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PJM Lifestyle

Maybe, You Should Gain Weight

The big and strong guy is self-sufficient and healthy; the waif with abs is neither.

by
Mark Rippetoe

Bio

March 6, 2014 - 11:30 am
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skinnyTom

BEFORE

(image credit: Thomas Campitelli, The Aasgaard Company 2013)

Not everybody that goes to the gym wants to lose weight.

This may come as a surprise to some of you who either need to lose a few pounds or think everyone wants to be skinny. Many underweight men would love to be bigger, stronger, and more physically imposing, and gaining muscular bodyweight is a simple process.

Popular culture is currently at war with the notion that a man should be big and strong, because popular culture is at war with the idea of independence and self-sufficiency, and a big strong man literally embodies the concept.

We are inundated daily by print and video advertising, as well as by essentially every non-action/adventure film, with images of men who weigh about 150 pounds at 5’9” (that’s 10 stone 10 for the Brits, and about 68 kg at 175 cm for the rest of Europe). The image of Obama’s “Pajama Boy” is burned indelibly into the national conscience, but it made a very small blister.

But many of us believe that a grown man weighs 200 pounds. He just does.

Bigger and stronger is better than being underweight for your health, your athletic performance in the vast majority of sports, and your longevity, as well as for your appearance.

Many regard this perception as petty and superficial, believing that intellectual pursuits are the true crowning glory of humanity, and that brutish size and strength belongs in the past, with animal skins, stone tools, and sloping foreheads.

But they are wise enough not to say this in our presence.

In reality, the typical human reaction to a well-behaved larger man is a positive and respectful one. More importantly, anyone who has gone through the process of gaining muscular bodyweight will attest to the benefits of having done so, completely aside from the difference in the way he is perceived by others.

This article – and my upcoming PJ Media series — is for those of you for whom this makes sense. Since this might be the first time you’ve read such a thing in the media, listen up.

The process is simple. This doesn’t mean that it’s easy; it’s just not very complicated.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
This is specifically addressed in the book. Basically, a man who is already overweight (fat) is in a completely different anabolic state than a skinny underweight man. We advise that fat guys do the program on what is basically the Paleo diet, at about 3000kcal/day, as opposed to the advice for underweight guys, which is 4 meals/day and a gallon of whole milk.

Now, watch. Somebody will report this post too.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mark's article raises an issue worth exploring in future PJ Lifestyle pieces: generally, the results arrived at within the scientific community and utilized within the franchise fitness industry do not match the on-the-ground experience of top trainers and athletes.

PJM readers generally know to approach such "settled science" with a skeptical eye -- that's why I wanted Rippetoe here.

I'm editing our fitness coverage, and will try to make these PJM fitness pieces a spot for a great conversation going forward. I expect with our high level of military/first responder readership, we'll have a lot to discuss. Please send suggestions.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sure. Not all of the science says this, and that which does is wrong. This happens quite often, as you already know if you read popular interpretations of science. I have been in this business for 37 years, and I know what can happen with a skinny male, barbells, and adequate food and rest. The fact that no double-blind peer-reviewed study to this effect has been published is the fault of academia, not me. I am not an academic -- I am a strength coach and a gym owner, and I have been suggesting that they catch up for quite some time.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (103)
All Comments   (103)
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Mark, you keep referring to your website.
What is the address?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
@Gymmie. What specifically do you disagree with? Just curious.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Didn't know PJM had a comic section, and that is what I think of this article.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
> Didn't know PJM had a comic section

It sure does, and thanks for your cartoonish insight.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, no! What did I say wrong?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mark, you keep referring to your website.
What is the web address?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
You Have Transgressed The Sacred Dogma!

You Shall be PUNISHED!

19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great article. Focus on getting stronger and stronger.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please Mark, can you give us a link or some information about the versions of SS you are telling about in this sentence: "older men and women of all ages who want to gain weight can benefit from some version of this basic program"? Thanks and sorry for my english.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a question that cannot be answered in a single board post. We have an entire chapter devoted to "special populations" in PPST3.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whoa, glad I ran into this. I just started a similar routine this week with a trainer/friend. I'm on the other end of the spectrum though. Fairly strong musculature but way too much body fat. Thanks for the insights Mark, gonna have to follow this series.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Notice that no one has called Pajama Boy Pajama Man though he has surely reached the age of manhood. Even as a man (use your imagination), he exhibits the characteristics of a boy.

Most of us could use changing our somewhat lighter fat for heavier muscle—growing thinner and leaner while gaining weight.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dudes like pajama boy are what's rotting away American exceptionalism.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Coach Rip, thanks so much for all you've done. As a 50-year old former marathoner who went on your program 2 years ago, I've never felt and been healthier. Folks, if you haven't tried this, go buy his book and just do it. My first year (age 48): no supplements, no change in diet, lost 46 pounds of fat, gained 26 pounds of muscle, and my squat went from 115 to 300. People..this works. Rip is the only honest voice in the US fitness market. Thank you, Coach !
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's nothing wrong with body building, it beats a lot of other things you could be doing.

But the claims that it will make you more independent or more self-sufficient are wrong. So is the implicit assertion here that it will make you a good fighter. If you want to be a good fighter, then learn fighting. If you pack on some muscle and develop the notion that now all of a sudden you're an intimidating bad-ass mo-fo, you're going to wind up getting yourself hurt.

I've seen a lot of fist-fights and been involved in a few myself. How muscular someone looks (or is) has remarkably little to do with what happens. Exercise can help you look and feel better. That's plenty of reason to do it without Rippetoe overselling it.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
What article are you reading?
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sheesh, which article did you read? Certainly not the one printed above.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Body building and fighting?

I don't remember reading about that in this article.....
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Neither do I.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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