Natural bodybuilding gets a pretty bad rap on Reddit and bodybuilding forums. How many times have you heard people preaching; “natural bodybuilding is a joke, a scam, you’re wasting your time, bro!”
In a crowd of naysayers, it can be hard to keep the faith, or even to believe you’re doing the right thing. The thing is, you KNOW you are, your gut tells you it’s better, and luckily, we’re here to back you (and all natural bodybuilders) up, and remind you why you started this natural bodybuilding malarky in the first place.
In the bit below I’ll walk you through the pros (and cons) of doing it naturally and answer all questions you have. What is it? How to recognize a natural bodybuilder? Why the hell does it matter in the first place? Put down the drugs and let’s talk natural bodybuilding; the truth revealed!
What is natural bodybuilding?
First things first though, let’s get one thing straight: what IS natural bodybuilding exactly? It’s a way of bodybuilding for bodybuilders who don’t want to put weird stuff in their bodies but instead want to get that ripped body in an all natural way.
No roids or growth hormone or other shady substances. Just pumping it up at the gym, sticking to a rigid diet, and working that body in a natural way, that’s what it’s all about in natural bodybuilding.
For those with their eyes on the stage, there are plenty of natural bodybuilding competitions where contestants are judged on size, symmetry, and overall physique. Again, the catch is that no illegal performance-enhancing drugs can be used to achieve those gains.
This all seems straightforward, but competitive bodybuilders are always looking for an edge in the grey area of performance enhancement.
For example, anabolic steroids are an obvious no-no in natural bodybuilding, but what about other substances such as insulin? Diabetics use insulin, so why can’t a bodybuilder? In general, any substance that is illegal or requires a prescription such as growth hormone, testosterone, and insulin is not going to be allowed in natural bodybuilding.
For a full list of banned substances in competitive natural bodybuilding, check out the full list on the WADA website.
How to recognize a natural bodybuilder?
We probably all kind of know how to spot steroid slurpers, but can you also tell when you’re dealing with a natural bod? Look out for these features and next time you hit the gym you know exactly what kind of bro you’re dealing with.
Getting right into it: natural bodybuilders often just look less bloated and more real. I know you want to bulk up as quick as possible and maximize that muscle mass, but a guy on gear just grows his body in an unnatural way. A steroid user’s rapid muscle growth often just messes up his proportions; and his entire body structure for that matter.
We all know those way too bulky guys who’ve clearly overdone it with the juicing. Their chests are massive AF but their heads remain just as tiny as before. At the same time, they often show more signs of aging – think early baldness or a greasy skin.
I hear you think man. “OK, that’s all true and all, but no way natural bodybuilding can get me the kind of lean muscle mass I’m craving…”
Well, let me just stop you right there bro. Natural bodybuilding CAN get you ripped.
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Says it all right there: natural bodybuilding really does work! If anyone tells you otherwise, just show them some pics of some of the biggest natural bodybuilders around, like Heather Formichella here. Yeah, that’s all natural! Funnily enough, natural bodybuilders like her wouldn’t touch steroids with a bargepole, and every single one of them is tanked to the max. Stick that in your needle.
You’re just as capable of becoming a beast through natural bodybuilding methods as you are with steroids. And the best thing? You’ll be alive long enough to show your grandkids and you’ll look healthy, young, yet massive in all the right ways! There’s just no excuse good enough to resort to artificial (and illegal) means.
Why do natty competitions get a bad rep?
So if natural bodybuilding is all that great; why the bad rep? That has to do with the definition of bodybuilding, and what people think bodybuilding MEANS. Haters will tell you natural bodybuilding shouldn’t be called bodybuilding at all, because gaining by taking extra substances is the definition of bodybuilding. For them, it’s simply part of the game.
Of course, all-natural bodybuilders will call BS on that. They’ll tell you the textbook definition of bodybuilding doesn’t say anything about the use of steroids or other substances. That bodybuilding is all about getting bigger by bringing your A game, not about who can shoot most steroids.
All the fuzz aside, natural bodybuilding competitions are definitely on the rise, with new competitions for all natural bodybuilders shooting up like mushrooms. Natty competitions like the PNBA Elite World Tour or the Natural Olympia competition are huge in the natural bodybuilding world, showcasing some of the BIGGEST muscle bodies. Trust me, these guys and girls don’t need roids to look outrageously ripped!
Why does natural bodybuilding matter?
Maybe the most important question of all: why does natural bodybuilding matter? Easy: because we’re talking about your health here bro! You don’t wanna be turning fifty feeling crippled and old as fuck just because you wanted to win that competition so badly back when you were twenty. No show can be that important! And in case you were in any doubt, here are 5 solid reasons natural bodybuilding is the bomb:
1 – Your organs stay safe
Your organs are kind of essential to your wellbeing. Once they start going downhill, you can wave goodbye to your overall health. In fact, you’ll be lucky if you’re still standing, let alone visiting the gym if steroids go to town on them. One of the most common side effects of steroid use is a rise in cholesterol levels, which also raises your risk for heart attacks.
Your liver’s the next one to take the hit. It can get absolutely ravaged thanks to the high toxicity of steroids. Liver damage can sometimes be irreversible. In fact, worst case scenario, it can shut down completely – and then you’re really in the poop!
Lastly, regular steroid use can cause your organs to become enlarged, which will make them work harder and wear them out faster. All this bad news should be food for thought if you’re thinking of creeping away from natural bodybuilding anytime soon.
2 – Your sex life heats up
Life just ain’t as fun when you’re not able to get it up. And that’s exactly what can happen if you use steroids.
Testosterone is the hormone responsible for building strength and gaining size. But, it’s also the main sex-dominant hormone. When you take steroids, your testosterone and growth hormone levels get thrown way out of whack. This, in turn, results in sexual disturbances.
More specifically, you can end up with shrunken testicles, a lower sex drive and erectile dysfunction. And women can experience an enlarged clitoris, smaller breasts and a reduced libido. Sounds fun, right?
Going the natural route ensures you’ll keep the spark in your love life. Plus, as you’ll be fighting fit thanks to regular workouts and no health issues, you’ll be up for it 24/7.
3 – You don’t turn into a psycho (or a misery)
Remember what I just said about hormones being thrown off? Well, it’s not just your sex life at risk because of this. Hormone fluctuations can also affect your mood. Ever heard of roid rage? Yep, it’s caused by your hormones being out of balance.
And when you’re not raging over nothing, you can end up feeling depressed over nothing too. It’s common to lose interest in things you once felt passionate about. So unless you like to find yourself alienated, agitated and lonely, steer clear this kind of issue by staying natural.
4 – You won’t look like the elephant man
Another side effect of steroids is they can cause hair loss in men, hair growth in unwanted places in women and painful acne. None of this is very appealing unless you’re an ogre. If you choose to go the natural direction, you can be lean, muscular and not have to worry about any of these complications.
5 – You won’t feel like a fraud
Do you remember the band Milli Vanilli? They spent the better half of two years, pumping out hit after hit after hit. Then one day, the rug got pulled from under them. They got exposed for the frauds that they were.
As it turns out, they didn’t write or sing a single note of any song they recorded. It was all smoke, mirrors and lip syncing. Needless to say, the public was outraged and they lost all credibility.
Now turn to steroids and your body. When you take them, you still lift weights to get big, so you’re not quite doing the Milli Vanilli. But, you’re still cheating like a riverboat gambler in Southern Mississippi in the 1930s.
It’ll still raise a red flag with people if they find out and make you look like you had to cheat to get ahead. You could end up losing friends – and definitely your chance at competing in an all-natural competition.
Now, if you work your ass off and take the route void of illegalities, you’ll be much more respected and won’t have to hide from anyone. This is way more fulfilling and gives you a real sense of accomplishment when you start seeing those results.
How to get better results?
Do you know why people generally say natural bodybuilding doesn’t work? Well, because they are just too damn impatient themselves: they want those quick gains, but they are too lazy to actually put in some effort and work for that muscle.
I get it, it can be a pain in the ass knowing you’re working your butt of in the gym day in day out while some dudes just easily inject their gainz. It seems unfair, and especially when you wanna compete in bodybuilding competitions you start to wonder; “what is even the point?!” The point, my friend, is that you don’t want to look back in thirty years from now regretting the decisions you make right now.
Your second-grade teacher who said patience is a virtue was right on the money. If you lack patience, you’ll struggle mightily with all life has to offer. And this is no different when it comes to natural bodybuilding. You must be patient and dedicated. But if you’re in need of a nudge, perhaps these checkpoints can help you out.
1 – Check your workout regime
If you’re struggling to see the results you want, it could be hinged around your workouts. When you’re natural bodybuilding, it becomes even more important to execute proper form, lift as heavy as you can and also make sure you’re well rested.
Don’t think that doing excessive work is mandatory to see results in the absence of steroids. It’s not. Muscles need to be torn down, but they also need adequate time to recover and grow. Be sure to give it to them.
It’s also a good idea to build your workouts around compound exercises, which recruit multiple muscles and joints at the same time. Bench presses, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, lunges and military presses are all examples of these.
Keep an eye on our workout section for heaps of natural bodybuilding workout advice –> Workouts
2 – Check your nutrition is up to scratch
Your muscles and hormones are highly dependant on the fuel you put in your body. Even if you workout 7 days a week, a diet high in fast food, alcohol, sweets and Walmart hot dogs won’t do your body much good.
You’re going to be way better off if you stick to the basics and follow a balanced diet that includes quality sources of protein, carbs and fat.
Include foods that also help you produce more testosterone-like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and chard. These are cruciferous vegetables, which lower estrogen while increasing testosterone.
3 – Get extra help, naturally
Lastly, supplement. CrazyBulk has a whole slew of all-natural supplements that can come in handy when you’re following a natural bodybuilding program.
If getting cut is your goal, then Clenbutrol is a good option. If energy is what you lack, Anvarol would be your hookup. If you’re having trouble building bulk, then Testo-Max would fit the bill.
Any way you want to go, CrazyBulk has you covered. But just remember, supplements will only work if you work out. And they don’t mean you can just disregard your diet. They’re supposed to be used in sync.
You get out what you put in
You know why you started natural bodybuilding. And deep down, you know it’s the right route to take. Literally, the only thing left to do is learn to ignore the doubters and prove them wrong.
And if you ever start to doubt it yourself, take a look at the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation’s website and tell me these guys (and girls) don’t look ripped to shreds.
Stick with the program and you’ll soon be swole as hell, with a healthy system to boot. And those on steroids? Well, they can look forward to major health issues in a very short space of time. Because when it comes to bodybuilding, the true winner of the race is the tortoise.
How did you prove the doubters wrong? Tell us below!