If you go to any training forum and say that you are 6′ and 160 lbs, you will be advised to eat more and get to something like 220 lbs. Cool, except that its is not nearly that easy.
Most people have extremely delusional ideas how much one should weigh when natural. Of course, there are anorexic states, and if you are 6’2 and 135 lbs, you need to eat a lot more to reach a healthier weight for you height. However, after a certain point, which is not as high as many believe, all of your bodyweight gains will simply make you fat, not healthy or more muscular
The good old rule “eat big to get big” only applies to enhanced steroid users. For naturals “eat big to get big” works only if by big you mean fatter. So, in the world of natty bodybuilding the rule “eat big to get big” could be translated as “eat big to get fat”. This is the way things work. I don’t care what kind of routines you are following. 20 rep squats, 5×5, 3×10, Ronnie Coleman’s split, Eugen Sandow’s functional training, kettlebell humping, calisthenics nonsense, sandbag throwing…etc. It’s irrelevant and changes nothing. The extra calories will simply make you fatter no matter what.
The stories about how person X gained 50 pounds in three months naturally are simply nonsense. What usually happens is this: 30 pounds of fat, 15 pounds water and glycogen, 5 pounds of muscle thanks to the so-called noob gains. They don’t write this is in the magazines. You will also never hear it in the politically correct interviews made by gurus promoting supposedly better than steroids training systems, but it is the truth.
The whole point here is to explain why you can’t be 6′ and 220 without being fat. Because it is not natural. I know some people know other people who have friends who are 275 lbs at 5’11” and “no more than 10-15% body fat”, but that’s as real as saying that you know people who know people who have friends who have seen a flying elephant. Either the elephant is not natural (using airplanes to fly) or it’s all an illusion.
Strength is determined by 2-3 mains factors: CNS adaptations and structural improvements (thicker joints and bigger muscles). Once your CNS ability has maxed out, it’s game over. The last level has been reached. At that point the only way to get stronger is to get bigger. You see it all the time. People stall at certain numbers, get big/fat/whatever and unstuck themselves only to stall a few pounds later.
Everybody has certain limits. Let’s say that you are 6’@170 lbs and trying to improve your squat.
In my experience average people such as me, who are also not built to squat, start having serious issues with squats around 1.2 BW. From there it takes a lot more time and dedicated effort to reach the next level, but it is possible to hit 2BW naturally, even if you are not a genetic wonder. It’s going to be quite difficult thought. Once you reach 2 BW the game gets even tougher and more ungrateful than before.
When you are 170 lbs, 2BW is 340 lbs – a weight that’s not considered heavy by almost anybody today. When you are 200 lbs and you squat 405 – you are seen as someone much stronger, although your relative strength has not improve one bit. You are still at 2 BW. That’s the relation between strength and bodyweight gains when it comes to weightlifting.
The joke is that those heavier bodyweights are only reachable when you are fat. By fat I mean something like 17% + BF for males. At one point, you have to ask yourself the question: am I stronger because I am stronger or am I stronger because I am fat and water bloated? This answer is personal. I am not telling you what’s the right choice for you, although I know what mine is.
Fuck being fat.
By the way, this is also another reason why some training programs are way overrated. Of course, people are going to lift heavier weights when they are also gaining 2 lbs of bodyweight a week. Regardless of routine choice, you will always be able to move bigger barbells when you are a fatso. Fat and water bloat could be very beneficial for numbers on the bar. They make you more stable, lubricate the joints and you don’t feel naked in front of the iron. You have a layer of protection behind which you can hide. Many people are afraid to get naked in front of the barbell. They are scared because of the fairy tales, which to be honest are kinda true. It’s harder to lift when you are lighter.
The way I see it, you should be getting as strong as possible while gaining as little weight as possible. As you can guess, I am talking about fat here. Gaining muscle is awesome, but is a mirage when you are a natty. By limiting fat gains you know that all your gains are due to real adaptation. Whether it’s neurological or structural, it’s all better than being fat based. There are many videos of really light weightlifters lifting insane weights. One time I saw a video of a 60-65 kilo female lifter squatting high bar style 220+ kg. I can’t find it right now though. Of course, she was/is not natural, but her effort still shows how strong you can get without getting fat. Naturals can do the same, although to a much smaller degree. Good luck squatting even 130 kg as a 60 kilo natural female lifter.
Still, I think it’s better this way than kidding yourself with artificial overblown strength gains induced by added layers of fat cells.
It’s way harder to stick with a program for 3 months only to add 10 pounds to your squat or 5 pounds to your bench press. It’s easier to fall for the eat big to get big scam and gain 40 pounds, and add 35 pounds to your squat. The way I see it, anybody can get “strong” like that. What’s more impressive: benching 250 lbs with good form as a lean/skinny guy or benching 375 as a fat bloated can’t tie my shoes guy??
I have been fat but not fat to the point where you are McDonald’s “loving it” kinda fat. I didn’t like it anyway. I didn’t like the eating, didn’t like the way I was moving and before all I didn’t like the fact that all that bulking was not giving me muscles – only fat. I felt cheated after my bulk. I stole so much food from the planet for narcissistic reasons, only to become a weak permabulker.
The biggest irony is when you try to justify your fat gains by trying to make your fat cells appear to be muscle. I remember sticking my chest out as much as I can, trying to show my sister how much muscle I have added. What happened? She just looked at my fat gut sticking out in front of my chest. She also said I looked like garbage with my new double chin and butt from a rap clip.
Of course, at the time I was one of those guys who thought their fat glutes are what uneducated people call “squat/deadlifts butts”. As expected, most of the gains were once again just fat, because, guess what – the rear is a great place to store fat.
I remember barely fitting in most of my jeans. They were going to explode and bare in mind that I used to wear a lot of baggy clothes from my rap clothing era. After my bulk they were all inflated. I was like – it must be the squats. All those hardcore muscles I have added to my centaur part must be finally trying to come out. No more Mr. Skinny Legs. I remember when one girl on the bus was looking at my butt, thinking: “What the hell is this thing?” in her mind. I was kinda proud. Looking back, all I can say is this: what a fucking delusional idiot.
The fact that people were seeing that the emperor has no muscle crushed me hard, but it was something I needed. Only after a hardcore tackle, you can truly realize how hardcore you suck. It hurts. I understand. This is why resistance is to be expected. Admitting your mistakes is one of the most painful things emotionally. Even to this day I can’t do it painlessly and probably never will.