Just because you are "big", and carry significant muscle mass, it does not mean you are somehow immune to the effects of the excess weight on your body's systems. Muscle mass works FOR you to support your joints, cushioning the impacts and strain of movement. Muscle also protects you from impact injury, as the muscle will take the hit, bruise, and then quickly heal... it protects vital organs inside and also protect the bones. But that mass puts MORE strain on the heart and vascular system. If that accumulated strain results in high blood pressure... it can be just as deadly as the strain from excess fat.
Second... MANY of these BIG guys, are a LOT fatter than they admit! Despite their thick arms, 50+" chests, and thighs the size of tree trunks... many carry a belly to match! Even though their wives/girlfriends may LIKE their big, thick, "muscular teddy bear" size... the excess fat that is riding along is crushing their health! All that mass takes a HUGE calorie intake, and much of those calories are quite often from "less than perfect" food sources! Even though they are pretty lean on the surface... a LOT of fat is accumulating inside, around their organs, in the form of brown visceral fat. This visceral abdominal fat is the MOST dangerous fat for our health. It's a killer!
Many of these big muscular strong guys are hiding a LOT... High blood pressure, sky-high cholesterol, triglycerides, and diabetes... Sleep apnea is VERY common. They actually stop breathing for short periods at night, and then gasp and startle back to breathing. Every stop in breathing is restarted by an instinctive shot of adrenaline, which further disrupts sleep, and pushes the blood pressure sky-HIGHER. The massive calorie intake to fuel their training intensity and size can result in insulin insensitivity, rising fasted blood sugar, and borderline diabetes. Chronic high blood sugar contributes to atherosclerosis (heart disease and stroke), and eventually likely early onset Alzheimer Disease (diabetes of the brain). It can also damage vision, the kidneys, and the circulatory system!
Surprise surprise... a number of these bigger guys are also dabbling in some MAJOR anabolic hormones... Not the therapeutic doses of testosterone associated with TRT either. Please understand... MEDICALLY SUPERVISED TRT taken at prescribed levels are GOOD for you! Despite early flawed studies, TRT/HRT results in a DECREASED incident of heart attack when taken with a healthy calorie-appropriate diet, regular exercise, and supervision. Lots of these guys are taking 10, and even 20 TIMES therapeutic doses... for DECADES. They are mixing multiple anabolics, and backing them up with mega-doses of stimulants. As a result of the intense training... and the joint stress of their mass... they frequently turn to high dose, or potent formulation, pain killers. You get where I'm going here... Mixing stimulants and pain killers kills more bodybuilders, wrestlers, and former NFL guys than anything else... NOT the steroids. Combined with visceral fat accumulation... DEATH.
So what's the solution? Is muscle mass KILLING people? Is bodybuilding a deadly pursuit?
HELL NO!!!!!! Bodybuilding, done right is potentially an EXTREMELY HEALTHY life-extending sport/lifestyle! The secret is control of the fat (and of course controlling the drugs!). Even at extremes of muscularity, the guys who are keeping their body fat in the high single digits and VERY low teens ALL YEAR ROUND... are doing wonders for their bodies! All of the benefits of muscle: all the strength, all of the protection, all of the functional ability... All of the health benefits, including LOW lipid profiles, LOW blood sugars, and NORMAL blood pressures! Yes, the calorie intake is HIGH to fuel the workouts, but kept under STRICT control.... all those calories include a TON of nutrition, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healthy proteins!
The guys you see on Facebook who are still competing, looking amazing past 50 and 60, and living VERY active and healthy lives into their 80s and 90s are NOT "bulking up" in the off season! The pinnacles of health you see in our society, who look, feel and act half their age... are NOT on massive doses of steroids and other hormones (though MOST are on prescribed/monitored TRT!). These guys (and women) track their calories, eat clean 90% of the time, and stay within 10-20 pounds of "contest shape" all year round. Mid-January... they have abs! Mid summer, they're sporting a six-pack, even if they're NOT competing. They have a LOT of muscle. Many have BMI numbers in the high 20s (overweight), and even low 30s (obese)... yet they'll likely see their late 70s, and even push 100!
Hit the weights heavy. Build as much muscle as you can, as much as you want... but keep it healthy, and stay lean! "BULKING" is just getting FAT! And the fat will kill you.