What Is Wrong With Joe Rogan’s Gut? Does UFC Commentator Have Palumboism Because of TRT and HGH?

Published 04/15/2024, 11:20 PM EDT

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Joe Rogan‘s physique, particularly his midsection, garnered widespread attention during his Sober October weigh-in in 2019. Many observers pointed out his protruding midsection and speculated that it could be linked to his daily intake of human growth hormone. Recently, at the UFC 300 event, when Rogan was standing alongside Daniel Cormier, Megan Olivi, and Jon Anik, his posture and his body’s appearance, concerns were raised online again about the possible impact of HGH and TRT on Rogan’s physique.

Rogan too has been open about his usage of substances he began taking at 39 to aid recovery and maintain his musculature. However, though he has been in great shape for so many years, it could be due to his height being around 5-foot-6 that makes his belly noticeable. Palumboism or the ‘bubble gut’ has caused eyebrows to be raised at Joe Rogan’s midsection.


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The term “Palumboism” describes the condition of a visibly bulging belly associated with HGH use, and was coined in reference to bodybuilder David Palumbo, who first brought the issue to light with his ‘bubble gut’. This condition especially occurs in bodybuilders when the muscles on the sides of the abdomen thicken and make it difficult to hold the stomach. According to a few studies, it was reported that this condition could occur because of insulin use, use of HGH, and high calorie/carb diet. “Pregnant abs” is another term used to describe this condition.

But what exactly are HGH and TRT? Human growth hormone is a small protein that is prepared in the pituitary gland. This hormone influences a person’s height and helps build bones and muscles. To enhance their physique, bodybuilders consume this hormone in large doses along with other performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) such as insulin and anabolic steroids. This causes a rare condition called the HGH gut. And, Testosterone Replacement Therapy, is the method used to treat low testosterone in the body.

Can Joe Rogan’s condition be reversed?


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Synthetic forms of HGH have long been abused by athletes for muscle building and injury recovery due to their difficulty in getting detected by drug tests. However, attributing Rogan’s midsection solely to HGH use may be oversimplifying. Rogan’s commitment to transparency about his supplement use, along with his stocky physique and training regimen, suggests other factors at play. Without more information, it’s challenging to attribute his midsection solely to HGH.

In one of the episodes of JRE, in his conversation with his guest, Andrew Schulz, comedian, Rogan explained that he takes HGH to maintain his vitality, increase muscle mass reduce fat, which was similar to his testosterone replacement therapy. So when HGH is consumed in excess, it could lead to irregular growth of all muscles in the midsection.

Since the hormone contains high insulin levels, it can result in the storage of visceral fat behind the stomach, causing it to grow outwards. If the bodybuilder follows a high-carb diet, it will further contribute by storing glycogen in the blood and attracting water which will lead to a bloated appearance. This is another reason why bodybuilders with HGH gut cannot suck their gut in and perform stomach vacuums.


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Palumboism can affect both men and women who abuse PEDs. However, it is more common among men who consume higher dosages. Apart from Joe Rogan a few other bodybuilders who also were affected by this condition are, Phil Heath, Big Lenny, Kai Greene, and Ronnie Coleman.

Since this is not an untreatable illness or disease, there are reports that Palumboism can be prevented if the person avoids abuse of PEDs and HGH injections. They should instead focus on eating healthy and training regularly. However, without enough evidence, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the cause of Rogan’s physique. Nevertheless, his commitment to fitness and martial arts remains unwavering and continues to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide.


Written by:

Dushyant Patni


One take at a time

Dushyant Patni is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Dushyant brings 8 years of professional writing experience to his coverage of MMA at ES. This literature graduate excels in the coverage of both MMA-related and off-topic subjects.
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Edited by:

Joyita Das