Archive for the tag - bodybuilding

You’ll Never Look Like This… And That’s Okay.

bodybuilder_117_by_stonepiler-d52at3sThis weekend, I was totally honored (and flustered) to film a video with seven elite, professional bodybuilders and fitness models. And I’m super excited to share the video with you in a few weeks.

There are guys with great bodies and there are guys with great bodies. And these guys had great bodies.

Even my dad noticed. After checking out my Instagram pictures, he called me and said, “Wow, they have muscles on muscles. Even their ears have muscles!” I think he was a little bit into it.

At any rate, I loved chatting with the guys and asking them about their fitness and nutrition routines.

One of the buffer individuals noted that he goes to the gym three times a day. Once in the morning for cardio and abs. Then around noon to lift. And then again at night for cardio.

I also went out to dinner with two of the guys, and was astounded by their appetite. They both ordered three meals. Three!

Suffice to say, being a fitness model or bodybuilder isn’t just a lifestyle. It’s a full time job.

In fact, it would be nearly impossible to have a 9 – 5 job and still look the way these guys look. And yet, these are the guys that we see in the pages of fitness and health magazines – and, more notably, these are the guys that we measure ourselves against.

And, lest we forget, there’s also a darker side to bodybuilding involving things like steroids, Human Growth Hormone, diuretics and even injectable oils that add volume to muscles.

On one hand, I think it’s great to be inspired by the hard work, dedication and physique of fitness models and athletes.

On the other hand, it’s also important to be realistic – and kind –  with ourselves. Despite what fitness marketers may want us to believe, these bodies weren’t built with just 10 minutes a day and three easy payments of $29.95.

It reminds me of a question that I often get asked, and that I’ve answered on this blog. Guys want the perfect six eight pack. I often respond with another question: How important is it to you? Perhaps you could look like a fitness model or bodybuilder. But do you want it badly enough to dedicate your entire life to it? For most of us (and myself included), the answer is no.

I love working out. I love fitness. I love health and nutrition. All of those things are a big part of my life. But I also love being able to make YouTube videos, spend time with family and friends and honor other aspects of my life. I also like cake. And maybe you do, too.

Let’s all challenge ourselves to be healthy… in every sense of the word. But part of that means having healthy goals, healthy expectations and a healthy relationship with our body. And it means being inspired by bodybuilders and fitness models without being destroyed or discouraged by the images we see of them.

Study: Naturally-Occuring Testosterone Levels Don’t Influence Muscle Growth.

Conventional wisdom holds that higher levels of naturally occurring testosterone increase a person’s ability to build muscle. For this reason, many bodybuilders and weightlifters go to great lengths to maximize testosterone levels by abstaining from alcohol, eating certain foods and – in some instances – even avoiding ejaculation. (By the way, avoiding ejaculation doesn’t lead to increased testosterone.)

We certainly know that unnaturally high levels of testosterone (i.e., those obtained through steroid abuse) do result in muscle growth. And, from other research, we also know that higher levels of testosterone have been shown to limit muscle loss due to aging.

But a two new studies by scientists at McMaster University have revealed that exercise-related testosterone and growth hormone aren’t influencing factor in building muscle after lifting weights. These findings fly in the face of long-held conventional wisdom – and speak to the complicated role that hormones play in our dynamic human bodies.

The scientists came to this conclusion through two separate studies.

In the first study, men and women performed an intense leg exercise. Despite a 45-fold difference in testosterone levels, men and women were able to make new muscle protein at the same rate.

In the second study, researchers followed 56 young men through 12 weeks of exercise. The men trained 5 times a week and experienced muscle gains of nothing up to a maximum of 12 pounds. Researchers found no relationship between muscle or strength gains and levels of testosterone or growth hormone.

According to the lead author of the two studies:

While testosterone is definitely anabolic and promotes muscle growth in men and women at high doses, such as those used during steroid abuse, our findings show that naturally occurring levels of testosterone do not influence the rate of muscle protein synthesis.

Much research is still needed – and there’s a lot that’s not understood about the complex role hormones play. But for everyday strength trainers and non-senior populations, the takeaway is that pretty clear: When putting together a workout program, maximizing testosterone or growth hormone levels need not be a priority.

And feel free to ejaculate as often as your heart desires.

Myth: Bodybuilders Are Healthy.

Put health before muscles.

We’ve all seen pictures of tanned, oiled up bodybuilders competing for titles. With their bulging muscles and impossible physiques, one might think that a bodybuilder is the epitome of health. But it couldn’t be further from the truth.

On the day of a competition, most true athletes are at a peak level of health and fitness. For a bodybuilder, it’s the exact opposite. Many are so weak and dehydrated that they’d have trouble running a mile. The reality is that professional bodybuilding can be very unhealthy – and many bodybuilders put their bodies through hell to look the way they do. There’s actually a bodybuilding saying, “Live fast. Die young. Be a beautiful corpse.”

In bodybuilding, the motivation is to look a certain way by building superficial muscles and winning an aesthetic competition. By it’s very nature, bodybuilding isn’t about being healthy. It’s entirely about doing whatever it takes to look a certain way.

According to, many bodybuilders suffer from high cholesterol and high blood pressure due to their taxing diets. Moreover, it takes a lot of effort for the human heart to supply blood such a large body mass – and so it increases the risk of heart issues and complications. And that’s without even taking into account the effects of steroid use.

With a goal of true health, proper diet and appropriate exercise are necessary requirements – but bodybuilding takes things to the extreme. Bodybuilding is about vanity and not health. I recommend putting health before muscles.