When I first read the “From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks” post on Tim Ferriss’ blog, I had my doubts. So, I emailed a good friend who’s a serious body builder, and here is his reply.
Yep, you certainly grabbed my attention.
If someone says they can gain 34lbs of pure muscle in 4 weeks I’d have to call BS. There is a limit to muscle growth unless you have freaky genes eg. a fault on your myostatin gene like this bull:
Look at some facts:
- He could just be a freak of nature, but even the most genetically gifted body builders have NEVER gained this amount of muscle in such a short period.
- In the “Body for life” competitions that are held over 12-week periods as entries for BIG prizes, the best ever winner was Antony Ellis who gained 32 lbs. But it took him 12 weeks. And this was the BEST EVER muscle gain in the competition out of near hundreds of thousands of entries.
I could take 1,000 people and put them on this 4-week program and I would be very surprised if even one person gain over 20 lbs, let alone 34lbs , unless…
- They increase the illusion of size in the photos (shaving hair, better tan, better lighting, better posing). Just getting pumped from a work out can give you the illusion of 10 to 15 lbs of extra muscle.
- They include “weight” in their claim that isn’t actually muscle. For example, if you eat 8,000 calories you can gain 7 lbs of weight just from the food in your gut in just one day. Take creatine and you can gain 5 to 15 lbs of water weight in a week (5 lbs to 10 lbs of water/glycogen weight, etc.).
- They may have used illegal steroids or growth hormones.
- They may have had that muscle in the first place then lost it. There is a mechanism called “muscle memory” which essentially means it is VERY easy to regain any previous lost muscle very quickly. (This is my guess.)
Viator, the person who’s method he used, had a bad bout of flu before doing his experiment, so his impressive (re)gains are easily explained.
In any case the method he uses is very outdated and has been tested by thousands and thousands of people. I am yet to hear of one who has made such gains.
If he is just some sort of genetic freak, then lucky him. It has taken me 8 months, using the best diet and training strategies, to gain near 40lbs of PURE muscle. Only another 10 lbs to go to my lofty target! 🙂
I suspect this is clever, if slightly deceptive, marketing for some forthcoming product.
Makes sense to me. My doubts are now even stronger (and I’m not alone). I’m not calling Tim Ferriss a liar, since I don’t know all of the facts.