My Wrong Advice For the Big Guys

For almost 20 years, I’ve advised my heavy friends to lift weights instead of doing cardio as they lean out. The logic of my case went something like this:

  1. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so increasing muscle on someone that is already consuming a high number of calories, seemed like a great idea.
  2. Big guys, by which I mean thick-wristed endomorphs, have the greatest muscular potential. Watch any strongman competition to see what I mean.
  3. Take advantage of those beginner gains ASAP to see a shift in lean mass. Here I was thinking they could gain the most muscle as they dropped weight.

To me, being a big guy without weight training experience, seemed like a gift. I viewed it as a gift because from the outside looking in, it seemed like they had the shortest path to a radical body transformation.

But, I’m not a big guy. I’m an ectomorph. And I recently learned, my observation and the advice I’ve been repeating for two decades is wrong.

Unknown to me, the bodybuilding trainers discovered through observation and experimentation that it was actually much harder to build muscle on a body with extra weight. When given the task of training a big guy, they would direct them to cardio and fixing their diet until enough progress was made before hitting the iron.

Anyway, this was all old-school theory until recently. A recent study that was discussed on Super Human Radio confirmed that heavy people are resistant to gaining muscle. They need to lose the fat first before adding the muscle later.

Listen to the discussion on the study and what classic bodybuilders have known for years:  2236: Super Human Radio (3:15 – 14:30 and 19:00 – 23:00)

So to my big guy friends, sorry about that. I still think it is 80-90% diet. That view has not changed. And I still like walking close to 10,000 steps a day if you can get them in. As for the remainder, hold off on using weights as your primary exercise for now. Do some cycling, swimming or hiking and after you’ve made some progress, stop by the weight room and gradually start lifting.

Wrong Way

Photo by NeONBRAND

Published by

MAS

Critical MAS is the blog for Michael Allen Smith of Seattle, Washington. My interests include traditional food, fitness, economics, and web development.

2 thoughts on “My Wrong Advice For the Big Guys”

  1. @Jim – I suspect Brad is right.

    We now believe muscle burns fewer calories than we initially thought. But my advice was going back 20 years when we believed that number to be much higher.

    If it was 10 or 50, then the case for heading straight to the weight room was even stronger. But as my post stated, I assumed the big guys would easily pile on those beginner gains, which was a false assumption.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.