May 26, 2014

"Building a Bigger Action Hero"

From Men's Journal, an article that's fairly informative, even though it's written in such a way that you can read it to support whatever you want to believe. 
Building a Bigger Action Hero 
By Logan Hill  May 2014 
A mere six-pack doesn't cut it in Hollywood anymore. Today's male stars need 5 percent body fat, massive pecs, and the much-coveted inguinal crease – regardless of what it takes to get there. 
You simply don't get your name on a movie poster these days unless you've got a superhero's physique – primed for high-def close-ups and global market appeal. 

That's overstated: Comic actors don't have to be ripped. More interestingly, the late Paul Walker was popular with the global downmarket fans of The Fast and Furious franchise while looking like more like an old-fashioned sportsman than a modern professional athlete.
Getting there takes effort, vigilance, and the dedication of the elite athlete: high-intensity training, strict diets, supplements, and hormone replacement. If that fails, there are always drugs. 

Or maybe the drugs are part of the plan from the beginning. Especially if the actor changes body shape from role to role rather than spending 5 or 10 years building a body in the gym. An action movie star body can look silly in regular clothes -- e.g., when I ran into Jake Gyllenhaal at the yogurt shop when he was all pumped up for The Prince of Persia, he looked ridiculous in normal suburban guy wear.
Today's actors spend more time in the gym than they do rehearsing, more time with their trainers than with their directors. 
Acting skill – even paired with leading-man looks and undeniable charisma – is not enough to get you cast in a big-budget spy thriller or a Marvel Comics franchise. "A decade or so ago, Stallone and Van Damme and Schwarzenegger were the action stars," says Deborah Snyder, who produces husband Zack Snyder's films: 300, Man of Steel, the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie. "Now we expect actors who aren't action stars to transform themselves. And we expect them to be big and powerful and commanding."
There is an easier way to go from flabby wimp to sinewy screen predator. Sometimes a superhero's journey begins with the needle prick of a syringe full of human growth hormone (HGH), testosterone, or steroids. 
"In Hollywood, the drug of choice is the drug that makes you look good," says Strike Back's Winchester. "It's like the drug scene at a boarding school – it's all available." When actors ask about steroids, trainer Steve Zim tells them about the hair loss and zits, and "that usually ends the conversation in one second." 

So, your favorite actor isn't on steroids.
Steroids also produce rounder, water-retaining muscles instead of the lean, mean bodies currently in vogue. Testosterone and HGH are far more common, particularly for older actors, since lower levels of testosterone can make it impossible to retain muscle mass. "Over 40? I encourage getting tested," says trainer Bobby Strom, "but there are some trainers who just go right to the testosterone, like they're putting you on a multivitamin."  
Zim has seen the benefits of hormone therapy firsthand. "These people who look younger and fitter – a lot of them are using growth hormone and testosterone; the size comes from the testosterone, the virility and the youth come from the growth hormone." 
On set, actors swap tricks of the fitness trade – and the phone numbers of trainers and doctors who will prescribe testosterone or HGH, no questions asked.

In the credits for X-Men: Days of Future Past is the name of "Mr. Jackman's Trainer," so if you need to score some heavy-duty stuff, well, there you go.
There are dozens of hormone-replacement clinics in and around Hollywood, and their business is booming. But there are significant risks: Hormone therapy accelerates all cell growth, whether healthy or malignant, and can encourage existing cancers, especially prostate cancers, to metastasize at terrifying rates. 
Testosterone supplements can lower sperm counts. For many, the risk is worth it. 
So who on a movie set would be most likely to take a risk on something unproven that could cause bodily harm? The stuntmen, of course. Several actors we spoke to say the stunt guys introduced them to performance-enhancing drugs. It makes some sense: If you're asked to body-double for Ryan Gosling without the benefit of his trainer and his personal chef, you'll be tempted to take a shortcut, too. And if you're jumping off buildings, battling ninjas, or swinging a battle-ax at ogres all day (or, worse, playing the ogre who gets bashed in 20 consecutive takes), you'll see an upside to HGH's accelerated recovery time. 
Stuntmen often work for day rates, so every day they can't work is a day they don't get paid. "The stunt guys are partying hard, in their thirties or forties looking 20, 25," says one action star. "They're taking massive hits and bouncing back up again. I asked, 'What are you guys doing?' " According to the actor, a stuntman told him, "Steroids to get a build, insulin injections to get the cut, then HGH." Stuntmen talk about drugs as a calculated risk that's worth the advantage, so long as they get regular colonoscopies and screenings for prostate cancer. It's easy to see how an actor – especially one who relies on his brawn or his ability to throw a convincing punch – might seek that same edge.

I finally saw the first half-hour of Michael Bay's sardonic Pain and Gain with Mark Wahlberg, the Rock, and Anthony Mackie as three Miami personal trainers. Wahlberg voice-overs:
I have no sympathy for people who squander their gifts. It's sickening. It's worse than sickening. It's unpatriotic. ... If you're willing to do the work, you can have anything. That's what makes the U.S. of A great. When it started, America was just a handful of scrawny colonies. Now, it's the most buff, pumped-up country on the planet. That's pretty rad.
   
I have a theory that 1970s-style jogging makes people liberal and 1980s-style weightlifting makes them conservative.
   

89 comments:

Dave Pinsen said...

Watch the rest of that movie, it's great.

Anonymous said...

Hugh Jackman. 40something. Seen him shirtless in the X-Men movies? Anything going on there?

Steve Sailer said...

Giant veins popping out everywhere on Wolverine.

Anonymous said...

Giant veins popping out everywhere on Wolverine.

And that's just on his prostate.

Anonymous said...

Meh. Robert Downey Jr. Is a dwarf. Fit though. Don't believe everything you read out there in LaLa land Steve. It's not the real world.

Oswald Spengler said...

Brawny and burly (but not cut) classic actors like Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Sean Connery, and Charlton Heston would never be cast as action heroes today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brSqr9XJNQc

Dave Pinsen said...

Lifting weights & eating almost no carbs or fat. You don't need steroids to be that strong at Jackman's age, and steroids won't get you ripped like that. A miserably strict diet combined with weight training will. If Jackman's on anything, it's a diet drug, but you don't end up where he is without an incredible level of self-discipline, so maybe not.

Anonymous said...

"I finally saw the first half-hour of Michael Bay's sardonic Pain and Gain with Mark Wahlberg, the Rock, and Anthony Mackie as three Miami personal trainers."

And Wahlberg was definitely taking PEDs for that role.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"Hugh Jackman. 40something. Seen him shirtless in the X-Men movies? Anything going on there?"

Compare Jackman in the first X-MEN movie to how he looks now. Yes, he's taking some anabolic substances.

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen:"Lifting weights & eating almost no carbs or fat. You don't need steroids to be that strong at Jackman's age, and steroids won't get you ripped like that. A miserably strict diet combined with weight training will. If Jackman's on anything, it's a diet drug, but you don't end up where he is without an incredible level of self-discipline, so maybe not."

Jackman has gained a lot of muscle mass since he first played Wolverine in X-MEN. He's juicing.

Anonymous said...

Saw Pain & Gain for the first time today. Man those guys were idiots.

Worth reading the actual series of articles on which the movie was based:
http://www.miaminewtimes.com/specialReports/pain-and-gain-from-new-times-story-to-michael-bay-film-1890864/

I don't have time to go through the actual court transcripts, but there'd probably be some good material in them too. Google scholar doesn't appear to have the trial court online, but does have all of their state and federal appeals:
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12018250280334345717&q=%22Daniel+Lugo%22+and+%22Doorbal%22&hl=en&as_sdt=40006

Dave Pinsen said...

I've gained a lot of muscle mass since Jackman first played Wolverine too, and I'm about the same age. I'm not juicing. I've also gained a lot of fat, but if I ate what he ate I wouldn't be fat.

jody said...

"Today's actors spend more time in the gym than they do rehearsing"

yeah. kinda to the detriment of the movies.

there's nothing wrong with being in good shape, but how about some actors that can act? no more pretty boy drones who seem like stiff, cardboard characters.

the modern emphasis on actors being good looking above all, has definitely hurt mainstream movies in general.

"Acting skill – even paired with leading-man looks and undeniable charisma – is not enough"

or even required. some of these new leading men are so dull, so boring. they should have stayed on the cover of the women's romance novels, and out of my action and science fiction movies. cookie cutter hunks who can remember lines and that's about it.

"So, your favorite actor isn't on steroids."

you don't need to use any drugs to get the physiques which most of the better built actors have. you could though. and if you want the body fast, then drugs help a lot. if you want to do roles which require a physical transformation, like christian bale, where you go from one extreme to another in 1 or 2 years, then drugs will definitely help.

Steve Sailer said...

From the original Pain and Gain articles:

"Lugo's crime had been to prey on individuals in desperate need of cash. His victims, unable to obtain conventional loans, had placed ads in the Miami Herald seeking venture capital. Lugo masqueraded as David Lowenstein, an agent representing financiers connected with a fictitious Hong Kong bank that had millions to lend to American small-business owners and entrepreneurs. Employing an advance-fee payment scheme, he collected up-front from eager applicants, supposedly to purchase Lloyd's of London insurance to ensure repayment of the loans. He ultimately collected $71,200 in fees but failed to deliver any loans."

This earlier crime committed by Mark Walhberg's character in "Pain and Gain" is almost identical to the one committed by Christian Bale's character in "American Hustle."

manton said...

This is driven by the sexual preferences of women. The same women who complain that men treat women as sex objects and "real women have curves" and isn't this "body image arms race" killing our daughters, etc. But hold your breath until you hear someone admit that and you'll asphyxiate yourself.

Gattaca said...

Wait wait... So what does hormone replacement make us in the 2010s? Post Human?

Anonymous said...

"I have a theory that 1970s-style jogging makes people liberal and 1980s-style weightlifting makes them conservative."

Interesting to note ,then, that Robert Downey, jr started putting on some mass prior to doing the first IRON MAN movie. He discusses it in the behind the scenes extras;he also notes how gaining lean muscle is especially difficult for a man his age (a possible hint regarding the use of PEDs?).

RDJ, of course, has moved somewhat to the Right* in terms of his political beliefs....


*As measured by Hollywood standards. By mainstream standards, he's probably center-Left, but that counts as Right wing in Hollywood these days.

manton said...

This is driven by the sexual preferences of women. The same women who complain that men treat women as sex objects and "real women have curves" and isn't this "body image arms race" killing our daughters, etc.

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen:"I've gained a lot of muscle mass since Jackman first played Wolverine too, and I'm about the same age. I'm not juicing. I've also gained a lot of fat, but if I ate what he ate I wouldn't be fat."

Were you starting where he was, mass-wise, at the time of the first X-MEN movie?Were you over 30 (as Jackman was ) when you started gaining lean muscle tissue?

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen:"Watch the rest of that movie, it's great."

I disagree; like all Michael Bay movies, it was wretched.

Anonymous said...

"You don't need steroids to be that strong at Jackman's age, and steroids won't get you ripped like that.'


You didn't read the article closely enough. Or at all.

Steroids also produce rounder, water-retaining muscles instead of the lean, mean bodies currently in vogue. Testosterone and HGH are far more common, particularly for older actors, since lower levels of testosterone can make it impossible to retain muscle mass ... Zim has seen the benefits of hormone therapy firsthand. "These people who look younger and fitter – a lot of them are using growth hormone and testosterone; the size comes from the testosterone, the virility and the youth come from the growth hormone."


Also, "maintaining extremely low body fat for the duration of a multimonth shoot is nearly impossible and often dangerous: The stress can make an actor ill, damage internal organs, and make him susceptible to other injuries ...Since 5 percent body fat is nobody's natural condition, fitness plans are geared to peak on the days of the sex scenes or shirtless moments. To prep for these days, trainers will dehydrate a client like a boxing manager sweats a fighter down to weight. They often switch him to a low- or no-sodium diet three or four days in advance, fade out the carbohydrates, brew up diuretics like herbal teas, and then push cardio to sweat out water – all to accentuate muscle definition for the key scenes.

Jackman doesn't look that way because he has a better diet than you do.

Dave Pinsen said...

I was 41 and 6 months out of some health issues that had put me in a coma. YMMV, but it's certainly possible to put on muscle mass in your 40s without juice.

Anonymous said...

This is driven by the sexual preferences of women.


Not so much, no. It's more driven by the movie preferences of young men. A lot of women are indifferent to or even turned off by super-muscular guys.

Aristippus said...

Pain and Gain is the only good Michael Bay movie and I would love to hear from someone who read the articles it's based on. The whole thing seems like a mashup of of @FloridaMan from twitter and Carl Hiaseen novels.

Anonymous said...

Lifting weights & eating almost no carbs or fat. You don't need steroids to be that strong at Jackman's age, and steroids won't get you ripped like that. A miserably strict diet combined with weight training will. If Jackman's on anything, it's a diet drug, but you don't end up where he is without an incredible level of self-discipline, so maybe not.

Being strong and looking strong aren't identical.

Weightlifting while eating no carbs and fat will make you strong and fit, but you'll be miserable, not have much muscle mass, and not look very strong.

Jefferson said...

"*As measured by Hollywood standards. By mainstream standards, he's probably center-Left, but that counts as Right wing in Hollywood these days."

I support legalization of prostitution between consenting adults, legalization of same sex marriage, and legalization of marijuana.

But I would probably still be considered a "conservative" by Hollywood standards because of my views on stricter immigration laws, anti-amnesty, being pro-guns, lower taxes, anti-affirmative action, anti-Obamacare, etc.

By the Southern bible belt state standards I would not be considered a conservative in the traditional sense like Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee for example because I am 0 percent religious and 100 percent secular. The socially conservative religious lifestyle is just not my thing. I respect people who live that lifestyle, but it is not for me personally.

My political views are similar to the Godfather of hipsterdom Gavin McInnes or Adam Carolla.

Anonymous said...

Hugh Jackman has cancer.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/09/showbiz/celebrity-news-gossip/hugh-jackman-cancer/

Anonymous said...

"So, your favorite actor isn't on steroids."

I suspect they cycle through them: put on some mass with roids, then get cut and lean.

For an alternative take, see Mark Twight on the training for "300" here: http://www.gymjones.com/knowledge/article/300-opinions/

Twight is an interesting character. He's naive about bike racing, though, which makes me suspect his judgement. There's a long tradition of better cycling through chemistry, as Lance Armstrong and company demonstrate.

Kaz said...

@Anonymous 8:10PM

RDJ has mad acting chops, no one is going to pressure him to juice, not after his previous run in with drugs..

Action stars aren't usually known for their acting prowess.

Anonymous said...

Aristipus:"Pain and Gain is the only good Michael Bay movie and I would love to hear from someone who read the articles it's based on. The whole thing seems like a mashup of of @FloridaMan from twitter and Carl Hiaseen novels."

PAIN AND GAIN is a "good" film only when when weighed against other Michael Bay films. By that standard, mediocrity is genius.

Dave Pinsen said...

I read the article before and stand by my comments. You don't need to take testosterone to put on muscle (unless you are hypogonadal), and diuretics don't replace diet. ~95% of Jackman's leanness is from dieting.

Here's a detailed description of the kind of diet that takes: Jim Steel is a strength coach at Penn who decided to compete in a bodybuilding competition for the first time while in his 40s.

Dennis Dale said...

Regarding running v lifting, maybe the arrow of causation goes the other way--a conservative type is drawn to one, a liberal to the other.
Of course, ingesting substances might alter ones political views too. But I suspect if you're juicing and you're not a professional athlete/actor, you're so far gone into narcissism that you don't have political views.
I've done both, and they served very different purposes. You run for your health, and you lift for your ego.

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen:"I was 41 and 6 months out of some health issues that had put me in a coma. YMMV, but it's certainly possible to put on muscle mass in your 40s without juice."

Sure, but it's far easier to do so in your 20s.

Plus, there's the added issue of the muscle to fat ratio. I know a 6'3 guy who started working out and went from 180 to 210 in his 40s.About half of that was fat....

Dave Pinsen said...

To maximize muscle mass gains, you need to eat a lot; once you have the mass, to get ripped, you need to diet strictly. See the Jim Steel link in my other comment for a detailed example.

Anonymous said...

Kaz:"RDJ has mad acting chops, no one is going to pressure him to juice, not after his previous run in with drugs.."

No mention was made of RDJ being pressured into using PEDs. RDJ, however, did say in the extras for IRON MAN that he put on some muscle mass for the role. Maybe he he took PEDs. Maybe he didn't.

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen:"I read the article before and stand by my comments. You don't need to take testosterone to put on muscle (unless you are hypogonadal), and diuretics don't replace diet. ~95% of Jackman's leanness is from dieting."

Getting cut is relatively easy. The hard part is gaining the muscle mass. I've known plenty of guys who have tried to gain large amounts of mass and who have failed. And they ate protein by the cartload.They ended up gaining 50 pounds, of which maybe 10 was muscle. the rest was fat. And that was over the course of a year.

Dave Pinsen said...

Look, there's a meta-issue at play here: we want to believe stars like Jackman take all sorts of PEDs, because it takes them down a peg. They may be rich and famous, but they cheated to look they way they do. Who wants to hear that, in addition to being rich & famous, they are also a hell of a lot more disciplined than us?

Anonymous said...

"Pain and Gain" was a nihilistic horror, I only got thru part of it.

Dave Pinsen said...

Sure, it's easier to put on muscle on your 20s. I haven't said otherwise. And as I said, I put on a lot of fat too.

Steve Sailer said...

"Regarding running v lifting, maybe the arrow of causation goes the other way--a conservative type is drawn to one, a liberal to the other."

This is the kind of thing that academic social scientists could test pretty pretty easily using college student guinea pigs. The social scientists could just piggyback on a health or physiology study in which subjects are randomly assigned to a running v. weight lifting regimen. Just slip in before and after questionnaires with some political questions and voila, my hypothesis has been tested.

Anonymous said...

"You don't need to take testosterone to put on muscle"


Then how to explain the reality that men simply were not as muscular prior to the early nineties as they are now?

Athletes exercised back in the "old days". Yet everyone from football players to body builders looked very noticeably smaller/less muscular than their modern counterparts.

And the same is true for the "man in the street". I'm in my fifties now. I've worked in jobs involving hard physical labor in my time, from farming to the military to the railroad to moving furniture. I've lifted weights in gyms. And the bodies of many modern young men look freakish and unnatural to me. I never saw any guys who looked like that until recently. They're juicing, and they're doing it from their teens onward.

Anonymous said...

Dave Pinsen:"Look, there's a meta-issue at play here: we want to believe stars like Jackman take all sorts of PEDs, because it takes them down a peg. They may be rich and famous, but they cheated to look they way they do. Who wants to hear that, in addition to being rich & famous, they are also a hell of a lot more disciplined than us?"

Has anyone claimed that people like Jackman and Stallone are not extremely disciplined? Has anyone claimed that they don't work hard? PEDs are not magic. You can't just take chemicals and transform into an adonis. You have to be willing to put in the long hours in the gym and maintain a grueling dietary regime.

Anonymous said...

About your theory, liberal vs. conservatives...

What are the gays in the country using? Surely not anything that gives them zits.

This whole muscle craze is crazy, hetero or gay.

Women don't like men who are vainer than we are.

Anonymous said...

"""""""""""""""From Men's Journal, an article that's fairly informative, even though it's written in such a way that you can read it to support whatever you want to believe."""""""""""""""""""

They have to write it that way. If magazines actually told the "truth" or were accurate about what it supposedly takes to gain enormous amounts of bulk in so short a time, they'd be in trouble with the feds a la BALCO investigation.

Amazing that the Olympics World Doping Committee still cares as strongly as they do in this day and age of doping athletes or at least goes thru the motions of caring.

Question: How come no one bothers to rigidly test the NBA players for steroids? Compared to NFL, MLB they seem to skate thru without much notice.

Still not understanding why a person needs to juice if they're a legitimate actor.

Clooney and Pitt are NOT juicing. George has had the same figure and shape since like forever.

Also, for the first Bourne film Damon appeared normal. By the third Bourne film he had noticeably bulked up, a la Stallone in Rocky and Rocky III.

Anonymous said...

"Virgin killer's father sells erotic photographs of naked women's bottoms online for $1,250"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2639613/Virgin-killers-father-sells-erotic-photographs-naked-womens-bottoms-online-1-250.html

"The filmmaker father of virgin killer Elliot Rodger sells erotic black and white photography of naked women's behinds."

Anonymous said...

Steve, for an inside look into the bodybuilding mentality, I highly recommend Samuel Fussell's MUSCLE. Fussell is the son of Paul Fussell (THE GREAT WAR IN MODERN MEMORY, CLASS: A GUIDE THROUGH THE AMERICAN STATUS SYSTEM, THANK GOD FOR THE ATOM BOMB AND OTHER ESSAYS, etc), and the book chronicles his shift from Oxford grad to SoCal musclehead. He goes into a lot of detail about the psychological changes that accompany gains in muscle mass.A great read.

Anonymous said...

Look, there's a meta-issue at play here: we want to believe stars like Jackman take all sorts of PEDs, because it takes them down a peg.


None of your comments indicate that you actually read the article in question. It's not all about PED's! (Although it does mention a number of actors frankly admitting they juiced.) It also describes Henry Cavill working out for the "Man Of Steel" role and mentions that PED's were forbidden, or at least discouraged.

Education Realist said...

"This is driven by the sexual preferences of women. "

What? That doesn't seem likely. I was wondering if the Gay Mafia of Hollywood was somehow involved, but someone said it might be the young male audience. That sounds reasonable.

It ain't women.

This is all very depressing.

awesome said...

a lot of common misconceptions going on regarding 'roids in both the quoted article and these comments.
Steve was right to notice the veins on Jackman - angiogenesis, especially on the anterior shoulder, is a pretty common tell that someone has experienced supra-physiological growth from androgen supplementation. Take it from someone who has 20years of natural gym experience, a physio degree, and has researched and 'researched' PED's...

Whiskey said...

Fwiw, the Texas TRex, Matthew McConaughey, has kept a strict diet for years. Has his own airstream trailer and personal chef. He's no carbs, high protein and veggies for years. And he's not an action guy. All that hard body super ripped to appeal to women and gays but I repeat myself action guys left lots of room for unripped: Bruce Willis, Liam Neeson, and Johnny Depp in the Pirates and Loe Ranger mivies.

Meanwhile Gerard Butler has done nothing but romcoms after 300. Guess he did not like the training regime.

It is not bulging Arnold mid eighties muscles in vogue but super cut pretty boys ... Bradley Cooper, Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhall, Ryan Gosling etc. None of them decent actors. None of these guys is huge like say Dolph Lundgren was for Rocky 37 or was it 38 can't remember. None of these guys even have Stallones charisma or ability. Speaking of hgh .... Stallone was caught with it in an Aussie airport.

Action movies have been hit hard by lack of compelling actors who can play tough under 45 years. Gym muscles don't cut it.

Anonymous said...

Paul Walker was popular [...]while looking like more like an old-fashioned sportsman than a modern professional athlete.

Not the best example, Steve.

See: Paul Walker
vs. your go-to old-fashioned sportsman specimen.

Note the difference in inguinal crease expression-- that's what makes the chicks wet. It's simply a function of low body fat with moderate musculature. Federer would have it if he dropped about 5% body fat. PED's certainly make it easier to achieve.

The musclebound, dominant-warrior physique appeals to males directly (aspirants). Chicks would be attracted to the social dominance that flows from that musculature, but not necessarily the physique per se.

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, "Muscle" by Fussell is an informative read for pudgy ectomorph intellectuals like myself.

Anonymous said...

The author foolishly distinguishes between testosterone and steroids. T is a steroid and it can cause water retention due to it's conversion to estrogen.

Also, it can cause zits and hair loss in guys who are prone to such things.



Dennis Dale said...

Tom Wolfe would love this comment thread. One thing I've always liked about his work is his awareness of the private body-vanity of most men. At least, we used to keep it private.

There's that scene in Bonfire when they're putting a wire on Sherman so he can entrap his mistress, and he's feeling thoroughly ashamed of himself, but perks up when one of the detectives directs the other to tape the microphone "down there" between his pectoral muscles, and Sherman thinks blissfully something like, "yes, down there between the mighty hillocks..."

Anonymous said...

The change in basketball players is quite noticeable and remarkable as well from as recently as the 80s to today.

Anonymous said...

Thus I must conclude that splitting firewood, doing farmwork, hauling steel, hiking for the hell of it, etc., make one politically independent.

The hottest thing I ever saw in the movies up till that point was Harvey Keitel's love handles in /The Piano/. An honest man's honest body, shaped by work and displayed naturally, in moments of both tenderness and fierce effort. The total lack of ego and vanity.

Actors are being selected for certain genomic traits--body type is largely inherited. The healthiest, most gorgeous, smartest, most active and interesting men I know are not obsessing on looking like a movie dood. They use their bodies in the day to day, and the variety of their body types is a marvel to behold.

This is related to how women on the big screen (and the corresponding tiny ones) are extreme outliers in the body mass department. Read somewhere that Keira Knightley fell at somewhere in the bottom 1% of body mass to height ratio, and that if she were a similar outlier on the other side of the mass curve for women, she'd weigh something like 350 pounds.

These muscle guys are basically cyborgs.

Anonymous said...

@Steve Sailer

Giant veins popping out everywhere on Wolverine

That is nothing compared to the "real" Wolverine.

Just like people who were impressed by Henry Cavill's pecs in the Man of Steel. Uh...ever seen what the Superman from the comics looks like? 235 lbs with ZERO bodyfat(Kryptonians do not store bodyfat like humans).

If you are going to play a guy who can sneeze solar systems away and punch with enough power to tear dimensions apart, you should look the part.

Jackman is acceptable for Wolverine, but Cavill really needs to up his dosage massively for the MOS sequel. If you are going to play a nigh-omnipotent cosmic deity, then please look like you are trying.

Anonymous said...

The change in basketball players is quite noticeable and remarkable as well from as recently as the 80s to today.

Frightening, actually. And not just the guys.

ATBOTL said...

I doubt many people here have ever trained hard or eaten a hardcore bodybuilding type diet. We had a guy on my high school wrestling team, 14 years old, that was built like Stallone in Rambo 3(but taller and probably weighed more).

Few people are willing to inflict the pain of hard training. Try stuffing 20-40 grams of protein into your mouth six times a day, with no junk. How does that forth dry chicken breast of the day taste? No you don't get fries with that. Or beer. Sore from those heavy squats? Now you gotta run for 45 minutes. If you're an athlete, you gotta do all that in addition to hours of regular practice. In college, they give you phonebook-sized workout schedules that specify what to do every single day down the rep with all weights calibrated based on % of one rep max. Try living like that for a few years before deciding who is on steroids.

Just googled pics of Jackman in Xmen 3. He's not THAT big, not steroid big like the WWE guys. His delts are impressively high and wide. You get that from doing lateral raises, use low weights with high reps and slow movement. Only move the shoulder joins, strict form. It's not rocket science. Morons in prison body build with no steroids. I know juicers who were in prison, you can't get steroids there, a joint costs 40 bucks, you can maybe get insulin. They buy kidney beans from the commissary to get protein. Eat kidney beans straight from the can, mackerel, sardines, low fat cottage cheese as high protein snacks in between meals. You won't put on much mass without protein.

That being said, I'm sure that all these Hollywood people, including the women, are on something. The Test/HGH sounds right. Everyone on Wall St. is on that too.

"Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Sean Connery, and Charlton Heston would never be cast as action heroes today."

Those guys would all do well with Robert Downey Jr.'s training regimen, probably better than Downey even sans steroids.

ATBOTL said...

"Not so much, no. It's more driven by the movie preferences of young men. A lot of women are indifferent to or even turned off by super-muscular guys."

Look at Romance novel covers. 100% of the men are very muscular(and %0 are ugly with a good personality). Women face social pressure not to let on that they are turned on by men's looks, they are labeled as sluts and trash if they do.

I remember Steve talking about some study where college girls assumed muscular men are sleeping with the most girls, which is the feminine, round about way of saying those are the guys they most want to sleep with. So true. Let me tell you what it's like...

I've been blessed genetically with extremely good looks and a naturally good physique. I started lifting weights in 9th grade. I had started getting attention from girls for my looks/build even before high school. My brother, who is similar to me physically, and I were good athletes and we had groupies who would follow us around and fawn over our physiques. Girls would try to get us to take off our shirts off at parties.

In my twenties, at clubs and parties, hot, extroverted type girls would aggressively hit on me. Stuff like suddenly blurting out in an urgent tone to me that they need sex really bad TONIGHT, while pressing up against me, after talking to me for only two minutes or drunk girls introducing themselves by groping me. An 18 year old stripper literally jumped on me at a party at some rich girl's house in the Hollywood Hills when I was 23, after saying something like "love your body". That doesn't happen to guys who don't look a certain way.

Women often tell me things like "OMG, I love your shoulders!" when they meet me.

I'm curious what the actresses are all on. They are certainly more toned than they were a little while back...Do these chicks take any kind of anabolics? The Brazilian TV bimbos do but they have a different build. Will we see any Hollywood starlets to go for the full on Brazilian style bulging quads look? I think our culture is trending in that direction.

Anonymous said...

As the say in Men's Health magazine, the way to gain 20 lbs of muscle (appearance-wise) is to lose 20 lbs of fat.

DR said...

Lifting weights & eating almost no carbs or fat. You don't need steroids to be that strong at Jackman's age, and steroids won't get you ripped like that. A miserably strict diet combined with weight training will. If Jackman's on anything, it's a diet drug, but you don't end up where he is without an incredible level of self-discipline, so maybe not.

In descending order of importance:

1) Drugs
2) Genetics
3) Diet
4) Training

You don't need steroids to look like Jackman, but you definitely better be in the upper decile of genetics, and a classical high responder to exercise. If you're average, or in the bottom quintile of non-responders the strictest diet and the hardest training will make no difference. Steroids are your only chance.

And even if you are genetically gifted steroids make it a *lot* easier. Studies show that people who start steroids and don't lift anything gain twice as much lean mass as undrugged trainees. Let me repeat that, you can start roid'ing and never even go the gym and still end up ahead.

None of this means that Jackman's definitely on the juice. But you see tons of actors with no serious musculature suddenly bulk up, it's simply not believable that all of them have the natural genetic predisposition.

Anonymous said...

In my home country Germany in the last decade biker gangs like Hell's Angels have gained a lot of power by taking in more and more immigrants. As far as I know those people control a lot of criminal activities in Germany, prsotitution, drugs, etc.
They all look like Hulk, they just look like body builders without being ripped. Somehow this annoys me, as I thought real gangsters would not look like Gorillas, but rather have some Gorillas to do the dirty work, but the leaders would be rather like Al Pacino.
But then I saw a report in TV about some rebels in Syria. The leader of them was a really tough guy, apporx 1,75 m height, 70 kg weight, but very strong hands and forearms and all in all a extremely vital personality. And then I thought: yes thats it, thats how the strong people look when things get really serious. Those big bikers in Germany or Hollywood actors are just a sign how easy life in western countries is. They try to look strong but all they do is looking like people who eat to much fast food and look to much in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. If you eat an energy surplus, no matter what the macronutrient, you will store the excess as fat.

Unless you are juicing. I don't know what the juice is, but there is juice flowing abundantly in Hollywood.

My guess is that it's just perfectly legal T. You get this stuff from any certified endocrinologist, quite legally. It's totally legal. It comes in a topical gel or cream, no big deal. These guys are not going to a back room sleazeball, they are going to high class luxury Beverly Hills doctors and getting hormones.

And yes, T will enable you to put on muscle, along with resistance exercise, and an obsessively careful diet.

Look at two famous African-American hunks of the past, Jack Johnson & Woody Strode:

http://tinyurl.com/k36f82s

http://tinyurl.com/kevkf95

Both ripped and muscular, but not popping out like Jackman.

Jackman? All that juice has caused him to grow freakish muscles - and a heavy beard.

Anonymous said...

>>ATBOTL said:
"""""""""""Few people are willing to inflict the pain of hard training. Try stuffing 20-40 grams of protein into your mouth six times a day, with no junk. How does that forth dry chicken breast of the day taste? No you don't get fries with that. Or beer. Sore from those heavy squats? Now you gotta run for 45 minutes."""""""""""""

You're missing it, big time. NO ONE is saying that most juicers don't train hard.

In the book Game of Shadows, based on the Federal Grand jury's findings and testimony re: BALCO labs, Barry Bonds' training regimen is briefly outlined, and it was indeed quite strenuous along the lines you've stated.

The best juicers are those where it could almost look legit; that is to say, they put in enough hard work where its not all from the bottle or the needle.

But unfortunately, the facts remain. It is simply impossible to gain excessive amounts of muscle in so short a time. No one can gain 20 lbs of pure muscle in about a month WITHOUT additional help from the bottle or the needle.



""""""""If you're an athlete, you gotta do all that in addition to hours of regular practice. In college, they give you phonebook-sized workout schedules that specify what to do every single day down the rep with all weights calibrated based on % of one rep max."""""""""""""""""""""


You know, you're actually making a good point as to why the NCAA ought to eliminate scholarships for athletes and instead give them to promising academic based GPA, IQ, etc.

Phone sized workout schedules = little to no time at all for the classroom unless they either cheat, or receive additional help (unfair advantage not afforded regular students) with all those academic centers that are just for athletes and not for regular students. How is that equitable? How does that foster a campus for equal learning opportunity for all? It isn't and it doesn't.



"""""""""Try living like that for a few years before deciding who is on steroids""""""""""

Again, that's where you're wrong. Jose Canseco's book outlined how you can tell. It's called trust your own eyes an common sense. Ever watch the worlds strongest man competitions on ESPN? Those dudes are pulling 18wheelers with a harness on their knees. Don't care how much they've trained that is simply impossible to do without additional help.

The Z Blog said...

Go onto any body building site and you find a lot of homosexual men. Buffed up gays were pretty common in the SoCal scene back in the 70's and 80's. That leads me to believe Steve's theory may not be based on knowledge of the body building world.

As far as the use of test and HGH, it is leaking into the regular world. I know a lot of middle aged guys who got a script for test just to help their weight training. They feel it is safer than going the underground route.

Anonymous said...

If one has superhuman powers, why does one need so much humanly muscles?

Anonymous said...

"I support legalization of prostitution between consenting adults, legalization of same sex marriage"

Anyone who calls for reducing humans into commodities and for the degradation of marriage is no conservative. He is a dirtbag libertarian.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

If this really is better living through chemistry, then we should direct some research this way. Why should Lance Armstrong be the only cancer survivor to have a fantastic recovery?

OTOH, if Hollywood ends up with a spike in cancer and organ failure rates, then maybe our culture-generators need to take things down a notch.

Anonymous said...

Steroids have been experimentally shown to cause (apparently) not completely reversible left ventricular hypertrophy, which makes the heart work harder to pump blood. You can research pubmed for the abstract of that study. Ex-roided-wrestlers like the late Ultimate Warrior, who died at 53, should give one pause. That looked like a relatively healthy 53 year old man, and he just drops dead of a cardiovascular event. There are several similar stories of former wrestlers and weightlifters passing in their 40's and 50's. I will not be surprised if Barry Bonds doesn't see his first social security check.

Anonymous said...

when I ran into Jake Gyllenhaal

Shameless name-dropper.

DR said...

Steroids have been experimentally shown to cause (apparently) not completely reversible left ventricular hypertrophy,

There's no evidence that LVH caused by anabolic steroids is associated with elevated cardiac morbidity. Remember that it was less than twenty years ago that medical consensus was that any strength training increased morbidity due to LVH.

Anonymous said...

"Lifting weights & eating almost no carbs or fat. "

I assume all those clinics are selling something to someone.

A classic piece written by a regular schlub starting on PEDs. He's more on the endurance side instead of the body building side.

http://www.outsideonline.com/fitness/Drug-Test.html

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the ideal action hero would have to be Jack Lallane, who did it the old fashioned way. Nearly 80 solid years of weight lifting, training, diet, and cardio and he made it the ripe old age of 96.

If steroids were involved then he wouldn't have made it to 96yrs old and he would've passed away to something related to PEDS and he didnt.

About 10yrs ago at a conference he spoke for about 15minutes and then proceeded to do 5 push ups on the floor. As he was in his early 90s that's pretty good.

CA health and fitness guru Paul Bragg of the Apple Cider Vinegar fame died while surfing and he was about 92. Clint Eastwood used to do adverts for them at one point.

Come to think of it, Eastwood's b'day is coming up and he'll be 84. Still moves around pretty well.

But Lallane is the ideal action hero: All natural, hard work, and not looking too hulky bulky.

buzz arlett said...

"Women don't like me who are gainer than we are."

I believe this is key. I was amazed at the attraction younger women had for me right up to age 50. I never went to gyms, never bothered about clothes or accessories, and hardly ever stopped at a mirror. Just played little basketball and swam a half-mile almost every day. I guess the curly hair helped. I always ate a lot of French bread, so my stomach was never flat. Don't try that if you don't live near SF.

Anonymous said...

My husband found "Pain and Gain" on Netflix a few nights ago and made me sit through it. He thought it was great, but he's a fitness freak who measures everything he eats. I second that it takes a tremendous amount of self discipline to be super fit. After his work and family, my husband's life revolves around gym, martial arts classes, skipping rope, drinking disgusting concoctions, fat-free diet. When he goes out with his friends, he drinks a glass of wine while everyone else downs beers. He's 6'2 and naturally thin, but you'd think with all he does that he'd be bulked. He doesn't juice, and he has strong, but not bulked, muscles. There's no way that Dwayne Johnson isn't doing something supplemental. He looks awesome, but his arms were not always so huge. He didn't look that massive in his previous films.

I guarantee you that any woman who watches P and G will mainly be thinking what she'd have to do to have a body like Bar Paly's.

Dave Pinsen said...

Do an image search for Steve Weatherford. He's the punter for the NY Giants, and one of the strongest guys on the team. But he also has an absurdly low level of body fat. He's written about how strict his diet is.

Dwayne Johnson is on a whole other level than even Weatherford, who's a professional athlete and gym rat. Johnson has cartoonish proportions.

Anonymous said...

Women don't like men who are vainer than we are.


I can attest that women don't like dating men with a BMI much lower than their own. And considering how high the average woman's BMI is these days, that narrows the low BMI guys pool of potential mates considerably.

Anonymous said...

I guarantee you that any woman who watches P and G will mainly be thinking what she'd have to do to have a body like Bar Paly's.


Be born with different genes? No amount of diet, exercise, or drugs will make a normal (five-foot-four and pear-shaped) woman five-foot-nine and narrow-hipped.

I see that Paly is another one of the Ayran master race of blonde-haired and green-eyed "Jews".

ATBOTL said...

"But unfortunately, the facts remain. It is simply impossible to gain excessive amounts of muscle in so short a time. No one can gain 20 lbs of pure muscle in about a month WITHOUT additional help from the bottle or the needle."

When did I say that?

A guy like Jackman knew years ago what a gravy train playing Wolverine would be, he has no doubt changed his lifestyle to play the role better. I doubt he ballons up with fat or stops training in between films.

Jackman's physique is not proof positive of steroids, but the T/HGH is likely.

Remember NFL all-pro linebacker Shawn Merriman? A few years ago, he did a magazine shoot(GQ?) where I thought "he must be juicing, even for a pro-athlete with superior genes, that's unreal." Sure enough, he was busted for roids shortly after.

ATBOTL said...

"There's no way that Dwayne Johnson isn't doing something supplemental. He looks awesome, but his arms were not always so huge. He didn't look that massive in his previous films."

Dwayne has no doubt been juicing at least since he started his pro-wrestling career back in the late 90's. Damn near 100% of those guys juice. Maybe he upped his regimen, but he was always on it. He may have just prioritized arm training in the last couple years. That's what he said in interviews. Football, which is Dwayne's background, emphasizes leg training.

For years, I did little isolation arm training because I was working out for athletic performance and big arms are really not very useful for most sports. When I finally started doing a full arm workout every week, my arms grew a lot.

"I guarantee you that any woman who watches P and G will mainly be thinking what she'd have to do to have a body like Bar Paly's."

Lots of cardio, little food.

Anonymous said...

In the early 80's, football players at Univ of North Carolina were referred to Dr Nick (can't remember last name), who freely prescribed steroids. I am 100% sure of this. My friend averaged gaining over a pound a day with steroids and working out.

Related - When I was 21, I took Prednisone (steroid tablet) for two weeks. They made me feel like superman. I had an enormous amount of energy, a noticeable increase in my ability to focus on studies, and needed less than four hours of sleep to feel fully rested. At 52, if there were a drug that made me feel like that again, I'd take it.

David said...

Muscle-worship among thespians has several cultural sources.

1. As the culture gets stupider, muscles of ever-greater freakishness become a substitute for brains (instead of a supplement to brains). A commenter above mentioned Brazilian pop culture. That's about right.

2. As the culture gets blacker, fit black male bodies become the model. Flatter, less fatty chests, higher T, more explosive power in the muscles. "Cut" is in. Consciously or subconsciously, everyone is trying to look black.

3. Homosexuality. The tastemakers of fashion and Hollywood are homosexuals, who want all women to look like 15-year-old boys and all men over 15 to look as if they had stepped from the pages of bodybuilding magazines.

4. Dorks. Video gamers living in their mother's basement, of which America has more than its share, are the same kind of people to whom Charles Atlas adverts in the back of comic books were pitched. They love to fantasize about kicking sand in the other guy's face someday. Key word here is "fantasize."

6. (Related to 1. and 2.) Overseas markets. Among most overseas audiences, the average taste in movies is even lowerbrow than it is in the USA. The replacement of (English) dialogue, or "complicated" concepts in any language, with visuals of explosions, jiggling tits, blood, and cartoon muscles (to go with cartoon characters) is too old and well-known a phenomenon to dwell on yet again. So is the related phenomenon: movies crafted to the sensibilities of 14-year-old NAM boys who make up a large slice of domestic audiences now.

By the way, it really is true that "muscle bug" has bitten all acting. I follow a certain local talent agency's website, and they have replaced notices of acting classes for their aspiring TV actors with admonitions about cardio, weights, and, darn it, some term I can't recall now for a kewl training regime involving full-body triathalon-style walking or something. Guess I'd better take my memory pill now, washed down with tall glass of raw eggs.

David said...

5. Narcissism. Lasch identified the "culture of narcissism" about 40 years ago. There are two kinds of narcissists; one is obsessive about his or her physical beauty, body image. Vaknin discusses this somewhere on YouTube (but be careful, he tends to see narcissists under every bed). As the culture becomes more narcissistic, you'll see more people, including actors, working out for hours on end and gobbling whatever pills they have to gobble to get their shot of narcissistic supply from the mirror.

Anonymous said...

>>David said...
""""""""5. Narcissism. Lasch identified the "culture of narcissism" about 40 years ago. There are two kinds of narcissists; one is obsessive about his or her physical beauty, body image."""""""""""""

Finish it David. What's the second kind of narcissist? Don't just leave us hanging.


Also:

7. (related to 1 & 2) a dumber and darker culture will equal an overall increase in violent crime.

See you have to finish the concept here.

More violent crime caused by minorities, oh wait. They already are committing the "bulk" of the violent crimes per yr.




Dave Pinsen said...

Most endrocrinologists will prescribe enough testosterone to get you in the normal range; men who take it for anabolic effects usually take much higher levels.

Silver said...

If you're average, or in the bottom quintile of non-responders the strictest diet and the hardest training will make no difference. Steroids are your only chance.

"No difference" is a pretty bold claim. There's no way you have data, you just made up 25%.

But I agree with the spirit of what you're saying. There is a substantial number of people for whom all the correct training and diet will not make any significant difference. For them a lifetime of training and dedication may yield no more than 5lb net lean gain. They may gain more than 5lb lean mass, but it's accompanied by fat. Net lean gain means lean mass at the same body fat percentage. What proportion of the population does this apply to? I don't know. It could 5% or, heck, it could be as much as 50%.

Anonymous said...

With muscled negroes as the new ideal of manhood, white guys are trying to be as ripped as possible.

Watch the second scene of THE COUNSELOR. There is a fearsome-looking Negro dancing by the swimming pool.

Anonymous said...

Alain Delon, now there was a beauty.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DfWwU994js