In addition to a willingness to grunt loudly and an affinity for carb cycling, there's something else ripped people seem to have in common -- a vast network of protruding veins.
Popped-out veins aren't just a blood-drawing nurse's dream; they're a key indicator of that coveted bodybuilder look. You're not hardcore until your blood-carrying pathways jut out like an arm full of hernias. But what causes them in the first place?
Bigger muscles require more blood
Maintaining so much muscle mass requires the usual suspects: discipline, heavy weights, eating copious amounts of protein, talking about the copious amounts of protein you eat. It also means your body itself has to work to keep said muscles big and functional.
"Bigger muscles demand more blood," Paul Salter, RD, CSCS, and nutrition editor at Bodybuilding.com, says. "When you accrue significant muscle mass, your body adapts by expanding its blood flow network; thus, veins become more prominent in specific areas."