Why you don’t look like your favorite Super Hero

The Problems of Hypertrophy Training

Why you don’t look like your favorite Super Hero

The Problems of Hypertrophy Training

Hypertrophy training is possibly one of the most widely written about subjects by both our new found bro culture and the hype of muscle magazines.

I’m talking about the misleading advice, the “look at the Oreo ice cream covered in chocolate chips, jellies and nutella, I get to eat every evening and still look like I just stood of the platform of a photoshoot because it fits my macros” or the body building plan given to us by huge guys in magazines and websites, honestly, I’ve never seen one truly big lad do a clean rep. A full range of motion must be a thing of distant memory for them. Anyone can take a guy with a half decent work ethic and give them copious amounts of muscle enhancement drugs and despite their poor technique and shit programming  still have them gain muscle.

So after all your time-under-tension, Supersets to-failure, protein shakes and supplementation guidelines you’re still no closer to looking like the famous guy in the film poster in the Health magazine.

It’s just as bad when we look at the types of dieting we are exposed to. I’ll admit bodybuilders do know how to get really lean, they also do it with a lot of help from large servings of dodgy supplements and other unhealthy practices, last minute water depletion just to mention one.

So what gives?

You followed everything they outlined in the training plan at the end of the glossy article; you bought the supplements they suggested and put the time in and you still look far from your ideal body shape it promised.

Lets face it, if you’ve been training for more than 6 months to a year regularly and haven’t seen a significant change in your body composition, how come these film stars can do it in so few months?

  • Is it drugs? No
  • They don’t have real jobs that take up their time! No in fact they have less time to train than most people.
  • They have someone watching their every move inside the gym and out !! AGAIN NO

Then what is it that they and their trainers know about the secrets of Hypertrophy that we don’t?

The answer is the conection between Hypertrophy and Hardcore Eating

Hypertrophy and Hardcore Eating

Calories are King

The one must thing that precipitates muscle building is a calorie surplus. This is one of the most misunderstood and neglected parts of the hypertrophy puzzle that most fail on. Basically there’s no point talking about hypertrophy without first addressing the need to eat and when I say Eat I mean Hardcore Eating.

I asked a question in Storm Body Fitness to the lads on the Tier 1 program, it was as follows:

In your best guess how many calories do you think the Actor Henry Cavill had to consume when preparing for the Film Superman?

All the lads spoke among themselves and agreed a modest guess of between 3000 and 3500 kcals a day. This in fairness is a lot of real food to have to consume.

But the answer puts things in perspective. During the filming of Superman, Henry Cavill was put on a 5,000 calorie A DAY diet with 3,500kcals per day coming from whole food sources, not supplements now that’s HARDCORE EATING. If you’ve ever tried to get even half this amount of real food consumed in a day, you’ll know how difficult this must have been and he was required to do it for months.

His trainer Mark Twight founder of Gym Jones believes in the hardwork pays off approach with some old traditional ideas, implemented with new ones. As he mentions himself Gym Jones is not a cozy place. There are no televisions, no machines, no comfortable spots to sit and there are no mirrors.

Mark Twight is also responsible for the physiques accomplished in both 300 Films.

Don’t Make your Training Complicated

So let’s say you’re hitting your food intake, the next step is to focus on your training, the most important rule here is KEEP IT SIMPLE, don’t over complicate your program, if your resting well and eating well your program should look something like this :

  • Bring the Intensity. I cannot stress how important this is, attack every training session.
  • Rip some heavy stuff up in a variety of ways with a focus on compound lifts.
  • Do something that elevates the heart rate “cardio” like sprints, kettlebells and work the whole body with both reps and weight
  • Keep the body guessing and put it together in a way that keeps you enjoying the process.


In my opinion, the media and the explosion of the fitness and physique model diet and body shape has a lot to answer for just as bodybuilding did in the early 70ies and 80ies . As we are bombarded by what we see on magazine covers, Instagram, Facebook and websites not to mention Youtube and their fictional lifestyles on display in sound and colour. People fail to understand for the most part that what you see is a condition that was only sustainable for a few days at best. These Models go days without eating correctly or drinking to maintain their shape for a photograph, seriously is this what you want to aspire to? This binge and purge cycle is also seen in addicts and serious eating disorders, it doesn’t exactly seem like the healthiest way to live.

Professional physique models literally have hundreds of photographs taken to use for the following six months until they need peak again for some competition, so don’t be fooled, being that depleted of body fat is not fun. It’s as much fiction as our Hollywood illusions of our favorite super hero.  Being this lean is not a place you want to be for long for both your physical and mental health.

If you want to be big or lean, then you need to work at it constantly. What most people who begin training don’t want to hear is that there is no finish line, gaining muscle or being lean requires consistency and hard work, all the time. The only way to get to that kind of shape is to eat clean all the time and treat it like a job because that’s what all those famous people do.

Keith Richardson

Keith Richardson

Founder, Storm Body Fitness


Thanks for reading and as always if you have any questions or if you’d like to post your own list or even if you disagree with the above by all means, I’d love to hear your comments or thoughts.

-Keith, Storm body Fitness

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

seventeen − 11 =