No Such Thing as Natural Bodybuilding

I will preface this post by saying that regular weight training is one of the best things you can do for your health and physique. With that said, I’ve been to enough bodybuilding events including Olympia to know that there is no muscle industry without steroids. This applies to both men and women.

Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) refers to a class of hormonal drugs that promote anabolic (tissue building) and androgenic (secondary male sexual characteristics) effects. Different drugs predominate in one area or the other, but all AAS promote both of these effects to some degree. Keep in mind that bodybuilders also take drugs such as Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Insulin, and Diuretics (the final water loss before a show to create that shrink-wrapped look).

There are “natural” organizations, but natural really means “clean”. Clean means you can pass a drug test. The physique industry is synonymous with steroids like Irish pubs are synonymous with booze. You can’t have one without the other. The smallest (size-wise) Mr. Olympia ever was Frank Zane. He won the Mr. Olympia at less than 200 lbs. but he was not natural. He might not be a steroid monster like the pros of today, but he was certainly juicing, at least with mild anabolics.

Frank Zane, 3-time Mr. Olympia, also known as 'The Chemist'.

Frank Zane, 3-time Mr. Olympia, also known as ‘The Chemist’.

Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI) — Maximum theoretical muscle mass

The Fat Free Mass Index is supposedly the most amount of lean body mass that a drug-free bodybuilder can attain. In my opinion, however, not all athletes with a high FFMI of 24 or 25 (fitness models, for instance), got there without chemical assistance.

Prohormones — Steroids without side effects?

Utter nonsense. If the medication is not working on the androgen receptor (increasing acne/oily skin, aggression, and accelerated genetic predisposition expression of male pattern baldness), it’s not promoting anabolic effects, either (muscle-building, bone density, decreased fat mass).

Creatine — Most effective muscle-building supplement

Creatine is not a hormone, but a fuel source for working muscles. Energy is created for short-burst muscle activity in the breakdown of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate = 3) to ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate = 2). Creatine donates a phosphate group (+1) making more fuel available for muscle cells. I’ve personally gained 9 – 10 lbs. of lean mass by loading creatine. It’s cheap–a six-month supply of high-quality creatine monohydrate (Creapure) is only 30 bucks. However, you should check with your doctor to see if creatine monohydrate supplementation is safe for you.


2 responses to “No Such Thing as Natural Bodybuilding

  1. Jason
    My name is John. I compete on the npc physique circuit and am sick and tired of the false hypocrisy, lies, egos and blatant disrespect of the competitors, judges and all involved. I am truly natural, looked amazing last weekend on stage at the so called natural northern usa and had no chance. placed thirteenth. What can we do to make noise on this subject. The class be winners in the first five places were steroid monsters. how dare the judges even award them. In the competitors meeting on Saturday the place fell silent when the drug test was mentioned. You could hear a pin drop. Yet they cheered when a mention was made to a physique comp. losing 100 lbs for the show! Its disgusting!
    Write me back, hope to hear!

  2. John,
    That sucks; I don’t know what can be done about this, as drug users will always be ahead of testing procedures. My opinion is to revel in the personal satisfaction of looking amazing; doping will always take place at the competitive level, natural or not.

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