I don’t do many “physique updates” because, well, there isn’t much to update.
Case in point:
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6’2, 200 pounds, 10% body fat . . . to infinity.
Because I’m at the end of my genetic rope for muscle gain and don’t want to pretend otherwise to mislead people into thinking that you can ALWAYS get a bit bigger and stronger.
No, you can’t.
The truth is:
1. Guys can naturally gain about 45 pounds of muscle from their starting point IF they have good genetics. If they don’t, their ceiling will be in the 30s.
Women can cut those numbers in half.
And as muscle is the primary driver of strength, that too stalls out eventually.
2. Guys and gals will gain more or less all the muscle and strength available to them in their first 5 years of high-quality training.
And after that, nothing much is going to change regardless of what they do short of getting on the #dedication.
Hence, the goo-roos who prattle on about how their physiques are 15+ years in the making and always improving are either ignorant, lying, or on steroids.
That is, what we’re really seeing is either 5-ish years of productive work and a bunch of maintenance, or drugs that have enabled them to gain far more muscle and strength than they ever could’ve naturally.
Some of ’em are trixy little Hobbitses too, using just enough anabolics to keep the needle moving (har har har) without making it blatantly obvious.
So remember that when you see someone with a ton of good training behind them bragging about some new diet or exercise trick that’s supposedly adding yet another pound or three of muscle to their jacked physiques or plate or three to their impressive totals.
None of that means training has to inevitably become a dreary, pointless grind. It just means your goals and expectations need to evolve with your body.
And that means learning to appreciate what you’ve got and finding a deeper motivation than bigger biceps.
This can take many forms.
It can be feeling more confident and competent inside and outside of the gym, being more productive at work, setting a good example for your kids, tackling new physical challenges like sports, hiking, biking, or running, avoiding disease and dysfunction, or slowing down the processes of aging and retaining a youthful vitality.
For me, it’s a number of things.
It’s doing workouts I enjoy that’ll allow me to stay in peak shape and health without pain or injury for the rest of my life.
It’s also a way to keep the spark alive in my marriage and help my kids develop a positive relationship with food and exercise, and with any luck, their kids, too.
It’s also a matter of personal pride and responsibility for me, of physically expressing my values and worldview, of producing and presenting my best self.
I view all that as a privilege and prize, not a compromise or comedown. Something to celebrate, not merely tolerate.
So, here’s to the next decade of maintenance, and the decades to come.