The Myostatin Kid

Part 1

It started four years ago, when I was 12.

Well, that's not quite right.

It actually started when I was born. I'm one of those genetic freaks who is lacking the gene for myostatin, the protein that regulates muscle growth. Without it, there's nothing to tell the body to stop growing muscle.

Until I was 12, I wasn't obviously all that different. I wasn't unusually large or anything. I wasn't taller, I didn't weigh more. On the other hand, I was always unusually muscular -- and I was enormously stronger than all of my peers.

That might have been a problem but even as a little kid I sensed that I needed to be careful with things. In addition to unusual strength I also had unusual balance, coordination, and fine motor control, not to mention quickness. Still, I moved slowly and deliberately, especially when I was around other kids.

By the time I was 12, I was 5'6" tall and weighed 150 lbs. Definitely on the big side for 12 but certainly not unheard of. There were plenty of kids (guys and girls) my age who were as tall or taller than I was, plenty, for that matter, who outweighed me (although they were almost all fat.)

None of them, though, had a 44 inch chest, 26 inch waist, 26 inch quads, and 15 inch biceps. (Not many of the guys, for that matter, had a six-inch dick, but I didn't really find that out until later.)

And none of them could bench press 500 lbs.

I might not have known exactly how strong I was if Mr. Clark hadn't moved in next door. From the time I was born it had just been me and Mom and Aunt Boo, Mom's elderly spinster aunt. Mr. Clark was a gym teacher and Mom figured it would be a good thing if I hung out with him.

"You're getting to be a man, Johnny, and there are things Mr. Clark can tell you about being a man that I can't."

She'd also told Mr. Clark about my genetic anomaly and he was eager to find out what I could do.

Mr. Clark was totally stacked, 5'9 and 250 lbs. of solid muscle. He had competed in bodybuilding and powerlifting and it showed.

"Let's see what you can do," he told me that first day in his garage.

And then he kept adding weight and adding weight until I maxed out, 1 single perfect rep at 500 lbs., more than three times my bodyweight.

"Johnny," he said, "You need to be careful around the other kids."

I laughed.

"Mr. C., I've know than since I was about 2 years old," I replied. "You're gonna help me get big now, right?"

And so he did.

* * *

The summer between sixth and seventh grades I grew two inches taller and gained 85 lbs. of solid muscle. At 5'8 and 235 lbs., I was just a shade shorter and smaller than Mr. Clark; in other words, I looked like a pro bodybuilder.

No one at Castle Middle School had ever seen anything like me. Fortunately for me, Mr. Clark was the lead gym teacher at Castle, so what to do with me in gym class and so forth wasn't an issue. Some guys seemed to be inclined to make jokes about my freakish size but then Mr. Clark invited me to demonstrate proper bench press technique for the boy's. Seeing my massive 22 inch arms shoving nearly 1000 lbs. into the air caused the comments to dry up fast.

And so it went. By Christmas I was 5'10 and more than 300 lbs. and I could curl Mr. Clark, all 250 lbs. of him, for reps -- with one arm.

By the end of the school year, just in time for my 13th birthday, I was 6 ft. tall and a hulking 400 lbs. of muscle. I was 6 inches taller than I had been a year previously and 250 lbs. heavier. The day I benched 2000 lbs. for 1 rep the Guinness Book of World Records was hand, duly proclaiming me not only the world's strongest kid but also the world's strongest man. They're the ones who gave me the nickname, "The Myostatin Kid," which I thought was kinda silly, since I don't have have any.

"Johnny, I think you've gotta face it," Mr. Clark said after that session.

I raised an eyebrow.

I could see he was trying to figure out how to say it but I cut him off at the pass.

"It's OK, Mr. C," I said. "I can say it out loud. I'm freak. I'm impossible. And I'm only going to get freakier."

He nodded slowly.

"Can you deal?" he asked.

I just grinned and picked up the Olympic bar I'd just used to bench an even ton. I put one hand on each end and squeezed. At first nothing happened and then -- scrunch -- it was like I was twisting a pretzel.

"I think I can deal," I replied. "Can everyone else?"

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