The Real Causes for Gut Distention
First of all, you need to wrap your mind around this fact: among other things, being mega-huge means having a mega-huge amount of abdominal muscle to deal with. The bodybuilders of the 70’s, which rarely experienced gut distension issues, didn’t look nowhere near the competitive bodybuilders we see today. Abdominal muscles grow right along with all the rest of the muscles, and since extremely massive bodies are all the rage these days, the efforts to grow as big as possible have their effect on the abs as well. The problem is that developing huge abdominal muscles isn’t going to give you the aesthetically pleasing smaller waist and contribute to achieving a V shape – big abs are bound to stick out and give you a hefty, square-resembling look.
On top of that, competitive bodybuilders tend to eat a diet that’s ultra-high in carbs as a part of their contest preparations. By itself, that’s a reasonable move since it helps them fill their muscles with glycogen and make them appear fuller and pumped. But when paired with a prolonged state of dehydration, carb-loading tends to have, well, slightly different effects.
Here’s what happens. More often than not, bodybuilders take diuretics during the pre-contest carb-loading period. Dehydration, then, slows down gastric emptying and perhaps worse, leaves an insufficient amount of water for glycogen production (in case you didn’t know, glycogen is three parts water), so the entire digestive process is disturbed. At the same time, the bodybuilder keeps stuffing himself with gigantic portions of carb-rich foods, and the more he eats, the more he forces his abdomen to protrude and give him a pregnant look. The abdominal muscles surrounding the stomach become stretched because the stomach is full and draws blood to it, which makes them appear even larger. In addition, insulin use increases fat storage, especially intra-abdominal fat. Add some more food to the equation and you get a big, bloated gut in the place where there should be vacuum.
You see guys like Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman eat 10 high-calorie meals per day and you remind yourself that you need to eat more to grow big. But, these guys also get distended guts, so be careful about implementing their diet advices into your own regime.
No More Distended Guts!
If you get on stage with a protruding gut, you have already failed. Big time.
You need to retrace your steps to find out what you did wrong, and probably have your contest prep coach take the fault.
Distended guts should no longer be accepted in any form in both professional and amateur bodybuilding scenes. The only way to get rid of them is by acknowledging the problem and taking the measures needed to fix it. There’s a great deal of responsibility for everyone involved: bodybuilders have to make sure their physiques are top-notch and as close to the ideal of the human body as possible before they go out on stage, coaches and prep gurus have to rethink their strategies and rely on real science to back them up, judges have to be brutally strict and condemn stomach distention as unacceptable in competitive bodybuilding, and audiences should discredit bodybuilders who fail to sculpt a tight midsection in their own right.
After all, on the competitive level, there’s no room for mistakes as big and sloppy as this one. Competitions are supposed to be events on which judges are presented with the most perfectly developed and sculpted human bodies there are, and there can be no exceptions to that.
After the Arnold Classic, Schwarzenegger said: “It’s unacceptable the way bodybuilding is going. We don’t want to see stomachs sticking out. We want to see the most beautiful man, the most athletic man.” Sadly, this is something modern bodybuilders tend to forget in their one-dimensional, exaggerated ambition to grow beyond all limits, without paying enough attention to proportions, symmetry, athleticism and aesthetic appeal – ironic enough, the very foundations of bodybuilding.
No more distended guts – they’re revolting and they are a disgrace to the sport we love so much. It’s time to get bodybuilding back on the track, before the image of a bodybuilder becomes something that no one in their right mind would want to be.