Maybe you’ve heard of Tim Ferriss? Maybe not but his blog post From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks gathered as many believers as skeptics.
Before you shout… this story is OLD! Move on already, I wanted to let you know that it’s human nature to forget. But I didn’t and neither should you. Let’s re-visit the post and you’ll see my point when I ask you…
Where in the world is Tim Ferriss now? (regarding muscle of course)
First off, this recent March 2008 snap shot of the Tim Ferriss website proves the point. You’ll see the before and after pictures where he’s gained 34 lbs of lean body mass (more on that in a second) but pay SPECIAL attention to the newest picture up top.
Hey… that’s Tim!
But he’s not the HUGE mass monster you see below in the after picture. If he maintained that muscle, he’d be filling out that tight t-shirt easily and his shoulders would rhyme with boulders. You might even call him “Tiny Tim” if you were mean, which I’m not.
Don’t get me wrong guys… Tim Ferriss did gain 34 lbs of LEAN MASS. He used the word muscle as most novice bodybuilders will to describe any positive weight gain. However, it’s incorrect and without doing a biopsy, Tim can’t possibly know that he’s gained 34 lbs of pure muscle. It’s lean body mass.
In fact, I did a blog post on how much muscle can you gain. Everybody wants to point out how much muscle they gained and it might not apply to you. The post it worth a read as it gives you realistic perspective and level sets your expectations. Too many bodybuilders set lofty, unrealistic expectations and end up sorely disappointed if they don’t make the gains some other hardgainer or skinny guy claims. Set REALISTIC expectations to avoid that. Fact is…
Tim Ferriss’ body transformation is IMPRESSIVE! But that’s only half the story….
Where’s Tim now?
He doesn’t appear to have kept that muscle in his latest picture? He’s in shape, lean and mean but where did all that mass go? This photo is from his recent 4 Hour Chef (well after his pictures above).
My guess is that Tim Ferriss gained 34 lbs of lean mass in a short period of time (almost any skinny guy can do this) and then promptly went back to his lifestyle which is not bodybuilding. He lost most of it. No it didn’t turn into fat! He just burned it off. Muscle mass is highly metabolic and requires a lot of work both in the gym and out of the gym to maintain it. That my friends… is where the REAL ART begins.
By the way… if you read the steps Tim took to gain that lean body weight, I’ll agree with him 100% they were spot on for a beginner to advanced. He used a HIT training program.
1) Fast, time efficient, intense workouts
2) Compound movements to maximize gains and natural growth hormone production
3) Malicious attention to nutritional details
4) Proper measurement and weigh-in techniques
5) Photos in the same pose
7) A solid plan
If you want to learn more about HIT programs like the one Tim did, I suggest The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results by Ellington Darden, Ph.D.
Tim did a bang up job on outlining in 6 steps how to go about getting the job done. He had a very realistic plan, a precise method of how to get there, a vision of what he wanted to accomplish, written goals and accountability. Tim didn’t just go to the gym to screw around. He did what Skip LaCour and Tom Venuto talk about all the time as the most IMPORTANT aspect of bodybuilding.
Step into the gym with a plan!
For all these reasons… it’s not a shocker that Tim slammed on 34 lbs of good looking lean body mass. While many comments accused Tim of steroid use, cheating, doctoring photos and such, I believe Tim. I know because I’ve been there, done that before. What he outlined is simple yet precisely what anybody would need to do. But I wouldn’t follow his advice and here’s why….
It is best to learn from someone who is still practicing what they are preaching.
The REAL difficult part of any bodybuilding journey isn’t the quick weight gains you experience after a long layoff or the skinny guy hardgainer gains you make in 6 months following some program.
It’s what you DO years later to keep that muscle and to build more. It’s the art of maintaining it and getting past difficult plateaus or injuries. It’s learning how to fish and not be tossed a fish. It’s taking all the FACTS and then applying them to your specific situation.
I’d take advice from Tim on how to make my business more successful, my blog more SEO friendly or even design options (his blog looks great).. and I’d even take his advice on how to shorten my work week.
But I wouldn’t take how to gain weight, bodybuilding or muscle building advice from somebody who isn’t able to get past the real difficult parts of bodybuilding. What the heck to I do now that I have this mass? How do I maintain it? Where do I go from here?
“Facts are facts – but people are individuals, and their problems are usually individual in nature. The perfect solution to one case may be (and frequently will be) the worst possible approach to the situation in another case; in effect, while the same methods will work in ALL cases – the application of those methods MUST BE on an individual basis.” – Author Jones
Train hard and expect success,
Be Fit, Stay Strong!
Marc David – CPT
P.S. – Tim Ferriss did a great job on how to gain weight with his body transformation. Remember that while anybody can make amazing progress quickly (refer to weight loss before and after pictures) it’s what you do with that later that matters. Losing weight is easy… keeping it off is not. Gaining weight quickly is simple… maintaining a muscular physique is not.
P.P.S. – If you are in this bodybuilding game for the long-haul, I invite you to check out my own bodybuilding lessons where I’ll teach you how to fish. You can make gains just like Tim did and I’ll even tell you how to keep them!