Brobdingnagian B.S.

Here’s another imaginary email from a simulated reader that I found quite interesting:

Dear Muscleman,

What a great post about Arnold. I really enjoyed those classic pictures. I just wanted to comment that I hope you’re not saying we should all bulk up like Arnold. I’m trying to tone up a little, but I have no interest in looking like a bodybuilder. I don’t want to get too big.


Average in Albuquerque

Average, I couldn’t agree with you more. Like you, I also strive in my affairs to be neither too rich nor too good looking.

In fact, a great many people apparently live in fear that they may wake up one morning with a chiseled physique. Almost daily, I hear a group of guys at the gym, leaning against the equipment, chatting about how they really have no desire to get “big.” When I share with co-workers my passion for fitness, the conversation frequently lapses into how they bypass the gym due to the risk of packing on mass.

I believe it was bodybuilding pro Mike Matarazzo who summed up exactly what is required to get big: 1) freakish genetics and 2) use of anabolic steroids. I would also add to his list tremendous heart, drive and commitment to the sport.

Women especially should stop using outsized muscularity as an excuse for a spotty gym record. In females, low testosterone levels make extreme muscle growth virtually impossible.

Finally, I really haven’t heard a strong case against a powerful physique, even if it were possible for the average man to achieve. What is the downside of broad shoulders, an intimidating profile, a waist and set of glutes that looks great in jeans?

If you’re only going to go through life once, why not do it with big arms?

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  1. Love the post!

    I’ve stopped trying to lose weight and trying to look good, but I still go to the gym every day because I love being strong. Not freakishly strong but practically strong…strong enough to change the huge water cooler at work and not having to call a man to help me, being able to move furniture around my house unassisted…that kind of thing.

  2. I just went through your archives. I agree with you on people spending a lot of time working on smaller muscle groups. Which I really don’t get. I mean…what exactly can you do in real life with big biceps?

    I am a big fan of squats and lunges, push ups and pull ups.

    Btw I left the wrong link up there, I just recently started a workout journal, it’s http;//selfinflictedpain.wordpress.com. I’d appreciate suggestions.

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