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Some supplement companies will go to any lengths to prove their products’ effectiveness. But sometimes evidence isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be. Before and after photos are most compelling means by which to convince a person of steroid-like gains.
Often before photos show bodybuilder in off-season condition; fat, bloated, with pale skin. Hardly inspirational, but true to life. And photos are sometimes reversed. In one instance a supplement company presented a photo of a fitness model in top condition, declaring it ‘after’ photo. Beside it, apparent ‘before’ photo showed model in her last trimester of pregnancy. Anyone who is familiar with model’s history is aware that before photo was, in fact, after photo.
The same trick was used by an ex-professional bodybuilder from 1960s. Interestingly, his jowls sagged more and his face looked older in before photo. Apparently his supplement line not only increases muscle, it may be proverbial fountain of youth!
Before and after photos from every day individuals sell a product best. They represent people like you and me... average weight trainees hoping to make dramatic changes in short order. But these photos are also highly dubious. In order to look as bad and as good as possible, models employ several tricks.
The before photos nearly always have subject slouching, frowning, pale skin, dull lighting, gut extended, and with no muscle pump. The after photos use harsh lighting with good shadow contrast, tanned skin, upright posture with lats and shoulders spread wide, muscles tensed, smiling with well-groomed facial and head hair, and a muscle pump. It also is known that duct tape has been used to pull back obliques/love handles in order to make waists appear even smaller and shoulders even wider. The same trick works under their arm pits, to make pec line more pronounced and sharp.
And so, are you truly seeing what person has accomplished and while on supplement ‘x’? Hardly; what you are witnessing is an illusion of posing and photography skills of model.
One winning competitor in EAS Physique Transformation contest in 1999 did look good if contrasting his before and after photos, losing twelve pounds of fat. He also, however, lost six pounds of lean tissue! Ignoring fact that he won, it could be said that his program was a failure and that he did opposite of what exercise was originally intended to do, e.g., increase lean tissue/function.