Fitness Tips

Shocking Muscle Growth Stories that Will Blow Your Mind

How many times have you looked at yourself in the gym and wondered how to make them muscles grow bigger, stronger, faster? 

You look at those skinny little arms and with sadness filling your heart.

You might be following the most advanced hypertrophy plan in the world.

You may be eating 1000 calories surplus meals each day. PHAT, PHUL, Strongman 5 x 5, you’ve tried them all. 

But something’s not right. Your muscles seem to have a mind of their own and they are in no mood to grow as fast as you want them to, I, for example, tried alanine-free pre-workouts before I exercise and I took protein shakes in the morning and nothing seemed to work.

Well, the fact is that most people do not have what it takes to shock their muscles and hack their biomechanics for extreme growth. 

Don’t get us wrong. There’s a line that you don’t cross, even with performance enhancing drugs. 

And that’s what separates you from the titans of bodybuilding.

If you are at the same crossroads, then here are three shocking muscle growth stories that should be nothing short of motivating for you. 

These are ordinary men and women who have transcended the realms of reality and achieved what most people could never do with their bodies. 

Rich Piana’s Muscle Growth Story

muscle growth stories of rich piana

That name evokes mixed reactions from the entire fitness community.

Everybody loved Rich. He was a terrific guy to speak to. Very grounded. Hardworking and someone who knew a hell of a lot more about anabolic compounds than any other guy on this planet.

The reason? 

He turned guinea pig and tested on himself, what can be called extremely high levels of androgenic hormone-based cycles. 

As a result, he grew much larger than anybody else had done in that short a time.

I mean just look at the guy’s biceps and triceps. He looks like he could arm wrestle a gorilla. And his core is ripped people might think he has 10 pack abs or something, I bet he can do 100 crunches or even 500 crunches with no problem

Eventually, he died doing what he loved doing. And post death, there was a lot of chatter about his excessive usage and abuse that led to his death. 

But that’s done to death. Let’s for a moment, focus on what he was able to achieve when he was alive. 

Rich Piana’s Foray into bodybuilding

muscle growth story of rich piana

It’s easy to attribute everything Rich gained to anabolics. The fact is that there’s a lifetime of hard work behind it.

He first stepped into a bodybuilding gym when he was all of 11. He first entered a competition when he was all of 15 but unfortunately didn’t get placed.

His mum was a bodybuilder too.

And since the day he didn’t get placed, he got on to anabolics to achieve what he called his ‘genetic fate’. 

Boy, did he achieve. He held multiple titles and was Mr. California at one point in time. But his quest to get bigger and better never stopped. “Whatever It Takes” He used to say.

Most bodybuilders would scale down their cycles or stop using altogether once they stop competing. 

But not Rich. He weighed 322 lbs at a time. And according to him, that was lesser than what he weighed during his peak. Rich Piana Muscle Growth Story

He hopped on to social media and decided to hold court from his sprawling kitchen in his palatial Californian home, to a large audience that comprised of gym rats, fitness buffs and former bodybuilders. 

He did insane 8-10-hour workout routines. He ate 9 meals a day often stuffing massive amounts of food into his mouth just to meet the calorie count and macro nutrient ratio. 

How many people on earth can do that? 

The most insane steroid cycle in the world

Then, Rich did something that nobody had ever attempted. He devised a steroid cycle and posted a series of videos on his YouTube channel that were called ‘Get bigger by the day’.

His goal was to get as big as he could within 3-months. The cycle was actually 16-weeks long and his target weight was 30 lbs. of pure, lean muscle. 

To give you some insight into how insane that is, most men who train naturally can gain just 40-50 lbs. of lean muscle mass during their LIFETIME. You heard that right.

Here was this dude who was insanely huge to begin with, looking to get even bigger within just 90-days.

Here’s a look at the steroids that he used in that cycle. 

  • Injectable steroids: Deca Durabolin, Test Cyp, Test E, Tren E, Equipose, Proviron, Primobolan Depot, Masteron
  • Orals: Dianabol, Anadrol and Anavar
  • Peptides: HGH, HCG
  • PCT/On-Cycle support: Arimidex

If you were crazy enough to follow Rich with this cycle, you would be using grams of anabolic steroids every week. To top it off, you’d be using an insane amount of synthetic growth hormone too. 

At the end of this cycle, Rich gained 48 lbs. of lean muscle mass. Go figure! 

kelsey horton muscle growth storyKesley Horton’s Muscle Growth Story

If the Rich Piana story had you ducking under the sheets for cover, then here’s a saner one. 

Kesley Horton is a name that you might have heard before. She was a challenger on the reality show, ‘The Titan Games’.

She has an enviable body with biceps that would put most guys to shame. And one look at her quads show you that she aint no muck with her compound lifts. From the looks of it I would say she is squatting every workout. I bet she looks amazing in senita athletics or gymshark leggings

But she wasn’t born with those massive quads. Far from it. 

She was just another average-looking Jane Doe who was tired of her negative body image. At one point just after she delivered her baby, she was weighing a massive 170 lbs. And that’s when she decided that it was time to shed the excessive pounds.

kelsey horton insane muscle growth story

Chasing aesthetics with ‘crash diets’

In the beginning, Kesley’s goal was to look the way society termed beautiful. And the easiest way to do this was to do what seemed to be working for everyone. 

So she hopped on to crash diets and started to spend an excessive amount of time doing cardio, using an exercise bike and a treadmill and even running outside to tone her lower body. Quite naturally, she lost tons of weight. 

She reached her target pre-pregnancy weight and started to fit into most of the clothes that she had long outgrown. 

However, she had a paranoia about eating anything that was termed ‘unhealthy’. It reached a point where she started to feel disappointed as she was missing out on a lot of things that she otherwise loved doing.

Like enjoying a birthday cake with her daughter, or baking. 

kelsey horton shocking muscle growth story

The tipping point

The tipping point in Kesley’s life came when she moved to New Mexico with her husband and bumped into an old buddy who was a powerlifter. 

A casual conversation about fitness turned into a new opportunity for Kesley and she embraced it whole heartedly.

Since then, she’s been lifting and trying to inspire other moms with her inspirational journey.

One look at her Instagram feed and at her body transformation is enough to know how far she has come. 

You’ll find her Deadlifting 350 lbs. like it’s nobody’s business. 

The killer quads are all the testimony she needs. 

Sylvester Stallone’s Inspiring Muscle Growth Story

slyvester stallone shocking muscle growth story
Sylvester Stallone from his early 20’s to age 71. INSANE!

Much before he slipped into the skin of a PTSD-afflicted Vietnam veteran John Rambo, or the perpetual underdog southpaw from Philly, Rocky Balboa, Sylvester Stallone played bits and pieces parts in just about everything that he could get. 

The ‘everything’, included a cheesy, soft porn flick. 

One needs to take a look at his body in some of these movies to know how far he has come over the years.

Be it his recent outing in Rambo V, where his vein-bulging forearms could give any rank 20-year old fitness buff a run for his money, or his decade-old appearance in Rocky Balboa, where the dude sported abs. 

He was 63 at that time. How many 30-year olds do we find struggling to get abs? Sylvester literally looks like he has a 10 pack.

Following his detention in Australia for importing vials of HGH, there was a lot of chatter in the media about Stallone being a roid-junkie. 

Sure, he’s chemically enhanced. But it still takes a whole lot of determination to step into the gym at that age. 

Let’s not take that away from the guy. He still kicks ass, as would be obvious if you follow him on Instagram.

There’s more recent post where he’s doing overhead triceps extensions with a 90 lbs. dumbbell. That’s at an age of 73. 

No mean feat folks. 

The evolution of Sly’s body

sylvester stallone muscle growth stories

Stallone wasn’t always as jacked and ripped as he appears on screen in his peak, during the 80s. His early days reveal that he was just a beefed up kid trying to look menacing on screen. 

He does look the part though. 

But it was after he landed the Oscar-nomination in Rocky, that he really started to transform his physique. 

The first noticeable change came with First Blood, where he shed tons of kilos from his Rambo days and appeared lean and shredded. If there was ever a cinematic depiction of a Green Beret that won hearts, this was it. 

This was when he was being trained by Franco Colombo, the former Mr. Olympia. 

First blood was followed by Rocky III, where according to sly, he sported a body fat percentage of just 2.9. 

His diet? Small Oatmeal cookies, an insane amount of protein and 25 cups of coffee every day (possibly for the caffeine). 

But according to us, his best form and conditioning came with Rocky IV. The fact that he manages to stand toe-to-toe with Dolph Lungdren (The guy who played He-Man), and still look the part of a middle lightweight boxer goes miles in his credit. 

When he gained a paunch and 40 lbs. of fat for Cop Land, people thought that finally age had caught up with Stallone. 

But before everyone could blink an eye, he was back. And he grabbed all his former beefed-up buddies and created a franchise called ‘The Expendables’ where he appeared more jacked than ever. 

It’s fascinating how Stallone has managed to stay muscular at an age when most people wouldn’t even dare lift the weight of a barbell. HGH or not, Testosterone or Nandrolone, the guy deserves credit for the amount of muscle that he’s been able to gain and stay consistent at it. 

That sums up our list of inspirational muscle growth stories. We hope that you enjoyed reading it and that it can motivate you to get kicking again and break through plateaus. 

As Rich Piana used to say, ‘Whatever it takes’!

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Ben Mayz

Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now. My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future. I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics. My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics. Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward. You can learn more about Fitlifefanatics on our About Page

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