Do a search for “building natural muscle” or “building muscle naturally” and you’re likely to be overwhelmed by information. There are countless e-books and articles on the topic; everyone’s an overnight expert. Some of these “experts” aren’t a day over twenty-five years of age, making it difficult to imagine how they’ve accumulated enough real-world experience to become experts. Consequently, there’s enough duplicate information on ‘building muscle naturally’ to nauseate you and enough contradictory information to have you throw up your hands in frustration and simply develop your own theories and routines.
But really… why is there so much dissemination of “natural bodybuilding” information with a simultaneous proliferation of those hungrily seeking it? Why do the info-seekers seem insatiable? Shouldn’t they be able to simply get their “natural muscle building” e-book and live in muscle-expanding nirvana thereafter? If these guys who write the books really gained “30 pounds of muscle” in umpteen weeks, shouldn’t they theoretically be able to gain thirty more and win the Mr. Olympia contest… naturally?
With over two decades in the ‘natural muscle building’ arena, I have my theory about the root cause of misinformation in this field: steroid use.
Yeah, I know… “why would steroids be an issue within the context of “building natural muscle?” Because, quite simply, it’s too easy to cheat. It’s too easy for someone who’s not completely honest to build a substantial amount of muscle mass with the aid of drugs – quit the drugs – and then “sell” themselves as a natural bodybuilder. It would be so easy that a person doing so could practically rationalize themselves as being perfectly honest by simply inducing a bit of self-imposed, time-selective amnesia.
In cases where this has happened, which are sometimes difficult to detect, it’s easy to know how the generic ‘natural muscle building information’ gets perpetuated. The “natural bodybuilder” in this case might even believe the information he’s peddling is the best chance for those who are genuinely natural, while he himself sells the program with his (even one-time) pharmaceutically-enhanced musculature as the billboard.
‘Building Natural Muscle’: What do I mean by “generic information?”
Here’s the current generic information for natural muscle building. Although it’s far better than a natural bodybuilder following the advice of a steroid-using pro bodybuilder, it’s still lackluster in its ability to produce long-term natural results. How do I know? Because there’s nothing new here and I used it… a long time ago:
- Train each body part once-a-week
- Train for 40 minutes to an hour
- Increase the weight whenever you can
- Use big compound movements
- Eat like a friggin’ pig (meaning a lot/all day long)
Haha… this advice has all the comprehensiveness you’d expect from a Neanderthal. Additionally, most of it is nothing new. A lot of what’s out there is a knock-off of Mike Mentzer’s ‘High Intensity’ training theories. And let me see if I can remember… oh yeah… Mike Mentzer was a pro bodybuilder? A steroid taker? A pharmaceutically-enhanced “expert?”
I’m not here to knock pro bodybuilders or those who make self-assessed decisions on what to do with their own bodies. I’m simply raising awareness of the root causes of misinformation and how to consequently stop looking in the wrong direction for ‘building natural muscle’ information.
One of the most salient trends in natural bodybuilding information that provides evidence of its saturation with faulty information is the over-emphasis on diet. This is usually accompanied by an under-emphasis on the required nuances of training routines. The generic protocol is to never train a body-part less than one-per-week and the default-advice for those who don’t make progress is: “You’re not training hard enough” or “You’re not eating enough.”
This is simplistic-mindedness that either reveals the ignorance of the information provider and/or a willingness to assume gullibility on the part of the information seeker. The notion that we can go about building natural muscle with a formula resembling how we’d gain fat weight is asinine. Yet that’s what we’re seeing; Internet bodybuilding “experts” saying we need 3500 calories above BMR each week to put on muscle. Yet this is the number of extra calories you’d consume each week to put on a pound of weekly body fat.
Your common sense knows the body can’t build muscle this fast. That’s because muscle gains are a two-step process involving tissue breakdown and subsequent recuperation. If the human body could build muscle at the rate that it can gain fat, we’d all gain 50 solid pounds a year and become a threat to the reigning Mr. Olympia. What’s more, steroid dealers would be out of business.
So… be discerning in your judgment of advice on building natural muscle. Steroids are extremely powerful drugs that greatly alter the physiology of the body. This means they greatly augment the inter-workout recuperation capabilities of the tissue. Ultimately, this means the formula for building natural muscle should not even resemble that of the drug-using bodybuilder.
My formula currently resembles it less than ever before – and I’m making the most incredible muscle gains of my life.