Building Muscle is Irresponsible.


This might sound controversial to you. By my personal experience as a lifelong competitive athlete who's also dabbled in olympic style lifting, as well as amateur gymnastics and normal barbell strength training for sports here's what I think.

Building Muscle is Irresponsible.

The amount of food required to sustain an unusually built physique is not only unsustainable, but also just irresponsible to yourself. The strict dieting and large consumption of calories required on a daily basis become a time-drain as well as a financial liability. And to cap things off, cheating on meals one day and eating less than you need, for any reason such as getting tired of chewing and cooking or just getting tired of your foods, causes a literally painful process of muscle atrophy whereby the body eats itself and shrinks in size.

If you're constantly lifting, you're always in a race to prevent atrophy and it gets tiring.

And the ups and downs of lifting heavy, building muscle and then missing a meal and then losing some muscle over and over isn't really a good investment of your time.

It's unfortunate because being strong feels great, but any little setback in your food prep sends you down a twisting path of hunger and losses -- which sucks for anyone.

There's got to be some middle ground where a little preventative exercise with light weights is better than none at all. And I would think so, in moderation.

For me, at my natural bodyweight I start my weakest benchpress at 90lbs. An olympic bar and two 25lb plates. My personal best is really only a bench of 180lbs, and it takes me a while to build up to that from 90lbs -- about 8 months of training with no setbacks due to skipping meals.

The thing, though, is that your financial situation can change wildly over time. So if you're 6 months into training and something happens and you can't afford your meal plans you atrophy and have to start the process over. If you lack stability then you'll probably never make it past a certain point without having to start over again.

And if you think about it, all that money spent on a gym membership and food is completely erased at every reset point -- like burning gas in a car. Even if you do bodyweight, you still invest time and money in food.

As a dependent, if you can rely on being funded and fed by someone else it makes more sense. But if you are a business owner or an independent contractor or even just in jobs with high turnovers you can't depend on consistent funding. So I just feel like it's a little irresponsible to build a ton of muscle if you don't have guaranteed long-term financial stability.

If we look and see who has perfect physiques in the real world it's pro-athletes who are funded and fed by team owner hired team nutritionists and team chef staff.

Actors who are trained and fed by personal trainers, nutritionists and chefs for movie roles, and models who are trained and fed by agency personal chefs, trainers and nutritionists.

In other words, they are financial dependents. The working Joe who builds houses or takes calls in customer service isn't. Whatever the job is, if it's a full time job then working out is not your number one priority. They expect your work to be your main priority.

So, really, if it isn't your job to be in good shape then it's kind of unsustainable to try and force that. And that, I think, is the reality.

Many people just buy a cheap and tasty supply of food and save for rent or retirement and then cover their bodies with clothes so no one has to see. That's the direction our society pushes people because of how we do jobs and make money and spend and commit our time.

We might prefer everyone get to live like a pro-athlete but that is not fiscal reality. And I don't even know if we produce enough protein to even sustain everyone living that way. I honestly don't think we do or else it wouldn't be financially sustainable for everyone to try it.

It's like driving a Ferrari to work everyday. It's great and fun, but also unsustainable. The milage will add up and cause costly repairs. The maintenance, insurance and upkeep will be unsustainable. Same sort of thing.

Building Muscle is Irresponsible.
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Most Helpful Guys

  • Texaskid1
    If you are going for massive bulk then yes, it will take a tremendous amount of time and calories to build and maintain that body size. But most people at that level are professionals who have the time for that. The average person can still lift weights with out having the specific goal of bulking up. The moderate weight lifting will strengthen their muscles and bones and help to slow down muscle atrophy as they get older.

    I am 42 and I hit the gym 3-4 times a week. There are times when I feel like I am taking a piss n the ocean but then I see people my age or even younger who are obese and can barely walk 20 ft without gasping for air and that gives me motivation to keep my health up. I lift and sometimes do some cardio. You do not need to have the goal of being the next Mr. Iron Man in order to stay fit. I am glad that I do it because I know that I am investing in my health. I do not spend any money on powders as it is not necessary for my goals. I avoid processed food as much as I can and I consume veggies , moderate amounts of protein and plenty of water.
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    • Robertcw

      Totally agree. I got way carried away chasing my genetic limit.

    • Robertcw

      I wanted to know how far I was capable of going. Ultimately my budget limited me before my genetics. To this day I've never been able to find it.

      I don't know if I ever will.

  • SomeGuyCalledTom
    I often have wondered this about the "big gainz" protocol/ bodybuilder physique. I'd honestly rather be a lean 14-18% body fat with a proportional amount of muscle for my natural frame. Think more Jason Statham than Arnold Schwarzenegger. And actually have a high level of proportional strength and mobility throughout all the muscle chains. Plenty of UFC fighters in the featherweight/lightweight category who's physique, strength, and movement skills could outperform 99.9% of the average (likely sedentary) population. I'm thinking progressive calisthenics + thai boxing + rock climbing would cover all my bases for a lifetime of fitness, strength, and health. I don't need to pack on 60lbs of lean muscle mass that's mostly just for looks anyway. Why be bulky like a brown bear, when you can be lithe and springy like a jaguar :D
    Like 1 Person
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    • Robertcw

      Actually man, funny as it sounds calisthenics training made me stronger than weight training with barbells. A least short term.

      I couldn't pay my gym membership so they canceled me and I started bodyweight training at an outdoor gym near me. Parallel bars plus pull-up bars and some other stuff, along with my gymnast rings. That shit is no joke.

      You start building size quick too, but I do think it doesn't target chest as well as a bench press. Lucky for me I have my own bench press. So I can actually do everything at home, I just prefer socializing with people at the gym because it gets me visibility with women and a chance to build a social circle.

    • I've heard a lot of lifters-turned-calisthenics guys say the same thing about strength increases. Personally I actually prefer to train in solitude, outdoors. Gyms just seem strange places to me, I can't put my finger on why, too much distraction maybe. It's cool that you found a way to integrate weights with bodyweight training. I feel motivated now, time to train! lol

Most Helpful Girls

  • CubsterShura
    I don't agree that you should entirely ditch muscle building and call it irresponsible, but I'm glad that I read till the end. Someone finally agrees with me that those of us who don't make a living out of having a certain kind of physique shouldn't be expected to be like those who do. Us mere mortals have a life that consists of studies, work, hobbies other than the gym.
    LikeDisagree 4 People
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  • bellapizza
    Hahah you sound jealous of big masculine muscle guys tbh... if you can't keep up your muscles not sure why you think other guys can't, nothing irresponsible about having muscles probably takes a lot of self control and patience.
    Like 1 Person
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    • Robertcw

      No it should always be about competing with yourself for PR's. I have always been one of the bigger guys in the gym.

      Even now I am that. But I am nowhere near my genetic potential. People who are maxing out their limits are being irresponsible though, the regiments they need to maintain that physique are unsustainable.

      And many develop eating disorders while managing their bodyfat % and obsessing over their body composition.

    • Robertcw

      The key is moderation. Allowing yourself to not obsess over gaining 1% bodyfat during a bulk. And not allowing yourself to get extreme when cutting.

      Steve Cook is a great example of a guy who went through this and managed to recover from an eating disorder. He now dials down his workouts and focuses on general health and works with the 'biggest loser' show as a coach to help inspire people to make general healthier choices.

    • Oh fair enough

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • englisc
    It's not. The problem I see here in most of your writings about fitness is that you buy too much into the myths of the "fitness" industry. You don't need to spend half as much money as you think you do, or to do most of the things you think you do. Atrophy doesn't happen just because you skipped a meal, and it doesn't happen anywhere near as quickly as you think it does. You're just following a lot of bad advice, and that's how you've come to such conclusions.
    Like 5 People
    • nathanp97

      And even if you lost lots of muscle mass you can build it back a lot faster the second time.

    • englisc


      Yes. I went without training for probably 2 years. I was working crazy hours with a long commute, and I had no time. It took quite a while to lose the muscle mass, but I did, and I became "skinny-fat". I didn't lose it all, but I gained fat around my waist and my arms shrunk.

      Then I got back in the gym around 6 months ago. I very quickly saw a difference. I lost most of the belly fat, I gained quite a bit of muscle, and I'd say that within a month of training I was already lifting the weights that I could lift just before I stopped training, when I was training obsessively. Since then my lifts have increased much further, and I'm stronger than I've ever been. All of this while eating very cheaply.

      If you can't do that, something's wrong with your diet or your routine.

    • Robertcw

      I only write based on experience.

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  • glutendan
    This is the gayest shit I've read in a long time.

    And for a serious response, of all the things humans do that is unnecessary and harmful to the planet you pick building muscle? Something that's great for your health and longevity.

    Do you have any clue how much we waste of way less important things?

    We spend trillions in ways to kill people ffs. Not to mention the caloric consumption of people who overeat junk food.

    How on earth did you come to the conclusion that cutting down on your health/fitness to eat like 20% less calories has some significant impact. And what it's okay that we mostly live in oversized homes, wasting thousands just to be "independent" but eating healthy is crossing the line?
    LikeDisagree 12 People
    • Well said... took the words out of my mouth. Reading this post made me cringe quite a bit haha.

    • Mindwipe

      I would like to see some data from this gentleman. This "unsustainable" bs just doesn't track.

    • I think perhaps he wants to say that pursuing muscle gains beyond certain point is simply infeasible for people with a serious full time job. You could do something more useful like learning/working on some skills that would make money, and only lift moderately, which will not build muscle effectively after your stats passed intermediate.

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  • IlyaTheImpaler
    lol based 😂 but aren't you a bit too pessimistic?

    >if you're 6 months into training and something happens and you can't afford your meal plans you atrophy and have to start the process over

    Muscle atrophy while happens daily but to lose all progress it'd take months of doing NOTHING, even for beginner right? I think having one or two less than ideal meals doesn't make you lose significant muscle.
    The way I see it, you do your training, gain some muscle, lose some muscle (due to not adhering to strict diet), over all each month your net gain is still positive in the novice - intermediate stages, that's why I know many dudes who live a totally irresponsible lifestyle and I doubt they are disciplined enough to count their macros every single meal, yet they still gain muscle. Not continuously of course, but most people don't need to be super huge, just big enough to look good. After that they just lift to maintain.

    I think strict planning matters mostly for people who compete in weightlifting/bodybuilding, or enthusiasts (bodybuilding can be addictive). People who like to break their PRs, aim for 1k club, then they enter the realm that what you write here matters, but most regular guys probably just reach their plateau then don't even try that hard anymore. Many guys I know are totally okay with taking few months off, start again from lower weights, but they have been doing that for YEARS, and they still look bigger than untrained people, the girls still think they are muscular, that's what matter to them lol
  • Redstang88
    Perks of being naturally strong 😎 First time I ever picked up a weight I benched 175, got up to 275 on 1-2 days a week and a garbage diet.
    Eat lots, left heavy, fuck cardio. That’s my strength building strategy lol
    And as someone that works construction, being strong is a HUGE advantage to making your life easier at work
  • SuccessfulHornDog
    so what, who cares. we each get one life. I'll live it how I fucking want
    Like 1 Person
  • British_Empire_1707
    its Irresponsible for wesk men to continue living
    Disagree 1 Person
    Sounds good.
  • SecretGardenBlood65
    Good mytake
    Disagree 2 People
  • Anonymous
    Dude, I only eat once a day and I’m jacked a/f natty.
    • Robertcw

      Hmm. That actually is impossible. You can't run a deficit and maintain muscle mass. You're probably just low bodyfat.

    • Robertcw

      That would make sense if you were running a deficit all the time.

    • Anonymous

      It’s true bro.
      Eating all the time Inorder to get big is a myth

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