Have you noticed all those big stomachs on that bulky muscular body? They aren’t pleasing, some even say it looks ugly. Well it’s actually accompanied by many things, and some of which are in control of a bodybuilder and some are not. The specific term in medical to this condition is an extended gut or the distended HGH gut. In bro slang terms bubble gut, “palumboism”. Which started after the bodybuilder Dave Palumbo the owner of Rxmuscle magazine. The fact they have a bubble gut the wonder is still they have a hardcore abdominal area shredded and defined on top of that obliques are also present.
This actually is a problem due to taking growth hormones and peptides and is described as “HGH gut” all these synonyms are roaming around and disgracing the bodybuilders. Which I feel should not be said as they put in many efforts and get their physique through a lot and as a side effect, this happens. Let’s find out why this happens
Also read: Who really needs to use proteins, creatine and glutamine?
What causes bubble gut and is it reversible?
Why one suffers from a hgh distended gut ?
The following factors lead to the development and aggravate the distension of the gut in a normal individual.
1. Growth hormone abuse – Using excessive growth hormones and peptides to enhance their muscle size and the number of muscle fibres have caused the issue of this HGH gut in them. As we know that growth hormones change the size of organs and body parts, it is possible that it increases the intestinal size and length leading to a distended gut, Though there is a lack of scientific evidence to address this but is hypothetically correct.
2. Genetics – Genetics also take an essential role in this disease as some people are more prone to this disease and get affected more easily. In contrast, some don’t even get this after abusing GH and anabolics for years or get affected to only some extent. In contrast, some get involved to a greater extent. So genetics have also taken a big role in this disease.
3. Muscle mass – An increased muscle mass on their abdominal area also adds up to their overall shape and structure to give a look of the bubble gut to them. It is the reason they can’t do the vacuum pose.
4. Steroids – Using steroids would also fall under the reason. Steroids do make the muscles stronger and grow them in size which may induce extension in the gut area and intestines as the bodybuilders take massive doses of steroids. This is one of the top contributors in the HGH gut.
5. Insulin – Insulin is a hormone used extensively in bodybuilding there is no evidence that it does increase your gut size, but according to many experts and pro athletes, they have seen an increase in their circumference in their abdominal area and is therefore added to the list.
6. High-calorie intake – This is the primary reason contributing to their HGH GUT. What we believe that a high caloric diet and a combination of drugs is the biggest culprit in changing the size and shape of the gut area in bodybuilders. Even this article released from Stanford tells about how the small intestine varies its size depending on food intake, they say that our intestine is adaptive. It adapts its size according to the amount of food we eat and over that bodybuilders have a high-calorie intake of about 5000 calories+ in their offseason and even 10000 calories for some extreme bodybuilders.
7. Water retention – This comes at last, but it is valid for the list as many bodybuilders do carb loading which leads to some water retention in their bodies. They already inject them with diuretics, and when they intake water afterwards, it tends to get stored more inside their muscles, creating a bloated belly effect.
Preventions and how to get rid of bubble gut
Till now, there is no medical treatment to treat HGH gut, only surgery to treat it. But still, these methods could decrease the extent of distension in the gut or even prevent in case of unharmed athletes or bodybuilders. Following the below guidelines may also help in avoiding HGH gut in unharmed individuals.
1. No drug use – The number one solution to this problem is immediately stopping the use or at least lower the dose of your growth hormones, insulin, peptides and anabolics. This is the only possible way out to get an immediate effect on your abdominal section to get that flat abdominal section again. Many pro IFBB athletes have taken a halt on anabolic use, and as a result, their big guts have become normal or near to normal again. If necessary one could take those drugs near to their competitions and not for the whole year
2. Less stress onto abdominals and obliques – By this we mean not over-exercising your abs and obliques leading to more hypertrophy, growth in the size of the muscles, rather focusing on more definition and less frequency of training your abdominals and working on the definition and cardio to make them look great.
3. Lowering your overall calorie intake – Calorie intake is the primary factor causing all these HGH gut i.e. the synergy of Hgh and calories lead to the distended abdomen, as bodybuilders on their offseason take a massive amount of carbs and calories (including sugars and fats) this habit must be controlled. Controlling your calories via supplements can also work wonders.
4. Add fibre and digestive enzymes to your diet – Adding fibres and digestive enzymes to your diet helps regulation your bowels and keeping your gut safe and healthy. Eating this much protein and calories can cause constipation and other bowel obstructions adding fibre can aid in all those problems and lead to a healthy gut.
5. Check for food sensitivities – Food sensitivities can cause your intestine to bloat and create more gas. Go test for a food sensitivity test and eliminate those foods from your diet. Some common food sensitivities are gluten, eggs, etc.
6. Check for any hernia – Hernia is mostly a genetic complication. They can even be found at the intestine level which could expel out making your gut look distended and can even rupture from inside as the case happened with the former Mr Olympia Phil heath. Whom had undergone a hernia surgery which was a factor for his Bubble gut her wife said and It quote – “ The doc was able to push his intestines 5 inches back down into his abdomen and tightened his abdomen together and closed the holes. Doc was shocked that Phil was able to live this way. He explained that hernias are genetic, and Phil was born with very little tissue covering his abdomen.” So make sure to keep those hernias at bay at the native stage.
Main concerns which will lead to HGH gut
1. Genetic factors – There are many bodybuilders competing from the very golden era and taking anabolics but still have a good physique with no distended gut in them. This shows that genetics play essential factors in distended gut
2. Use of insulin, HGH and peptides in bodybuilding – This HGH gut problem was not present in early eras of bodybuilding not even till the early 2000s. This came late into bodybuilding when the use of HGH peaked the industry as we have witnessed the golden period did not have any case of the distended gut. It was due to the fact of lesser use or no use of HGH or insulin while the new bodybuilders heavily rely on those.
3. Stomach related disease – Stomach issues are the most common issue in humans and many other related problems like hernia can aggravate the issue of the distended gut in bodybuilders. One needs to look into these stomach issues and fix them as soon as possible these include low stomach acid production, intestinal bacteria imbalance, leaky gut, etc. These complications can lead to hormonal imbalance and stomach problems.
There are many cases observed where the HGH gut goes away on its own and is reversible after a person stops using HGH and anabolics. Likewise, bodybuilders drop their muscle size after putting a stop to anabolics, but its extent varies because intestinal organ elongation is permanent.
All the distension and HGH gut caused till now is a mystery and no scientific literature addresses it, all the mentioned above has been disclosed by talking to experts in the field and online resources which are concrete. It is totally up to the goals of individual why he takes all those drugs and peptides to aid their muscle building and fat loss process no hatred should be put against any athlete going through a distended gut as they have put a lot of energy, handwork, money and dedication to get those huge physiques. All the words used are common synonyms in the industry and should not be related to a single entity.
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