Videos are posted to YouTube all the time highlighting the shocking regression bodybuilders physiques undergo after they retire from competing.
Rather than focus on the deterioration of their physiques, I prefer to look at the situation in a more positive light.
The fact is, many bodybuilders retire not out of choice, but rather because they are presented with an ultimatum where they realize that if they continue down the road they're on they will likely end up dead much sooner than they would like.
I want to pay homage to bodybuilders of the past that have significantly downsized, and improved their health status as a result.
The problem with being a massive 300 lbs lean bodybuilder is that it's extremely stressful on the organs.
Mostly the cardiovascular system.
I'm sure you're well aware of that.
I've discussed this in many articles and videos in the past.
The fact is, it's not sustainable to walk around at 260-300 lbs lean for years and years.
Perhaps it's something that you can get away with sporadically throughout a bodybuilding stint to compete at a high level, but long-term, even potentially short-term, it's not sustainable.
Think about it, you're almost never going to see a guy live past his 50's who's maintaining a 300 lbs lean physique.
Most of these guys are going to have severe cardiovascular issues occurring before that in their 40s, or perhaps even younger in some cases.
Instead of highlighting how much these bodybuilders who downsized have lost, what I want to highlight is how much they've gained out of the mental strength and fortitude it takes to downsize.
The Mental Strength And Fortitude It Takes To Downsize
The problem with bodybuilding is that it's extremely addicting.
If I was to ask you if you were willing to lose 30 pounds of muscle to gain 20 years on your life, what would you say?
Many would actually think hard about that, and some wouldn't even consider it.
There are many bodybuilders who have spent years packing on exorbitant amounts of muscle.
Typically, the guys that are the most addicted to bodybuilding are the ones that have managed to build these impressive massive physiques that you see on stage.
You can just imagine the amount of years, drugs, food, and hard training that it took them to build these physiques.
Now, imagine putting yourself in their position where you've put in years of work building up this insane physique only to know that down the line, you're going to have to literally willpower your way through dropping 100 lbs of that muscle you've built to have a long, healthy life after that.
That's an unimaginable obstacle to even think about.
These guys have to literally consider dropping their life's work to get back to a healthy state.
The sad reality is you can't walk around at 300 lbs forever.
Even in the short-term, you probably can't do it for more than maybe 10-20 years at most without putting yourself at massive risk.
Constant drug use + constant excessive eating + walking around with nearly 300 pounds of lean muscle = massive stress on the organs
The mental fortitude it would take to watch all of your hard work just go down the drain in order to be healthy is something I can't even imagine having to take on.
Your pride, joy, and your livelihood are based on the physique that you've built over years of grueling blood, sweat, and tears in the gym.
And then you have to intentionally watch it disappear in order to become healthy.
When Bodybuilders Put Health And Wellness Over Bodybuilding
These guys have literally gone from insane freak physiques to looking like your average guy.
They obviously completely dedicated their lives to the process of building muscle.
Why else would they be bodybuilding if they didn't love the process.
These guys are known for their physiques, and their entire identity has been built around it.
To intentionally downsize to such a degree, where people barely recognize you and your physique in comparison to what they expect you to look like, it must have been extremely difficult.
I think it's a really commendable, as that is something a lot of people wouldn't be able to do, or even come to terms with.
Most gym rats who've spent years building massive amounts of muscle can't mentally wrap their head around losing that muscle, which ultimately leads many to preventable heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure in men as young as 40 – 50 years old.
You have guys like Paul Dillet, Dorian Yates, Shawn Ray, Dave Palumbo, Mike Morris, and plenty of other pros who've actually managed to get back down to a more sustainable weight after seeing the writing on the wall when bodybuilders first started dropping like flies in the 90's.
They've been able to mentally deal with the unfathomable task of watching all their hard work wash away.
There are a lot of guys from the 80's and 90's who are good examples and are health-conscious individuals.
They didn't let it completely consume their minds to a point that it ended their lives prematurely.
I just wanted to pay homage to those guys in this article, and use it as a wake-up call.
Chasing And Maintaining Mass Monster Stats Is Not A Sustainable Practice
The risk-profile of a mass monster is already obscenely high while competing, and many of those bodybuilders are forced into retirement because of health complications, or have died as a result of not heeding the red flags.
It's seemingly more prevalent than ever nowadays.
Partially because of social media, but also because the bodybuilding industry still rewards massive unhealthy physiques and has created a fraudulent industry founded upon a “healthy lifestyle” with their posterboys being some of the most unhealthy humans on the planet.
Many bodybuilders let bodybuilding consume their life to the point of trying to maintain their mass monster status for long durations of time.
Even past their prime of competing, these guys tried to maintain massive physiques for years on end.
Guys like Nasser and Rich Piana are guys that could have averted, or significantly delayed their premature deaths if they had just mentally accepted that it's not a sustainable practice to maintain mass monster status for decades.
I think a lot of guys need to take note of the commendable cases like the Dorian Yates and the Paul Dillets of the world who have shown that even in the most extreme scenarios, it's possible to really let this addiction go and get healthy again after completing your bodybuilding goals, or whatever you've set out to accomplish by building a physique.
And I give all the credit in the world to these guys.
To be clear, it is NOT healthy to let yourself go and get out of shape (obviously).
This article is meant to address the organ stress excessive amounts of drugs and supraphysiological muscle mass can cause, and the commendable will power it would take to not sauce yourself into the ground trying to maintain absurd amounts of mass for decades.