Calling SRoberts and Other Experts -"THE PRO-BB GUT"
- 07-24-2009, 02:25 PM
Calling SRoberts and Other Experts -"THE PRO-BB GUT"
I have posted this on another forum and got a few responses, but I think there are experts here who could shed some valuable light on the topic. I would especially like to hear from Seth Roberts.
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Probably the most analyzed yet least understood myth/mystery in bodybuilding is the gut that pro bodybuilders as well as some amateurs develop. As you all know, hundreds of pages have been dedicated to the discussion of this issue with no firm outcome. Let's make just one more attempt at uncovering the truth by looking at all possible alternatives.
Which tissues can possibly grow to result in the huge distended abdomens we see on stage today? Here all the possibilities.
Well obviously this is not the cause. This fat would be right beneath the skin and above the abdominal muscles. Since the abs are so clearly visible in those who have large guts (or I should say "visible even when the athlete has clearly visible abs"), subcutaneous fat is not the cause of the problem.
Internal Organ Growth
This is the most frequently proposed reason. However, I am not sure if this is truly the primary cause. What organ can possibly grow so much that -despite the lack of subcutaneous fat- it would push the entire abdominal wall forward by more than an inch, sometimes way more than inch? Looking at an anatomical chart, it appears that the organs right under the famous distention are primarily the large and small intestines. Now just eyeballing the pictures of these pros and the anatomy charts, I would guess that the intestines would have to AT LEAST DOUBLE IN SIZE to cause such a distention (this is an estimate based on the fact that intestines make up only some of the size of the midsection. Just like the fact that you biceps would have to way more than double for your upper arm size to go up by 70-80% if your triceps and bone/skin stay the same size).
My question to you is, has such an increase in intestine size even been documented in anyone -not just bodybuilders but any patient- without killing the individual? Is such a thing even possible merely due to drug use? Some say that insulin and growth hormone cause this sort of increase in the size of internal organs, but neither diabetics nor acromegaly patients have this sort of internal organ growth. Besides, how would you not suffer severe symptoms when your intestines double in size?
Some have also suggested that it is the growth of the liver that causes the gut to stick out, but again, is it realistic for the liver to grow so large without sending the person into the hospital for an extended period? Some of the pros walk around with a huge gut for years and years yet only suffer relatively minor health issues (as in still being able to eat 5-6,000 calories and training while also doing very severe weight cuts)
If not these, what other organs can possibly grow so much?
This is, I believe, is the primary reason for the distended guts. If we keep in mind that the biochemistry of visceral and subcutaneous fat are very different, and also observe that some people such as alcoholics have relatively skinny physiques with distended stomachs, this is the most realistic possibility. Of course, bodybuilders are an extreme case in that they have very very low fat under their skin yet -if this theory is true- quite a bit of fat in their abdominal cavity, but it is the best possibility IMO. The fact that some of them also have pretty fat faces -compared to the rest of their bodies- also makes one think of cortisol causing all this, together with insulin.
The final possibility is fluid accumulation in the abdominal cavity. I think this is called Ascites, but I may be wrong. I find this to be a more plausible hypothesis than organ growth but still not very likely due to several reasons. The biggest issue here is the existence of the distended stomachs even during contest time. Obviously, these guys are pretty dry in contest time yet the stomachs don't budge much if at all, while they are losing all the water under the skin. I can accept the idea that the pharmacology of fat under the skin is very different from "gut fat" and that the fat inside the gut can remain while the subcutaneous fat is burned up. However, it sounds quite unlikely that the water accumulated inside the stomach would remain while the water under the skin is excreted during contest prep. Also consider that the medical treatment for ascites is diuretics, and it sounds likely that any such "abdominal water" would be lost when taking the diuretics that these guys are taking before the competition. So I do not think that the pregnant stomachs are made up mostly of water.
All in all, the only reasonable hypothesis IMO is visceral fat accumulation around the internal organs.
Please share your views on this and tell me where my thinking is wrong. Once we establish what the true cause is, the better informed members here can hopefully propose new solutions...
Thanks for your time
- 07-24-2009, 04:10 PM
- 07-24-2009, 04:36 PM
07-24-2009, 04:49 PM
07-24-2009, 04:54 PM
thier high cal diest allow subviceral fat to develop. that along with hormonal bloat such as the dreaded "HGH Gut". make for this effect. quite common.
07-24-2009, 05:02 PM
07-24-2009, 05:13 PM
07-24-2009, 05:22 PM
07-24-2009, 05:25 PM
yeah....we will pick on one of the little guys...like mohamed makkaway or something....hes what like 5'4 250.....shouldnt be a problem....
07-24-2009, 05:27 PM
07-24-2009, 07:51 PM
07-24-2009, 08:10 PM
I think it is a combination of all of the things you mentioned. One other things though, if you have ever carb loaded/depleted especially with sodium load/deplete that your belly can bloat out pretty well just from that (if you are prone to that sort of thing). The intestines and mesenteries (as well as the fatty portion called the omentum) will grow as well as the liver from the growth stimulating properties of IGF-1, GH and insulin alone or in combination. The rib cage also likely expands -- especially the lower portion where there is a lot of cartilage.
The amounts of food probably play a small role but you did not see guts like this until insulin and IGF-1 came into play. Bodybuilders were using GH for a while a long with AAS and it didn't seem to cause the gut by itslef.
07-25-2009, 01:04 AM
Long-term anabolics, gh, slin use/abuse will most definitely cause your internal organs to grow. I recall the autopsy of a strongman where doctors said that a normal man of his proportions 6'6" 300 lbs would have a 500 gram heart and his was 800 grams. Please don't quote me on the numbers but I do remember they said all his organs were enlarged significantly from the steroid use.
07-25-2009, 12:28 PM
I know, I know all to well what people will say to counter this. But Arnold used much more than guys in my gym did, so did Franco and all the other old timers. I know and I don't have a very good answer to that. One can think of a few factors that could potentially explain this, such as that there was a self-selection; maybe those who developed a gut never made it into the IFBB and we never got to see them in magazines, or that the mechanisms through which testosterone causes a gut protrusion are reversible and these old-timers always took time off and some of the gut "healed". I don't know.
But Seth, can you think of any mechanism by which test alone can cause gut growth? Specifically intraabdominal fat growth? Is it true that your insulin sensitivity will go down with extended test use? If so, that can be the reason. How about cortisol? Would cortisol go up so much as to cause a gut, from just testosterone alone?
Finally, what is a solution? Anavar? Anything else?
07-26-2009, 01:34 PM
07-27-2009, 02:53 AM
With regards to reduced insulin sensitivity, do you favor the use of metformin at all? I am aware that it can reduce endogenous testosterone production in some people, but if that does not occur, can it be a viable addition to a regimen?
07-27-2009, 07:19 AM
If one is using items that reduce insulin sensitivitiy significantly (GH and AAS together with no insulin) then I can see it having its place.
07-27-2009, 04:34 PM
Thank you very much Seth.
Since we're on the topic of testosterone/cortisol, can I please ask another question?
A recent book I read by Doug McGuff states that, due to the structure of the adrenal cortex, the production of aldosterone always elicits production of cortisol also, because the layers of the adrenal cortex responsible for these hormones touch each other, and activity in one, activates the other. So, he says, if you don't drink enough water, your body will ramp up aldosterone production and this will lead to increased cortisol. Is this true? (not that I am against drinking lots of water, I am justtrying to understand the mechanism here)
Finally, what causes the increase in cortisol production when you take AAS? What is the mechanism of action?
07-27-2009, 05:51 PM
I thought it was relatively accepted that AAS actually block cortisol, and the spike comes roughly two weeks after stopping use, because the body is trying to "make up" for the lack thereof while on cycle. I could be wrong though....
07-27-2009, 08:14 PM
Increased cortisol production can result from the blockade of glucocorticoid action. This will increase ACTH production and cortisol secretion from the adrenals. If 11-beta hydroxylase is blocked, then more deoxycorticosterone will be produced and depending on the level of inhibition, some cortisol may be produced as well.
07-27-2009, 08:26 PM
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