Mark Rippetoe Inducted Into Fitness Hall of Shame

Mark Rippetoe in Fitness Hall of Shame

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. :(

174 thoughts on “Mark Rippetoe Inducted Into Fitness Hall of Shame”

  1. Rippetoe’s program has been good to me but I can understand Scooby’s criticism of the claim, it is specious. A better title would have been “31 lbs of muscle in 11 weeks, Rippetoe say it aint so?”. Question and challenge someone to do an experiment, all that person would have to do is go to an independent lab, measure muscle % and body fat % (water displacement) before and after, done.

  2. This review of SS is coming from a guy who has a YouTube video advising that heavy squats are bad for you and you can make the same gains with a leg press and a game of basketball! Don’t take anything Scooby has to say too seriously just based on that. I’m not a fan of Rippetoe, but he certainly has an undeniable, real world experience and results to back him up that go well beyond a basic YouTube Fitness channel.

  3. This article doesn’t take away from the fact that he teaches the RIGHT squat and dead lift form and many other exercises. Stop bitchin’ about it, Mark is out there showing people how to exercise.

    Most of the meat heads who respond to your posts are people who take supplements that make promises that are way more ridiculous.

  4. I respect Mark Rippetoe coz i actually got serious results and Scooby don’t look at the claims just read the book and follow (i did the same thing), tell me how many things in this world are not with false claims and i didnt even notice when Mark made that claim !! sorry u got it all wrong, just read the book ,watch his videos and follow the program, i got results in just 3 weeks.

    When im 18, i joined a gym where everybody did isolation exercises at their beginner level without a solid strength base, im a chubby and started searching for videos of various exercises on the internet and u know everybody on different sites explained different exercises claiming u get big muscles when u do them consistently. I started doing them but without any results , then i searched again and like a God came Mark Rippetoe and i downloaded his starting strength and from then on i dont have to look for online videos of different exercises.

    Thanks to Mark Rippetoe and Scooby don’t blame him, his plan actually works

  5. Scooby,
    I believe the problem in you arriving so readily at such a dubious conclusion is the inherent risk of being wrong, taking a mans written work out of context and starting a fire that doesn’t need to be burning.

    I see you have great advice on here about general health, fitness and bodybuilding, but to accuse another fitness professional like Mark Ripptoe, whom I believe demonstrates just as much resolve and tenure at working toward fitness goals, albeit specifically Strength Training, as you do as a professional.

    I believe publicly libeling and accusing another fitness professional of making dubious claims and calling his professional credibility and character into question, is a very serious matter that sans irrefutable evidence, belies your effort to educate and advance the profession in a positive manner. Your negative comments hint of a lapse in judgement, along with unprofessional and unethical behavior on your part. If you do in fact have conclusive evidence that Mark Ripptoe published a dubious claim in his work, did you try to contact him privately to address the matter or even offer him an opportunity to address your concerns, privately before making it public?

    I do agree that his focus on bio-mechanics and a 5×5 strength training program are his forte, per se, and seem a fundamentally sound for creating a strong base for strength training, power athletes and body builders. I don’t believe it’s ultimately the safest program for the general public, novice gym rat or amateur trainer to follow,though. The nutrition information he offers seems based on the optimal caloric intake for an Advanced to Elite level power athlete or competitive bodybuilder who must over consume protein and calories to insure muscular hypertrophy at the expense of the accompanied fat gain.

    Most Professional Bodybuilders undergo the same Total weight gain, except that they cut or lean down before competition and often can do so to a greater extent because of the enhanced capacities afforded by cycling anabolic drugs and cutting agents. Power athletes like Sumo wrestlers and Power lifters can also generally be expected to become obese but with the benefit of being able to optimize increases in Muscle Mass and Strength. In response to the “31 pounds of Lean MM gain in 11 weeks” claim you allege, that by now is a dead horse being beaten all over your blog, contextually, I would venture to say that what Ripptoe meant to say was in overall gain including fat, or total weight gain. Then again I won’t attempt to speak publicly for Mark Ripptoe, but then again, I believe that for the sake of collaboration, goodwill, fairness, professionalism, and growth of the sport, neither should you. — J.C.

  6. Scooby had a YouTube cult following and thinks he can go after one of the most respected coaches in the fitness/strength and conditioning industry. Now THAT’S hilarious and cute. Like that guy who went after after backsquatting calling it the worst exercise ever, and went after Mark in his rants. You are just another soon to be forgotten blip like a disney popstar.

  7. You are NOT a strength coach. I’m not trying to discredit you or what you have done for people who want to be “ripped”. That being said do you have formal education/experience training athletes/strength athletes? I’m just not sure your qualified to put Rippetoe into your hall of fame. Also for other posters on here calling strong people fat, really? Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, not for me I would rather lift heavy things and have quality muscle naturally.

  8. I have seen a guy(not a newbie trainer) in Australia gain 9.5 pounds of lean muscle mass naturally whilst losing 1.3% bodyfat over a 12 week period and that was considered a fantastic achievement.He was assessed genetically,measured and put onto an appropriate program with every rep of every set and every exercise as well as workout backed by scientific research.More importantly his nutrition was guided using research and the timing of supplements as well as creatine cycling.Peiodization was also utilised.

    Mark Rippetoe is fun to listen to and speaks a lot of sense.His S.S program is not anything new nor revolutionary and there have been many similar protocols in the past like Bill Starr’s stuff,5×5,etc.Does it work?Sure,for a while but many other programs work especially on newbies.Overall,enjoy the wisdom of the man,try out his stuff if you want to but keep an open mind and don’t blindly worship every claim he makes as being sacrosanct.One of Mark’s old colleagues was so sceptical that he challenged an open debate with Good Ole Rip who didn’t turn up!

    Bottom line-there is no such thing as the “best” or “perfect” training methodology-the bigger aspect of hypertrophy is the nutrition and rest-that seperates the men from the boys.

  9. A normal steroid guy can gain 6 lbs of pure muscle mass on a 12 week cycle.Dorian Yates gained 80 lbs of pure muscle mass in 14 YEARS of training with drugs,monster genetics and massive poundages.He was squatting 7 plates for moderatley high reps in the 80’s before his hip went.

    Mark’s claims of any single student of his gaining 31 pounds in 11 weeks is vacuous if the overall dimensions or accurate body testing wasn’t measured.Pehaps a newbie on drugs might gain 15 to 20 pounds of pure mass? Think about 30 pounds of pure beef…

    I dont know the program all that well,havent tried it and neither do i know the champion bodybuilders and athletes that have been spawned by him.

    However i dont think one could squat 3 x a week unless some type of preiodization scheme was used.

    Secondly from brief perusals on the net,i dont see any unilateral leg work or other body part in his theory to cure deficiencies that will arise with heavy squats,benching,etc.Neither do i see hamstring work like stiff legs?

    At the end of the day training is 3-5%% of the week,the other 97% determines one’s results.His program is one of many and if it’s backed by science instead of broscience then great but probably not proven to be better than D.C,MAX OT,HIT,Heavy Duty,etc

  10. I really haven’t been stuck to him claims. Rippetoe has countless of studients, the thing is that some people out there are genetically very gifted, some gain more muscle with his programs than others. The book is excellent in the sence that it teaches how to do deadlift, squat, press, and bench efficiently also explains the anatomy of the lifts. I really extremely doubt that anybody can grow 1,2kg of muscle per week.

    In a sence I find the strength training to be very usefull tool to increase muscle gains. Which is explainable by hypertophy & Hyprtophy: is when using large weights body gains more muscle cells, while bodybuilding style aka hypertophy grow more liquid in muscle cells. This is due body wishes to adapt to the situations, more liquid + muscle cells means ability to store blood sugar and ability to do repeating moves more efficiently. More muscle cells and little liquid causes body to be able to move larger weights more efficiently.

    And yes, you really did stumble upon hornets nest on this one as Mark is very liked figure. I don’t honestly think that this depate will produce anything good. But this thing here must be depetable, without turning into flame-troll war.

  11. “You are right to be wary. There is much bullshit. Be wary of me too, because I may be wrong. Make up your own mind after you evaluate all the evidence and the logic.” – Mark Rippetoe

  12. I agree with u scoob, and frankly the way he teaches the squat puts the lower back at great risk. Even the silly advice about looking down while squatting is not best for everyone. I’m really tires of people willing to put their heart and kidney health at risk for fast gains of muscle + FAT. It takes YEARS of dedication and patience to build a lean, strong and HEALTHY body.

  13. I have done the SS program. Sort of. I did the lifts as prescribed and started out consuming a ton of calories including GOMAD but did not stick to the diet. Did my strength increase? Yes, but not nearly as much as the Zach’s or as much as the book says I should. I quit the diet because 99% of the weight I was putting on was around my waistline. I regularly measure my waist and have for a few years. GOMAD is certainly a way to bulk up with huge amounts of fat.

    1. Im willing to guess that your results are more typical, and the thing is you got great results in terms of strength gain and LBM gain … just not to the marketing exaggerated levels he promises.

  14. Does it really take some kind of analytical mind to get through the lot of you lunkheads? Lets assume he only said twenty five pounds of LBM. The absolute maximum muscle gain to be had by any human being in that time frame is at the top end of three pounds. I don’t care how much other body tissue he added, the number is greatly exaggerated. The fact that I sat here and kept reading is merely an ode to the absolutely stupidity this community can exemplify.

    I’m a educated man, and I’ve seen the stereotypical dullard picking up weights at my gym on more than one occasion. Its been suggested that physical prowess is maintained in order to cover for a lack of mental prowess. I have fought that stereotype with the utmost resolve.

    This comment section has made me rethink that battle.

    I know numbers and logic and not the common strong suit. I know that at times it is easier to look at the more human aspects of a situation.

    If he gained that much lean body mass in the time frame specified, it is not logically possible that all of it could comprise only muscle and or other bodily tissues sans fat. It simply does not compute. I won’t bother giving you the average weight of a human skeleton of that size, or the weight of that same skeleton from a male of the same age with same genetic origin involving connective tissues, nervous systems, and cardiovascular organs. All that information you can look up yourself. You can also find information on just how much those elements could possibly increase over the period of time stated.

    If you do even the SLIGHTEST bit of research(again, I know that doesn’t seem to be the strong suit here), you will see that Scooby is correct in saying that this claim is exaggerated.

    TL;DR – The claim is exaggerated based on simple mathematical and biological analysis of the numerical statements in question.

    1. I am experiencing the same frustration here. For many SS seems like a religion that they are fanatical about and by daring to suggest that what their prophet’s promise of 31lbs LBM in 11 weeks is ridiculous has put them on a holy war against me. You gotta love them defending the 31LBM thing as being glycogen! :)

  15. Bunch of Riptoe/CrossFit Cultists voting on this one. Lyle McDonald has the same beef with Riptoe. It’s very MISLEADING. You can argue semantics all you want. Scooby is the man!

  16. Hi,

    A guy (early 20’s) I used to know at my gym (before my home gym) was trying to curl 50lbs/hand. I asked him if maybe those were a bit heavy. He said he was on a program where he would gain 40lbs in 4 months and off he went swinging.

    There are loads of guys and girls just like that believing a magical program is out there which will build 10, 20, 30lbs of muscle in only a few months. Chatter like this fuels the myth. I would buy all his books if R. did a scientific study of his program and proved his results are repeatable. He would be an overnight millionaire.

    Do you wonder why he hasn’t done it? If not, enjoy your Shake-Weight. And, of course R. is talking about increasing your muscle size, not 30lbs of bone or intestines or whatever…

    Ask any kinesiologist how much a muscle can grow in year with perfect nutrition.

    Scooby, you are fighting the good fight. I’ve followed you for years now and I have the repeatable results. Yup, they were slow to get but I have them. My wife has noticed, my kids joke about my chest and I’m more fit than ever. I’ve set more realistic goals with realistic time frames. What did I ask for Xmas? Scooby gear. I hope Santa heard.

  17. Don’t know this guy, don’t want to know about his book, your advice always works and your methods of training give awesome results, that’s all that matters to me. Never get fooled by the misleading information especially when it sounds too good to be true.

  18. Regardless of the kid’s gains, how can anyone say he looks great? I’ve seen the before and after (he was scrawny and now he has tits). I don’t disagree that the kid isn’t stronger or bigger, but rather the fact that it’s clear from the after pictures he now has a lot of fat on his body. He has developed fat on his entire body, and there is hardly any definition to him whatsoever. If you want to be strong and not be able to run a mile without dying, then this kid can be your idol. However, I , like many others will take Scoob’s approach to fitness and run circles around this kid while eating our beans.

  19. I purchased his book based on your recommendation. In light of this post, would you agree that his suggestions on correct form of Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, etc.are somewhat accurate?

  20. I think it is silly to argue with rippetoe’s book at a scientific level because everything i’ve seen from scooby is dumbed down a lot. If you guys read rippetoe’s starting strength book then watch scooby’s videos you will understand why scooby isn’t qualified to judge him

    1. “Scooby isn’t qualified to judge him”? LOL! I gave him a very positive review of his book SS. As far as his claim of 31lbs in 11 weeks, what kind of an expert does it take to understand that???

      1. One who actually understands what LBM is – and you clearly don’t. You should seriously be ashamed of yourself. You can’t even get this one, easily understood fact correct. LBM is not a synonym of muscle. If you use it as such, you’re not a very knowledgeable person. If you continue to use it as such, despite being corrected 100 times, you’re probably not a very smart person. And if you’re not a very smart person, you probably shouldn’t criticize other people when they discuss things you simply don’t understand.

        1. I think you’re missing the point and I think this needs elaborating as some people appear to be having difficulty grasping the concept of this thread. LBM is Muscle, Bone, Skin, Connective Tissue & Blood, the bulk of which is water, this is basic biochemistry and kids at school learn this so lets not pretend you need to have a degree to work this out. The point that is being raised, is that LBM does not include fat and it is not possible to gain 31lbs of Lean Body Mass and yes that includes all of the above in 11 weeks.

          The only things that can change significantly in a given point of time that small are water weight and fat. Muscle increase is extremely gradual, 1-2lbs per month at most is deemed excellent. Bone & Skin changes will be far less than this again.

          Besides this glaringly obvious point, any bodybuilder understands the importance of measuring weight, size etc.. at the same time each week because otherwise, the net difference is drastically different due to water weight changes brought about by carb intake and glycogen storage. By consistently measuring, you get a relatively accurate muscle change figure as opposed to just getting water weight.

          This is why first time low carb dieters get such a hard-on when they lose 6lbs in 1 week, completely oblivious to the fact that it’s lost water weight caused by not eating carbs. This is the same but in reverse and is the reason why when dieting on low carb, you need to get past the first week before bothering to weigh yourself and taking the results seriously.

          I am not saying Scooby is an expert in the field, but he’s experienced in training concepts and understands nutrition and what is possible in terms of gains from personal experience. All i’m saying is that a load of you are missing the point completely. This guy said you can gain 31lbs of lean tissue in 11 weeks. You can’t, full stop, its not possible. If you’re including water weight in that then you’re just deluding yourself because you’re measuring at different times and not being consistent.

          Anyway, I digress, you can’t gain that much LBM in that short period of time, thats whats being debated.

          And just to give you an example of why you can’t – An average user of anabolic steroids on a first cycle can gain somewhere between 10-12lbs of muscle in 12 weeks, possibly slightly more, the rest they gain is water weight and fat, so if a user gains 25-30lbs per cycle, that is deemed as excellent in bodybuilding communities. A cycle of anabolic steroids boosts your testosterone levels way beyond anything humanly possible at any age, including when you’re young or have exceptional genetics, testosterone is the muscle building hormone so the more you have, the more muscle you can gain.

          Can you see where i’m going with this? It’s NOT POSSIBLE to gain 31lbs LBM in 11 weeks, you can’t even do it when artificially raising your testosterone level – and if he is using water weight and including that by measuring at different times of the day, then shame on him, because his results are going to be grossly inaccurate and misleading. Kinda like measuring your height with bare foot, then with big heels on and saying you’ve grown 3 inches overnight, utterly pointless.

          If anyone on this thread still has difficulty understanding the concept of whats being discussed, perhaps you shouldn’t be lifting weights at all.

          1. By including water weight, we’re not deluding ourselves, we sticking to the definitions of the terms used. LBM = everything that’s not fat, which includes food in the gut, water in the cells etc. I know you REALLY want this argument to be about contractile tissue gain, but it’s simply not, and you know it. The gain of LBM that rip claims is absolutely possible, when you understand exactly what LBM is, which given your insistence on returning to a “muscle” argument, I think you may not.

          2. I did explain what LBM was, in detail actually, I understand fully, its the first paragraph of my previous post. I’d recommend re-reading it and probably a good idea to stop posting the same thing over and over again that no one understands what LBM is. Yes it includes water, well done, gold star, this has been covered a dozen times but you’re missing the fundamental point, it’s not possible to gain 31lbs including water in 11 weeks.

            And I dont want anything, that quote makes no sense at all, why would I want this forum to be about something it isn’t? I am quoting what Scooby has raised and what Mark has made a statement towards, I thought that was obvious. Stop taking things people write out of context, people only do that when they have no backing for their argument, politicians do it a lot when they cant answer a question. Are you a politician?

            The bottom line is that in order to get water weight changes, you would need to be testing at different times of the day altering variables such as sodium intake, carb intake and water consumed. This in itself makes for completely inaccurate measurements and shouldn’t be used. Still, even with grossly inaccurate measuring, you cant physically gain what he said you can in LBM.

            Let me explain with perhaps some more logic and science rather than just supposedly unfounded statements.

            Over a period of 3 months, the most muscle anyone natural is likely to gain is going to be 2lbs a month and that is an excellent gain normally only achieved by newbies.

            Thats approximately 6lbs of muscle tissue over 11 weeks. Take connectivity tissue and bone density increases in this time frame, which are minimal at best to be 1lb, and this is massively over what it would actually be, thats 7lb in total and it leaves a total of 24lbs unaccounted for. In a 200lb man, thats 12% of his bodyweight extra.

            This remaining weight has to be water as we’ve covered the rest and fat is not included in LBM.

            1 Gallon of water is 8.5lbs

            1 Gallon is 4.5l

            Therefore 1 litre of water is approximately 2lbs in weight.

            24 / 2 – 12 Litres of water.

            12 litres of water is a whole load of water and your body is incapable of storing that much extra water.

            It is important to note here that it is EXTRA water because your argument says that increasing by 24lbs water is possible in 11 weeks based on the other facts we can logically obtain from the details given.

            Now time for an analogy. Assume a bottle of water is like a human body. If I take a bottle of water and empty it out (urination and sweat), I have space for water. If I fill the bottle to the top, I have no more space for water. The only way I can increase my space for water is to empty some out or to make the bottle of water bigger, which I could do by stretching it, but only by small amounts (like gaining muscle). Even if I stretch the bottle, the added volume is minimal at best and certainly wouldn’t account for the volume of water referenced according to your beliefs.

            Can you see what i’m getting at here? You can’t keep gaining water weight every day and keeping it, it’s not possible, the human body wont allow it because it keeps an equilibrium. You may gain a few pounds one day in water, but it will drop back down to normal levels again, it can’t progressively accumulate, and definitely not by 12 litres, thats a ridiculous amount of water to gain.

            My analogy also accounts for the fact that I can completely empty the bottle, you can’t empty out all of your water because you’d die, there is only a finite amount your body composition can change by in that given period of time, which limits changes in weight even further, UNLESS you include fat into the equation because your body stores fat and can accumulate this quickly if you are eating to excess over your TDEE every day.

            On a side note, this Rippletoe guy’s book is meant to be about gaining muscle tissue, water in your muscles gives you temporary extra strength and allows for extra muscle gains by taking water to the muscle cells allowing them to contract better, thereby giving your body the ABILITY to gain more muscle, but more water doesn’t make you more muscular on a cellular level, so why post such a statement in a book about gaining muscle in the first place?

            It has no place and is just a marketing ploy designed to target people that think WOW! 31lbs of MUSCLE in 11 weeks, awesome! Upon closer reading, its LBM which as you say includes water – Why would anyone in their right mind want to just add weight to their frame in just water form, completely pointless statement and void of any use.

            You quote “The gain of LBM that rip claims is absolutely possible, when you understand exactly what LBM is” Well, i’ve just explained what LBM is and gone into detail as to why its not possible to gain that much LBM, so I must be missing something.

            So now its your turn then, prove with backing as I have done why you’re correct and i’m wrong because so far, no one on this forum has provided any backing to Marks outlandish statement. And “Yes it is possible” and “Mark knows what hes talking about” are not valid arguments.

            Please also dont hover over the point of eating food and your stomach is full, if I ate a dumbell, i’d be heavier as well, so lets try and make some of this test at least a little bit fair and assume the test subject is just satiated and hasn’t just eaten 24lbs of steak. Counting a huge meal as part of your LBM is grossly twisting the definition of LBM. We wouldn’t want to move into the realms of the unbelievable now would we.

          3. I think you’ve just about wrapped that one up….
            I don’t think some of these people realise just how much 31lb of LBM is.
            It’s simply not possible to gain over 2 stone in LBM in under 3 months.
            You’d be doing pretty well achieving these sort of gains in 18-24 months

    2. Scoobys stuff is dumbed down because he has to take into account that not everyone is going to fully understand the principles of gaining muscle and it’s pretty clear that a lot of people posting in this forum would do themselves some good by actually listening to him. His articles are well written and descriptive, the fact that there are so many people with unrealistic expectations who dont want to accept that building muscle is a slow process and think that maybe it wont apply to them because they have superior genetics is down to the individual and just indicates how many people buy into the many advertising ploys of supplement companies and magazine/book writers, believing that one day they’ll wake up one day and look huge. For those that understand what realistic gains are, they are the ones who stick at their training and will benefit the most as they gradually get bigger, and the rest will just get dis-illusioned when they’re not 31 pounds heavier after 3 months at the gym. You’re likely one of them. Most of them start their gym memberships in January and stop going in March, you can generally spot them at the gym spending 10 minutes on the pec-deck, then moving on to 30 “squats” leaning against a fitness ball with 2 pink dumbells in their hands.

  21. Many seem hung up on the 31lbs muscle in 11 weeks thing when LBM is what Rippetoe said. I changed it to muscle to make it clear what he was claiming. That 32lbs LBM increase comes from three things. 1) muscle gain. 2) bone &organs
    from puberty growth spurt and 3) hydration difference

    From the attached chart you can see that an 18 year old like Zack could expect to gain 4.5-6.5 lbs in a *year*, measure the slope of the curves. We are talking about 1/4 of a year though so we can resonably expect that Zack gained about 1.25 pounds of his 31lbs from his puberty growth spurt which can basically be negected

    As far as #3, its ridiculous to use hydration differences either to ‘prove’ fat loss or mass gains. In my video “How to weigh yourself accurately” I was able to gain 12lbs of SOLID LBM in just 6 hours! All I did was drink lots of water and eat lots of salt. Its just as silly to “lose fat fast” by taking diuretics and heading to the sauna for 4hrs.

    In his 31lbs lbm in 11 weeks claim I deliberately changed it to 31lbs *muscle* gain for a reason. There was little to no bone and organ weight change (again see growth chart). Adding in hydration differences is just as deceptive – reminds me of YouTube user furiouspete123 video on “before and after” shots. So if Zack didnt gain bones&organs, didnt gain water, then he gained 30 pounds MUSCLE in 11 weeks.

  22. Way to go Scooby! Im gald there is a voice out there who will speak up against all advertising injustices, no matter who they are and how strong their following is. Even if his program is effective, it is wrong to use deception in order to gain popularity and make extra money.

  23. If I ate 6000 calories a day for 11 weeks, I’d gain 88lbs in weight. Even if I gained 31lbs of muscle, which I don’t believe is possible, I’d still have 57lbs of fat gained. That said, I’d probably look worse than before I started.

    I admit, I have not read the book, only this review by Scooby. However, maybe the chap does not care about cosmetics, considering it is called Starting Strength.

    Also, his book is called *Starting*. Is appears to me from the title to be a beginners book. I doubt the chap would recommend you do it for longer than 11 weeks as you would be seriously unhealthy. If he says “consult your doctor”, which I don’t know if he does because I have not read it, before you start his program, that is OK. However, I doubt many doctors would recommend that to anyone. I bet most book publishers know people generally do not consult their doctor because they know what they’d say to something like 6000 calories.

    Finally, to gain 31lbs of muscle, the strength gains you would have to gain in 1 week would be ridiculous. I have gained loads of strength in my first 11 weeks, even though I have been cutting to lose my fat.

    I love Scooby’s advice because it is all about health.To eat 6000 calories is so bad for you, even if for only 11 weeks.

    1. With all due respect, you dont need a degree in exercise science and nutrition to give guidance on how you should eat to stay healthy or gain muscle/lose fat, you just need common sense. Do you listen to your body and change your plan according to how it reacts to the food you eat or do you listen to all the magazines, even though you can see you’re getting fat following one of their diets. And that statement is not Scoobys, its Jack Lalannes, Scooby was just quoting him and it’s a jokey way of saying that fatty foods taste good and are generally bad for you which is pretty damned accurate. Coming from someone with a body like Jack, i’d have a tendency to think he knew what he was talking about with nutrition, he’s giving advice from his own personal experience, and i’m pretty sure he didn’t have a degree either. I suppose you need a degree in anatomy to gain muscle and a degree in fashion to say if a tie goes with a shirt, course you dont, it’s common sense.

  24. Scooby you really do need to stop and think a while, before you get on your soapbox. One day you espouse the benefits of following Mark Rippetoe’s program, and the next day you remove that particular entry and replace it with one condemning the author as a deceptive and cruel person lacking integrity. Which one is it…is his program to be followed, or is he not to be trusted? Mark Rippetoe’s character did not suddenly change overnight. You need to
    stop and think carefully before making your statements. You can’t have it both ways.

    Furthermore, you say, and I quote “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.” And yet you still promote his book in your book recommendation section on this website. Surely a recommendation is exactly that, a promotion by you, encouraging people to purchase his book. So, on the one hand you are saying you would not have ordered it, and yet here you are recommending it. This is totally inconsistent.

    I could say more, however, I doubt it would do much good. I am no longer surprised when I see these inconsistencies, however, I am disappointed.

    1. It makes perfect sense, he said in his original review that he would find out the exact details, and when he did, he put the author in the hall of shame, not the book he has said multiple times that the book is a good source of information, he just doesn’t like the nutritional information which i agree with, but then again scoob and rip are two very different people, one wants to promote health and well being, while the other is simply strength and in many ways is unhealthy and has a high risk of injury, its more a less simply about getting big and fat in my opinion, but regardless strong at the same time, as with all people they like to think they are right, people just gotta take the bits that make sense and make there own program that will get the results that you want as everyones goals are very different.

      and personally i believe that when rip gets correct scientific conditions and has a fair proven test with more than one party reviewing it, then he can say that his claims are true then everyone can say he is the best at what he does, until then i think hes a liar trying to sell stuff, but regardless he knows his stuff and shouldnt have to resort to these tactics when he can just prove it, if he did it would be a massive marketing campaign, he says he has plenty of subjects who can do this so he could make another test easy with several people and prove us all wrong in the next 11 weeks. and he says this in his own words in several places, if its so easy, lets see some proper results.

    2. What inconsistency? If a person says one day that 2+2=4, and the next day that 3+3=5, then it is perfectly valid to point out that the first statement is true and the second isn’t. The only inconsistency is in the original person’s claims.

    3. Scooby had recommended the program itself, but he changed his mind when he became aware of the misleading presentation of what you can expect in the program. (Mark’s carefully chosen words: he is suggesting ‘you can gain 31lbs of muscle in 11 weeks with this program’ while technically/legally he is only saying ‘this one person managed to gain 31lbs of LBM in 11 weeks with this program’.)

      I wouldn’t call it inconsistent to change your mind about something when you learn something new about it. Supporting something regardless of any circumstance isn’t consistency, it’s blind stubbornness. Scooby’s entitled to his opinion – if you don’t like his soapbox don’t come read it!!

  25. its sad to see you all like this 6000 calories a day will make you fat thats just maths i think some of you like scooby some like rippetoe so your puting them head to head its not about them its about the facts and the facts are you will put a lot of fat on just do the mathematics

  26. Putting on 31 pounds of muscle in 11 weeks is impossible, in my opinion, if he said 31 pounds overall as in everything i could believe it, but i still imagine it to be very difficult even putting 31 pounds of fat on in 11 weeks would be hard.

    The ss program seems good for people without any back problems, its a pure strength program you will not be lean doing this, you might get fat and strong, which in my opinion makes working out pointless, the whole point is to be healthy, eating 6k cals a day is not healthy for most people, i personally eat 4k a day and can do nothing without getting fat, but i am an extreme case of a rather high metabolism, i would recommend a normal male to eat 3k cals a day while training as long as its a good balanced diet with moderation, and you will get gains.

    I think scoob should write a book, and do you know for definite that riptoe knows about this, EG he wrote it or condones everything, as he seems like a no bullshit type of guy and hes already pretty well known so i don’t see the need for crap like this.

  27. Good call, Scoobs. It doesn’t matter whether Rippetoe himself wrote those claims or not, he couldn’t have been unaware of them and the fact that they were there demonstrates his approval of them.

    Still, at the end of the day the really depressing thing is that fitness industry marketers have to make such claims to sell their products. “Dedicate yourself to a strict and challenging lifestyle that you will have to maintain and build on forever” just will never reach as many people as “Eat anything you want and STILL lose weight!”

  28. Came across this article on the net which states.
    “The Colgan Institute of Nutritional Sciences (located in San Diego, CA) run by Dr Michael Colgan PHD, a leading sport nutritionist explains that in his extensive experience, the most muscle gain he or any of his colleagues have recorded over a year was 18 1/4 lbs. Dr Colgan goes on to state that “because of the limiting rate of turnover in the muscle cells it is impossible to grow more than an ounce of new muscle each day.”
    In non-complicated, mathematical terms, this would equate to roughly 23 pounds in a year! Keep in mind that high-level athletes are the subjects of these studies.”
    This article states that it is physiologically impossible for the body to gain more then an ounce of new muscle a day, which would suggest that in the 11 week period being referred to, the maximum muscle gain would be just under 5lb, which is way short of the 31lb claimed.
    Like Scooby says, he’s not got a problem with the contents of the book itself. He’s not even got a problem with gaining 31lb in 11 weeks. It’s the 31lb of muscle gain that’s the problem.
    Exaggeration is one thing. Promising the impossible is another!

    Edit – Just read the original statement. A total of 55lb gained in 11 weeks. 31lb of that LBM. I still think he’s living in a fantasy world.

    1. Mark has competed in powerlifting competitions and owned and operated a gym for over 25 years. He has trained hundreds of people personally in his gym. He was hired by Crossfit to teach barbell lifts properly. He holds seminars across the continent not just to coach lifters but also to coach COACHES. I don’t think he makes gobs of money off his books. In fact, before writing the book he was considering going into business as a consultant that would be hired by companies who wanted to train their employees to be stronger so they could reduce the number of workplace injuries. Guess what? Employers don’t care about their employees! Why would they want to pay for that? So he wrote a book.

      1. If Bradley Wiggins wrote a book and told you that to win the tour de france you need to rub nutella on your face every evening, would you believe him and do it? If Usain Bolt told you to stab yourself in the eye with a pencil to be the fastest man in the world would you do it? A lot of pro bodybuilders advertise supplement products that have similar claims, but do you suppose thats how they got that big chowing on those supplements? They sure as hell aren’t going to advertise the fact that the reason they’re so big aside from training, eating and sleeping is steroid use because they make money out of the advertising. Most people dont make books out the goodness of their hearts for the education of the masses, they do it for the money. People always idolise these people because of their experience and take everything they say as gospel, even if it means common sense goes out the window, unfortunately, it takes the slightly smarter individual to work out that not everything you read is the truth, especially where money is involved. Of course he makes a load of money out of his book, regardless what drivel he writes in it, looking down this forum illustrates that there’s clearly a market for it, I might write one myself. Gain 100lb muscle in 4 days – you too can get in shape for Mr Olympia by next weekend, by the time you’ve read my book, you’ll be half way there already as i’ve added weight to all the pages and made them progressively heavier through the book.

  29. Just to point the obvious out.
    It’s called starting-strength. It is not supposed to be used for years and years. It is a 3-6 month program, that will make a basic foundation for your gains.
    I do not really see where the 6000 calories comes in the picture . It was mentioned that the example got that, but NOT that it was recommended. In fact, he recommend 20 x body weight +750-1000 calories. This makes an 85 kilo person consume .4740 calories a day, which is not even remotely near the 6000 calories, and i do not see the health-risk they will get by eating 4740 calories a day + heavy lifting.
    Please google Lean body mass.
    You should read his book first, i know that you think that you can judge the book by its cover, but you will get some more understanding on the topic if you read the book.
    I thought you were a man who did your research and did not judge him because of the amount you have read (As i understand, only the example) but instead, got into his work to make a proper evaluation of his work.
    Sorry to say, but you disappoint me this time scoobs.

    1. You can gain 31 pounds of weight in 11 weeks, but you’ll be exceptionally lucky if one sixth of that is muscle, its just not possible to gain that much lean mass, even with newbie gains and the best genetics in the world, it will never happen, full stop, and tbh, if anyone here thinks that it is realistic, you are a certified moron and have absolutely no idea how much 31 pounds of muscle looks like, thats like bench press up 60lbs, squat up by 120lbs, you ain’t gonna do that in 11 weeks. If you eat double your TDEE of calories, you’re going to get blubbery, your body cannot utilise that much energy for building muscle, it can only synthesise a certain amount of protein and you can only fill the muscles with a certain amount of glycogen after a workout, the rest just gets used for energy and the remainder is stored as fat. You wont even gain 31 lean lbs in a year unless your test levels have been artificially inflated way beyond natural levels. Scanning down this forum, I’m actually struggling to believe how many people are actually buying it and thinking that it’s possible, it goes to show just how much nonsense gets passed around the gym and through the media and unfortunately Scoob, you’re on the receiving end of it. Brave man.

      1. Just FYI, those gains are not impossible. Maybe after lifting for a year you would never hope to see gains like that. but speaking from my personal experience beginner gains can do that and I would not say I was gifted with crazy genetics. I was basically sedentary for a year or two, weighed around 120 kg at 6 foot. I lost maybe 15kg from just dieting and a bit of exercise then started lifting weights at that stage.

        From the first week or two at the gym I found out how much muscle i lost from sitting in front of the computer all day. I was pretty much 120kg of pure fat. I was failing horribly just bench pressing the bar by the third set and my first deadlift was 60 kg. Its been around 10 weeks since then and I’ve seen good gains. I bench pressed a set of 8 @ 70kg and 2 sets of 8 @ 110kg dead lift. I weigh 98kg now and am alot more toned, but still have a lot of fat. I think you should take it easy with the confrontational statements, I haven’t gained 31 lbs of LBM but strength goes through the roof when you begin lifting as long as you are eating correctly

  30. Scooby,

    I find it somewhat ironic that in claiming that Mark Rippetoe is engaging in false advertising, you deliberately misquote him. At no point does he say that Zach gained 31 pounds of “muscle” in 11 weeks, as you attribute to him multiple times (including with quotation marks in the first sentence) both in your above post and in your comments below–he said “lean body mass.” And it’s not hard to verify this, since the word “muscle” only appears twice in the entire article.

    Rather, Mark says that Zach gained 31 pounds of “lean body mass.” LBM means “not fat”; it includes things such as tendons, bone structure, organs, and skin, in addition to muscle mass. Mark’s claim is not so far-fetched when you include the significant structural changes that occur to a completely detrained individual on a full-body lifting regimen with the necessary calories to boot.

    I would strongly suggest that before you impugn someone’s integrity, you at least use the actual words that person used, rather than engineer quotes to make your point.

    I also find your claim rather odd that based on the Clarification article, we are to completely discard everything written in Starting Strength. (Especially given your own concession that many people have seen “great strength gains” on Starting Strength.) Even if we assume that Mark’s claims of Zach’s progress are exaggerated (which, for the record, you have asserted only through pure fiat), why does that necessarily invalidate all of what Mark writes in Starting Strength? The two simply aren’t connected, and it indicates that you likely haven’t actually read Starting Strength. Starting Strength not only discusses basic programming, but also biomechanical and physics explanations for why a certain technique for lifting will best achieve strength gains. I have not yet met a person who has actually read the book that has not been impressed.

    In order to avoid the inevitable fallout from my comment, I’ll note here for the record that you aren’t my “enemy” simply because you’re disagreeing with Mark Rippetoe, whom I respect very much and personally know. I don’t have many enemies, and I welcome robust, fact-based debate regarding training philosophies. But I do have to question when a person uses the label “deceptive” to describe another, where that person (1) deliberately misquotes, (2) offers no evidence-based refutation of the claim, and (3) makes patently illogical connections, all in furtherance of his own reputation.
    Ironically, wouldn’t someone who does that normally end up in your “hall of shame”?

    1. Hello Brodie, much of what you say is logical and well presented. And as you say, you “welcome robust, fact-based debate regarding training philosophies” as do I. Having said this I do have to strongly disagree with your assertion that Scooby’s statements are designed “all in furtherance of his own reputation”. If you have read enough of Scooby’s posts and his blogs you will see his motives seem pure, albeit I occasionally disagree with his statements.

      You state “I would strongly suggest that before you impugn someone’s integrity, you at least use the actual words that person used, rather than engineer quotes to make your point.” Surely Scooby deserves the same courtesy. There is nothing in his statements that would suggest he is seeking anything, other than to point out a perceived discrepancy that he feels strongly about.

      Just in case you think I am some sort of young idealistic fan of Scooby, please take the time to scroll through the rest of the comments on this issue to find My other post.

      1. Heavy resistance training doesn’t require building new bone matrix and tendon tissue? Creating a greater surface area doesn’t require creating more skin cells? Gee, I kind of hoped those would be rhetorical questions…
        But thank you for pointing out something I missed…part of that LBM will include water weight and additional glycogen storage, among other things.
        Now how about telling me where I’m wrong in my post?

        1. Excuse me, but most people I speak to in the gym define LBM as muscle. Never heard anyone talk to me about skin and organ weight. Truth is, telling a KID that he can gain all that muscle in such a short time is nonsense. Pure nonsense my dear Watson.

          1. Haha…it doesn’t matter what “most people you speak to” say. Only the definition of the term matters. And LBM accounts for EVERYTHING in your body EXCEPT FAT. And that means EVERYTHING. Whether or not you use the term to mean that…that’s exactly what it means. Maybe if the people posting here had some actual knowledge about what they speak, these types of miscommunications wouldn’t occur.

          2. Who cares what most people attribute lean body mass as. They are wrong. It isnt just dry muscle. Good lord, how is this even a point? Most people also think they can tone up their stomachs with situps. Are we going to validate that nonsense too?

        2. Dear god, really? Well if no one else is going to, I will – YOU ARE WILDLY WRONG WITH YOUR POSTS. Speak to any bodybuilder, power lifter or athlete and ask them by what is meant by increasing your lean body mass and they will say, to gain muscle. Even if bone density increases and tendons get stronger, the weight gain from this is minimal at best, it wouldn’t even equate to 2 or 3% of the overall weight gain, you aren’t going to put on 31 lean pounds of weight in 11 weeks, full stop, it’s not physically possible, not even with anabolic steroids – Lets not get confused here, this is LEAN weight, not overall weight, have you even the slightest idea of what 31lbs of lean tissue looks like? I’m guessing not or you wouldn’t have written such a ludicrous comment. 31 pounds of lean mass would turn you from an average joe to looking huge. In order to assess lean gains, you would take measurements at the same time every week before working out so additions of glycogen and water wouldn’t even be taken into account as muscle tissue should already be saturated. It’s called consistency, otherwise lean gain figures are completely useless. If it was possible to put on this much lean mass in 11 weeks, you could go from mid 150s to Schwarzenegger size in less than a year. Completely possible, right up there with pigs with wings, talking dogs and flying to the moon on an inflatable banana. Wow, do you even lift weights or do you just move from one forum to another posting idiotic comments?

          1. Actually, it wouldnt matter if you took measurments at the same time. Fluid storage would continue to increase as cells can become supercompensated. As cell volume increases, so does their ability to hold substrates. The only way to monitor lbm gains would to be to subtract total fat gains from before and after. The other weight gained is lbm and note, not all muscle or dry tissue. Everyone seems to confuse lbm gains and actual muscle gains. Posts like these are laughable.

  31. There is nothing to get mad about people, scooby gave us his honest opinion about Riptoe’s book and a reason why we may doubt the book, its your choice to make a decision, don’t come here and try to prove scooby wrong… if you like riptoes book go for it, if you dont, well you dont… nothing to get mad about… so much hype over an opinion omg, spend your energy and time on something else…

    1. Why do you think I’m reading this page? Because I used to respect Scooby’s opinion. So I’m here to discuss about it. But instead when confronted with rational and direct questions he just delete mine and many others posts. So, I think that’s true he is only using Rippetoe name to market himself now that he has monetized his videos and website. I’m frustrated and giving up. He lost my respect.

      1. Market himself for what? For the money he doesnt get for doing this for free? or perhaps so that even more then the insane amount of people he already helped out might increase? Really Scooby has little to promote himself for and we should be thankfull that he shares these honest opinions , besides the man doesnt have time to discuss everything with everyone! leave that to the forums?

        If you would how ever agree with Mark Rippetoe his statements thats more then fine but atleast dont bugg a man with an injured hand for it? its a free country agree or not but please dont act as if all the negative deleted opinions would help anyone or change anything.

    2. I am in exactly the same boat. I used to respect scooby a LOT. I stil want to, because I think he somehow got misguided to come to this conclusion. Be it stress or other certain current circumstances . He KEEPS misquoting “31 lbs muscle” in place of “31 lbs LBM”. MUSCLE IS NOT LBM. MUSCLE IS NOT LEAN BODY MASS. IT IS NOT. It is a VERY important distinction.

  32. How can I put this in a way that you don’t delete? Let me try again. You’re evaluating a strength book and program from a bodybuilder (and cyclist) point of view. Oh, you’re not even doing that, you’re evaluating an article that talks about the NOVICE effect of a genetically gifted kid (If you can read the whole article Rippetoe states that this is the “best case scenario” and “happens infrequently”). Nonetheless a strength program is more for athletes and is not intended to make you ripped and never claimed that. It’ll make you stronger. Considering this I ask you. Have you ever coached or trained for strength (powerlifting, olympic lifting, strongman, etc.) ? If not, why are you reviewing a STRENGTH book which contain exercises that you don’t even practice?

    1. That’s easy! Just go to Applebees, order an appetizer, an entree and a desert. Wash it down with a soda.

      Appetizer sampler — 2460 kcals
      Riblet and chicken tenders platter — 1910 kcals
      Blue Ribbon brownie — 1600 kcals
      Soda — 100 kcals <– more if you get refills

      TOTAL — 6070 kcals

      Mmm….satisfying! You'll be ripped in no time!

      (calorie counts are from Applebees own nutrition information page, which is here: )

  33. Dear Scooby,

    I consider you my teacher in body building. I used to be very skinny and now I have gained around 10KG following the things I learned from you and a mixture of my own variations on them in around 16 months or so. I still look thin although I have developed some good sharp muscles on now. One of the most important lessons I learned is to bring DOWN my expectations and now I can see through the frauds when I see them. So keep up the good work. Please take sometime to make a video for people who have big differences is strength on their left hand side and right hand side of the body, people who have slow reflexes on one side in particular if you could. That would be a lot of help.

    Thanks bro.

  34. I think you also have to consider even if you were able to gain some serious muscle can eating 6,000 calories a day possibly be healthy for your heart, blood pressure, stomach, or colon. I don’t know the exact science behind this, but I do know it is not natural for humans to consume that much food in a day.

    1. For the people interested in SS, health concerns are typically not even on their radar. They want to gain weight and get strong, thats fine. Later they will quite possibly have health problems to deal with relating to the SS program, especially its nutritional component.

  35. Over here we also have a company (invented the bullworker in Germany), which works with theatralic marketing-methods. But these exaggerated methods brought many people to the sport. It is like Apple. There is a special reality destortion field around everything. Without people might not begin something new.

  36. people seriously need to realize that humans dont have superpowers. they can not get superjacked superquick, ive done a bulk and cut like this guy and i basically stayed the same. then i followed scoobys program and i went from 160 at 12% bf to 170 at 9%.

  37. I can’t fathom how anyone would think that 6,000 calories a day for a non-Olympic athlete would be a good idea. I’m pretty sure that anyone that’s a normal follower of this page will not be shocked, considering that you actually read things you talk about. Don’t mind the trolls.

    The internet needs more good, fair-minded people that are willing to look at the details and make informed decisions. Thanks for the heads up. :)

    1. I don’t think i even have 6,000 calories worth of food in my fridge. Thanks to Scooby its filled with veggies and fruits. No juices, can’t drink those calories. Right on brother. Glad to see there is a hall of shame, maybe Scooby should have an inductee every office hours event.

  38. I’m open minded. Some of you say that 31 pounds of *muscle* gain in 11 weeks IS reasonable so I offer this challenge to Mark Rippetoe. Heck, this would be a HUGE marketing coup for him and he would sell hundreds of thousands of books with the attention he would get from this. I propose an experiment:

    1) Mark Rippetoe cherry picks 10 students from his class that he thinks will have the most amazing muscular gains. Remember, his claim about gaining 31 pounds in 11 weeks is, and I quote: “not an isolated case, but rather a prime example of good program/good program adherence convergence”. So giving him the opportunity to pick genetically gifted people will give him an even better opportunity to showcase his amazing SS program.

    2) At the start of the test, all ten people have their body composition measured in an accredited floatation tank, the most accurate way possible of measuring body composition.

    3) *Before* the SS training begins the following will be published to the website: their beginning weights, body composition measurements from step 2, and a two minute video of each participant will be shot showing them relaxed and breathing from both sides, front and back in shorts (30s in each position).

    4) Every morning during the 11 week period, before eating anything or drinking anything, all ten students weigh themselves on the same balance beam scale in the same location. The scale may not be changed or moved. A video is taken of the weigh-ins in case there is any issues with the weighings. For each participant, a chart will be made with a best fit line passing thru the daily measurments to determine accurate starting and ending weights.

    5) At the end of the 11 weeks, all ten students have their body composition measured again and an average is taken to obtain the average *muscle* gain over the 11 week period. Anyone who drops out because of injury or any other reason is averaged in as a zero gain. Ending videos will be shot as in step 2 for people to compare.

    6) The final videos, the weight charts for each participant and the average muscle gain during the 11 week period will be published along with the average figure from step 5. If the average from step 5 is over 31lbs, I will remove Mark Rippetoe from my Fitness Hall of Shame and do an official apology. If the average from step 5 is under 31 pounds, he removes his claim of 31lbs in 11 weeks from his website and replaces it with the accurate measurement obtained during this experiment.

    1. I like how you don’t even have to mention steroids in the list of conditions because this would be an extremely improbable LBM gain even if the participants were sprinkling the stuff on their Cheerios every morning.

    2. I see your point but rip says lean body mass. I think you use these terms interchangeablely when they are quite different. Im also not sure why you discredit the ss program by saying “his amazing ss program”. All ss is is a basic strength program focusing on basic lifts. Doing the whole GOMAD thing isnt part of the program. Its something suggested to gain weight. I dont get where all of these people wrongly assume that in order to do ss, you must drink the milk.

      Also, good luck asking him to do a study to gain that much muscle in that time period. Even rip says its lbm, and not all muscle. Simply totaling fat gain from before and after and then subtracting that from total weight gained allows you to see what lbm was gained. Again, lean body mass and dry muscle tissue are different!

      With all that said, zach probably did gain more fat than suggested but he sure as hell got stronger.

  39. The only way I see it possible is by combining results from his strenght programme with natural growing processes of human body. It’s not unlikely to grow a few inches even when you’re 20.
    Anyway you’ve got my full support on exposing such claimes as “unfair”. Even if it’s true, which I find hard to believe, it’s immoral to advertise one’s programme in that way. Everybody should know about such practices, when they take place. Thanks for spreading the word.

  40. Keep on doing those skate board squats, maybe that’s why you don’t believe his routine can work like he claimed, learn to work the posterior chain PROPERLY and you’d be amazed how much lean mass gains you can make…

    1. Perhaps you didnt bother to read my article or my post so let me give you a quick summary. I say the SS program is good, except for the nutritional part that I have issues with but thats I OK as I dont see eye to eye with many on nutrition. The thing that is not forgivable is the slimy exaggerated promises he is using to sell the SS program promising kids they can gain 31lbs muscle in 11 weeks as long as they do precisely with M Ripptoe says.

  41. Well, i chosen the SS programe for the first time i stepped into the gym, but i followed the best advice ever writen about it(on 4chan from all places):


    Do that, eat healthy and in sufficent amounts for your body weight, and you are on track to meeting your goals, be them weight loss, muscle gains or strength gains.

  42. I agree with your point of view Scooby! Thanks for the info. I understand the moral side of your thinking and its really good. Not just teens, anybody can brake down from disappointment by dont realize that they dont have realistic expectations!
    Though my self i might be interested in reading this book. I am 25 now and learn a lot through trial and error so in the end while being skeptical for things, i do that after i gave em a shot!
    Thanks again!

  43. *Shrug* Need to get these liars out of the way. The main problem with world fitness and health modern-day is that people just aren’t educated about it. They don’t know what they’re doing or what they’re talking about, and so they fall for scams like the ones put out by Mark and SPSC.

  44. FUUAAAAARRKRK. Scoooby dafuq? It’s like my parents fighting, I don’t like this man.
    It’s possible man, the claims he’s making. With the right training (from Rip, enough milk to fill up the Hindenburg with farts, being weak enough, having the right genetics, and from noob gains this is possible man. Of course not everyone can expect the results he’s claiming, but it’s possible.
    Y gooby? Y

  45. Scooby, there’s a storm coming, BRACE yourself! There’s a WHOLE bunch of them out there.

    I’ll always be behind you though. The program is good, but following GOMAD (Gallon of milk a day) is just asking to be fat.

  46. You’re breaking my heart Scoob, Mark didn’t “promise” 31 pounds of muscle gain. He said “Hey look at this guy”. Not only that but he got massively stronger and built a great foundation from which to extend his weightlifting, or bodybuilding if he so chose. I feel like your program offers totally different goals than Marks. And I gravitated towards Starting Strength because I wanted to be STRONG, not just big/ripped.

    Also GOMAD? Come on. This is for the people who complain about being “hard gainers”… Nothing like a gallon of milk to convince someone they are able to gain weight.

    1. Please read the hyperlink above about the 31 pounds thing, he says and I quote “not an isolated case, but rather a prime example of good program/good program adherence convergence”. To me that sounds a heck of a lot like a promise.

      1. How can I put this in a way that you don’t delete? Let me try again. You’re evaluating a strength book and program from a bodybuilder (and cyclist) point of view. Oh, you’re not even doing that, you’re evaluating an article that talks about the NOVICE effect of a genetically gifted kid (If you can read the whole article Rippetoe states that this is the “best case scenario” and “happens infrequently”). Nonetheless a strength program is more for athletes and is not intended to make you ripped and never claimed that. It’ll make you stronger. Considering this I ask you. Have you ever coached or trained for strength (powerlifting, olympic lifting, strongman, etc.) ? If not, why are you reviewing a STRENGTH book which contain exercises that you don’t even practice?

  47. Hey Scooby, special friend here.
    I have a feeling that today’s Office Hours is gonna be an explosion. I’m looking forward to it as always though.
    In my opinion giving beginners realistic expectations about their progress is one of the most important things to be done if we want someone to keep on track and not feel disheartened with their progress so I’d like to thank you for tackling this topic (even if you didn’t intend to) because I’ve been pointing this out for ages to beginners at that place we know and always met with heated resistance. Your word will carry a lot more weight than mine and I feel it might reach at least some people there.
    That said, SS is a great book and a simple routine for anyone looking for overall strength gains. I recommend it to anyone who is looking to focus on strength.

  48. Jiffy Von Munenstein

    The bottom line is that an exaggerated claim or dishonest marketing is no reason to completely dismiss all of a person’s work. There is much to be learned from SS, and all the stuff about its marketing being “dangerous and cruel” is WAY overly dramatic. If a teenager does this program and doesn’t get the results he/she wants, it will be a learning experience. Nothing more, nothing less. If it causes a kid to spiral into depression, then he/she had much bigger problems to begin with.

  49. SS is an amazing book and is excellent for learning the perfect form on the main compound lifts, and as much respect I have for rippetoe’s knowledge of training I too called bullshit on his 31lbs muscle claim on the SS forum. Didn’t think I would be on your side when I clicked this article but I have to say I am. Well done for pointing this out

    1. You would be surprised all the people backing up Mark Rippetoe with their belief that 31lbs muscle in 11 weeks is reasonable when many cant achieve 31lbs muscle in an entire decade. People believe what they want to believe.

  50. Scooby, I’ve been a follower of yours for 18 months and this is the first time I’ve felt inclined to offer my support. As a 46 year old Brit, I’ve spent two decades abusing myself with junk food and alchohol and got away with it pretty much until two years ago when I couldn’t fit into any of my shirts and decided, finally, to get into shape. I’ve tried everything in the past, joined loads of gyms, tried all the diets and never managed to stick to anything. Then I found your vids on YouTube and the SINGLE most important bit of information I got from you was to set my expectations correctly. Having been bitterly disappointed with my progress in the past, because I’d been sold the dream of losing 3 stone and getting ripped in 3 months, when I saw your vid about how I should expect to see gains of only about 5 lbs of lean muscle in a YEAR I had a eureka moment. Time to redefine my expectations, concentrate on losing the fat and putting on muscle over two years rather than two months and see what happens. What happened? Exactly what you told me would… I’m in better shape now than when I was in my twenties! My wife sure appreciates it (thanks for that Scooby, another bonus), but the comments I get from people that haven’t seen me for a while are just brilliant. I know as a 46 year old it’s going to take a bit longer to make the progress I could make in my 20’s but still, look at you and you’re in your 50’s… no reason I couldn’t do the same. So stick to your guns. You’re dead right. You are changing peoples lives with your honesty. Thanks again from across the pond. Graham

  51. There is no shortcut in proper muscle building. He may have deceived the public , howeverr he can’t lie to the people you have encouraged and taught . thanks scoob for sharing your knowledge . # team scooby !

  52. 21 December 2012.

    Knees will be blown out.
    Skateboards will be snapped.

    Markus “Rip” Rippetoe vs Scooby “Natty” Natissimus will decide the fate of the Earth.

    SS vs natty physics.

    Loser gets a free ticket to Snap City.
    More at 11.

    1. As the OP states, the SS book is good its just that the marketing of the book is unacceptable. Like it states on my Fitness Hall of Shame, if anyone removes their wild and deceptive claims that got them in there in the first place, I will gladly remove them from the list. The ball is in his court. If he wants to continue to tell wild exxagerations to sell his book then he will remain in my Fitness Hall of Shame.

  53. John D. Reynolds III

    This is just another of your most idiotic elaborate statements that drive me completely nuts. You are merely using Ripptoes’ name for attention just like that ridiculous Squat video. It is hack Science with Speculative Opinion.

    First and foremost, Mark book was developed with the primary thought of developing a solid foundation of Strength. You literally just used His marketing machine to promote yourself. You even make several jabbing remarks to do just that. So that makes this whole article merely just a SEO and Marketing piece of junk.

    1. So you apparently think its OK to advertise a product with the promise of “Gain 31lbs muscle in 11 weeks” when its just not possible? Tell that to the depressed and suicidal teen who has lost all self-esteem and self confidence because he did everything that Mark said to do in his SS program but only gained 6 pounds muscle in the 11 weeks instead of the 31 pounds he “should have” been able to gain.

      1. I have never heard of a kid committing suicide because he only gained 6 pounds of muscle instead of 31 pounds. Come on. Half the people on your Facebook page would have killed themselves by now because they all seem to be struggling with keeping up to your 5 pounds of muscle a year theory.

        I can’t believe you’re putting him in the hall of shame because of one coaching article (not even a marketing article at that) that you think will make some “depressed and suicidal teen” kill himself.

      2. It is disappointing (and hypocritical) that you are criticizing him by misrepresenting what he wrote in an article for his site. Not only is he clear that the 31lbs gained was LBM and not only muscle, it was in an article with the primary purpose of demonstrating the potential for strength gains – not an advertisement as you keep asserting. There is a lot of other information in that article, why don’t you explain why you disagree with him rather than calling him a liar?

      3. John David Reynolds III

        I believe that you merely just used Counter Marketing, first of all. Next any teen who actually reads the book will read into the fact of Ripp is talking about which is a can candor filled aggressive book. You can get the workout for Free Online, it is not complicated. He passes off Nutrition, he just gives his ideas for getting bigger. You just generalized a single advertisement to sum up an entire book to generate internet traffic. Congrats… it will work.

        I love how you blocked me by the way. Because the fact is just like Dennis said you are putting him on the Wall of Shame for ONE Coaching Article that is NOT the actual subject of his book. It makes you a HACK.

        I am glad you “help” people and provide SOME good information and a quite a bit more BUNK.

  54. You da man Scoob! You’re absolutely correct. I work in this industry and sadly I see it every day. Kid comes in claiming he put on 20lbs of muscle in a month off of “x” product and must think I don’t remember seeing him last time he was in. They look the same or just fatter. I really don’t understand it! PLACEBO IS GREAT WITH THIS ONE

    1. A big problem I get from people who experience these “amazing gains” is that they have fooled themselves. Happens all the time, I get the “I gained 50lbs muscle in 3 months”. Then I ask them how they know and they reply that they were 140 when they started and 190 when they finished. Forgetting for the moment that they didnt weigh themselves accurately and their weight could easily be off by 15lbs, I ask them about their bodyfat. They get a glazed look so I rephrase the question. How do you know that the 50 pounds of weight you gained was muscle and not fat – how did you measure your bodyfat? To which they always reply, “I just KNOW it was all muscle”. IGNORANCE IS BLISS!!

      1. BTW Scooby.. No offense.. but i have seen many friends and people train with “Bulk and Cut” strategy.. they do gain fat.. but yeah.. its true that they gain more % of muscle mass in the process.. just to cut is at the end..

  55. Agreed, would be nice if they separated the program from the nutrition in this book. The form pointers for the compound movements are really good, but doesn’t justify the bad nutrition

    1. I have several books that I plan on writing someday but the subject matter would surprise you, lets just say I wont be competing with sixpackshortcuts, Mark Rippetoe, Vince DelMonte, or Will Brinks.

    2. It’s funny, not one person in this thread has made a claim to even coming close to the 31Lbs of LBM, personally, or even knowing someone who has. LOL What a bunch of senseless arguing. I’d like to believe in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I’m not going to argue that it exists. If it’s even close to true, prove Scoob wrong. I doubt that would happen. It’s much easier to sling feces and be in denial.

  56. Scooby……this claim of LBM gain is not even in the book. Zach’s anecdotal evidence is from the FREE website. Your radical conclusion implies that your well known strict stance on nutrition is tainting your judgement here. Rip is repeating over and over how he does not care about razor abz and usually refers to otehr sources when it comes to nutrition in general.

    1. Incorrect. That FREE website is run by the publishing company that Mark Rippetoe owns which publishes the SS book. The sole purpose of that website is to sell his books and promote him. That free website is his sales division.

      Yes, I know that he says over and over that he doesnt care about abs – thats fine. Please re-read the OP. The problem is that he is being dishonest about the gains expected. Anyone can gain 55lbs in 11 weeks, just go to McDonalds 5x daily. What he is *promising* is 31lbs of MUSCLE in 11 weeks and that is just not possible.

        1. Even infants can not gain LBM at such rate (31 pounds per 11 weeks). There is difference or there isn’t – this doesn’t chage the fact. Everyone justifying Rippetoe claiming with “difference” can be considered as retarded. Sorry fellas.

          1. Firstly, everyone claiming such things as “you can gain 31 punds of LBM per 11 weeks” treat his readers as retarded people. Secondly it’s dosn’t matter for me whether I’m apperar as credible or I’m not – I’m not giving fitness advice nor benefit form fitness. It’s matter for me how weak and not based on knowledge arguments are used to make such experienced and contributed man as Scooby seem less credible.

            Do not take it personally.

  57. I don’t know who this Rippetoe character is, but I think it’s quite possible for *one* person to see a 31lb lean body mass gain. He’s most likely using an outlier to market his product.

    The guy was also 20 at the time, so it’s quite possible he had the newbie gains you’ve talked about before. AND lean body mass isn’t all muscle. It includes water and bone. With all the milk he drank, it’s possible he added bone weight too (men don’t stop growing until they’re 25), especially if he had a calcium deficiency before starting the program. And the guy could have been dehydrated before he started. And then the measurement device he was using could be introducing systematic measurement error.

    It would be wrong of him to say the *average* person gains 31 lbs muscle.

    1. I did the numbers and this is *way* out of line, even with a puberty growth spurt AND newbie gains. No, its clear to me that 1) either he is intentionally exaggerating or 2) he doesnt know how to use skinfold calipers. The before and after pictures of Zach, his success story, do not show someone who gained 31 pounds of *muscle*. Check out my /muscle-gain-calculator/

      1. The muscle gain calculator produces an expected value (not a prediction interval).

        (And btw, I love the muscle gain calculator and the body fat calculator. The latter informed my decision making when I was losing weight last year (25 lbs, lost 35 lbs fat, gained 10lbs LBM)).

    1. As I say in the post, you are not alone. Many have gotten much stronger and much bigger using SS. My objection is that its cruel marketing to promise a teen 31 pounds of *muscle* gain in 11 weeks when there is no way in heck its ever going to happen and then the kid gets all depressed because Mark says he is genetically inferior.

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