More people than you would like to believe take steroids.
This includes actors, fitness models, bodybuilders, personal trainers, fitness authors, average gym bros, your classmate who got jacked overnight and YouTube fitness celebrities.
Arnold Schwarzenegger took a handful of dianabol each day while training to maintain his position as the bodybuilding champion of the world in the 70s.
Sylvester Stallone has been caught trying to import Human Growth Hormone into Australia back in 2007 while he was in amazing shape at age 61.
These are just two stories out of many that prove that steroid usage is completely normal among people who make their living based on how their physique looks.
Just think about the fitness and bodybuilding community in terms of numbers.
It’s one of the biggest online markets and it’s extremely competitive.
To make a great living in this market, you either have to crush your competition by having elite level aesthetics or by having a very unique story that people can relate to.
A large number of people making a living in the fitness industry opt for the first strategy of crushing their competition through aesthetics, and that often requires the usage of steroids.
In this article, I will tell you everything I know about steroid usage after spending +4 years researching them and consulting with several endocrinologists and men who have +10 years of experience taking them.
The goal of this article is to help you answer the question:
Should you take steroids to transform your body?
The article will assume that the reader is a man considering to use steroids to build a great body to have more options for sex and have people who admire him for his physique rather than a person who wants to use them for optimal health.
Furthermore, I want to make it clear that for simplicity’s sake I will use “steroids” throughout the entire article as a representation for pro-hormones, hormones, bodybuilding drugs and anabolic steroids.
Let’s get started:
(1) Steroids Are Extremely Effective
When you go to bodybuilding forums and you see steroid discussions, you often hear a statement similar to that below:
“Just because you take steroids doesn’t mean you don’t have to work as hard as natural bodybuilders! Steroids just enable you to train longer and more often and they still require your diet to be spot on.”
It all sounds good, but is it really true?
Well, the study I’m about to present below has a different take on that…
In 1996 a study was done on 4 groups of people
- Group 1: Didn’t train, and didn’t inject testosterone, however they received a placebo.
- Group 2: Didn’t train, but injected testosterone.
- Group 3: Trained, but didn’t inject testosterone, however they received a placebo.
- Group 4: Trained, and injected testosterone.
All groups had the same diet, and the two groups that trained, did it 3 times a week by using the same program. Here are the results of this study:
The graph shows the groups starting from the left 1-2-3-4.
The interesting finding in this study is that the group that injected testosterone but didn’t train gained almost twice the amount of fat-free mass as the group that trained but without testosterone injections.
In other words, testosterone users can sit on their ass and watch TV while gaining more muscle mass than the natural guy who works his ass off at the gym!
And that’s just testosterone injections which are the most basic component of a cycle.
Advanced steroid users take several compounds where testosterone is only one of them.
Therefore, a correct statement regarding the effectiveness of steroid usage would be that steroid users can train harder and more often than natural bodybuilders, but they don’t have to.
(2) Steroids Are Not Only Used To Get Big
When most people think about someone who uses steroids, they think about extremes such as Arnold Schwarzenegger rather than the muscular and shredded fitness model who is below 200 pounds.
In reality, a lot of fitness models do use steroids, because it’s extremely difficult to maintain a shredded physique year around.
As a professional fitness model you are often in a situation where you have to get ready for a shoot in a matter of weeks.
This means that you have to stay very lean throughout the entire year, otherwise they will find someone else who fits the job description better.
Unless you’re genetically gifted with a naturally low body-fat percentage (e.g. a guy who always had a 6-pack), it’s close to impossible to maintain the level of leanness needed to be a fitness model unless you take steroids and now I’ll explain why…
Steroids Are Used To Compensate For Low Testosterone Levels That Occur When Dieting Down
A study has previously been done on a natural bodybuilder who dieted down for a bodybuilding competition. The bodybuilder dieted down from 14.5% body-fat to 4.5% in 6 months.
In other words, he lost roughly 1.67 percentage point body-fat per month which is a very “safe” way to diet.
However, take a look at this excerpt from the study results:
Heart rate decreased from 53 to 27 beats/min during preparation and increased to 46 beats/min within 1 mo after competition. Brachial blood pressure dropped from 132/69 to 104/56 mmHg during preparation and returned to 116/64 mmHg at 6 mo after competition. Percent body fat declined from 14.8% to 4.5% during preparation and returned to 14.6% during recovery. Strength decreased during preparation and did not fully recover during 6 months of recovery. Testosterone declined from 9.22 to 2.27 ng/mL during preparation and returned back to the baseline level, 9.91 ng/mL, after competition. Total mood disturbance increased from 6 to 43 units during preparation and recovered to 4 units 6 mo after competition.
The problem here is yet his testosterone levels dropped from 9.22 ng/ml to 2.27 ng/ml!
That’s a huge issue because testosterone is the male hormone of vitality and it is responsible for muscle gains, strength, sex drive and it regulates your mood.
Here’s a table showing optimal testosterone levels:
Source: The table is based on Declining Androgens With Age – An Overview
This table uses different units(ng/dl) rather than the ones from the study above (ng/ml), but that’s no problem because I have converted the numbers for you:
- Subject’s testosterone level before initiating fat loss diet: 900 ng/dl
- Subject’s testosterone level after dieting for 6 months and being shredded for competition: 200 ng/dl
That’s an enormous drop in testosterone levels. Going by the table, the guy went from having the testosterone levels of a young guy at his sexual and muscle building peak to levels that are the equivalent of an old man!
No wonder why his mood disturbance level increased from 6 to 43 and why he experienced drops in strength levels.
Now imagine having to maintain anything close to that body-fat percentage year around.
To do so, you can either choose to live with symptoms such as depression, fatigue, decrease in muscle mass and strength levels and close to no sex drive, but who can do that?
Who can walk around the entire year feeling like shit just so they can shoot some nice photos?
And what do you think happens when you spend years at a body-fat percentage that your body is not designed to be at? Your endocrine system goes out of whack and you may never regain the ability of producing optimal testosterone levels.
Now some of you may wonder why these fitness models don’t just follow my tips on increasing testosterone levels naturally through diet, exercise and sleep.
The answer is simple: Because I never recommended anyone to diet down to 4-8% body-fat. I recommend that people diet down to a body-fat percentage that their body is designed to maintain with moderate effort (i.e. regular exercise and a balanced diet that doesn’t require any kind of starvation). In most cases, this body-fat percentage is somewhere around 12. This is the body-fat percentage where your body will function at its best and you will feel your best which is way more important than how you look in a photo.
And that’s why a lot of fitness models inject testosterone (among other things). At a shredded body-fat percentage, they are forced to compensate for their lack of natural testosterone production through exogenous testosterone injections.
Steroids Come In Dosages
Another reason to why you don’t have to be big to take steroids is the dosage or compound that you take.
You can take large dosages and get big, but you can also take smaller dosages and go for that shredded fitness model look.
The muscular size you obtain from steroid usage is largely dependent on the dosage and your genetics.
Some guys can take all the steroids in the world, but they will never get as big as Ronnie Coleman because they don’t respond as well as he does.
There are also guys out there who will take massive amounts of steroids as a compensation for their crappy diet, training and lifestyle which involves a lot of drugs and partying.
Therefore, the tell-tale sign of a steroid user is not being big. The tell-tale sign is someone who used to carry some fat, but now he’s shredded and muscular the same time throughout the entire year.
(3) Can You Look Like A Steroid Lifter Naturally?
I often hear people say stuff along the lines of:
I’m 220 pounds at 6’2″ and 15% body-fat, so I’m only 25 pounds away from Arnold’s weight.
Well, you are 220 pounds at 15% body-fat, but just wait until you start cutting.
A lot of these 220 pounds are water weight and fat. These will be shredded, and many of your muscle gains will go too when you go below your natural body-fat percentage, leaving you at less than 195 pounds.
Another thing to consider is the huge difference in the look of a steroid user and a natural lifter.
You can have two guys with the exact same stats, say 180 pounds at 5% body-fat.
However, the two guys have physiques that are at completely different levels because one is on steroids and the other is a life-time natural.
Certain steroids can give you that 3d, skin-tight, vascular and full look that most naturals rarely have, if ever.
As a natural with average genetics you can only come close to the look of a steroid user after bodybuilding consistently for half a decade, when you are carbed up at the end of a fat loss diet, you have a tan and a good muscle pump and you stand in good lighting (and don’t forget the angle of the camera).
There are some select individuals with great, elite-level genetics who can look amazing (even without any training), but most of these guys don’t need to ask anyone if they can ever look amazing without steroids. They already look amazing and have always done so.
If you’re curious about the huge difference steroids can make for a guy with average genetics, take a look at the video below showing Bostin Lloyd’s 1 year steroid transformation:
(4) The Dark Side of Taking Steroids
After reading this you may wonder… Why stay natural if there are so many benefits to taking steroids?
There are many reasons, and I have listed some of the most important ones below:
- Steroids are illegal. If you travel a lot like I do you will have to stop doing that unless you got a legal prescription for your steroids. Also, there’s always the risk of getting busted and having to pay huge fees or going to jail. Or, just imagine if you only have access to one steroid dealer and he suddenly bumps up the prices. What can you do then?
- Steroids are addictive. A lot of people don’t consider the financial effects of using steroids. When you take steroids you need to pay for them. Beginner cycles are relatively cheap, but how many people do one cycle? How can you go back to training naturally after doing a steroid cycle that gave you massive muscle gains that you didn’t think were possible? Most people who take steroids become addicted to getting bigger and more shredded. They constantly need more steroids to satisfy their needs and the costs add up. Most bodybuilders spend more money on steroids than they win in prize money.
- Steroids can be expensive. Assuming that you’re like most people and you get addicted to getting bigger and bigger, you will also find that your steroid usage takes a significant chunk of your pay-check. Why do you think that professional bodybuilders do gay for pay? They don’t make much from bodybuilding and they need to finance their massive steroid usage somehow…
- Steroids are cheating. If you take steroids to build your physique you will never feel the sense of pride that I and other natural lifters felt building our physique. You will never be able to say that it was YOU working hard at the gym, consistently fitting your meals into a busy schedule and doing bodyweight training while travelling. Unless you already maxed out your natural gains after a decade or more of hard work at the gym, you took the easy way out to speed up the process.
- Steroids can have serious side effects. Issues such as gynecomastia (man boobs) and erectile dysfunction are not a joke. If you don’t have basic knowledge of the endocrine system and the effects and dosages of various steroids, don’t have access to pharmaceutical drugs and you don’t do regular blood work you’re gambling with your health.
- You never know what you get. Unless you get your steroids legally through a doctor or pharmacy, you never know what you get. What if the shit was made in a dirty bathtub by dirty kids who haven’t showered for days? Do you really want to inject that into your body?
The bottom line here is that unless you know what you’re doing, you’re doing regular blood work and getting your steroids legally from a pharmacy to treat a health problem under the supervision of a professional, you are gambling with your health.
(5) Example of Alleged Steroid Usage in the Fitness Industry
Recently, I looked through some threads on BodyBuilding.com and found a thread about a popular user called ViperGQ. Here’s a link to the thread:
The guy achieved a GREAT physique and currently has an instagram with about 30K followers.
He praised natural training on bodybuilding.com, opposed steroid usage, and claimed that everyone who can’t do what he did is “lazy” or an “underachiever”.
Well, guess what… The thread above has very convincing evidence showing that he posted about a steroid cycle on a steroid forum.
Did that stop apparel companies such as Gymshark from sponsoring him? Nope:
I’m not using this example to say that all people who make money in the fitness industry are steroid users.
I’m not even saying that ViperGQ is a steroid user. I’m just pointing out that there is some very convincing evidence that he might have used them in the past and now he’s representing a major fitness clothing company and coaching people online. (Disclaimer: This article is only written for entertainment purposes…)
There are plenty of people who train naturally, give good advice, genuinely love to help and inspire people and who make 100% of their living through the fitness industry.
You just have to keep your eyes open and stop believing everything you hear.
(6) Lying About Steroid Usage To Gain Followers = Sociopathic Behaviour?
After reading the example above it should be clear that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.
It doesn’t matter if someone has 50,000 followers on instagram and is a certified personal trainer.
There are people out there who will build a great physique on steroids, then tell everyone else how much they hate steroid users and that you’re lazy if you can’t build a physique like they have.
The same people will later sell you a product and claim that you can build a similar physique without using steroids.
So, how can they lie about their steroid usage with a straight face and sell you something?
Either they rationalize their actions by thinking “steroids enable me to inspire more people and I don’t take as much as other people so I guess that’s OK…” or “I only took a mild cycle a few years ago, so I’m natural now.”
Or, they have zero empathy for other people.
When you lie to someone about your steroid usage, sell a product or service to them and give them false expectations and thereby make them feel inadequate because of their lack of progress it means that you don’t give a shit about other people.
The fitness guru gets paid while the client is left feeling inadequate and hopeless because he doesn’t achieve anything near the results that his guru achieved on the same program.
There’s no way that someone can do that and sleep well at night, unless they’re a sociopath or lie to themselves through rationalization.
Being a sociopath essentially means that you aren’t able to feel empathy.
According to The Sociopath Next Door, 1/25 people are estimated to be sociopaths and many of them are found in top positions in their industries including the fitness industry.
It’s hard for most of us to imagine a life where you can lie, steal and abuse others without feeling even a little bit guilty because we have empathy.
The reason to why I’m telling you this is that I want you to keep two things in mind:
- There are people out there who will lie to you about their steroid usage and give you false expectations without feeling any kind of guilt. Many of these people are the top of the fitness industry. Often, these people will be very charismatic and convincing, therefore you need to be extra critical about what kind of information you believe.
- Taking the “easy” way out largely determines the type of person you become in the future…
(7) What Kind Of Person Do You Want To Become?
After reading the two sections above, you should have a good idea of the type of people that the fitness industry attracts.
Now ask yourself if you want to be that type of person?
Do you want your whole life to be based on a lie?
Steroids will speed up your physical transformation, but how about the transformation of your mind?
What about the character building and pride that comes from going through the struggles of a natural bodybuilder?
You will miss out on these essential things.
I can safely say that while it was nice to transform my body, the biggest benefit was the transformation of my mind.
I saw the transformation of my body as the biggest obstacle in my life and I was close to giving up many times throughout the years, but in the end I’ve surpassed all the goals I set out to achieve in training.
This has given me massive amounts of confidence in other areas of life. I believe I can do anything I put my mind to now.
That wouldn’t be the case if I took the easy way out and used steroids to build my body.
(8) You Don’t Need Steroids To Get Laid
Now some of you may think that this doesn’t apply to you if you don’t want to work in the fitness industry or be an athlete, but that’s not the case at all.
If you don’t want to work in the fitness industry or be an athlete, that’s an even stronger reason to stay away from steroids.
The people in the fitness industry or athletes who lie about steroid usage at least get some kind of additional income from doing that.
They take on a risk and are dishonest to their fans to increase their income.
You take on a risk to get a better body, but for what?
Do you really think that you need steroids to get laid or feel good about yourself?
Look at hollywood actors such as Ryan Gosling and George Clooney.
They have no characteristics of a steroid user, yet I can guarantee you that they have way more sexual options than the average guy who takes steroids.
Huge and ripped bodies attract a very niche market which consists of women who are into bodybuilding.
Most women want an athletic guy that is in shape with broad shoulders, some muscle definition and a flat waist.
Steroids are not needed for that!
These things can be achieved with basic bodyweight training and a balanced diet that get’s you lean.
Don’t believe me? Then see the pictures below…
Logan Rando who used my program recently sent me this 12 week progress picture:
He achieved these results with basic bodyweight training and a balanced diet plan. He doesn’t look like a fitness model or a pro bodybuilder, but he has a better body than most guys and that’s really all you need.
And here’s one of myself showing the kind of change you can make over a longer time-period if that’s what you want:
If you believe that you need to be a massive 220 pounds at 5% body-fat to attract beautiful women, you are wrong.
Doing It The 100% Natty Way
When training naturally, it will take years to transform your body and you will never look the same way as a steroid user, however, you will build pride, character and stay true to your values.
Does that mean you have to “suffer” for years to “make it” and feel good about yourself?
No… You will never “make it”. There will never be a time in your life where you look at yourself in the mirror and think “I’ve made it, now I can relax and eat pizza. My body is perfect.”
If you train naturally, there will always be body-parts you can improve and sculpt more. I’m +5 years into training and there are still several areas I know that I can improve on for the next many years.
The way you feel about yourself will improve as your physique improves, but it’s also largely dependent on how you decide to feel.
You can decide to make the most out of your day today and live in one-day-compartments and maximize each day, or worry about the past and the future.
You can look for problems that don’t matter today or for solutions to the problems that are most important to fix starting from today.
You can look for positive traits of your physique (everyone has at least one!) or at the negatives.
So should you take steroids to transform your body? The choice is yours, so what’s it gonna be?
Be proud but stay hungry,
– Oskar Faarkrog
Photo credit: Flickr
Disclaimer: I never took steroids myself and I don’t plan on taking them, but I know about their effects from years of research, talking with people who have taken them and consulting with endocrinologists. I don’t advocate steroid usage to anyone and the article was only written for entertainment purposes.
Sir my gym coach is recommending to take 5 percent steroids(200gm) he is telling that by taking only 5 percent for one month no side effects r their and u will get bulky body plz tell me what should i do is it safe
Do not take steroids, it’s not safe.
Forgetting for a moment the Mr. Olympia stuff and focusing on the fake-natty look, people like Lavado, Ogus, Seid… the only reason to have that look is to “look great in photos when very shredded” and “win competition”
But as far as everyday life goes, being admired by girls, feeling and looking fit that look is not necessary. Every woman on the planet would consider a well developed body (and it doesn’t take much extra pounds of muscle over what nature gave us and we possess even without training) and a BF of 10-12 to be “the best you can get as far as physique goes”
They won’t either see the difference between +10 pounds of muscles and extra thin skin or they will either consider it comical if not disgusting.
Where the difference really shines is in pictures.
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
Great comment Jared. Most women are grossed out by the shredded or overly muscular bodybuilder (and even fitness model look). I’m natural and most girls say even I’m getting too big, and I’m not anywhere near the size of many of the popular fitness models and YouTubers who have 10-20 pounds of muscle more than me.
It’s similar to the way men see women: Most men are not attracted to a woman who has ripped 6 pack abs, defined shoulders and horseshoe triceps. (There’s nothing wrong with women having these things if that’s what they want to achieve, but it’s not needed to be attractive).
Hey OSKAR, I loved reading your article. It was very informative. I need to know that I want to start a cycle for body building using Testosterone. I won’t be using heavy dosage. I wanted to know if this will have any after effects on making babies in the future? If yes then how to avoid this and what steps I can take to reverse the cycle so that my sperms won’t get affected.
Thank you so much
P.S. English is not my first language. But I tried to write as clear as I could.
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
Dwang, I can’t recommend you to take testosterone because I have never tried it and there are people much more qualified than me on that subject.
Look up Jay Campbell from FabFitOver40.com – he knows more about testosterone than almost any other man out there.
Thank you sir.
i really like your point of view on this matter. It is sad that most people look for the easy excuse to achieving their “dream” body. To me,those people look at the tree,but miss the whole forest. They dont enjoy exercising,they enjoy the applaud of others. Their motivation is external.
However,take away their drugs and they know nothing. They dont know how to train nor know how to diet .And this is the reason i think many people stop exercising after some time, cause is too *costy* – and its not the gym membership that costs them money,nor their healthy foods,but its their drugs. They realize that without drugs they are nothing.
What is also funny,is that if you make most of your gains through drug use,and have no foundation laid off (like 5+years of hardcore training) once you stop you completely evaporate.
Great comment, thank you for taking the time to write it.
kind of late comment,but i have been thinking about it for a long time now,
A lot of people get inspired by Zyzz,especially young people like you and me. And how can one not get inspired,the guy was just a regular dude,and “boomed” into being a well known,well respected guy, that women surrounded and guys mired.
However,if you look at zyzzs life on the bigger screen, all you see is a guy who took steroids, and had INCREDIBLY large social charisma. Couple those 2 (especially social charisma) and you get someone like zyzz.
So whats the problem here. A lot of young people who are inspired of him are thinking “oh look,lets go take some tren and cocaine like zyzz did,and girls will rave for us” but they miss the point that zyzz also had great social skills,he did not just have muscles
Muscle mass can only get you so far,once people realize you have no personality developed,you are screwed – nobody really cares if you have 3d delts,2d delts or sharp abs if you are a dork personality wise. We have all seen guys who dedicate a great deal amount of time in the gym, but at the end of the day they get to sleep alone,cause they do not have a social circle around them.
I never understood all this positive talk about Zyzz.. I never new who the hell he was until after he died. I remember seeing some random dude, all of a sudden becoming one of the most followed guys on bb.com’s bodyspace and thinking, “Whats going on here? This dude doesn’t have a noteworthy body. He just looks like a decently fit guy that I might see at my gym…”
Who says he was charismatic and good with women? Did you ever talk to him? The only videos I ever saw of him, he was acting like a complete idiot… I’ve seen pictures of him standing with girls but never doing anything even mildly sexual with them…
I feel like people looked at 5 overshared photos of him and then filled in the Many blanks in their minds with some fantasy character. Frankly, I’m ashamed that I even know who he is..
Question: Were you a fan of his or did you even know who he was Before he died?
An aside to this specific article, but a response to your recent email ‘what its like to have a great body’, it was brilliant.
man i think that needs to be recommended reading Oskar.
It is fantastic and also a true and honest reality check. I have no shame that while i do want to get fit for health purposes, the other benefits to have a great body are more than appealing (i’m a little fed up of making over the top amount of effort with women, in social situations etc, it would be nice to be approached more rather than me having to do all the heavy ‘social’ lifting so to speak).
Second point is that i think your phenomenal personal fitness site oskar farkroog, needs to have an easier way of access your 10+ part article series if possible?
Its difficult to sort via my email address which has a huge backlog of emails in it.
Hey, thank you very much. The articles on my other site were meant to be newsletters and I have now made them into autoresponders which new subscribers get. I can link you the articles through email if you’d like them?
I have no name m8
So I want to start doing freeletics+basic bodyweight workout and I want to ask u something.
If I do both will the 3 meals a day diet to lose fat work ? Or should I eat 6 meals a day low carb? Or another thing?
I have no name m8
And will caloric deficit stop my growth ?( I am 14 atm)
A caloric deficit cannot stop growth.
Growth is not something easiy to stop, even people going through war and starving for long periods still grew to their fully potential.
Besides stopping growth doesn’t mean “my lifestyle robbed 2 inches out of my height” , when growth is stunted you actually suffer from organic problems, bone problems, your body is out of proportion, you have circulatory problems…. growth is not about “inches”.
Now, being chronically underweight, malnourished and sick might stop your growth but with all the other accompaying problems I have described.
Losing body fat to go from a BMI of 24 to 20 is not going to stop anyone’s growth.
Oskar,I really like it that you made an article on this topic,its one of the best things that you could do for people new to training.
I had two simple questions for you,first,which one in between regular army push ups and diamond push ups engage more of the chest muscle,are they the same in this regard,do both of them stress the chest in same way,or does one put more emphasis on chest than the other,please explain.I have been hearing conflicting opinions.
Second question,lets say some one can do 50 reps of a certain push up variation in a row,now if they train to failure with that push up variation with lot of volume each session,will the sessions cause any muscle growth or size gain or strength gains?
Last question,its known that in a push up you lift 60 percent of your bodyweight,now as a 200 lbs guy if i can do 50 push ups,I should be lifting 132 lbs each rep,should not I also have the strength to do 50 reps with a 132 lbs barbell? People say that no way I will be able to bench 130 lbs for same reps as push ups? Is that true or should that weight perfectly transfer over to barbell?
Thanks in advance.
Rick henry irons
Very good article faarkrog,especially the part where you said you dont have to be huge to attract women,infact,women tend to like the natty ripped physique more than the too huge steroid pumped physique,however,not a fan of natty or not website,lots of false infos in there,and I also believe you can get as big as you want given that you eat enough kcals,
For example,I am vegetarian and have 19 inch guns (flexed) and 52 inch pecs(flexed) at 10 percent bodyfat (but ultra ripped abs) from ghetto training,my thing is basically one arm pull ups,one arm one leg push ups(feet elevated at waist height,can do 50+ of them in a row with each arm,also got a double bodyweight bench,almost),one arm military presses and one arm curls with navy bags full of bricks,most men dont like to hear that I never went to a gym regularly to work out.I also do heavy sandbag clean and push press,my best PR is a 300 lbs homemade adjustable sandbag for one rep.
As any other regular physics student,I cant be a hardcore lifter and I would be happy with a goodlooking lean and athletic body(like 47 inch chest and 17 inch arm ripped) like yours,my only athletic endeavour is mma and I would have been happy if I just looked ripped and moderately big,but you know what,when you train in the 6-10 rep range with lots of volume each session,you just always grow,and while it could be because of genetics,I have known 10 other guys who have huge arms and shoulders from just one arm curls and one arm presses with a navy bag filled with bricks(kinda like a kettlebell or dumbbell),I can curl 40 kilo for 10 reps and one arm press 60 kilo for 10 reps with perfect form,oh and for the record of course I am natty lol,I dont even take supps,I jut try to get in 4500+kcals a day from healthy sources and dont even count proteins cuz its always gonna be there if you are eating healthy.
So yeah natty or not is kinda bullshit,it basically says you cant have a ffmi over 26 without juice,which I totally disagree with,I am a living proof,and no I am not under estimating my bodyfat percentage,neither overestimating my measurements,I know I am quite big,but thats just because I am consistent about working each muscle group hard onc or twice a week with lots of volume and intensity.
Imo,you have an amazingly asthetic,stylish/goodlooking body oskaar,your body should be the goal of many dudes just starting to workout,you basically have the perfect aesthetic body imo,and your blogs on calisthenics are just downright amazing to read,your blogs transformed my cousin from a couch potatoe to a ripped,shredded dude,he basically just does weighted gironda dips and weighted pull ups in the 12-20 rep range till failure with lots of volume each time he works out,and in a year and half he has got an upper body like yours,well he is 12 percent body fat though,you are probably less than that,but any way,he loves this website of yours,as do I,keep up the good work.
Thank you for the compliments Rick, I really appreciate it.
Can you send me a video of some of your training? These feats sound damn amazing and I’m sure you would inspire thousands of people!
Also, I’m happy to hear that my advice worked for your friend. Would you be able to have him contact me? I would love to hear more about his transformation.
I see the hardcore juiceheads as validation seekers.
Nice post!! For me there is no reason to take steroids unless if you want to maintain ripped all the year. Natural bodybuilding competitions is probably the biggest lie through fitness industry!! I am very disappointed about youtube “natural” experts, because they do not have the honesty to admit their steroid use and they treat their followers as idiots. Nevertheless guys like Brendan Meyers, Lui Marko, Chad Howse etc seem natural.
P.S. In your next article please make a full supplement guide for lifters like us who do not use steroids, which may includes a list of supplements that a skinny-fat may use at these 3 categories: bulk, fat loss and testosterone increase
Thank you Willian.
Yes, natural bodybuilding competitions are a joke and there are many ways to cheat the drug tests.
First of all, drug tests are expensive and there isn’t that much money in bodybuilding so the drug tests you have are extremely basic and don’t detect many of the drugs in use today.
Second, drugs have a half life so you can just stop taking them so they are out of your system by the time the competition takes place. If you stop taking a drug 4-8 weeks prior to a competition you can still keep many of the gains as long as your diet and training is on point so you have a huge advantage by doing that.
This doesn’t mean that all competitors use drugs, but it does mean that they can choose to do so if that’s what they want.
As for YouTube experts, I believe that some of them truly are natural and have a combination of above average genetics, great work ethic and have trained for almost a decade to achieve the look they have now. With that said, there are also some who clearly are unnatural and some that I’m in doubt about.
The training supplements I would recommend for everyone are ZMA for better sleep and testosterone boost, l-glutamine to speed up recovery from training and improve digestion and creatine to increase strength, power and muscle mass.
There is nothing to add about “natural bodybuilding” It is silly to believe that in our age there is exist one natural bodybuilder.
For training supplements you recommend zma before bed, glutamine after workout and creatine for bulking correct? What is your opinion about whey protein and bcaa? Many fitness gurus recommend bcaa with glutamine after workout for recovery and prevent muscle loss. I think glutamine and bcaa is a great combination for bulking and cutting
I take creatine during cutting too, otherwise correct.
I haven’t researched and tried bcaa enough so can’t say much about that, but I do know that most protein powders contain bcaa.
I don’t use whey protein because I don’t digest dairy well. I use egg protein powder instead.
Ok. However most bbing experts recommend creatine only during bulk. Τhe main reason is because creatine fills your body with water. Glutamine is also a useful rrecovery supplement and we could use it both in bulk and fat loss. Proterin powder with egg, beef or vegetable is a good alternative for people who do not respond well to lactose as you said, but there are more expensive.
I see what you’re thinking about, but think about this: Creatine increases the water in your MUSCLES and thereby increases your strength, power and ability to retain muscle mass during a cut. In other words, creatine is a good thing. Don’t worry about water retention from creatine. If anything, the worst water retention won’t come from creatine, but from eating a bunch of crap food.
Here i disagree. I think bcaa is a better supplement than creatine during cut for muscle retention. You can also use it with glutamine, as mentioned before
You don’t need any supplements to achieve your goals, you just need to make significant changes to your current skinny fat diet and lifestyle. 1)Lose fat: cut out all refined sugars, alcohol, junk food and eat as healthily as possible while weight training. Maybe eat slightly less quantities than normal and definitely only eat when you feel hungry 2) Bulking: as above but eat larger portions of the same, healthy food 3) Testosterone increase: unless you have a medical diagnosis of low testosterone levels, don’t worry about it.
OK, perhaps introducing a serving of unflavoured protein powder into your diet once per day may help if you feel you are protein-deficient. Avoid proprietary brands of flavoured protein powders as they are often full of sugar and other artificial junk (not to mention expensive!).
If you Google any supplements, you will find there is very little supporting evidence for the large majority of these products. Some may have one of two studies that provide some modest support for their claims. I personally wouldn’t bother with ZMA. As with most of the American-sourced food supplements, it’s all about the marketing and the money, not your health. Here’s one recent example from Australia of a fake “new age” fraudster who pretended to have a cancer cure via her diet. Turns out she never had cancer, Iit was all lies. Very sociopathic behaviour. In line with her manipulative disorder, she does not apologise but goes into denial and plays the victim. How many muscle gurus are just waiting to be exposed like Belle Gibson?
Eat well, train consistently and you will see results over the long term. We all have to have realistic expectations about the rate of muscle growth and strength gains. Don’t be discouraged by the BS of steroid users who say you need to eat 4000cals per day to “get big” or the Photoshopped cover model on the latest issue of Mens Health.
Rich, while I agree with most of it, glutamine and creatine are two legitimate supplements that work. Same goes for zma. I feel a big difference in energy, sex drive and sleep quality when I take zma.
Rich i know that supplements are not the most important part through our body transformation but there are help us to achieve our goals faster. You could replace supplement from food. For example eggs instead of protein scoops, bananas than maltodextrin, solid food than multivitamin etc. However supplements like bcaa, glutamine and creatine it is hard to replace them by food.
Although I had stuff to do, I came to read this one as soon as I saw it in my email’s inbox..
I’ve been training for 1.5 years and gains seem to have started slowing down a bit already. Moreover, I follow Serge Nubret’s workout routine(massive results).
As someone who’s been training for 5+ years, are there any suggestions you have to maintain constant muscle growth in the long run? I always believed that as a natty you have a natural limit when it comes to muscle growth.
I’m glad to hear that Jeff.
What has worked for me is to always keep pushing myself more. I always try to come up with ways to make exercises more intense, combine several exercises, do giant sets and train my lacking muscle groups as often as possible.
For example, shoulders and calves are my two weakest muscle groups so I train shoulders 3 days a week with +20 sets and calves almost everyday.
While the growth is slow, it’s there. Prior to hitting my shoulders from all angles and doing a lot of volume, they looked flat and non-existent. Now they look a bit fuller and they are much stronger.
Basically what I would do is continue with the same style of training as Serge Nubret, but look for ways to make it harder for your lacking muscle groups. While doing this, keep doing short bulking and cutting cycles to ensure that you keep gaining mass while staying lean.
You won’t make huge gains doing this, but each year you will see a visual difference. In the 4th and 5th year of training I gained about 2 inches on my arms and 4 inches on my shoulders and chest and I still keep making small gains in the 6th year of training.
As for the natty limit, a good formula is your height in centimeters minus 100. That’s about the weight in kilograms you can max out at a shredded body-fat percentage (4-6).
In my case, I’m 188 CM and around 92 KG at 15% body-fat now.
My max weight is around 88 KG at 4-6% body-fat so I still have several years of natural gains to tap out :)
Thanks for the detailed reply, very informative ^^
Hi, there is no way i would take steroids myself. I hope your article reaches the people who are thinking of going down that route. They would be complete idiots after reading this!
Good work Oskar and well written
Thank you Yan, I hope so too. Feel free to share it with anyone who’s considering it :)
Hi there. Interesting article :) I’ve read some articles at TNation about such stuff and always like to learn more.
As a middle-aged woman who has a lot to struggle against when it comes to starting with fitness and exercise at 40+ (not the least a rather bad recovery when I overdo it in any way), I must admit that I had thought about using some drugs. Especially after reading that once you’ve taken steroids, your body will always “remember” and the training gains will always be larger than for someone who didn’t. My personal trainer was very much against it, but frankly, I think with the aging society and considering that I’m not looking to start in any competitions, just wanting to get as fit and strong as I can at my age and for my future, I think there will be a growing market for anything that upgrades our biology a little :)
The decision is yours Beth, but if you decide to go down that road I would make sure to get regular blood work, do a lot of research and get everything prescribed by an endocrionologist who specializes in helping women your age achieve better health and performance.
You can use the product called ”anafuse” its all natural and will give you very good results if your training is decent. Yes, it works for women.
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
Hey PM, isn’t that a prohormone? In that case, it’s NOT recommended on SFT.
I don’t have anything against steroid or hormone users, but the advice on this site is for 100% natural lifters so I can’t vouch for prohormones.
If any of you want steroids/prohormone advice, this it not the place to get it.
Like I said in my post, it’s an all natural anabolic. It’s not a pro-hormone or an AI or a SARM. The ingredients are natural and it won’t affect your hormones in any way. It has no side effects too, so no increase in cholesterol or blood pressure and it’s not liver toxic. Anybody can use it.
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
Interesting, I’ll look into it :)
Yeah, you’re primed to take a little something to get you ahead.
I’m not that well researched on steroids, so I thought it was a very interesting article. My reasoning is about the same, only now I have more information to base it on.
I definitely agree on the part about transforming your body = boosting your confidence. These days I mostly go to the gym for the mental challenge, and as a path to mastery, not because my motivation is to look better.
As for male physiques, natural men–who are serious about their health–tend to look their best in their late thirties, after many years of regular exercising. That is my opinion, anyway.
1) What is your opinion on, for example, human growth hormone or testosterone replacement therapy, for men in their 40s and older? I haven’t done much research on this, but it seems to me like it might be a good idea, if done in moderation.
2) What were some of your biggest takeaways from those two books? I have heard of both, but never read either one. (I am referring to “Sociopath Next Door” and “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”).
HTSWASL sounds like a rip-off from William Osler’s famous speech/manifesto “A Way of Life”. Dale Carnegie has admitted that most of his content is recycled from the study of history and smart people, and then put into layman terms, so I wouldn’t be at least surprised if this was the case.
You can read the William Osler “a Way of Life” for free here. I liked it.
Thanks for your comment Ludvig.
I believe you’re right about natural men looking their best in their thirties. Most guys start training in their late teenage years and assuming you have average or below average genetics and you don’t know what works best for you from the get-go, it takes about a decade or more to max out your natural gains.
1) From what I read, men today have lower testosterone levels than ever. In many cases such as mine, the levels can be fixed through natural lifestyle changes. In other cases, they cannot be fixed — this is especially the case for older men, since it’s “normal” for older men to have lower testosterone levels than young men. My plan is to do regular bloodwork each year and if I ever experience low levels that cannot be fixed naturally, I will make sure to get testosterone injections prescribed by my endocrinologist and do regular blood work. Should this happen in the future, I will make sure to write an article on it and share my experiences. I won’t be one these guys who take TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) and then say they are all natural. Even if you use TRT to get to levels that are within the natural range, you still aren’t all natural since you are injecting hormones. As for human growth hormone, I remember my levels being naturally very high in the top end of the range, so I never researched this further.
2) How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is one of the best books I’ve ever listened to. I bought it as an audible book, and have listened to it at least 5 times. I used it during a time full of stress where I was cramming for final exams on my first semester of my master, writing 4 hours a day and hitting the gym 2 hours a day. The book gave me a lot of perspective on how to prioritize and relax. Some of the biggest take aways:
– Live one day at a time and maximize that day. Focus on doing today’s work to the best of your capability, because that’s all you can do. Don’t think about the gym session tomorrow or the paper you have to hand-in in 2 weeks. Just do what needs to get done today as well as you can.
– Do your tasks in order of importance/urgency.
– If you worry a lot, occupy your day with stimulating work that takes your mind off the worries. In this case, he used two examples: 1) cleaning which is “automated work” is bad if you worry since it doesn’t stimulate you enough and 2) sales in a store where you’re on your feet all day and talking to customers is great since it’s stimulating work that takes your mind off everything else.
– Exercise daily and don’t overeat to keep stress down and stay fit.
– If you feel like you’re overworked and missing out, take out some hours each day to do activities you enjoy. Here he used an example of Rockerfeller who was rich his whole life but never went out and parties or to play and treated his workers like dogs. He was miserable most of the time and nobody liked to be around him. Later on he changed some of these things, but at that time he was already old.
– Give people sincere compliments whenever they deserve it, because that makes them smile and makes your day better. I did this to a young kid in my local grocery store who always gave a good service and cleaned up after me when I broke a lot of stuff because I hit some beer bottles by accident. I told him he gives exceptional service and that he would be a good sales man. He brightened up like I’ve never seen and thanked me like 5 times. Since then we always chat when I shop there.
Those were the most important lessons in the book. I haven’t seen the book you linked so can’t say whether he copied or not.
Sociopath Next Door: I just read the intro in this book and the biggest take away was stated in the article. I don’t feel the need to read the entire book since the intro explained everything perfectly.
Thanks equally for your great reply!
Ah, I appreciate the summary of the Dale Carnegie book. It does seem similar to the William Osler manifesto, but expanded.
Nice on the compliment. I do the same. They say that the average adult gets only a few compliments per year, so most people are literally (psychologically) starved for praise.
Exactly most people only point out the negatives.
Absolutely brilliant comment Oskar, you’ve hit a lot of the right spots
Hey Oskar and Ludvig! Great sites both. A couple of comments. Saying using Steroids is Cheating is intellectually dishonest. Cheating or using ergogens, or PE’s in every sport has been going on since the dawn of the first Olympics in Athens.
When everybody is doing it (or at least the top level elites where millions of dollars are at stake) I don’t see how we can dissuade ourselves into labeling those using as cheaters. I would classify them as more informed and willing to do whatever it takes to provide for themselves, their families and potentially generations to come.
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer
I see your point Jay, although I have to say it’s difficult for me to relate to that level of athletics since I’ve only competed in national level competitions where there wasn’t any money at stake thus no steroids. If someone did use them there I would see it as cheating since nobody else did it. However, in your example of top level sports I see the point; when everyone else uses, the only way you can compete is by using yourself.
There is a great site nattyornot which just destroys all those steroid users claiming to be nattys.
I just hope people wake up and realise that there are certain things that are possible and certain things that are not possible.
I know of that site, the few articles I read were spot on.