In the modern age, we’re always striving to be the best we can be. Whether that’s in ourselves, with work, or our performance in the gym. Often this leads to us becoming obsessive and constantly chasing the next thing that’s going to make us faster, stronger or bigger.
Having more muscle mass is generally considered a good thing. After all, the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn, the less likely you are to get injured, the more potential for strength you have, and the better you look.
However, could this actually be detrimental? Are there any disadvantages to having too much muscle? And should being as big as possible really be your goal?
Today, we’re going to look at some of the downsides of being too muscular and why other goals other than just size might be a better idea.
First and foremost, let’s get onto one of the most obvious disadvantages of putting on too much muscle. Similar to gaining too much fat, you’ll find that regular clothes just don’t fit the same. Sure, it can be nice at the start to feel your clothes getting a little tighter because of the muscle you’re building, but after a while the novelty wears off, and you’ll find it harder and harder to shop for your size.
Many clothing outlets nowadays create clothing for skinnier individuals as that seems to be the trend. Not many people are actually trying to gain weight as the focus tends to be on losing fat. This can make it extremely difficult to find clothing if you’re even slightly bigger than normal. Not to mention, even if you do manage to find clothing that suits your size, you’ll have much less of a range to choose from.
This is especially true for formal attire, as many suits are built for skinnier individuals. Any larger clothing will be a different fit because they’re made for those with a big stomach, not big arms. This can cause the fit to become loose, awkward and unappealing overall. Therefore, you’ll have to get suits, shirts and trousers specifically tailored, increasing the cost of these already expensive items.
As well as with clothing, being bigger can also bring about a lot of unwanted attention. Anyone who looks different from the average person will receive a lot of stares and comments simply because of how society is. Even something like being fit and healthy can lead people to become jealous, calling you names or making remarks about how you look. For some people, this isn’t an issue and they accept the attention as a by-product of their progress. Though, for others it can be challenging to get used to.
Alongside this, not everyone is attracted to muscular individuals. Some people prefer a skinny or smaller look, meaning that even though you might be bigger and think you’re better looking, the person you’re trying to impress might not think the same.
If you’re a guy, on nights out people can see you as a target. Because they perceive you as confident, big and strong, drunk men often want to pick a fight with you to see what you’re made of and see if they can beat you.
Lastly, because the first thing that people notice about you is your muscularity and size, it can be hard for them not to talk to you about it. You’ll end up having endless conversations about your diet, training and lifestyle which can become tedious and repetitive. People might also want free advice simply because they’re your friend, and your support for their goals might be hard to stop.
It’s important to note that a bigger muscle has more potential for strength. You can think of muscles like a glass. Both a large and a small glass could hold 100ml of water, but the larger glass has more room to hold more water. So, if you’re looking for absolute strength, then bigger muscles will be more advantageous. Though, if you’re looking for relative strength, then keeping smaller will be much better. This is important if you’re looking to compete in some form of strength or weight-related sport. Gaining 5kg might give you more overall strength, but it might push you into the next weight-class up where everyone’s a lot stronger.
You’ll also find that your flexibility and range of motion takes a severe hit. It can be hard to reach all your body as your muscles get in the way, making it hard to clean your body or even just reach places to itch. Having to find a jagged or pointed surface just to itch your back can be pretty frustrating, not to mention look extremely weird. As well as this, your thighs can rub together which creates rashes or sensitive areas, and your triceps can rub against your back. Similar to how a runner has to prepare to avoid rashes during a race, dressing properly becomes more important the bigger you get.
A common saying in the fitness industry is that the day you start wanting to become bigger is the day you’ll never be big enough. Bodybuilding and any effort to build muscle can lead to a state of reverse anorexia and other body-image related disorders. Many larger individuals will report that they look in the mirror and still want to get bigger despite many others believing them to be extremely muscular. This can cause people to miss out on social occasions, leave friends, throw away responsibilities, and dedicate themselves to strange and horrible diets in an effort to increase their size.
For this reason, many individuals can turn to anabolic steroids which bring their own disadvantages and negative consequences for your health. Even if you don’t take steroids, people will assume that you do which can become extremely annoying, considering all the hard work you’ve needed to put in to reach your size.
Essentially, if you become obsessive, you might never be satisfied with how you look as there will always be someone stronger, leaner or bigger. You might already have some experience with this. At first, simply losing 5-10 lbs was all you wanted to do, but then the idea of a six-pack became more and more appealing. Suddenly, you’re completely shredded, but you’re not as strong or big as you want to be. Yet, putting on more strength means putting on more size, and that means losing your six pack. This endless loop can really make or break someone if they’re obsessive about their health and fitness.
When you first start training, you find that almost anything you do causes you to become bigger and stronger. This is because your body isn’t used to the stimulus of lifting weights and, therefore, almost anything that places stress on the muscle will create a reaction.
Now, the more experienced you get with lifting and the more muscular you become, the harder and harder it is to make progress. This can be extremely demotivating for many people as your progress not only slows but becomes close to non-existent. Your training regime will need to become more and more intense to create progress which also could cause injuries.
Just as the more fat you have, the less space you have in showers, seats, and small places, the same goes for if you’re too muscular. It can be hard to get your legs under tables, reach the entirety of your body to clean in the bath or shower, and fit into seats on trains, airplanes, cars and buses.
The bigger you are, the more food you need – especially if you’re big and trying to get bigger. More muscle means a faster metabolism, and a faster metabolism means that you’ll get hungry more often and need more food to keep at the same size. Some bodybuilders spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars each week just to maintain their physique. Trying to bulk will mean eating more food than you already do and suddenly the need to force food down into your stomach becomes a very real thing. Looking at many larger individuals and seeing them need to eat 6000 calories a day can be a dream for smaller people, but when it’s a necessity, it becomes almost like your job.
Your body is your body and what you want to do with it is down to you. However, because your body is extremely important, it’s a good idea to thoroughly think through any goal that you have. If you want to gain weight, how much weight do you want to gain? Trying to endlessly build muscle with no regard for anything else can put you in a negative spiral. After all, even good things can become bad if they’re overdone.