We’ve all seen the advertisements and the claims and the before-and-after pictures. Gain 34 pounds of muscle all natural following the Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Body! Gain 20 pounds of muscle with our supplements!
The people selling you stuff show you before-and-after pictures that are obviously contrived. We’ve seen exposés like Bigger, Faster, Stronger. We know how misleading before-and-after pictures can be. Well, what does 20 pounds of muscle actually look like?
Twenty pounds of muscle looks like a lot. Really. It is night and day. It is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. Twenty pounds of muscle is the difference between fit and big.
How can we prove what 20 pounds of muscle looks like?
As you might expect, your man Mike Danger can drop the data. Unlike the “biohackers” and other charlatans who make bold claims without ever giving any raw data, I will give you the evidence. I give you blood work.
I give you the information you, as rational men, need to draw your own conclusions.
There is only one way to prove you have gained 20 pounds of muscle. That’s muscle, not water weight. We are talking about lean tissue.
The only way to prove you’ve gained 20 pounds of muscle is with a DEXA scan.
What is a DEXA scan?
A Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (referred to as DXA or DEXA) machine scans your entire body for:
- mineral content (i.e., bone mass)
- water content (no bloating or water depleting to create misleading before-and-after pictures)
- muscle content (down to the gram)
- fat content (down to the gram)
A DEXA scan is the gold standard for measuring body fat. In fact, it’s the only scientifically accurate way to measure body fat. Every other method is guess work.
Anyone who tells you they gained 20 pounds of muscle (or 34 pounds of muscle) without providing a DEXA scan is guessing.
Anyone who claims to be a “biohacker” and a member of the “quantified self” movement who does not actually provide the quantitative data is…yeah, a fraud.
A DEXA scan will prove that the 20 pounds you see is actually lean tissue and not the result of gimmicks, scans, or before-and-after picture nonsense.
A DEXA scan looks like a X-Ray of your entire body. A DXA scan will tell you how much each arm and leg weighs and tell you how much muscle and fat each arm contains. This is what a DEXA scan looks like.
This is what 20 pounds of muscle looks like according to a DEXA scan.
I had a DEXA scan done in 2009. I had one done recently, in 2014.
According to the DEXA scan, I gained 0 pounds of fat over those five years. I gained 20 pounds of muscle.
Again, muscle really does mean muscle, as a DEXA scan measures hydration as well.
I took this picture the day of the DEXA scan. No, that is not pee on my underwear. I had no plans of doing this post and just got out of the shower.
As you can see, the lighting sucks. I’m not tanned or shaved. There are no camera tricks here.
I did not do a sodium depletion or photoshop anything. That picture is as real as it gets (and in many ways is “too real”).
Here is a side-by-side of what 20 pounds of muscle looks like.
I played a camera trick, but not the one you would expect.
I made the before picture look larger than the after picture to skew your perspective. Even then, you see what a huge difference 20 pounds of muscle makes.
Unlike Tim Ferriss, I don’t make my after picture look larger the before picture to “prove” I’ve gained 34 pounds of muscle.
I make the before picture look larger, and you still see a striking difference.
Here are some before and after pictures of my back after gaining 20 pounds of muscle.
Don’t believe the hype. Believe the DEXA.
We are entering in a new era of transparency.
Radical claims require radical evidence.
As you can see, 20 pounds of muscle is a huge gain. Claiming you have gained 20 pounds of muscle is a radical claim. That claim requires radical evidence.
If other men are claiming to have gained 20 pounds of muscle or 34 pounds of muscle or whatever, ask them for the DEXA scan.
Have more questions about DEXA scans?
Here are my before and after DEXA scans.