What Is Palumboism (Bubble Gut)? – Causes And The Worst Cases!


In today’s article, we are going to be looking at what is Palumboism.

As we attempt to get to the bottom of what this mystery condition is once and for all.

In the world of bodybuilding there are all kinds of weird and wonderful characters dominating the stages up and down the world.

While bodybuilding does appear to slowly be moving away from the mass monster look that dominated the sport since the 90s.

Thanks to guys like Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman, and Markus Ruhl.

It has to be said that the “special supplements” that many bodybuilders are reported to have taken are getting more powerful by the year.

We have seen some truly freaky physiques on stage over the decades, and by freaky we mean that they had the perfect combination of mass and aesthetics.

Some bodybuilders, however, have unfortunately found themselves getting a reputation from having a freaky physique in a different sense.

For those of you that are familiar with the sport of bodybuilding.

You’ll know that the name Dave Palumbo is synonymous with the sport.

The founder and head of RX Muscle.

Dave Palumbo is a legend in the world of bodybuilding.

The downside is the fact that.

As knowledgeable as he is, he, unfortunately, is known as ‘the father of Palumboism’.

But what is Palumboism?

That’s what we’re going to be looking at today.

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Who Is Dave Palumbo?

Before we look at what Palumboism is, we’ll first bring you up to speed with who Dave Palumbo is.

If you know your bodybuilding, you’ll know already.

But just to make sure.

Allow us to refresh your memory and catch you up.

Dave Palumbo is 50 years of age and is one of the most respected and well-known individuals in bodybuilding.

He is a former competitive bodybuilder who is now retired.

He is, however, still involved in the sport as he runs the RX Muscle website and forums.

He regularly hosts podcasts with bodybuilders, celebs, and pro athletes from all walks of life.

He works as a nutritionist.

He has dabbled in personal training.

And he even has his own supplement line.

Dave is still in fantastic shape, though back in the day he had a truly amazing physique.

Before he got into bodybuilding,

however, he was always very athletic.

Dave showed an interest in sports and athletics from a young age.

In fact, in his early college days, he competed as a very successful long-distance runner.

He always used to work out to stay in shape to run.

Though as he started to see improvements in his physique.

He began to find himself falling less in love with running.

And more in love with bodybuilding and weight training instead.

He began training seriously with the intention of competing.

And in 1990 he entered his first show.

He weighed in at just shy of 170 pounds, standing at 5,9 in height.

He placed a very respectful 6th.

To most that would be seen as a huge success.

But to Dave, this was a failure.

He took his debut 6th place finish as an incentive to bulk up and work harder than ever.

In 1995 a new and vastly improved Dave Palumbo emerged.

Now close to 80 pounds heavier.

He entered the NPC Junior Nationals and took first place overall.

His best-ever placing came in 2003, at the NPC USA Championships where he placed 2nd as a super heavyweight.

Dave was one of the biggest and most aesthetic bodybuilders to ever grace the stage.

Yet as time went by, something began happening to his physique.

Time catches up with us all, but with Dave.

His physique seemed to get worse and worse by the week!

His physique changed so much that people began referring to this metamorphosis as ‘Palumboism’.

What Is Palumboism?

So, we now know who Dave Palumbo is.

Which means we now need to look at what Palumboism is.

As we said, although he never turned pro.

Dave was one of the most respected and impressive bodybuilders in the industry.

He was big, lean, and aesthetic.

As time went by, however, his physique seemed to deteriorate.

He suffered no obvious injuries and seemed to miss no time in the gym.

So what was going on?

Pictures emerged of Dave posing on stage and he began a laughing stock on the internet.

We know how petty the internet bodybuilding community can be.

And the pic went viral.

In it, Dave’s gut looked bloated and twice as big as it once was.

His muscles looked flat and washed out, and he looked like he was suffering from a touch of muscular atrophy as well.

He looked finished, and in truth he was.

His placings suffered hugely and he was forced to step off the stage and explore new horizons shortly after.

The Palumbo Causes:

In truth, there is no obvious cause for the condition known as Palumboism.

Though everybody has their own theories.

The general consensus, however, is that it is caused by sensitivity to human growth hormone.

HGH causes, what is known as a growth gut in bodybuilders.

This condition makes very lean bodybuilders look bloated.

And as if they are pregnant or suffering from a beer belly.

HGH guts occur because the human growth hormone causes the organs to grow and expand within the abdomen.

As they grow and expand, they push on the abdomen and cause it to look bloated and swollen.

There are believed to be other causes of course.

But HGH abuse, and perhaps insulin abuse to some degree.

Is believed to be the main cause.

It should also be noted that over a decade ago.

Dave Palumbo faced criminal charges for possession of and distribution of human growth hormone to other athletes he was training.

He pleaded guilty to these charges and was sentenced to 5 months in federal-state prison.

So, as he clearly had access to HGH.

And was found guilty of dealing it.

Surely it wouldn’t be beyond belief that he himself could have used this hormone during his competitive bodybuilding days.

Is Palumboism A Disease?

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Some people were so shocked by the fact that Dave’s physique changed so much, and so quickly.

That they were convinced he was unwell and suffering from some disease.

His body changed, as did his muscle mass levels and even his face seemed to change.

The truth of the matter, however, is that Palumboism is NOT a disease.

And contrary to popular belief.

It is simply due to the abuse of HGH and other hormones and illegal drugs and compounds.

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Does Palumboism Only Affect Bodybuilders?

If you are familiar with bodybuilding.

You’ll know that Dave Palumbo is not the only athlete to have suffered the seemingly ill-effects of HGH and other hormones and compounds.

Other bodybuilders, both pro and amateur.

I have also suffered, and we’ll be looking at those to end our article today.

This then begs the question of whether Palumboism is.

In fact, a condition that only affects bodybuilders.

The answer is no.

Different people use and abuse drugs and hormones for different reasons.

HGH is a compound that assists with muscle mass.

Which is why bodybuilders tend to use it so much.

However, it also speeds up muscle recovery, injury recovery, and athletic performance.

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This is why other athletes have been known to use it.

In fact, everyday individuals looking to simply get in shape or get stronger have used and abused HGH and they too have suffered the ill effects of Palumboism.

The reason why it is so well known in the world of bodybuilding is that when you’re on stage and dieted down, every single aspect of your physique is on the show.

So nothing is hidden away out of sight.

Therefore, athletes in other sports could also be suffering from similar side-effects.

But as their bodies are hidden away and covered by clothing, it would not be obvious.

If you’d seen Dave in regular clothes, you’d think he still looked as awesome as he had years in the past.

But because he was dieted down and competing in posing trunks, nothing was hidden away.

The Most Famous Bodybuilders With Palumboism:

Okay, now we’re going to be looking at some famous bodybuilders with the condition.

Now, remember, bodybuilders, do not need to be IFBB pros to make the list.

As you are about to find out.

Famous bodybuilders with Palumboism include:

1. Scott Steiner

If you’re a fan of pro-wrestling.

You’ll know that Scott Steiner.

AKA Big Poppa Pump.

It is a true legend of the sport, especially in WCW.

Scott Steiner was known as the ‘Genetic Freak’ because of the fact that he was so enormous.

His arms were huge, yet the rest of his physique was symmetrical and aesthetic.

What Is Palumboism (HGH Guts)? Causes And Case Study

After he left WWE in the mid-2000s.

Steiner’s body began to regress.

His arms were still as big as before, but his gut expanded and looked swollen.

And his pecs seemed to separate and atrophy drastically.

We don’t know for certain, but it’s pretty obvious that Steiner used steroids and probably HGH too.

So, could his Palumboism be due to drug and hormone use and abuse?

We think so.

Despite this, he still remains a true legend of the world of pro wrestling.

2. Branch Warren

Branch Warren is an IFBB pro who has had one of the most successful careers in the business.

He has finished runner-up at the Olympia.

Has won shows such as the Arnold.

And has constantly found himself in contention for the top prize.

This is even more remarkable considering the fact that he was so injury-prone.

What Is Palumboism (HGH Guts)? Causes And Case Study

Branch Warren would often suffer injuries due to his reckless and hardcore training in the gym.

And he almost certainly will have used HGH to speed up muscle growth and recovery.

Not too long ago.

When he competed, Branch began showing signs of Palumboism.

As he looked to have lost muscle and gained a growth gut.

And it was clear he was also suffering from a nasty-looking hernia.

3. Greg Kovacs

Arguably the second most well-known case of Palumboism is from Greg Kovacs.

Greg Kovacs sadly passed away in 2013, aged just 45.

He was a Canadian bodybuilder who had a reputation for being one of the biggest in the sport.

He was big and muscular and had a mass on him that compete with the likes of Markus Ruhl.

He died of heart failure.

Which was likely due to the amount and types of steroids and hormones he was likely taking.

Greg started to show signs of Palumboism when he reached his 40s.

What Is Palumboism (HGH Guts)? Causes And Case Study

He was a huge dude at 6,4 and 330 pounds off-season.

When he competed, he had a noticeable bubble gut and a distended stomach.

And from that point onwards his career was over.

He passed away not far afterward.

4. Big Lenny

Believe it or not, but Big Lenny actually had a far worse case of Palumboism than Dave Palumbo did.

Many believe it should, therefore, be renamed.

What Is Palumboism (HGH Guts)? Causes And Case Study

Big Lenny, not to be rude to the guy, had one of the ugliest physiques not just in bodybuilding.

But in the world.

His gut was so bloated and distended that he looked like something out of an Alien movie.

Big Lenny is very tall and very heavy.

He is sad, in denial about his Palumboism.

And he instead tried to blame it on the fact that his gut looks bigger than it is because he did so much cardio that his legs shrank down.

He has denied taking steroids and HGH.

But we are skeptical it has to be said.

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Reda Elmardi

Reda Elmardi | Writer

Reda Elmardi is a BJJ, fitness and bodybuilding fanatic. He's been writing about his experiences for over eight years and started his own publications on topics such as BJJ, Steroids, and Fitness.

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