Muscle Growth at all Costs?

Written by: Brad Pilon

Let me state the obvious: All human bodies look roughly the same.

One can easily tell the difference between, say, a human, a gorilla, and a hippopotamus.

A description of a human male could easily be summed up by saying that they are usually about 5’10” tall, with approximately 148 pounds of lean mass. Their weight can vary greatly due to their ability to store energy in the form of fat mass.

A more detailed summary of a human male would explain that their height has a standard deviation of about three inches, meaning that 95 percent of all men are somewhere between 5’4” and 6’4” tall.

Their lean muscle mass also has a standard deviation of about seven pounds, so an athletic healthy male could have about 14 pounds more lean mass than average, and a sickly man could weigh about 14 pounds less than average before he is considered to be in a disease state.

Only about 2.5 percent of the population is comprised of “anomalies” – rare cases in which a person has much more muscle than everyone else or is much taller than the average.

You and I are fairly limited in how much muscle we can add to our bodies. We are, after all, only human beings, with checks and balances everywhere in our bodies. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The next time you hear about an exercise program which claims to be able to “add 60 pounds of muscle in six weeks,” consider this: Many things which cause your muscles to grow beyond their normal limits are connected to higher than average rates of cancer.

Chronic high testosterone, chronic high insulin, chronic high growth hormone, and chronic high IGF-1 – all are connected to an increase risk of cancer.

Remember, you’re only human. Be happy with the shape of your body. Make it your goal to increase muscle mass and decrease fat mass, but keep your expectations realistic.

I have found that an adult male can expect to gain about 14 pounds of muscle through strength training. Females can expect to gain about six pounds of muscle with the same technique. After that point, muscle growth slows considerably.

You can obtain more muscle with pharmaceutical supplements, but you should be aware of the fact that there could be long-term health side effects as a result of doing so.

You can gain more muscle without supplements, but you should expect progress to be slow and growth to be limited.

Remember to eat less and move more. Try to build muscle while you keep your body fat low, but remember that you’re human. Unless you are about 6’10” tall, you’re probably never going to reach 250 pounds with five percent body fat.

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