Andreas Munzer, Graininess, and Bad Skin

Grainy Dorian Yates Andreas Munzer
muscle grain
Andreas Munzer, ripped to shreds

Andreas Munzer’s legacy, or at least complete biography, seems to be largely his autopsy results if you go by Wikipedia’s Andreas Munzer page. Usually in the biography section of someone’s wiki page you will read about their early life, struggles for success, hitting the big time, etc… The following is Andreas Munzer’s complete biography according to his Wikipedia page(at least at the time of this writing).

Münzer was an admirer of fellow Austrian bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. He attempted to imitate Schwarzenegger, eventually meeting his hero at the Arnold Classic competition in 1996. While competing, he used a variety of ergogenic aids, including large amounts of potassium-sparing diuretics, possibly leading to his death in 1996.

After months of stomach pain, Münzer was admitted to hospital on the morning of March 12, 1996. By 7pm, doctors had decided to operate to stop bleeding from his stomach, but his liver and kidneys failed shortly afterwards. His condition by this point was too severe for a blood transfusion, and he died on the morning of March 14 at the age of 31.[1][2] The autopsy gave the cause of death as dystrophic multiple organ failure.[3]

Some of the specific autopsy findings were an extremely muscular physique with an almost complete absence of subcutaneous fat, a liver that contained numerous table tennis ball-sized tumors (with half the liver consisting simply of a crumbly mass that was similar to polystyrene), shriveled testes, and cardiac hypertrophy (Münzer’s heart weighed 636g; a normal man’s heart usually weighs 300–350g).[3]

Münzer’s electrolytes were also out of balance, and his potassium levels were extremely high. Traces of about 20 different drugs were found, along with acute toxicity (perhaps caused by a stimulant). Schwarzenegger sent a wreath to Münzer’s funeral in Styria, with the message: “A last greeting to a friend.”

Munzer came along at the same time as Dorian Yates who set a new level in conditioning by exemplifying what bodybuilders call being “dry”. Once a bodybuilder is in contest condition they will attempt to lose every last trace of excess water just below the skin which could blur their definition. Some try natural means to achieve this dryness, others turn to diuretics. Dehydration is a potentially dangerous side effect from diuretics but the most severe is complete cardiovascular collapse. In the short term diuretics are potentially much more dangerous than steroids if used improperly in competition.

What is an example of the dry look? On Dorian Yates it was basically skin so thin you could see the directly to the muscle tissue which had a bumpy/ veiny or “grainy” look. Bodybuilders still strive to look grainy which, to those outside of bodybuilding, probably just looks like bad skin. The graininess example below is of Dorian Yate’s thigh:

muscle grain
Dorian Yates thigh exhibiting the grainy look.

Bodybuilding magazines often use Photoshop filters on bodybuilding photos to bring out more grain on the body thereby making the bodybuilder look more ripped. It’s extremely unhealthy to get to the”grainy level of body fat and it looks like gristle and bumps under the skin but bodybuilding magazine’s are trying to sell it as a desirable look. If you want to “enhance” this look in your photos within Photoshop use the Shadows/Highlights adjustment and/or Unsharp Mask filter.

Enlarged skin pores or goose bumps can add to the grainy look. Even freckles and moles can make you look grainy. You think I’m kidding but look at the magazine cover below. If you added bullet wound and cigarette burns to those quads there are some hardcore enough in the bodybuilding community that would think that the extra detail added to the physique. Look no further than the current fad among some bodybuilders of getting tattoos all over the body and face as evidence that bodybuilding is beginning to be about making a complete mess out of one’s self.

Do you know who wasn’t grainy? Arnold Schwarzenegger. His skin was too good. Sure, he had better genetics and looked better than most of the current crop of bodybuilders who are willing to take the 21st century level of bodybuilding drugs but he was missing that gristly, bumpy, plucked chicken look to his skin.

Andreas Munzer was technically grainy but he was lucky because his skin was in good condition and his muscle fibers were not obscured by over-vascularity. The striations in the muscle are what’s most important, not the veins. There are bodybuilders with over 10% body fat that still have veins even though their muscular definition is obscured by body fat.  At contest time you often see bodybuilders whose mediocre definition is further obscured by a tangle of messy veins. Munzer was a hyper-lean living anatomy chart with very clear muscularity and definition. We will have a follow up article with more detail on Andreas Munzer’s life.

muscle grain
Photoshopped to bring out the grain.
muscle grain
Goosebumps enhance the grain.

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