Bloated: Science Behind Some Supplements

The goal to have the perfect body is obvious in this sport. With the balance of proportion, definition, size, separation, and flow, it’s easy to understand why people who pursue the sport view it as the hardest to try. Many people only see it as pill popping, steroid injecting, supplement chugging hobby. However, if people would ease up on the ignorance level, they would see the sport as much more than the stereotypical muscle heads grunting in the gym.

The Golden Era birthed many legends. Bodies involving wide shoulders, a narrow waist, a flat and hardened abdominal area, and a balanced upper and lower body seem to have faded. Look at the physiques of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbo, Frank Zane, and Dave Draper. Some of the most popular known men in the sports history. If you compare their pose pictures with newer bodybuilders, the change is obvious.

There is a comedy clip of Arnold in 1973 on The Dating Game. He was asking contestants a series of questions and then stumbled on his BMI. He began by humorously saying, “Now don’t freak out, but biceps: 22 inches, chest: 57, waist: 33, thighs: 29.”

In today’s era of the sport, it’s rare to find anyone with a BMI resembling that. The main emphasis is on how narrow his waist was. This mixed with broad shoulders is what gives every bodybuilder that infamous V taper. Now many of the top pros (with the exception of some) have a more square or blocky look. Granted their shoulders are broad, their waist has grown as well. This is the consequence of several things.

As anyone in the sport knows, you need to eat to grow. This hasn’t changed at all thanks to science. The supplements have changed, though, and our knowledge on new supplements has grown. This is one critical component to think about next time you decide to take the next miracle product.

Human Growth Hormone, aka HGH, is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland. The secretion of the hormone stimulates growth and cell reproduction. With that said, the hormone has been synthesized and sold on the market to increase it’s benefits. While seeing the results after a few good workouts, it’s easy to understand why people continue to use it. There is one major down side though.

The dreaded HGH gut. This term is coined from the bloated look bodybuilders have if using a surplus amount. While HGH will help rebuild the muscle tissue after a workout, it’ll also expand internal organs. After long term usage, your organs will become bigger, causing your stomach to stretch and be round. This is why you see most pros with a decent midsection look bloated.

Another reason for this goes in part with HGH. Off season diet and training. Some bodybuilders binge after a big contest. This is fine if you consider the consequences.

A bodybuilder can gain up to thirty to forty pounds in their off season. This depends of course on how long your off season is. Either way, the more “bad” calories and carbs you eat without working them off moderately can come back to bite you. This is a reason why your diet, cardio, and training need to be examined.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to enjoy cheat meals throughout your off season, but willingness to burn everything off in a timely manner is important.

The best advice to give is train in a sweatshirt and pants (sweating), start your work out with a few minutes on the treadmill or stair master (increase heart rate and muscle fibers before hitting the weights), and keep an ab regimen in the off season. These three things have helped many maintain a good shape and decent definition in the off season.

It’s easy to understand how to counteract things if you know the science behind them first. And while the first impression might expose positive images, you need to look down the road and ask yourself how it’ll affect you. Small things can make a world of difference.


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