Why Is Muscle Mass Such A Big Deal?

Over the weekend I received a comment from somebody on my site and a good conversation with my friend Paul talking about muscle mass and it got me thinking about it.

The first comment was directed towards me. It went something like

“I saw your photos on the sidebar of your website and I was thinking that you would have gained more muscle then you did. I have the same frame as you and I’m looking to gain some bulk so I don’t think P90X is for me.”

I responded to him asking how much muscle he was looking to put on and he said “about 10 pounds.” Obviously he did not read any of the posts on my site, especially the one where I talked about gaining 10 pounds of muscle with P90X. After replying he said he did not read that and that he was surprised on put on that much. I informed him that P90X can be used to build bulky muscle if you want but I chose to go in between bulky and lean. My goal was to put on muscle but not be weighed down by the bulk as I was going for that “pound for pound” look. 

What is interesting is that ever since I signed up to be a Beachbody Coach in Jan 09 and committed to P90X, Insanity, and the Beachbody supplements like the P90X Recovery Drink I’ve actually put on 15 pounds of muscle.

The other conversation with my friend Paul happened after we started talking about the Insanity workout. Paul is the brother of my friend Joe who got me started with P90X and was there with me at the beginning. Paul played hockey in high school and has always gone for the bigger bulkier look mainly so he could throw around people when they got into the corners of the rink. An added bonus was to push around his older brother and get him back for the years of older brother punishment.

After Paul’s first 30 days of doing the Insanity workout routine he told me he dropped a loop size on his belt and is feeling much stronger while being lighter. He plays on a mens hockey league where there is no checking allowed. There is the usual contact because it is hockey, but nobody is laying people out. Paul said his overall play has greatly improved as goals and assists are up in this short time period of doing Insanity.

So it got me thinking. Who would want bulky muscles? From my two years of doing the P90X workout and Insanity I have put on around 15 pounds of muscle while lowering my body fat %. I went from being able to do 2 total pull ups and chin ups in the P90X Legs & Back workout to 82. Besides those numbers where does it really count. I mean who really cares “how much you bench” or “how much can you squat?”

For me it comes on the field of play. With this 15 pounds of extra lean muscle I have been able to put almost 30 yards on my golf drive and went from hitting pop ups around 265 feet to now hitting lasers off the 290 foot sign on my softball league. My legs are much stronger now and making it through a day of snowboarding or skiing is twice as easy as it use to be. I’m a faster runner from these workouts and enjoy playing them much more. These are the results I’m looking for.

I could not really think why anybody who is not a professional athlete, bodybuilder, professional bouncer, a World’s Stongest Man competitor, bulldozer, or anybody over the age of 22 would even want to be all big and bulky. Most of the sports or activities we play over that age are built around who is in the best shape and not who can push around people with their weight. Its more to upkeep, puts more weight on your frame, and its got to be a pain in the ass finding clothes. To each his own.

About the Author: Brad Gibala

Shreds Gnar. Hall & Oates Fan. Practicing Libertarian. Beachbody Coach. Detroit-ish. Contact - Start Here - About - Recommends


  1. I’ll be honest and say that I do not find “bulky” men attractive whatsoever…..actually I think it’s gross when a guy is too big and bulky. Most of them look stupid because they can’t even put their arms down or turn their head. Why would you want to look like that?! Yeah those guys may be 97% muscle, but so what! I bet I could outlast them in the “endurance” category any day. It shouldn’t be about how strong you are or how much you can bench, it should be about muscle endurance and personal health. What happens when those meat heads stop working out? Their bodies are going to freak out and they’ll get fat very quickly because they probably eat cheeseburgers and fries everyday. I think you look great Brad so don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t. Actually, you’ll probably live 20 years longer than those guys will. And in my opinion….I think they are just trying to make up their small penises. 🙂

  2. I was also skeptical of the P90X at first and I thought I was more interested in being bulky and benching a ton of weight. Well as I got older and once I did the P90X my goals changed. Like Brad said what does it matter how much someone can bench? Isn’t it all about looking your best and being in good health. I did the P90X and I got ripped and on top of that I went back into the gym when I was done and could still bench over 300 like I did before except now I was 10 pounds lighter and my body fat was down a couple percent. I look much better and my endurance is way higher. Big and bulky isn’t all that attractive anyways, being slim and toned is.

  3. First – Andrea – your last statement had me cracking up. I think that gives us a little too much information about Brad though 😉

    During my first round of P90X I also gained some muscle mass – about 15 lbs. I wrote about it on my blog MyHealthyFitLife.com. I am more than happy with the results that I have seen with P90X and, regardless of what others say, it is absolutely possible to gain weight and muscle mass with P90X. It’s not just for people looking to lose weight.

    Keep Bringing It Brad!

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