You have trouble believing there's a 40ish pound difference between the pics I posted? Ha, okay, you're high.
Seems like a pretty biased critique to me. As I said, among lifters, his progress and "finished product" is one thing. If an Average Joe-Newbie Lifter posted those pics in the Rate My Physique forum, he'd get a certain response. But in the context of what his exercise history/non-history is, what his specific goals were, and what he ended up with, it's another.
In the Variety article, Cooper said "In the actual gym? Probably 4.5 hours a day." Is he rounding up? Including post-workout massage time? Simply misremembering? Who knows. I also read one article where a producer said Cooper ate "every 55 minutes." Some comments are just not worth overfocusing on.
Pretty much. I'd actually still say that is on the high end for the timeframe we're talking about here... but... for example, it's not at all unheard of for people to gain 25-35 pounds of muscular size in 2-3 months on Starting Strength. That's three workouts a week and a usually-less-than-scientific nutrition/supplement plan. (GOMAD isn't rocket science.) The old school Super Squats/20-rep squats plan is another one. Lifting 3 days a week for 4-6 weeks, not uncommon to see 25+ pound bodyweight gains. And we know if someone starts a bulking phase relatively-lean, they're less prone to bodyfat gains.
But we're going to hesitate when a guy, whose literal job is to get bigger, has a personal trainer leading him through two-a-day lifting sessions, can afford a personal chef, and has a customized nutrition/supplement plan directly from one of the biggest companies in the industry, says he gained that much in that time? Okee doke.