a coach or a teacher to focus on imporving all aspects of playing the piano.

To build this muscle memory in our life, we don’t need to spend 10 000 hours of practice living healthy but we need to practice. Without do regulary a healthy activity, you will never feel your new healthy activity like a second nature.

You need to :

  • Take one or two new habits you want to create. No more !

  • Make things easy to do this activity. Minimize difficulties between you and this new life activity that you want build. Find a way to complete this activity using the minimum of willpower.

Exemple :

  1. Take one or two new memory : Rather than to completly change your training program to stop to use machine and start to use barbell/dumbbell, change just one exercice. Instead to do Leg Press, do squat. After 3 weeks when you feel good with squat, you can change another exercice.

  2. Minimize difficulties for the new activity : Do you want run every morning ? Sleep with your running clothes, put your alarm clock across the bedroom and put your running shoes next to the alarm clock. You are half ready, right ?

  3. Remove the need to remember what you need to do : I rename the alarm of my smartphone « Meditation ». When I wake up, my smartphone tell me to do my meditation.

  4. Eliminate the need to use the willpower : I spoke of willpower. We all know we need to eat healthy and do more exercice but we don’t do it. Then when we try to rewrite our DNA and our second nature, we must be strategic.

    If you are always tired after school/work and you miss your training, maybe is better to do your training in the morning before to go at school/work ?

    If you struggle with unhealthy foods during stress moments, do a « purge » and throw out unhealthy foods from your house. It’s harder to eat junk foods when you must go out to buy one.

    If you struggle to stop to pick foods from fast foods before you go home, change streets. Choice different streets to go home, streets without fast-foods.

The essence of all that has above is the practice. You train your brain/body as an integer to build healthy automatic habits.

Momentum is a powerful thing : If you can’t do all these healthy habits when you life become crazy. Take one or two healthy habits you can do and continue to practice. By this way, you don’t need to start back at square when your life will return to normal.

What new habits you want build and what tactics you use ?

-Steph

P.S. Do you want a free training program ? Click here 

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