Okay here's a subject that really gets my blood boiling. Bodybuilding is intended to be the creation of the perfect physique … right? That means that the chest, shoulders, legs, arms and back are suppose to be developed to their full potential while keeping the waist muscular but small. Some bodybuilders may have one genetically gifted part that has a tendency to be superior to another part. The normal goal is to emphasize the training of the weaker body part while curtailing training to the more responsive body part. This is done to obtain proportional muscle size. In achieving the perfect physique, the waist is meant to be small compared to upper body parts and the legs. The smaller the waist the more dramatic the surrounding muscles appear. The Back will look like a flared cobra's head when attached to a tiny waist.
I remember the physiques of the past, Arnold, Bob Birdsong, Franco Columbo, Bob Paris and Frank Zane achieved this dynamic look. Darin Lannaghan, Bill Davey and Stan McQuay have produced this look in modern day bodybuilding though they may never be seen at the Arnold Classic Competition.
So What's Changed?
In mid 80's, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and Insulin became popular drugs with professional bodybuilders. The net result, with these top level competitors, is the "Roid Gut". Now days, we have bodybuilders sporting a 40-46 "waists. I am guessing, of course, since no competitor would dare share the mammoth size of their waistlines. If they did, I would bet they would shave the number down an inch or two. Unfortunately, the Roid Gut has a repulsive appearance contrary to the original intent of the sport. When Jay Cutler in his early years hit national prominence, his youthful physique still had the small waist. Today, Jay's waist is absolutely gross. Sure he may weighs 270+ lbs, but also he sports a waist line of a sumo wrestler. Most of the top bodybuilders, Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates and Craig Titus, all exhibit this similar phenomenon. These competitors are simply meeting the expectation of what the judges are condoning and encouraging by accepting this look at as the "champion" physique.
I am writing this article to discourage the use of these drugs. They are sucking the lifeblood out of the Sport, destroying the potential aesthetics of the physique, and taking the bodybuilding back to the freak show era of the past. THIS SHOULD NOT BE!
HGH, "Huge Gut Hormone?"
Okay so what does HGH do to the body? In a normal person, HGH is produced by the body and causes the normal body growth process. The HGH drug was originally developed for children that exhibited stunted growth and were found to have a low production of this hormone. Doctors would administer HGH in small amounts to stimulate a normal growth pattern.
In a few people, HGH production is overactive (from birth) it can also create person of gigantic proportions. Andre the Giant had this condition. Robert Wadlow was another and he grew to be 7'11 ". He had many health problems and died at a very early age.
If HGH is administered to an adult, muscle growth restarts. HGH is very different than steroids. HGH causes production of new cells. Steroids cause only the enlargement of existing cells. The new cell growth seems to target only with the soft tissues and rarely skeletal system. Unfortunately, not only are the muscles cells multiplying but so are the internal muscles like the intestines and heart. Furthermore, organs, like the liver, kidneys and pancreas are growing too. When the growth of these internal muscles and organs occur in a fixed chest cavity, there is only one direction for this extra mass to go and that is out the abdominal area. Starting to get the picture?
Insulin's Additive Affect
Now what is insulin's affect on the body? Insulin is a super steroid that funnels the nutrients and sugar into muscle. When combined with hard workouts, recovery is very quick. Properly taken, it drives cell growth better than any other steroid. However if you screw up in taking insulin at the wrong time or dosage, you can throw yourself into insulin shock and die. Also long term use can make you a diabetic, a condition that shortens life. When Insulin is combined with HGH, the muscles are set to make significant gains.
The downside of insulin is that it is also active in creating the storage of fat in the body in the event of starvation. These fat deposits are stored internally to body and not on the exterior muscles. This is wonderful for the bodybuilder's appearance but not for this health. These fat deposits called visceral fat are found around the internal organs of the liver, pancreas, heart and kidneys. Couple this additional weight with growth of the internal muscles and organs and you have enough extra mass to create a really protruding Roid Gut.
"Side Bar" Story
Let me tell you one story that comes to mind back in the very early 80's. Tim Belknap, then a great in the world of bodybuilding, announced that he was diabetic. I have no reason to doubt he was, but I am now convinced that Tim found the secret to using insulin to maximize his bodybuilding potential. During that era, Tim was by far the most vascular bodybuilder on the scene. I also notice, he had a semi-protruding waistline. At the time I felt sorry for Tim being handicapped with diabetes but admired that he had accomplish a world class physique under this condition. Now looking back, I am sure Tim was able to apply his insulin to his bodybuilding benefit.
You be the Judge
I am convinced that these "super heavy weight" competitors at 270+ lbs might really weigh 240 or so if you stripped the mass out of their guts. But then again they might only weigh 220 if they lost the additional muscularity as a result of these two drugs. Let's return to the aesthetic builds of a few years past. I hope that even if judges do not award the small waist competitor the winning trophy, you will agree, that creating a Roid Gut is neither attractive nor healthy!