What the Heck is Muscle Growth?

Note: This blog was originally published on my MySpace blog, August 5, 2007.

That’s the most common question I get asked when someone stumbles across my writing. Why are you so obsessed with it? usually comes right after. Sometimes it’s honest curiosity, sometimes it’s judgment. Every once in a while, someone writes me just to say ‘ew.’

For some reason—whatever the tone—I’m always flustered when I’m asked. Is muscle growth really that bizarre? Am I a freak for writing it?

I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is ‘no.’ I’m not a freak for writing about muscle growth. I’m a freak for so many other varied and quite shiny reasons. But back to the first question:

It’s a transformation genre like any other. Some people like werewolves (me), some people like vampires (me), some people like MG (me to the nth power). Like with most transformation stories, just about anything can spark the change. Magic, science, good old fashioned exercise, or a really, really hot round of toe curling sex might do it. Possibilities are endless. It’s just that, instead of fur or fangs, the person involved will put on muscle.

Lots and lots of subgenres in MG. Sometimes there’s a little macro involved, so the person growing thicker also gets taller. More muscle can also mean incredible strength and a higher {pauses a moment to indulge a happy smile} sex drive. Sometimes one guy is actually stealing size from another, and that’s called muscle theft. If you’ve read my story Just Wait, then you know a bit about that one already. Muscle theft is the dark side of the genre, and often one of those “hate to love it but must have it” sort of things.

Now, why do I like muscle growth? There are so many possibilities to explore with MG. I’ve often said I love the inherent change in dynamic, and I so do. Maybe the person who transformed starts to see the world differently, or maybe the people around him see him in a different light. There might be more confidence, more aggression, more (yes!) sex, or just a bucket full of trouble once things hit the fan. I like to explore that. I also like to explore issues of power, and MG totally gives me a reason to screw with the classic seme/uke relationship.

I mean, what’s sexier than a seme who can stay seme even after his uke becomes physically stronger?

If you’re wondering what the heck a seme and uke are, I promise I will get to that in a different blog. 🙂

But back to muscle growth—

Why would anyone choose to write in such an unknown genre?

Truthfully, I don’t think it is unknown. It’s just incognito. The obvious place to look for muscle growth in the media is The Incredible Hulk. I love the green guy, but there’s so much more out there.

In keeping with comic books:

Captain America—young, average soldier volunteers for an experiment and becomes a ripped superhero.

Spiderman—remember that scene in the first movie when Peter Parker is checking out his new abs? Yep, muscle growth.

Classic cartoons:

Tom & Jerry—believe it or not, there’s an episode of that toon where tiny little Jerry drinks a formula containing who-knows-what, and he gives that cat a little beat down.

He-man—yeah, Adam was fit, but that sword gave his physique a little extra something whenever he invoked it. I’m a child of the 80’s, so I’m sure this one had an impact on me. And the transformation is even more significant in the newer versions of the cartoon.


Incarnations of Immortality—In With a Tangled Skein, the man Niobe marries has to do a bit of growing up to get a second look from her. When he takes up chopping wood without a shirt and begins to put on some muscle, Niobe takes that second look. And a third. And a fourth…

Creature—When I read it long ago, my fragile young mind was sure it had tons of growth. Some people have since told me that they disagree. It doesn’t really matter. This is one of the books that fired up my imagination, so I’m grateful to John Saul.


A lot of anime has MG in it. Especially the ones where the main character has to “power up” in order to hit their next level of strength. Many times there’s also shirt ripping. 🙂

In Heavy Metal, there are two excellent storylines containing muscle growth, but I won’t give them away here because it’s a classic piece of animation and everyone should see it at least once.

All over YouTube.

Oh, and this one’s getting me sent straight to hell:

The bible. Yes, the bible. I learned to read from this book, which mean I learned about Samson long before I’d ever heard of Hercules. And depending on which version of the bible you have, you can look up the stories of the Nephilim. Many interpretations of those guys, but the way my bible study went, they were children of the angels who grew up to be huge, “mighty” ones and ended up causing all kinds of trouble. They were also purported to have unnatural libidos. Genesis 6:1-8; Jude 6.

Hmmm, the bible should not turn me on…

Anyway, that’s a list off the top of my head. The point is, MG is pretty much everywhere. You’ve probably seen it, you may even have been turned on by it.

I write about it because it’s a theme I love, and that’s what writers do. Well, that’s what writers should do. I’m lucky because my career’s young enough that I get to sneak in under the radar where a lot of the industry’s pressures are concerned. And muscle growth isn’t the only genre I love, so it isn’t and won’t be the only thing I write. Characters that grip, stories with layers… these are the things I always strive for, no matter the genre.

Blogging about muscle growth won’t stop the questions and eyebrow raises, I’m sure. But it’s been really fun to delve into it here, and I hope I didn’t scare you away. 🙂

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4 Responses to “What the Heck is Muscle Growth?”

  1. sharrow says:

    I must admit when I read muscle growth I wondered if it was a diet and exercise thing. heh. A little more to it apparently!!!

  2. Diet and exercise is a legitimate way to get to muscle growth. I’m all for that as well. 😉

  3. jukebox-csi says:

    I just bought & read One Shot, after becoming intrigued by the excerpt, and have to admit that I have fallen in love with the genre and you’re writing of it. I’d never heard of it (well, except for Hulk, et al cartoons/anime, that you mention in this blog), so wasn’t sure what to expect. Yesterday, I started reading your Michael Finally Grows Up, and look forward to seeing where you take it. I do love the change in dynamics, the loss of confidence and the devlopment of fear of the one partner as the other grows in size and begins to overshadow; especially when the fear/loss of confidence eventually yields to trust and love, and a rebuilding of the relationship. In a way, I identify with the characters, as big/muscley, hulking guys have always unnerved and even scared me.

  4. I’m a huge fan of transformations in general but these are among my favorite types.

    I’ve done quite a lot of stories like that and you should check out my DA page sometime:


    And here’s my blog:

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