T Nation

Thinkin' Out Loud: Fundamentals

all of the shenanigans and tomfoolery i’ve been reading in some of these threads lately (and i’m not gonna mention which ones) has gotten me thinking. i’m now going to pose, to anyone who’s listening, a very simple question for your review:

do you think it’s possible that the fundamental premise of bodybuilding has somehow fallen upon deaf ears, or been lost to the sands of time, somehow?

you see, i thought that this whole thing (bodybuilding) was about a guy (preferably you) creating a situation in which he was carrying the most muscle possible while simultaneously carrying the least amount of fat possible. and, please note, the two key words here are “possible” and “simultaneously”.

the word “possible” seems to need to be highlighted because these physical quantities of muscle and fat tissue we’re talking about are obviously going to vary between individuals… and even within the same individual depending on his circumstances.

the word “simultaneously” also seems to need to be highlighted because it’s not only muscular development that makes a person look impressive, or good, or what have you… nor is it only minimal levels of bodyfat. but it is when both of these conditions are met, at the same time, that the whole does become greater than the sum of its parts.

i bring up these points for two reasons.

1.) despite what many of the macho-bullshit-attitude-types i’ve been seeing on here would have you believe, and it’s so completely absurd i should have to point this out that i’m actually embarassed, NOT EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF ATTAINING THE AMOUNT OF MUSCLE MASS, AND/OR THE LACK OF BODYFAT, NECESSARY TO BE, OR LOOK LIKE, A PROFESSIONAL BODYBUILDER.

and i’m guessing many of you, like me, haven’t, either… if you had, you would most likely be out engaging in pro-bodybuilder style recreational activities and not screwing around on the internet.

2.) IT DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER HOW “BIG” YOU ARE (OR THINK YOU ARE) ANYWAY… WHAT MATTERS IS HOW GOOD YOU LOOK. and if you don’t believe me, ask arnold how he feels about suffering his only american competition loss at the hands of one frank zane (a guy who arnold dwarfed in “size”, but certainly not in “shape”… on that particular day, anyway.)

just thinkin’ out loud.

happy thanksgiving.

[quote]joe shumsky wrote:
all of the shenanigans and tomfoolery i’ve been reading in some of these threads lately (and i’m not gonna mention which ones) has gotten me thinking. i’m now going to pose, to anyone who’s listening, a very simple question for your review:

do you think it’s possible that the fundamental premise of bodybuilding has somehow fallen upon deaf ears, or been lost to the sands of time, somehow?

you see, i thought that this whole thing (bodybuilding) was about a guy (preferably you) creating a situation in which he was carrying the most muscle possible while simultaneously carrying the least amount of fat possible. and, please note, the two key words here are “possible” and “simultaneously”.

the word “possible” seems to need to be highlighted because these physical quantities of muscle and fat tissue we’re talking about are obviously going to vary between individuals… and even within the same individual depending on his circumstances.

the word “simultaneously” also seems to need to be highlighted because it’s not only muscular development that makes a person look impressive, or good, or what have you… nor is it only minimal levels of bodyfat. but it is when both of these conditions are met, at the same time, that the whole does become greater than the sum of its parts.

i bring up these points for two reasons.

1.) despite what many of the macho-bullshit-attitude-types i’ve been seeing on here would have you believe, and it’s so completely absurd i should have to point this out that i’m actually embarassed, NOT EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF ATTAINING THE AMOUNT OF MUSCLE MASS, AND/OR THE LACK OF BODYFAT, NECESSARY TO BE, OR LOOK LIKE, A PROFESSIONAL BODYBUILDER. and i’m guessing many of you, like me, haven’t, either… if you had, you would most likely be out engaging in pro-bodybuilder style recreational activities and not screwing around on the internet.

2.) IT DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER HOW “BIG” YOU ARE (OR THINK YOU ARE) ANYWAY… WHAT MATTERS IS HOW GOOD YOU LOOK. and if you don’t believe me, ask arnold how he feels about suffering his only american competition loss at the hands of one frank zane (a guy who arnold dwarfed in “size”, but certainly not in “shape”… on that particular day, anyway.)

just thinkin’ out loud.

happy thanksgiving. [/quote]

The fundamental premises of bodybuilding has not fallen on deaf ears at all. Your theory here might seem logical at first glance on paper, but you are placing far too many assumptions:

  1. Firstly, you seem to assume that all bodybuilders after the golden age of bodybuilding has followed blindly the method of gaining mass, which is to bulk. You assume that these bodybuilders do not have a mind of their own, and do not have the necessary basic intellect that years of hard training and common sense would teach them to know what works best for themselves at their level.

You assume that these bodybuilders somehow follow spilts training and bulking just so because people have done so, and neglecting the fact that these bodybuilders have also experimented with such training styles and find it highly effective for themselves.

  1. Understand that pro bodybuilders you often see on magazines and videos are already well developed and at their peak. They dont often show you how these bodybuilders themselves rise from a 150lb kid to a 300lb mass monster, which im willing to bet, requires them to bulk at some point in time. Just because you see top level bodybuilders, who are already at a physical peak in their life being lean and muscular in magazines, does not mean that they went above a certain level of bodyfat earlier in their training stage. Besides, the off-season photos of bodybuilders are proof enough that those same bodybuilders do not remain skin tight lean year round.

and to rebutt on your points above:

  1. Frankly, I dont understand thg is point. Its true that most of us do not have the genetics to develop such physiques as IFBB pro bodybuilders, but then again, we dont really care. Being a bodybuilder doesnt mean adding 10lbs of lean muscle every half a year; It means breaking your limits and going to extremes in terms of muscle, diet etc. There is no place for weight limits or barriers and stuff like that.

Besides, its sure as hell normal for a 5’6 guy to hit 200lbs natural. And you are so wrong about people who dont compete having lousier physiques. People like CC and Prof X are close to 300lbs, which im sure is hell enough to compete at the PRO level. Whether or not they want to compete is up to them, there is more to life then just competing in shows, provided you still train of course.

2)How BIG you are definitely matters, hence the bodybuilding forum name. Of course, the name of the game is to get huge while not being obscenely fat. No one is calling for huge amounts of fat in order to be BIG. And unless the person in question is severely dumb or so genetically disadvantaged, a proper training system would allow him to build a proportionate physique.

Using Arnold and Zane is not a good comparison, because both those athletes are well developed, mind you (Zane had 18 inch arms and was by no means average except for his legs). What the other posters and Prof X in this forum are comparing are 150lb males with 200+lb males, which is definitely a huge difference.

One more point: you seem to be taking posters who reply against you as having macho-bullshit-attitude-types, when they are just really trying to put across truth and facts that for some reason, are being ignored in the face of overwhelming evidence and logic [hint: CC’s long posts and some others].

I don’t see any of such macho-bullshit-attitude, or egoistical stuff; I see straight, no-nonsense answers around here.
There is so much more ego and shit in everyday real life, maybe a year or two in the army would expose you to what real ego and macho bullshit is about.

[quote]joe shumsky wrote:
and if you don’t believe me, ask arnold how he feels about suffering his only american competition loss at the hands of one frank zane (a guy who arnold dwarfed in “size”, but certainly not in “shape”… on that particular day, anyway.)[/quote]

This is bizarre. You have stated that Arnold lost one competition to Zane, having beaten him in all the others, but that solitary defeat proves that you don’t need size? Why didn’t Zane win an Olympia until Arnold had retired (ignoring 1980)?

Do you think that if someone starts at 120 lbs, 16 percent bf… They will simply keep gaining mass and losing bodyfat simultaneously until they have reached, say, 230+ lbs at 5 percent bf? Dream on.

All you see is the end-result, the destination, while conveniently ignoring the way that gets you there in the first place.

And Frank Zane was a figure girl in disguise. He won that one time because sugardaddy Weider wanted it to be that way…

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:

And Frank Zane was a figure girl in disguise. He won that one time because sugardaddy Weider wanted it to be that way…

[/quote]

Lol, never heard it put that way, but you do realize that Zane in his ‘prime’ would lose next to a lot of today’s top natural bodybuilders.

I take that to mean that
1- He never really deserved the Olympia, and
2- We’ve learned a hell of a lot more about training, nutrition, and proper supplementation.

Now obviously some people will always miss the message of what people talk about, and converesely, you will always have those who get a little convuluted in delivering the message, but still… I’m continually shocked at the arguments that go on sometimes on here, especially when one side clearly speaks from experience, and more often than not, the other has simply read a few bodybuilding magazines or books.

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:

And Frank Zane was a figure girl in disguise. He won that one time because sugardaddy Weider wanted it to be that way…

Lol, never heard it put that way, but you do realize that Zane in his ‘prime’ would lose next to a lot of today’s top natural bodybuilders.

I take that to mean that
1- He never really deserved the Olympia, and
2- We’ve learned a hell of a lot more about training, nutrition, and proper supplementation.
Now obviously some people will always miss the message of what people talk about, and converesely, you will always have those who get a little convuluted in delivering the message, but still… I’m continually shocked at the arguments that go on sometimes on here, especially when one side clearly speaks from experience, and more often than not, the other has simply read a few bodybuilding magazines or books.

S
[/quote]

I think people today just scream for recognition…without having actually done anything. The guy who started this thread has clearly NOT added 100lbs to his frame or even 50. Most people who have would understand that you don’t get from point A to point B in one linear jump.

If people were required to show their own progress when replying on this board, there would probably only be 4 or 5 posts a day.

[quote]joe shumsky wrote:

you see, i thought that this whole thing (bodybuilding) was about a guy (preferably you) creating a situation in which he was carrying the most muscle possible while simultaneously carrying the least amount of fat possible. and, please note, the two key words here are “possible” and “simultaneously”.

[/quote]

The point has been lost, but not for the reasons you think. When does anybody seek maximum muscle gain and maximum fat gain? More to the point, when has anybody ever advocated that? I swear some people think that the biggest guys are hogging at a trough twenty-three hours out of every day, just blindly chugging down garbage.

To answer your question, the people that make the most progress (the ones that get called ‘fat’) are “gaining the most muscle possible while simultaneously carrying the least amount of fat possible”. You cannot gain impressive amounts of mass and preserve definition across the board - can’t be done. Certainly not by the guys that claim it can.

If they are staying ripped year-round, you can bet they are not gaining the most muscle possible.

The only people that think that are the ones that were naturally ripped to begin with, and are more likely to put the definition cart before the muscle horse. These are the ones that refuse to accept the trade-off between muscle gain and some fat, for fear they wont look pretty any more. They’ll also balk at gaining muscle over a certain level because that too would make them unappealing to women in general.

This mind set is just not conducive to real bodybuilding progress: instead we hear cop-outs like, I wanna be functional/ athletic / have relative strength. Or more predictably, they throw insults at the big guys - “you’re fat”, “you’re big, but not strong”. You know the drill…

Again, they aren’t gaining the most muscle possible, either.

The very fact that anybody would think this can be done long-term, and with significant gains suggests that they either a)Won’t build a physique worthy of a bodybuilder (No, Abercrombie model doesn’t count), or b)They let newbie gains go to their head and decide they are now qualified to lecture others on how to build muscle.

The same people don’t know quite as much as they think they do. Where are the scores of trainees that successfully gain 20+ pounds of lean mass while staying as ripped as they were the first day they entered a gym (I’m saying that because the ripped brigade are apparently the only ones that think in these terms).

There aren’t any. If there is some dude out there that has his diet nailed down so precisely that he has reached competition level without ‘unsightly’ fat gain, he is either extremely selfish for keeping the secret to himself, or he’s extremely stupid for not writing a book, becoming a millionaire and putting all the supplement companies on the planet out of business.

Why then is there a huge influx of dweebs that say they know how to do it…but haven’t actually done it yet?

[quote]joe shumsky wrote:

1.) despite what many of the macho-bullshit-attitude-types i’ve been seeing on here would have you believe, and it’s so completely absurd i should have to point this out that i’m actually embarassed, NOT EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF ATTAINING THE AMOUNT OF MUSCLE MASS, AND/OR THE LACK OF BODYFAT, NECESSARY TO BE, OR LOOK LIKE, A PROFESSIONAL BODYBUILDER.

and i’m guessing many of you, like me, haven’t, either… if you had, you would most likely be out engaging in pro-bodybuilder style recreational activities and not screwing around on the internet.

2.) IT DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER HOW “BIG” YOU ARE (OR THINK YOU ARE) ANYWAY… WHAT MATTERS IS HOW GOOD YOU LOOK. and if you don’t believe me, ask arnold how he feels about suffering his only american competition loss at the hands of one frank zane (a guy who arnold dwarfed in “size”, but certainly not in “shape”… on that particular day, anyway.)

just thinkin’ out loud.

happy thanksgiving. [/quote]

1.) You can’t get big if you don’t lift heavy weight. My advice - stay away from pink dumbells.

2.) If I look like Shaun T. from the Hip Hop Abs video and can’t lift my bodyweight to save my life - somebody please shoot me.

3.) You might have a hormonal imbalance. Look into testosterone and see if you can get an increase. I’m not a doctor but I did stay at a Holiday Inn express.

Joe, I will repeat what I told you in your last topic and that is that you will NOT be able to gain a significant amount of muscle if you eat to be lean.

I have made the same mistake for 25 yrs or so, I gained a good 35 lbs of muscle in the 1st 5 yrs of training, then I ate clean more or less while busting my ass in the gym with little to no muscle gains. I was fairly satisfied because I was still built better than most guys but I wasn’t really impressive until I took my shirt off.

Well at 48 yrs old and reading T-Nation for a while, I stopped my constant CONTEST training and eating to try to gain some muscle. I have found out that I could eat a lot of food and still have little affect on fat gain but I am starting to slowly gain muscle and stength again.

This is just my experience and thought you might see that other people have made the same mistake that you are making. You will look more impressive if you EAT more and concentrate on getting stronger on the basics.

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Do you think that if someone starts at 120 lbs, 16 percent bf… They will simply keep gaining mass and losing bodyfat simultaneously until they have reached, say, 230+ lbs at 5 percent bf? Dream on.

All you see is the end-result, the destination, while conveniently ignoring the way that gets you there in the first place.

[/quote]

I didn’t get past the typical “might workout” look until I realized this. Sometimes it sucks what you have to do but you’re not just going to gain muscle and lose fat forever

edit: Hey CC I made a post in your thread a few days ago asking about some things I’m starting Sunday, just so you know :slight_smile:

I made my absolute best gains so far (and I’m a relatively new lifter compared to some of the vets on this site) when I followed the most basic principles. I lifted heavy, with intensity, using primarily big compound movements.

I did accessory work when/if I had the time but never before my big lifts. I also ate 1/2 lb of ground beef and a big pile of rice and vegetables every 3 hours or so. Sometimes I ate it cold between classes. Sometimes I had to pack a cooler and bring multiple meals with me.

The guys who actually have something to show for all their time spent in the gym and on this site know what they’re talking about. I don’t know why you would listen to anyone who doesn’t.

.

It is obvious OP is not happy with his progress, and is trying to warp subjective definitions to justify to himself what he perceives as “failure”, for lack of a better word.

Dude you are lean, good work. In a Men’s Health world you are the shit. Not that there is anything wrong with that or it isn’t a somewhat difficult task to achieve. (Starving yourself in the face of all this tasty food is a bitch.)

Here, on the other hand, outside of dankid, we have larger goals than Men’s Health model. Look up the kid Josh86 on this site and look at his avatar. Your on the left, the rest of us are either on the right, trying to get to the right, or past the right.

And stop being so sensitive, jesus Loudogg is right. People sprouted vagina’s around here recently.

You’re creating a lot of drama for little reason, why? Do you just enjoy attention? Why don’t you just do your own thing and prove all the naysayers wrong?

How can you say anything about your genetic potential when you’ve obviously never even tried to drastically be stronger/larger? It’s like commenting on a movie you’ve never seen, only glimpsed at it through the teaser trailers.

OP just needs to eat more lulz

Squat and Milk

I don’t like thinking out loud. People on the bus start to stare at me like I’m crazy.

[quote]mojo_ wrote:
OP just needs to eat more lulz[/quote]

Is that him in your avatar?

interesting responses. NOW we’re conversing like adults (well, MOST of us.)

while i totally understand the “theory” of bulking and cutting, and the fact that it does, much like my post, seem “logical” and “look good on paper”, i’m going to make a somewhat brash statement here and say that, in practice, it usually just doesn’t work. this isn’t just my opinion, here, either. i know it’s shared by several of the authors right here on this site (including christian thibaudeau… and i know you trust him.) please allow me to explain.

it should be no secret that i find the physiques of yesteryear to be FAR more aesthetically pleasing than those of today. but, i realize not everyone shares this viewpoint, so i’ll instead use jay cutler as a more current, relevant example. here is a guy with a weight that fluctuates 30+ lbs. from off season to on. i’ve seen photos of him taken during both of these periods and, while it’s true that even at his heaviest, he’s not “fat” by any stretch of the imagination, he also realizes that he must, in order to look his best, lose as much fat as he can come contest time.

it’s no secret that in order to lose fat, you’re bound to lose muscle along with it and, conversely, it’s also no secret that in order to gain muscle, you’re bound to put on fat (hence jay cutler’s weight fluctuations during the year.) people are talking to me like i don’t know this! but the question that is really begging to be asked here, is simply this:

if jay cutler, and 99.9% of his peers at the olympia, are showing up to compete at “roughly” the same bodyweight (given the same relative level of lean-ness) year after year, is the whole bulking-cutting cycle really necessary or desirable? seriously, i’m asking!

i mean, using myself as an example (modest at best, i know) i can tell you that when i was at my heaviest, i was definitely “bigger” than i am now. i.e. my clothes were tighter, muscle circumferences were larger, etc. but i didn’t look as good, plain and simple. and, assuming that i, like jay cutler, could somehow manage to “bulk up” and add 30 lbs. to my frame without looking like a total mess, would it be worth it if, in order to get back down to the single digits, i just had to lose any muscle that i had just gained?

to bore you with a little history here, this almost “philosophical” struggle bewteen one “bulking up” to his greatest possible size and bodyweight and then “cutting” to get rid of the excess has been going on for quite some time… with many of the experts, from hoffman, to gironda, to thibaudeau, ultimately concluding that while it CAN work, it simply isn’t NECESSARY.

arnold even talked a great deal about this phenomenon in his encyclopedia, by the way. he called it “fear of smallness”, i believe. in a nutshell, he said that when you’re training to look your best (for a competition, a photo shoot, or simply because you enjoy looking your best) you WILL lose size, without a doubt. but it’s completely necessary if you want to reveal the development of the muscle (however modest it may be) that you’ve been working so very hard to build in the first place. he went on to say that the mere idea of giving up some muscle quantity in exchange for some quality is so daunting to most “bodybuilders”, that they will never actually even attempt it or see it through to its ultimate fruition.

you gotta admit, that’s some pretty convincing evidence, no?

i guess it really does just boil down to a person’s goals: big and smooth? or small and cut?

i’m glad we had this conversation.

This has gotten dumb. I doubt this is even worth getting into though…but I am dying laughing at the idea that people are looking at top pros who compete around the same body weight from year to year and using this as justification for not adding more muscle mass.

Yes, that’s retarded. I was 150lbs. I have since nearly doubled my body weight. If you think all of that will get lost in a diet you need to remove yourself from public schooling before you hurt someone.