Observe this video of Antonio Krastev snatching 216kg (an unbroken overall world record). Pulling and catching 475 pounds overhead is extremely powerful, very impressive indeed. Nobody has snatched more than Krastev in competition.

Now observe the following picture of Russia’s Dmitry Klokov (left) and Evgeny Chigishev (right).

Who are you more impressed with? A fat, out of shape looking man who is really strong, or muscular, athletic guys who are still pretty strong, but not as strong as the fat-mullet guy? You are free to have your own opinion, but I don’t like disgusting, fat lifters.

Some people might say, “Yeah, well strength is all that matters, therefore the strongest guy is the best.” That’s like saying your favorite lawyer is the guy who makes the most money despite the fact that he charges you for the effort it takes to zip up his pants after getting a ZJ on his way to your court case. Personally, I’m more impressed with a guy that is muscular over a strong, fat guy.

That’s always been the case. I grew up watching wrestling and started lifting a dumbbell because I wanted to look like Sting, Lex Luger, or Scott Hall (who expertly refused to shave his chest). While bodybuilding may take it over the top, I — like most guys — admire someone with a good physique (male or female). Arnold Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbo are demigods and I’m more impressed by muscular football players than fat, out of shape players (although most are muscular nowadays). Anybody who fervently says they don’t care about their physique is probably fat, out of shape, and unwilling to have any effort to do anything about it.

This shouldn’t appear as a shock. 70’s Big co-captains Doug Young and Anatoly Pisarenko had masculine, muscular physiques. Ricky Bruch was a viking-like manimal. My favorite weightlifter is Klokov (and I dislike Aramnau despite his crushing 13kg victory for the gold medal over Klokov in 2008 because he’s chubby and ugly). Basically I respect someone more when they have a decent, muscular physique over someone who is god awful strong, yet dumpy and fat.

Realistically speaking, you are too. Johnny Pain posed this rhetorical question in our first podcast, “Would you want to be really, really strong, but just be a tub of shit? Or would you want to be really, really strong and look fucking great?” The choice is obvious — why would you want to be be fat? Why would you want to be strong and not look strong? Furthermore, why would I want a bunch of my readers to be fat, tubs of shit?

I’ve never, ever wanted anyone to be fat, yet I also don’t want them to be skinny. Most guys will never “look like they are strong” unless they weigh 200 pounds. No woman will ever “look strong” unless she fucking squats twice a week and eats more protein. Skinny guys need a dirty bulking diet for a little bit since they won’t/can’t eat enough of a cleaner diet, and the fat guy isn’t going to look strong unless he stops eating a bunch of bullshit and adds in the appropriate activity to get un-fat.

I’ve never pretended to completely disregard aesthetics or ability to be strong, and I’m sick of hearing pussy-ass weak guys who fear gaining fat or getting slower (and I’m not even talking about CrossFitters, so don’t begin that boring-ass troll session). If you’re skinny, then you’ll gain a little body fat as you gain weight, but you can keep it in check by eating properly. If you’re fat, there’s no reason you can’t drop body fat relatively quickly, and if you’re mega fat it would serve you better in the long run to primarily drop bodyfat while maintaining muscle and progress you’re lingering strength back up afterwards.

I don’t care what you do since it’s your decision. I’d rather you not be skinny or fat, and I’ll only be impressed if you’re strong and muscular.

58 thoughts on “Impressed?

  1. I always thought a ZJ was getting woken up by receiving a BJ, but the above anecdote makes me re-think what I previously thought I knew.

    Justin, thoughts on benbata’s v-neck workout for looking swole?

  2. PS – Klokov looks more fucking swole than Chigishev, who I believe is a whole weight class heavier than Klokov.

    Also worth referencing, Dmitry Lapikov

  3. I’d rather have the lower body fat, but not because I give a fuck if I look good, more because the health risks/sacrifices in other areas associated with having that much body fat.

    That brunette though…

    True. I purposely didn’t breach the health side of things because it would detract from my point, but that’s a whole post/topic in itself.


  4. Small guys who either A) worry about getting fat or B) complain about being a “hard gainer” are simply using those reasons as excuses not to put in the hard work and time. I was 115lbs four years ago and am now just over 190 at 5’ 9’’. Four years ago, I would always complain about being a “hard gainer” until I finally realized that was just code for being a pussy that won’t squat, dead lift, and eat. Completely agree with Justin, I definitely didn’t start going to the gym to look like Krastev. I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed with Klokov’s strength and appearance.

  5. I’m not going to lie, I found this post to be pretty disappointing. Yeah, there’s no reason for the vast majority of us to look like that, because the vast majority of us will never achieve world class strength. These guys are the strongest men in the world, and all you can think about is “Yeah, but the don’t look good! They’re so fat and gross!” When you see Benni Magnusson’s world record pull, do you admire him for being possibly the strongest man alive today, or are you just disgusted because he’s not lean. If it’s the latter, then that’s just stupid. Call me crazy, but I’d actually rather look like Aramnau anyway.

    Once again, you bore the fuck out of me. Please, read everything and stereotype what I say to the extreme some more. It’s only logical to subjectively interpret it the way you want to. Yawn.


  6. “rather look like Aramnau”?


    I’d look like Klokov of course, but if it came down to it, I’d rather look like Zuzana than Aramnau. At least that way I could stay home all day playing with myself in front of a mirror.

    More importantly you’d get paid to play with yourself.


  7. I was going to say that Justin’s post was one of the best I’ve read on here, but then track’s post just obliterated it.

    I lol’d at his post, then I continued laughing at this one

  8. I have to agree with Hamburgerfan, this post is just lame on a few levels and I expect you to get some heat for it.

    Mainly, Chigichev is hardly even fat in this picture! Certainly not “disgusting” fat. You may also be the first person Ive heard call Aramnau chubby.

    The “out of shape” football player comment is also good for a laugh. All those out-of-shape guys playing in the NFL, you know…

    Why not just come out and say what you really mean- you like 6-pack abs on men. It’s seriously the only coherent thing I can take away from this post. Unless Im missing some kind of inside-joke?

    An Overly Skinny Guy


  9. How can you say Chigishev is fat and out of shape? In this picture he’s got a belly, sure. But he still is (and looks) strong and epic as hell. Carrying some body fat is anabolic; sure, you shouldn’t exceed 20% (as has been outlined by Rip in one of his articles), but Chigishev doesnt’t look +20% to me.
    Don’t get me wrong, being strong and athletic is amazing (way beyond just being strong), but Chigishev isn’t fat.

    If the Chigishev is directed to me, then you interpreted this wrong. Chigishev is jacked as fuck. I didn’t talk about him in this post, yet he’s a super heavy lifter that I would cheer for over Rezazedeh (assuming he was still lifting).


  10. Fairly certain you are all misinterpreting what Justin meant, I thought he was saying that Klokov and Chigishev are the ones who are muscular and athletic and Krastev is a fatty.

    While I appreciate it, Djay, you don’t have to defend me. You’re allowed to of course, but arguing with people who are easily offended or get their feelings hurt is boring and a solid waste of time.


  11. You may actually be right, Djay, it does read like that on second pass. Sorry if I misunderstood that.

    I still think the Op is plenty misguided. People competing in weight-class sports are going to be fairly lean almost by definition. The exception being the top, unlimited class.

    In the case of the super-heavies, I couldn’t give a shit. Personally, Im more impressed by a guy who holds the gold and for whom the argument can be made that hes the strongest who ever lived.

    Throwing around the phrase ‘fat tub of shit’ physique, even if not exactly directed at Krastev, seems kind of disrespectful given how Justin opened this post.

    I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over my biceps.


  12. i’m kinda fat, probably 19% BF, doing a linear progression to get strong but it’s added quite a bit of fat (and i was no fitness model before). overall i look worse but added 125 lbs to my squat. i’ll never be lean and mean so i may as well go for brutally strong.

  13. But why should we care what you prefer? Should we abolish the sport of lightweight crew because all the guys look like starving Kenyans?

    If you’re among the bigger and stronger powerlifters, you might just look like a fat bouncer. I don’t want to look like that, but it’s respectable because it’s in the service of a worthy goal.

    Choose your goal and work towards it. We don’t all need to have the same aim of getting ripped.

    And speaking of aesthetics, pre-steroids bodybuilders like Steve Reeves are aesthetically superior to Schwarzenegger, Colombo and their successors Coleman and Cutler. Since steroids, the overriding principle is “OMG MOAR MUSCLE!” Not that I really care, but bodybuilding would be more mainstream if it aped Reeves and not Ronnie.

    I can’t tell if you were asking me about the Kenyan thing. Who said anything about abolishing sports? Doesn’t it have to be a sport to abolish it? Are you suggesting that we eat Kenyans? Is Schrodinger’s cat both alive and dead? Or just alive OR dead?


  14. I’m not fat, but I don’t look like the guy on (our) left either. I don’t feel like cutting if its going to fuck with athletic performance, because I’m stronger and faster than ever, even if I have a decidedly average body. If I lean out over time, I’m not gonna complain, but I’d rather keep getting stronger.


    Are you still playing hockey every week? Would you say that getting on the ice is the best way to condition for it?


  15. Agreed 100%.

    Co-Captain Doug Young put it best himself to that reporter in the little documentary video of him on youtube, “I would not want to be very very strong and not look very strong. I want to look as strong as I am. Looking pretty is important to the great majority of the people. And to the people who say it’s not important, I would say they’re not really telling the whole truth.” Sage.

    I think you are the 1 out of 3 that actually got this article. No one ones to look like Louie Anderson, but be the strongest man in the world.

  16. Well put Maslow. I was thinking about that exact quote while I was reading the comments for this article.
    I would guess that when we (the 70sbig community) say we want to get FUGE (that’s “fucking” and “huge” together) we aren’t visualizing the hamburgler as a achetype body image, but more Klokov. My goal with this journey is to be and look as strong as possible. I accept the moderate amount of body fat that accompanies the strength training lifestyle, but moobs are gross, I don’t care how strong you are.

  17. Holy shit, it appears that a large portion of the reader base not only needs to get a whole lot stronger, but also master the art of fucking reading comprehension.

    I’m on the border here. Part of me wants to believe that these are just really artful trolls. Yet, I’m inclined to think that most of these dumbshit posts come from people who failed to grasp the concept of completely reading an article before developing any sort of opinion. Jesus Christ.

  18. If you dislike a superior athlete for being “chubby and ugly” (wtf?), then you are valuing aesthetics over performance, which is an exceedingly silly way to judge an athlete. A real athlete does whatever it takes to be the best at their sport. If that means being “chubby and ugly” (again, wtf?) then I’m sure Aramnau and his gold medal don’t mind a bit.

    I am very sorry for boring the fuck out of you, but I’m really not sure how else to interpret this article.

  19. I think a lot of guys didn’t notice the video link to the guy making the snatch record and went straight to the photo and assumed Justin was comparing the dude on the left to the dude on the right, saying right was super fat and gross.

    @Jaybles, is your name a reference to Tenacious D? Just wondering because I’ve had this birthmark since I was born.

  20. If you’re the strongest man in zee world with all sorts of metals and you’re a fat tub of shit then cool. That’s all still impressive but that doesn’t change the fact you’re a fatass. I thought of mariusz pudzianowski after I read this.

  21. @Alphanitis

    Just like if you’re decently strong and not winning anything, but you look great no one gives a fuck because you’ve never accomplished anything that would cause them to.

  22. I like Dmitry Klokov because he get so damn jacked up when he lifts. I would easily rather look like Klokov than Krastev. And, as it’s kind of a gamble, if I had to choose between Klokov’s life and Krastev’s life I would go with Klokov – as far as I know Krastev doesn’t have the best relationship with his old country or his ex-coach and Klokov has a pretty hot wife.

    But if I knew bulking up to Krastev’s size would give me the record – a record that would stand for decades – I would do it. Choosing between being jacked+strong and fat+a little stronger is one thing. But to be the best in the world makes it a different matter.

    IF THERE IS A TIE in weightlifting, then the guy who was lighter at the weigh-in wins. That’s fair. It would be silly to still have those old-school half-bodybuilding/half-weightlifting competitions they had in the 40s.

    Guys like Vasily Alexeev and Leonid Taranenko, like it or not, outlifted Pisarenko with their gross, pear shaped bodies. I admire the degree to which those guys clearly did not give a fuck. They where on the platform to win at any cost – to do anything to be the world’s strongest man. There’s something very brave about that.

    I have a feeling that Dmitry Klokov and Evgeny Chigishev are only as lean as they are because they believe it’s in their interests athletically to not have 25% + bodyfat. I also have a suspicion that the Pizz was leaner than his pear-shaped comrades largely because of genetics and how he reacted to drugs vs how they reacted to drugs. The physique and appearance of someone is so dependent on genetics and on chance that picking your favorite lifter based on appearance rather than on their work ethic, talent, and will to win just seems a little queer to me.

    I suspect if Jesus came down and told them that if they bulked to 340 they’d be guaranteed a gold medal and a world record then they’d do it. You can always lose the fat when the record is yours and you just want to look sweet.

  23. @Puke. exactly. Jay Cutler could give a fuck about Krastev’s awsome snatch because he has a better body than krastev, and Krastev could give half a fuck about who wins mr. olympia because he holds a world record.

  24. hey justin you fucktard how bout you answer my goddamn email

    I don’t have an e-mail from you, asshole. You didn’t use the e-mail that you log-in to this site with. Re-send it so I can delete it again.


  25. Am I the only one who checked out Marilou Dozois-Prevost physique, then the brunettes, before Klokov and chigichev?

    For the record, i intend to marry Marilou

  26. Alphanitis

    Krastev has a better body than Jay Cutler. I would rather have a dope mullet, a sweet stache, and a giggly belly than look like Jay Cutler. The dude just looks weird – he’s done so many drugs it’s changed the shape of his skull and chin. Krastev still looks like a person.

  27. Performance vs appearance. Which would I choose?

    Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be an either/or thing. I definitely like getting my numbers up, and don’t mind adding some fat along the way, but I also do want to look like I’m strong as well, and look good nekked.

    I agree with Justin on this one, although various posters have made good arguments. I’ll take the jacked looking strong guy over the stronger but tubbier looking guy.

    The main thing I think we need to remember is that BOTH GUYS ARE STRONG. Given that, which would you really choose?

  28. Completely agree with the OP.

    The only thing I want to comment on is @bohdi, I complain about being a “hard gainer” because my metabolism IS higher than average, and at about 190lbs, 5000 calories BARELY even cuts it. As a poor-ass college student, it’s really fucking difficult to afford to eat enough to gain the weight. If I didn’t get discounts on food from where I work, I wouldn’t be able to even eat as much as I do.

  29. I’d rather look like me; my girlfriend is way hotter than either of those socialist fucks in the picture.

    America loves a winner.

  30. Nate – the post yesterday was about women lifting heavy in order to get STRONG.

    Today’s post is about guys being STRONG, and dealing with something that some find to be an issue: appearance.

    Note that in both posts, the point is to be STRONG.

  31. Look, I think the point everyone here is missing is that I am fat, weak and girlfriendless…and no amount trolling will ever change that.

    Now, I got a question: when you’re checking out dudes, no-homo, what characteristics do you look for, no-homo, that makes you say to yourself, “I’ll bet that guy is pretty strong…no-homo.”? All types of guys could be considered aesthetic or good-looking, no-homo, but what qualities make you think “he’s strong…no-homo.”?

    Is it big arms? No-homo. Broad shoulders? no-homo. Posterior chain? no-homo. Big hands? no-homo. Cauliflower ear? yuck.

  32. This post pretty much sums up exactly why I’m starting to focus on losing weight. Not for health, not to live longer, but just because I train pretty hard, and I would rather look like I do too. It can be infuriating to think that someone could look at me and think I’m a lazy bastard who’s never seen a gym because I have a belly, and look at the skinny chain smoker next to me and think they are healthy because they look like a runner or some bullshit!

    Are people ever this easily offended in real life, or only on the internet?

  33. I’m thinking Belaeyv, Ed Coan, Magnus Samuelsson, Kirk Karwowski, Derek Poundstone, Jesse Marunde.

    All not fat while being pretty damn successful in sports that required a man to be pretty damn strong.

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