Muscle, muscle, muscle, it's that magical body tissue that can make you stronger, it's the x-factor in creating a body that make women swoon. Muscle is what some of the best physiques in the world have, and what the "needs improvement" physiques covet. So many people yearn to know how to gain muscle fast. With magazines, websites, and other media touting these "to die for" physiques, it's hard not to get pulled in. But when I look at some of the professional bodybuilding magazines, I think that some of the guys I see are bigger than I'd ever want to even think about being. Looking at the classic pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane and some of the greats, I still admire the way they look! They're big, no doubt, but they still look human to me. Seeing the progression of the pro bodybuilder makes me wonder just how much muscle is too much muscle???
Different people have different ideas of how much muscle they want to pack onto their respective frames and that's perfectly okay. At the end of the day, you have to look in the mirror and be okay with what YOU see. To know how much muscle is too much, let's examine things from five different perspectives:
1) The Average Jane/ The Average Joe
2) The Athlete
3) The Bodybuilder
4) The Significant Other
5) The Outside-Looking-Inn-ers
THE AVERAGE JANE/ THE AVERAGE JOE
The Average Jane and Average Joe probably don't peruse the fitness magazine, Shangri-la that exists in most bookstores. They eat the average diet, and maybe are just looking to shape up a bit. They are pretty happy with the lives they have, and may have gotten a little out of shape for one reason or another. The female fitness model or mountain of muscle look may not be what they're striving for. Just slimming down a bit and toning up their existing muscle is the main goal.*
*There are cases where people change categories. Your body will change according to what you do and what you desire to do with it.
The athlete may have genetic gifts that not everyone has...natural speed, height, and fast-twitch muscle fibers. They know exactly what their gifts are and they build on those. They're not necessarily trying to become as big as a bodybuilder, but muscle matters. Every muscle fiber in their body has to be developed and perfected to make them as effective as possible in their respective sport.
To the bodybuilder or aspiring bodybuilder the bigger the muscle the better. Well, I guess you could break this down even further. The natural bodybuilder may want big muscles, but naturally, symmetrically. The non-natural pro goes for as big and symmetrical as possible by whatever means necessary (steroids, GH, etc.).
THE SIGNIFICANT OTHER
What does your wife/girlfriend think of your body? What does your husband/boyfriend think of your body? How this person views you may play a big role in how much muscle is too much. If your girlfriend finds big muscles sexy, you may train even harder to be more appealing to her. On the flip side, if a thin waistline and sexy, muscular legs turn your husband on, you may train to be more appealing to him.
What do you want people to say about you when they see you? "Wow, you look amazing!" or "Jesus Christ, you're a beast!" or "Damn! Your body is so sexy!" Sometimes outer voices can create internal pressure to change your body. Deciding on how much is too much can often be influenced by those around you.
Personally, I have no desire to look like an IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding) pro. I totally respect the hard work that bodybuilders put into their craft, day in and day out. However, I just don't see myself being able to maintain that much muscle when I'm 65 or older. How many 75 year-old Jay Cutlers do you know? Personally I try to strive for the healthy, fit, male, underwear model look. They are great examples of buff but not over the top.
How much muscle is too much muscle for you?
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Hernandez, Richard; Kravitz, Len. "Skeletal muscle hypertrophy". www.unm.edu.
McCloud, Aaron (30 November 2011). "Build Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers". Complete Strength Training.
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