I do not think that we will progress in our understanding of the science behind muscle growth until we begin to openly discuss the use of anabolic steroids.
As far I am concerned there is only 1 thing that has shown a clear, reproducible dose-response relationship with muscle size in humans (other than height).
It’s not protein or calories. It’s not even workout length, weight lifted or even Growth Hormone.
While all these things may (or may not) play a role, the only thing that has a clear dose response relationship is testosterone.
We know some athletes use it. We know some recreational lifters use it. We know some fitness models use it. We even know that some h0llywood celebrities use it. (I’m saying ‘some’ to keep me out of trouble).
We also know that for various reasons a large percentage of these people lie about using it.
This skews all of our data.
Because people lie about using steroids we have no idea what the natural limitations of the human body are. It is a GIANT confounding variable in the study of exercise and muscle growth.
Eating high amounts of protein has been a giant let down for most people, so why is it still be touted as a muscle builder? Well, maybe protein works differently for guys and girls who are on 2,500 mg of Testosterone per week.
Eating big? A great way to make you fat. UNLESS…more calories may actually mean more muscle when you are using D-bol and Trenbolone.
It always kills me when I hear big guys (typically power lifters) tell little guys that the key to getting big is to eat McDonalds 8 times a day. For some reason they leave out the side order of Anadrol.
Without mentioning the steroids, the ‘prescription’ for getting huge muscles is also the exact same prescription for becoming an obese North American.
Now, I’m not advocating steroid use, but what I am saying is that to truly start to understand what causes muscle growth, we need everyone to be open about steroid use.
This is why most fitness magazines are useless, as are most fitness websites. Having people tell you about their awesome new workout that helped them put on 30 pounds of muscle without telling you about their new steroid stack that went along with the workout is just useless information.
As is ‘muscle building advice’ from guys who have been the exact same weight for the last 5 years.
The bottom line is that we are not nearly as far along in understanding muscle growth as we would like to believe, and we are not going to move forward until steroids are openly discussed.