What Doesn’t Kill you will make you Stronger (and BIGGER) – Your Muscles are Like Saiyans, They Thrive when They “Almost” Die


I still remember the huge banner/poster on the first gym that I lifted on, “Jet” Gym owned by a retired police officer and a family friend of ours, Uncle Jay. I can say that I basically “Grew up” in that gym. Unfortunately due to mismanagement, the gym itself has been acquired by different owners already.

Anyways getting back to the topic; that poster said:

“What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger”

Then it has a photo of Arnold in his prime pumping biceps. Makes sense; remember that lifting is basically an intentionally induced stressor which must be scientifically designed to cause physical adaptation to either make the muscles bigger, or stronger, or both.

Arnold Cheating bicep barbell curls

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But like what we talked about: for that to happen one must be careful that the stimulus would be the right type of stress which is “Eustress” (good stress), wherein your body can adapt to and not “Distress” (bad stress) this type is where your body will not be able to adapt.

You see training is like digging a hole in the ground, for it to become effective one must be able to actually fill the hole again plus put dirt at top. That is muscle and strength building 101.

And taking a quote from this article:
Folks that never dabbled in body building don’t always understand that in order to build muscle, you have to tear it and provide your body with the fuel to rebuild it. Further, if I get this right, the periods of fatigue after someone first gets started with exercise will be longer until they are more used to the cycle of tearing/rebuilding.

Basically lifting (especially the “eccentric” bodybuilding style) is tearing down muscles and building power and mass comes in when you allow your body to rebuild and recover.

When you are not able to fuel your strenuous stimuli with lots of natural foods (not junkfoods) and macro and micro nutrients, and rest; the stress that you have put your body into would turn from good to BAD stress, since the body will not be able to make up for the loss. Furthermore if you are not able to balance the “frequency”, “intensity”, and “Volume”, your workouts will be for naught and if one or all of these factors are higher than they are supposed to be in comparison with the other two, chances are your body will not be able to adapt to the training that you do causing the Eustress to become Distress.

Figuratively speaking: when you tear down the muscles and they DON’T “DIE”, then you will experience gains (Eustress) but if you let them “DIE” this is Distress and instead of gains, you will experience loss of mass, strength and vitality (and health).

Now this principle reminds me of certain Japanese animated series. Like almost all of the kids in the late 80s and 90s I also grew up watching the animated series “Dragon Ball Z”. If you were a kid back then you would be familiar (actually this is still being televised up to now) with the “Saiyans” who were like the main heroes of the franchise.

Basically the Siayans are a breed of “game breaking-strong” creatures from another planet. And yeah, no one can beat them.

What made the Saiyans great is that whenever they experience being “near-death” or being super beaten up, they get back twice or like five times as strong as they originally were; so I guess yeah, someone manages to beat them from time to time but they always end up winning anyways because they always go back beating the enemy to dust afterwards.

Now, I find that interesting. For those who are familiar, remember when Vegeta got back from intensive recovery after being almost beaten to death by the Z warriors; the Freeza bitches (Darbura) were surprised that he increased his power level. And when another guy Zarbon was able to own big time and left him for dead thinking that he drowned in the Nemekian lake, which he didn’t; Vegeta was able to recover and on the rematch with Zarbon he ended up OWNING Zarbon instead.

On that same saga, Goku almost died numerous times because of his crazy training in the space ship that he used to travel to Nemek but he always recovered since he manages to eat a “senzu bean” everytime (the stuff that fully recovers anyone who eats it even if they are nearly dead), Man I would like to have those Senzu Beans! Imagine what you could do with those! Well thanks to that, Genius – you nearly depleted the supply of Beans! But thanks to that he was able to increase his power level from around 6000 (or something) to around 100000!

bad ass dragonball bodybuilder

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Another one is when Son Gohan got almost killed by the Ginyu guy then when he got back after eating a Senzu bean he was able to put a beating on Freeza’s second form. And all those happened in just one Saga: the Freeza Saga. And I haven’t seen this Saiyan quality being featured in the later episodes.

By the way these were all possible because saiyans get stronger every time they “almost” die and when they are able to recover they will get back up and 100% (or more) stronger. But they have be on their deathbed already at least. Quite simple is it not? They just basically need to commit suicide and get away with it and with that they will increase their power level.

What is interesting about that is that it’s actually the same thing with regards to lifting and muscle mass and strength. After the bout if your muscles and your body are able to recover, you will get back stronger and/or bigger than you were. But the thing is that (like what we discussed above), the keyword is “recover” – you must allow your body to recover and do something that you know you will be able to recover from. Keep that in mind.

Well I guess a mere cartoon like Dragon Ball (which I really love by the way) has taught our generation two very important lessons: one about muscles (which we talked about above) and another one in life: being able to get up after being beaten up by life and its challenges.

In any undertaking, failure will always be one of the greatest teachers that you can get; albeit uncalled for. One must become resilient to failures and disappointments. Know that as long as you can get back up on your feet after being tripped over by life, you will become a better man (or a woman) than who you used to be.

All you have to do whenever failure does a number on you is to simply stand back up again, learn from your mistakes, count your losses (and your blessings in disguise) and raise your middle finger up high in the sky in the face of adversity.

Eat your eggs, and get back up – people!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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3 thoughts on “What Doesn’t Kill you will make you Stronger (and BIGGER) – Your Muscles are Like Saiyans, They Thrive when They “Almost” Die

  1. Actually I started to train after watching Dragon Ball Z. It inspired me to become stronger and faster. After all these years I can see the results.

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