Americans bulk up by 1-2 pounds per year every year after early adulthood. And they don’t get stronger. They get weaker. They don’t lift. They don’t eat protein. They aren’t active. So let’s stop with the bullshit already. If you don’t lift, YOU are bulking.
Among the 0.00001% of incredibly dedicated strength athletes who gain substantial muscular size after early adulthood, they achieve this through volume of training and eating which normies never could do even if their lives depended on it. When the average person talks about not wanting to gain “that much muscle”, I say, “don’t worry; you’ll never have what it takes.”
The only people "accidentally" bulking up are doing so because they eat like idiots.
Getting strong DOES NOT bulk. The relative strength of larger athletes is less than that of smaller athletes, always. Take the top 10 elite lifters on earth and put them on a 5.15 climbing wall. Weak. No capacity whatsoever. To this day, I’ve not seen another man on earth match my feat of performing a zero-momentum muscle-up at over 245lbs of body weight. Why? Because bulk is weakness in a greater number of domains of athletic function than the number in which it improves capacity.
It is literal nonsense when someone conflates strength improvement with rapid gains in size. Did the 103lb girl who deadlifts 350lbs fail to get strong? Did she fail to lift heavy enough? Why do I daily encounter females under 130lbs of bodyweight who routinely lift 200 to 400lbs on structural lifts? Why do all of the thousands of strong people I've known over the twenty years of my professional coaching career never get bulky? Why do the 185lb Olympic weightlifters who train tens of thousands of hours with hundreds and hundreds of pounds for millions of repetitions stay EXACTLY THE SAME BODYWEIGHT FOR DECADES? And then, after you've answered that, please explain why all of the average weak ass Americans who never gain a single ounce of strength keep gaining 1-2 pounds of bulk each year after early adulthood?
NOT LIFTING makes you bulky.
Hormones and preconscious triggers run the show. Any fitness franchise or weight loss program which doesn’t mention the hormonal cascades which DICTATE physical change and progress is missing the point entirely. Children do not grow taller because they overeat. People with lipodystrophy and metastatic cancers GROW in caloric deficit all the time.
“Burn more calories than you consume” is as helpful an explanation as “Jeff Bezos saved more money than he spent.” It’s true, but entirely useless information.
Don’t mishear me. It’s not that calories never matter. But researchers at Stanford Medical in 2018 proved that overstressed people convert the MAJORITY of new cells into fat cells. So someone could run 1,000 or 2,000 calorie deficits all day every day and still get fatter. Moreover, the ever-growing population of fat cells in that person will be sending increasingly strong signals to overeat. Thus, we see how a blithe low-stress and already-lean athlete is playing by an unrelated set of biological rules, wherein for that athlete a calorie-based model could work really really well. And as long as that athlete remains relatively lean and relatively low-stress (compared to the general populace), he will also remain insulated from understanding the truth about metabolic reality.
What’s the answer? Well, seasons. For the average and overstressed people, becoming lean will remain elusive until stress is addressed. Even if compliance is high with caloric deficits, generally they just get toothpick limbs and lighter bodyweight with a remaining belly paunch. They’re going to have to lift heavy weights. They’re going to have to improve sleep. They may have to quit toxic work environments or relationships. They must embrace seasons of building UP and seasons of breaking down.
On the whole people will have to abandon this folly of always striving for deficits and chasing calories as an additional stress to an already-overstressed life. Stress management does not mean the chronic additional of even more mismanagement. Know your calories. Know your macros. However, if you have mismanaged stress, we know that more than half of your new cells are fat cells. What is the caloric intake number which makes less fat while the body is making more than half of new cells into fat? To be clear, how can you use the modest undirected SUBTRACTION of energy from a system which is continually MULTIPLYING fat tissue and end up LEANER (more lean tissue than fat tissue)? Clearly, you can see there is no way to make the math work. And this is why the simpleton thinking of calorie addition and subtraction, though a great description, is empty of explanation.
Explanation tells us HOW to manipulate variables for a desired outcome. Description merely depicts the change which occurs/occurred. Calories can never explain. Calories only describes. We need to stop calling descriptions "explanation." Calories is not an explanation.
Apparently, the 30 grams of simple sugar in a tall glass of skim milk is the same thing as the 8,000 calories in a gallon of ice cream is the same thing as the half gram of casein in a sprinkle of Parmesan is the same thing as the absence of all proteins and carbs in a teaspoon of ghee. Even though their chemistry shares almost nothing in common, and obviously the response in different people must be varied - NOPE: it’s all dairy! And dairy iS nOt InFlAmMaToRy!
Listen: I get it. We grow a lot of corn. Therefore, vegetable oil is GOOD. Make the science say so. We have a lot of cows. Make the science say milk is GOOD. We have a lot of coal and oil. Make the science say new energy technologies are BAD. I get it. Forget finding out the answers. Just feed me the truth you want to be true based on what we already do in the Western World and package it in a well-politicked paper, headline, or authoritative organization. Make sure that your conclusions require no change in behavior from us or large entrenched industries. Thanks.
Construct a “study” which “explores” the KNOWN AND NOT DEBATED inflammatory effects of casomorphins and lactose sugar by dosing participants with a puff of 5 grams of whey totally absent any casein or lactose. Lol. And then just ignore that some inflammatory pathways are beneficial, because, you know, nuance is bad for marketing.
Never mind that the EXACT SAME inflammatory cytokine (interleukin-6) which we need to develop muscular strength is also responsible for Covid-related deaths. SOME inflammatory cascade is good. Sometimes it is not so good. But, ya know, thinking is hard; so let’s call all of dairy at every dosing for every individual the same thing… and say it’s not inflammatory… oh yeah, and call that SCIENCE.
Recently, I caught this anti-scientific claim making the rounds: “dairy is not inflammatory.” This says nothing. Dairy is a thousand different substances with infinite different dosages and concentrations. "Inflammatory" can mean healing from a cut or dying from cancer. BE SPECIFIC. Included in some of these non-science posts were graphs, charts, or tables to create a “sciency” impression in the onlooker. Cute. However, when I spent several hours digging into the cited underlying studies, I found no such evidence. The screenshot I have here is one of the “top two” studies included in some of the meta-analyses. I have to be really clear here: this is blatant nonsense anti-science.
Not one single study included in this ridiculous claim ever had subjects fast for 3-10 days FIRST in order to see what a low-inflammation baseline even is. That would be the only valid START point. If you take a bunch of already-unhealthy-and-hyper-inflamed sick people and then “add” a dose of whey that is lower than ANY AMOUNT OF FOOD ANY AMERICAN EVER EATS, you aren’t conducting anything that even approximates modern science. The primary triggers KNOWN are casein and lactose. These researchers dosed participants with WHEY, and at a dose so low that even people with severe whey intolerance would be mostly without symptoms. 5 grams PER DAY. Not per hour. Not per minute. PER DAY. 5 grams. That’s the same mass as 8 tictacs. That’s the same amount of volume as the amount of spittle you make every 4 to 6 minutes: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5052503/.
A scientist has no use for lumping all of “dairy” into one category. That’s just absolute quackery. She would only care about what dose of what specific admixture elicits what degree of what response over what duration. For example, an actual scientific finding might discover that 10g of casein per kilo of body mass per hour is tightly associated with linear immunoglobulin proliferation. Next step would be more precisely defining variances in subject response. Again, that would be the BEGINNING of exploration. Science doesn’t land on “dairy is not inflammatory.” That’s just a non statement. It doesn’t tell us anything. It’s virtue signaling alone. It has nothing of useful takeaway.
Moreover, as I stated above, what we call “inflammation” is many things, not all negative. These “studies” and “researchers” did not use a scientifically valid or pertinent definition. CLEARLY, theirs is a pop culture and politically-driven statement to begin with. WHICH INFLAMMATIONS? And for how long? And to what degree? Based on what dose per hour per kilo of body mass? Is there a significant differentiator demographically? Does age, sex, race, genetic testing, have any substantive impact on outcome? To what extent? How? Why?
But this is additionally how we know the claim is garbage. Actual scientists who are actually interested in exploration would be discovering and searching. They don’t just one day land on “dairy is not inflammatory.” That isn’t science. That isn’t anything at all. It’s philosophically empty. It tells us absolutely nothing. It has no value whatsoever. It’s just signaling a certain virtue out in pop culture. It’s barely worthy of mention if it weren’t so preposterously misleading to the science illiterate. Tell us what amount of lactose sugar does what. Tell us what amount of casein protein does what. Tell us what amount of short chain fats do what. Tell us what amount of whey does what. How? Why? Propose mechanisms. Reference known mechanisms. Explicitly DEFINE outcomes.
No. What we get instead is “dairy is not inflammatory,” a meaningless and demonstrably wrong statement, not even worthy of a 5th grade science fair. It's a silly pop politic phrase which gives us no insight into how one dairy product can be beneficial at one serving size and another is detrimental at another serving size.