Posted on 11 Apr 2013
3 min read
Industry magazines often talk about professional bodybuilders having a “natural ability to build muscle” compared to “hard gainers”.
Seemingly, like the namesake film, they possess a further X chromosome which enables them, with stimulus, to build unmitigated amounts of muscle compared to Johnny and Sally come lately.
For this article I will be looking into the world of sport to see if any other famous (and I use that term loosely in certain cases) physiques may have accidentally wandered off the bodybuilding path and found themselves on a different stage altogether.
I’ve tried to focus on sports where having a lot of muscle is not necessarily an advantage.
It would’ve been fairly simple to find examples from boxing, weightlifting, American football, etc.
Team: Northampton Town
Big Bad Adebayo – a man so strong he can gargle chunky peanut butter.
If you’re reading this in USA then he is a soccer player but you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a defensive lineman.
At 224lbs (although he looks a lot more), Adebayo Akinfenwa is probably at least 30 pounds heavier than any other football player in the English professional league.
Just look at him – he’d rip a man to pieces!
Big Bad Adebayo is a dead cert for harbouring this illusive gene deep (and I mean DEEP) within the recesses of this monster of a man.
Honourable mention: Kevin Keegan (seriously), Ade Akinbiyi (looks like a spider)
Team: Leicester Tigers and England
Apparently every time Manu Tuilagi tackles someone, he eats their soul.
Samoans are traditionally large people but 243lbs aged just 21 is frankly absurd.
Tuilagi is an absolute wrecking ball of a centre and one of the newer breed of Goliath-esque Backs.
There are claims that he can bench 190kg but it’s surely his legs that are most impressive.
These are the the kind of pegs that cause Topman shop assistants to quiver in their espadrilles when he asks if they have anything that fits.
N.B. They don’t.
And let’s not forget, current Mr Olympia 212 Champion Flex Lewis started out as a rugby player!
Honourable mention: Willem Alberts (built like a large oak dining table)
Team: South Africa
We’re talking female bodybuilders here – the Gymtalk lawyers have advised me to reiterate.
For a female, middle-distance runner, Caster Semenya certainly has an impressive physique.
It’s far more intimidating than your average, and perhaps one of the reasons she won a world title as a relative unknown.
A pretty reasonable front double bicep on show here, although she’s not doing herself any favours.
Honourable mention: Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (could win bodybuilding competitions today)
Alain Bernard is a personal favourite of mine – a man who quite clearly spent more time shrugging than swimming.
This is not a necessary physique for swimming, and despite claiming a few world records and international medals, Alain Bernard is clearly in the wrong sport.
The French version of Spitting Image, ‘Les Guignols de l’info’, did a puppet of Bernard which is fantastic.
It’s basically just a big bag of muscles who admits to not liking water.
If there was a good enough quality photo on the internet then I’d post it.
Honourable mention: Mark ‘Fozzy Bear’ Foster (old dog, new tricks)
So there we have it, four sports personalities who have each tasted success in their chosen field.
But should they have concentrated on bodybuilding instead?
Yes, explicitly yes.
Please feel free to suggest some more candidates in the comments below – and make sure you give reasons why!
Alan Bernard looks fucking absurdly stacked for a swimmer.
Slows him down, no?
He won a lot of international medals and held world records but technically he was terrible.
Power basically won him races.
If you watch the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay at the Beijing Olympics you’ll see how much he ties up under pressure.
That comes from having poor technique.
What about Dwight Howard?
NBA player with the broadest shoulders in sport.
I’m going to assume you meant an extra Y chromosome?
An extra X chromosome would result in Klinefelter syndrome, a condition which is certainly not at all beneficial to building any amount of muscle.
I’m not certain if XYY syndrome results in easier mass gain but there are certainly genetic mutations that do so.
Just look up myostatin deficiency.
Most sprinters have very low bodyfat and quite a bit of muscle.
Gymnasts also often have bodybuilding-esque physiques.
I think it is difficult to find a sport where a lean jacked physique is purely detrimental.
Tug of war?
As a man of science, what explanation can you or anyone give for the heightened ability to build muscle among the bodybuilding elite?
Is it natural selection or something far more complex?
Robert Forstemann – German mountain biker and track cyclist.
5ft 8″, about 200lbs, and the most ridiculous physique on a cyclist (or human), without going “artificial” (although in cycling, can you ever be sure?).
Apparently, he also has trouble walking…
Thanks Josh, those thighs are truly disgusting/impressive.
Like two giant joints of gammon.
There’s a man who could not shop in H&M.