Mark Rippetoe has been inducted into my Fitness Hall of Shame because of his deceptive and cruel marketing promises of “31 pounds of LBM gain in 11 weeks” used to sell his book “Starting Strength“. It’s a shame that an otherwise good book has been ruined by ridiculous claims which cast doubt on the entire book. He also claims that Zach’s results are “not an isolated case, but rather a prime example of good program/good program adherence convergence”, in other words, he is promising 31 pounds of muscle gain as long as you follow his program precisely. The issue is, if the author is willing to use deception and exaggeration to sell the book, how can you believe what he has written? You can’t, either the author has integrity or not. You can’t just wave it off and say – “Oh, he was just using wild exaggeration to sell the book – everybody does that”. No, everybody does NOT do that and it is not OK to do. If its a good book then it doesn’t need wild, exaggerated claims to sell it. I do not trust Mark Rippetoe now and had I seen his wild claims beforehand, I would have never ordered his book nor reviewed it.
I know that many people love the SS program and have gotten great gains in strength using it, I am not questioning that. I also realize that a lot of you have gained incredible amounts of *weight* using the SS program, I am not questioning that either. Yes, with the Starting Strength program you can gain 55 pounds in 11 weeks but most of that 55 pounds will be fat rather than muscle. That is the deception going on here. Its clear to me from the before and after photos of Zach used to make the “31lbs LBM gain in 11 weeks” claim that Mark Rippetoe probably did not measure either the weight or the bodyfat of Zach accurately and he probably included 15 pounds of water weight gain in his 31lbs of LBM. With the 6000 calories a day that Mark Recommends for skinny people doing his SS program that equates to approximately gaining a pound of fat a day for a 140 person following his program.
I will make a lot of enemies by coming out against a beloved figure like Mark Rippetoe and that people will not understand why I cannot recommend his book despite the above explanation. You will notice that although I have Put M. Rippetoe into the fitness Hall of Shame, I continue to recommend the SS program on my the best workout page for people whose goal is weight and strength gain.
I really stepped on the hornets nest on this one.