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Bodybuilders: What causes bubble gut?

Right, I’m not going to sugarcoat this one for you, because whatever I refer to it is, bubble gut is certainly not something that you want.

If you’re often here, then you’ll have seen tips and guides for building muscle mass, losing fat and looking after your body in a more general sense. I’m taking the plunge here and hoping that the reason you’re here is that you’re looking for more information on palumboism, rather than experiencing it for yourself. Trust me, it’s not pretty.

Palumboism is a condition named after bodybuilder Dave Palumbo. Although you may have also heard it referred to as one of the following:

  • Bubble gut
  • Human growth hormone (HGH) gut
  • Insulin gut
  • Bodybuilder belly
  • Muscle gut
  • Steroid or roid gut

But enough about the everlasting bodybuilder terms for palumboism, what does a bodybuilder belly look like? And how does it occur?

Palumboism – the story

Named after Dave Palumbo. He was the first bodybuilder to display an oddly bloated stomach that looked completely unnatural and out of proportion with his chest. But why on earth does palumboism happen?

Well, my good friend, it’s all down to excessive stomach distension around a dude’s midsection, making them look bloated – and quite frankly, fat.

You’ve got to admit, it’s rather odd seeing a guy with extremely low body fat showing off a bubble gut, but here’s more as to why it happens…

What causes bubble gut?

There are some that claim a bodybuilder belly is a result of building the muscles on either side of the torso – known as the oblique muscles. As these grow thicker, the bodybuilders then struggle to hold their stomachs in, resulting in a bubble gut.

With so many dudes hitting the gym, it’s a little convenient how the renowned palumboism/bubble gut only appears in the bodybuilding community – due to a HGH and insulin use, as well as following extreme diets.


Many bodybuilders claim that a combination of human growth hormone and insulin abuse – alongside a high carbohydrate intake and high-calorie diet is to blame for this stomach distention. With little data to back up these ongoing rumors or palumboism, there has long been a debate surrounding bubble gut and the use of anabolic steroids.

Essentially, this ‘muscle gut’ is the result of a combination of the above. Especially seeing as anabolic steroids are not designed for those who run in bodybuilding circles, we have more on that later.

The rise in insulin abuse

So, what is there to know about ‘insulin gut’? If we look back to the 70s, 80s, and even the 90s, palumboism was nowhere to be seen. So, what went wrong?

Well, the competition got tougher. With more and more men fighting for that top spot, the bar rose. Insulin was used to help guys pack on bulk, resulting in the bloat we all now know of as Palumboism/bubble gut.

Human growth hormone (HGH)

Alongside insulin gut, came human growth hormone and a crazy amount of calories from a high carb diet. As the use of HGH injections increased, palumboism quickly flipped into ‘HGH gut’, with some putting this down to human growth hormone growing a guy’s innards, causing a bodybuilder belly. After food consumption, it’s said that a bubble gut sufferer’s abdomen can grow up to twice the size. Isn’t that just gross?

Why use human growth hormone?

Many bodybuilders claim that human growth hormone can lead to excessive growth, making it very popular if you’re prepping for competition.

Despite the opportunity for insane muscle growth, when this is combined with a high carbohydrate diet, insulin like growth factor and so on, it could set you on the path to gaining yourself a HGH bubble gut.

Increased abdominal muscle mass

Bodybuilders typically achieve their crazy stomach muscles through a combination of HGH injections, insulin use, multiple supplements and an insanely high protein diet.

Now, because of this, many bodybuilders achieve the ultimate six-pack. However, they also increase the muscles that lie underneath – known as the transverse abdominus and internal oblique muscles.

Naturally, muscle building in the midsection can contribute towards the appearance of stomach distension. Whichever way you look at it, or what you call the dreaded HGH belly, there is a variety of factors that can contribute to it.

So, what REALLY is the cause of the dreaded bubble gut?

Right, we’re not so sure that the last part above is completely true. However, a combination of growth hormone, insulin abuse, increased abdominal muscles, high carbohydrate intake and high calorie intake can certainly lead to stomach distension.

As well as this, performance enhancing drugs have become a norm within bodybuilding circles, which then undoubtedly contributes towards bubble gut.

More concerns about gut distension

Aside from some more obvious things that affect bodybuilders and potentially cause a dude’s entire midsection to look like they need to see some medical doctors, there is more that may cause the dreaded bubble gut:

Carbohydrate loading and water manipulation

This is a common technique used by bodybuilders and fitness models. Carb loading and water manipulation involves dehydrating and lowering your carbohydrate intake, and in many cases, ingesting diuretics to help flush out any water.

The trouble is, in theory, loading up on carbs (often referred to as ‘carb’ or ‘glyco’ loading) seems like a great idea to add definition, but if it doesn’t quite go according to plan it can lead to slower digestion and gut distension.

How can you treat bodybuilder gut?

With a distinct lack of clinical studies from any medical associations regarding this, there is no real recommended treatment for palumboism as it stands. If we take a moment to look into the potential causes of bubble gut, then logic would suggest we simply avoid those things, meaning you’d need to:

  • Give up on the insulin use and give your body a rest
  • Not be pushing your body beyond its natural limits
  • Stopping any unnatural habits, such as steroids and growth hormone
  • Watch your carb intake and don’t go overloading yourself
You may also like: GROW STACK

By avoiding all of the above, you should be able to prevent this awful-sounding bubble gut, and therefore, also treat the palumboism by cutting back on these elements. Remember, growth hormone is a naturally occurring hormone, and while it may be tempting to boost your HGH levels, it can be dangerous and of course – lead to bubble gut.

Prevent bubble gut

Whether you’re a competing bodybuilder or not, there are some ways to prevent that ugly bodybuilder bubble gut. This will mostly come down to your intake, the technique you use in maintaining muscle and building more muscle mass; as well as calming down on the human growth hormone and so on.

So, here’s how to avoid that dreaded HGH belly.

Reduce carbohydrate intake throughout contest prep

If you’re looking to avoid stomach distension, you’re going to need to calm it down on the carbohydrate intake prior to competing. A huge carb intake can cause a high increase in glycogen store in muscle, leading to water retention.

Since glycogen attracts water, if you load up too much you could end up with a super bloated bubble gut. This could also make it look like you have more visceral fat than you actually have, meaning you won’t be looking your best and your hard work is all for nothing.

Not only that, but reducing your carb intake, particularly complex carbs, will also give your internal organs a break as these are harder to digest.

Taper human growth hormone and insulin dosage close to competing

The likely result of increased human growth hormone levels, the combination of HGH and insulin (as well as diet and so on) is often the cause of bubble gut distension.

So if you’re looking to compete and you don’t want your palumboism stealing the show, tapering down on HGH and insulin is vital. Alongside this, it’s important to not go mental with your carbohydrate intake, as we mentioned above.

If you are loading carbs, get your timing right

If you do decide to use these water manipulation techniques, then ensure that your sodium and electrolyte intake is increased via electrolyte solutions supplementation. You’ll also need a high fiber and digestive enzyme, as digestive aids.

But what about timing? Well, if you wanna avoid palumboism, you’re gonna need to allow around 24 hours for full glycogen supercompensation before competing.

In the bodybuilding community, these techniques are quite common to gain muscle definition. Timing is crucial, though, to avoid that muscle gut none of us want.

Use intermittent fasting during the cutting process

All of us want to get shredded, shift any excess fat and maintain as much muscle mass as possible, don’t we? This can be achieved through intermittent fasting – has shown to be just as effective as your usual calorie counting for losing fat and maintaining muscle.

Again, timing is essential here too. When done the right way, intermittent fasting will ensure the amount of food in the digestive system is low, reducing the chance of stomach distention.


Other tips for avoiding HGH belly:

  • Avoid pushing your body beyond its limits
  • Ditch non-medically prescribed insulin use
  • Avoid HGH and steroids

Bubble gut: is it a side effect of using steroids?

Well, there’s a whole list of potential side effects of steroids, including the use of steroids and illegal SARMs.

Aside from palumboism, here’s what else you could be facing as a result of steroid use:

  • Liver problems, including tumors and peliosis hepatis (a blood disease)
  • Mood swings, aggression and delusions
  • Hormonal problems, such as testicle shrinking, lowered sperm production, gynecomastia (manboobs) and hair loss
  • Cardiovascular concerns, such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke and artery damage
  • Skin problems, including jaundice, rashes, cysts and acne

Who the hell is Dave Palumbo anyway?

You may be wondering where the term ‘palumboism’ actually came from! What many of us also know as ‘bubble gut’ or ‘HGH belly’ was named after a man called Dave “Jumbo” Palumbo, now a retired bodybuilder. He competed from 1995 through to 2004 on a national level, and it’s said that palumboism was first seen in Dave Palumbo.

Palumboism: is it worth the risk?

Sure, steroids such as growth hormone might deliver huge muscle growth (according to the dudes down at the gym), but is HGH bubble gut worth the risk? We think perhaps not.

Taking growth hormone is a dangerous game to play, with many users reporting a whole multitude of side effects. Not only an increase in the risk of heart attacks etc, but also, who the hell wants manboobs?

If you ask us, the health consequences of HGH, insulin use and steroids are simply not worth it. However, there is another way to get shredded!

Here at JuicedUpp, we have carefully developed 100% legal and safe alternatives to anabolic steroids and SARMs, so you can experience HUGE gains, fired up fat loss and enhanced stamina with ZERO side effects. That’s right, and absolutely no bodybuilder bubble gut in sight.

Why risk awful stomach distention? You can achieve a high quality physique safely, with our CUTTING STACK! This stack melts fat like butter, boosts your performance and keeps your energy levels high. Get yours today and see those MASSIVE gains.

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