The proper description of traveling is running and searching. People don’t travel to see the Big Ben or the Great Wall. We do it because we need reassurance that the world is bigger than we already know. We are hoping that somewhere the formulas give different results. The ones that we already have are boring, depressing and unsatisfying. So, we travel. Those who don’t are labeled as losers with a limited understanding of the world.
“Which places have you visited,” said Becky to HarryTheBicepsFlexKilla with a ton seeking internal relief. She wanted to know whether the specimen in front of her was a man of mystery or a common fool. She was going to judge him harshly if he hadn’t visited the right patch of dirt or piece of stone. The cues were subtle, but he sensed it
One of the biggest revelations that travelers have after they pass through all the stages is that the places they visit are not nearly as different as they seem on the outside. Many principles and rules overlap. All people are slaves to the same mechanisms and laws.
Traveling is common for the fitness world too. The muscle constructors are looking for wonders all the time. Naturally, social media catalyze the process rather well by focusing on odd phenomenon. We live in times when the mind has acclimated to constant stimulation in the form of “new and exciting” info bombs. We constantly scroll through our feeds in the hope to find a satisfying dose.
An example of this process in the iron world would be the African bodybuilders who display extraterrestrial muscular development despite being limited to a gym facility that resembles a metal graveyard rather than a proper barrack for muscle forging. People look at those men and use them as an example of what can be achieved naturally if you have the right genetics and train hardcore. The logic behind this conclusion is fairly simple – if those men are so limited by the available resources, they can’t possibly be on drugs.
But as it often happens today, most individuals look at the presented information superficially. They see a man who lifts rusted brake rotors instead of proper barbell plates, conclude that there is nothing more to the story and let their minds suffering from a heavy attention deficit disorder catapult them to another informational stimulation. Then they come to me and ask – “wtf…bro…this fella so big…no plates…no nothing…pls…explain”.
Are Steroids Available in Africa?
When a man sees one of those homemade gyms and the surroundings, it becomes very easy to conclude that steroids would be nothing but a luxury at a similar location. After all, the people there seem to be lacking proper housing. This makes the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs appear unlikely and even exotic.
Yet steroids are not exactly hard to access in some parts of Africa for more than one reason.
Over two-thirds of the people who have HIV/AIDS in the whole world are located in Africa. Many patients receive expensive drugs to treat their illness and then sell them on the black market. Anabolic steroids are part of the list since they prevent muscle loss.
Of course, there are other sources too. Saying that anabolic drugs are impossible to find in Africa due to the poverty picture is not true. Many countries in Africa are more developed and richer than what the average outsider thinks.
But steroids are expensive. Those bodybuilders can’t afford supplements let alone drugs…
It’s a common misconception that steroids are mega expensive and therefore unattainable. That’s what the muscle cartel wants you to think. In reality, a simple cycle could be far cheaper than what the average brainwashed muscle constructor spends on his cocktail of protein powder, creatine, glutamine and joint support.
More importantly, steroids’ prices are lower in the so-called developing countries. However, that comes with a high risk – the sources aren’t always pure. When you are buying from the black market, there are no guarantees.
How important is equipment for reaching your muscle goals?
The ghetto gyms are uncomfortable, unattractive and inconvenient. The machines and barbells look sketchy and potentially dangerous. Knowing exactly how much you lift requires a complex calculation that many probably avoid. Consequently, an accurate implementation of popular training programs becomes impossible.
While the difficulties associated with scrap metal equipment are undeniable, you can still get a workout and stimulate growth with less than perfect inventory. Sure, it’s somewhat nasty, but the muscles are working hard nevertheless. Your fibers cannot ignore the stress just because the source is not an aristocratic barbell. Besides, there are many simple exercises such as weighted dips and pull-ups that are even less affected by the lack of equipment worthy of residing in an expensive first world gym.
High-end tools can certainly make training more pleasant and prolong the careers of those tired of dealing with the edgy character of homemade iron but will not increase your hypertrophy shares as much as you think.
An expensive car offers greater comfort and extras, but if the speed limits are respected, an old rusty ride can get you to your destination in the same amount of time.
The poverty gyms are certainly holding people back but not really to the degree that the naïve minds think. It’s not like 50lbs of extra meat are awaiting the ghetto warriors if they join a modern facility.
Another fact that people need to be aware of would be the presence of modern fancy gyms in Africa.
Many of the images and videos showcasing the hardcore training of African bodybuilders are from Ghana. Here’s an exercise for those who think that the only weights in Ghana are clutch disks – fire up an online search with the following keywords “gyms in Ghana”. You will see that there are many places, primarily in the capital, that are no different than the commercial gyms in a western country.
Larger than Life
Samuel Kulbila is one of the popular bodybuilders from Ghana. He’s been featured in many videos, including Generation Iron. Let’s look at the stats of that man.
Weight: 88.9kg/195.58lbs [off season] | 87kg/191lbs [contest ready]
Kulbila has the stats of a retro bodybuilder from the time of Frank Zane who was 5’9” and 185lbs in contest condition himself. Zane had access to the best gyms in the world whereas Kulbila is lifting pipes strapped with rotten metal.
The stats of Kulbila would be enough to compete during the 70s (the Golden Era of Bodybuilding), next to bodybuilders using anabolic drugs.
I am sorry to inform you, but most of you will never be 87kg and lean, even if you are much taller than 5’8”, regardless of your supplement protocol or program shenanigans.
In 2014, after 3 years and six months of training, Kulbila placed 3rd in the middleweight division of the competition Man Ghana National Championship – a big bodybuilding contest in the country. I doubt that all the participants were lifting in poor gyms. Yet Kulbila placed very high despite his relatively short career at the time and lack of professional equipment.
In an interview, Kulbila has stated that he doesn’t eat calories and is a heavy carb user. As a bonus, he doesn’t really know how much weight he is lifting due to the specifics of his training facility.
Do you really think that an average person can build an equal physique with a similar attitude? I don’t.#No Excuses? What if I tell you that they are playing with your perception?
Similar stories usually come with #no excuses. This criticism is targeting people who have excellent resources for lifting and yet complain that they can’t attain results.
It’s true that some first world citizens are soft and spoiled, but there are also muscle apprentices who have put equal or even more effort into their careers than the African bodybuilders training in the slums. Many lifters take full advantage of their barbell house while following better diets than Kulbila and yet they fail to display a muscular development of the same grandeur. What are they guilty of? Should they lift concrete blocks to make it right? Maybe rusted metal has inherently anabolic properties?
In reality, the media is simply playing with people’s right brains. They want you to think that everything is possible as long as you have the proper motivation. That’s a lie. If the conditions demanded by your goal are not present, #passion will not do much for you. Motivation is probably the scam of the century.
But they’re black!
People of African descent can be great athletes, but there is also that thing called diversity within a race. You can be black without having the genetics of a top-class sprinter for instance.
But even if all black people were blessed with extraordinary unheard-of hypertrophy capabilities, it still doesn’t change the fact that all pros regardless of race are not natural. The natural limits apply to all.
At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal genetic makeup. You can have great or poor genes for muscle construction regardless of your racial origin.
Waiting For the Miracle
The kids still think that the world is bigger than it is. We want to believe that someone out there does not answer to the laws controlling us from the start. And since we live in a realm where we spend most of our time trying to distract ourselves from the modern reality, we are willing to believe in miracles. But those miracles, my friend, always have an explanation deprived of the magic we expect and loaded with the very same reality we run from.
As I told you in the previous post, if a result is present, the conditions that it demands are present too.
If someone can fly a plane, he was trained to do it.
If someone is as big as a pro, he has covered the requirements necessary to become one.
If someone drives a car like a F1 driver, he is a F1 driver.
For better or worse, the world is neither as vast as you think nor are people as different as we like to believe. The rules of nature apply to everyone.
So, how do the African bodybuilders get so jacked without proper equipment and supplements?
Those gyms may be primitive, but at the end of the day, the social plasticity found there reflects that of a modern, luxurious facility – some use steroids, some don’t. There are no unicorns or secrets that you are unaware of.