I don’t know bout’ all y’all, but The Lion King is one of my favourite flicks. With Bony to Beastly on the brain, I started to see a lot of similarities between lionly living and becoming a beast of an ectomorph. I started coming up with a list of bulking lessons straight from the king of all beasts—Mufasa. Besides, that movie has so many good lessons about life in general—like how when your paps tells you not to go to the elephant graveyard, well, you probably shouldn’t go to the elephant graveyard. If you do…
Anyways, I was in the middle of a normal Hagen-Daaz infused Friday night watching Lion King, when I realized that lions are really cool. I’ve got a lot of respect for the lion. So I did a quick Wikipedia and YouTube search for some legit, peer-reviewed facts.
Perusing through the world wide web, I found myself watching video after video of lions doing cool things like chomping on wildebeest butts, taking strolls through the moonlight and mating with each other—you know, normal lion stuff.
After absorbing all this amazing information, I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Lions are big—weighing up to 550lbs. They do explosive training (sprinting and wrestling), but only for short bursts. They rest a lot; up to 20 hours a day. They’re also pretty lean. No, they may not be winning any figure competitions, but they’re at least getting participation trophies.
So … they eat and sleep all day and are packed full of lean muscle? Goodness! The dusty prehistoric light bulb in my brain is showing signs of light!
Lions are the ultimate ectomorph bulkers. They’ve got long narrow torsos, big heads, lanky limbs—and they know exactly what it takes to stay beastly, even if they typically have more trouble benching than guys with more barrel chested body types. How?
- They spend their energy explosively. They sprint after antelopes, they wrestle with other lions, they make more lions. All of these activities are fantastic for stimulating big fast twitch muscle fibres and increasing masculine hormone secretions.
- Lions devour anywhere from 11 to 15 pounds of meat a day!!! Sometimes they gorge and eat up to 66 lb in one sitting! With the heightened insulin sensitivity built up from chasing down antelopes, do you have any idea how much protein synthesis you’d be able to induce with that much lean protein?! After doing some math, which may or may not be correct, lions can eat up to 8,580 grams of protein in one sitting and up 62,726 calories in a day. That’s like eating half of a wildebeest! Oh wait … it is.
- If that wasn’t enough music to my ears, I also learned that lions tend to be relatively inactive for 20 hours of the day. This sounds a lot like the little-known trick Hollywood actors use when putting on rapid amounts of muscle for movie roles: naps. Naps boost your growth hormone production, speeding up recovery between workouts and allowing you to train with greater frequency and intensity.
- They nap with their family. Studies have shown time and time again that those with strong social ties live longer. Even more interesting, those with stronger social ties build muscle faster. There’s a simple reason for this. The hormone that bodybuilders have nightmares about, cortisol, is produced in times of stress. If we’re in danger our body has to prioritize differently, and focus on short term benefits. Longterm health and physique benefits, like fat burning and muscle-building, are neglected. Having a strong social network and close ties keeps lions at ease, limiting cortisol production, and keeping them leaner, healthier and more muscular.
For us humans, it’s the exact same! To be as beastly as we can be and sustain a well-muscled physique, we need to train in a way that forces us to be explosive and strong (aka lifting heavy things), we need to eat a surplus of calories (eat more energy than we expend), we need to rest, and we need to love life.
If you want to be more like a lion – aka, be more athletic, muscular, lean, and cool.
- Train to be strong and athletic. This means doing stuff that forces your body to adapt in a way that makes it stronger and more athletic – lifting weights, sprinting, jumping, backflips.
- Eat lots protein-rich unprocessed foods. Become the indulgent omni-carnivore you secretly want to be.
- Rest so that you can recover. If a lioness is separated from the herd she has to hunt more, as she can’t rely on her teammates to get food. In turn these lionesses tend to drop to unhealthy weights. If she was able to rest more, she would be able to keep it beastly.
- Taking responsibility for your own life and being true to yourself will make you go places. Mufasa said it best.
You may wonder why I chose lions when there are so many other giant “bulker” animals out there, such as the tiger, grizzly bear, and Mort from Madagascar. It is simply because I felt like it. Plus The Lion King is a siiiick movie!