6 Tips to Differentiate Natural Bodybuilding from Steroids Based

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When it comes to natural bodybuilding, and the use of steroids, a little bit of knowledge can help you spot who is who and what is what! This guide is aimed at providing you with that knowledge and also with some tips on how natural bodybuilders used to get their gains back in the days. Without further ado, let’s get started!

6 Things to Help You Spot Natural Bodybuilders


Traps Aren’t as Massive

This single muscle can do a lot in giving away the sign of natural bodybuilding. If someone has huge traps, that give the illusion of a big neck, there is a good chance that they are on steroids. Indeed, according to research; trapezius androgenic receptor i-e Myonuclei is connected with the use of Androgenic-Anabolic Steroid usage.

In most cases, bodybuilders who have been lifting for some time can have good traps, but not as huge as they could get if they were using steroids. Thus, it’s likely that they are not on steroids and have acquired their gains through natural bodybuilding.

Trap City Bitch!


Bodyweight to Body Fat Ratio is Normal

People who have just a bit of knowledge about how bodybuilding works or have spent some time in a gym will know that being huge and ripped at the same time is virtually impossible with natural bodybuilding. Look at Braun Strowman, he is huge but also not very ripped, so there’s a very good chance he could be natural.

Now, don’t think that you cannot be big and ripped at the same time – that is absolutely possible, but we are talking about being huge and ripped, not ‘big’. A natural bodybuilder can be spotted by looking at the amount of bodyweight relative to his levels of body fat. If it seems unbelievable, then steroids may be the reason.

Ripped as hell!


Head to Body Ratio is Normal

People who only focus on natural bodybuilding will have “normal” heads. People who use steroids will sometimes have tiny heads for their huge bodies. This happens because steroids mostly focus on the body of the bodybuilder rather than going for the head. And in a way, it is a good thing for steroid users otherwise 50% of self-proclaimed ‘naturals’ would’ve been wandering around with a watermelon instead of a head.

Although steroids sometimes make the head a little bit bigger as well, it still stays in the not-normal proportion compared to their body, unlike the true naturals who have the right head to body ratio.

Huge Traps! Tiny head!


They Stay Young Longer

This is very true with natural bodybuilders. After growing a lot of mass in a short span of time, steroid users start to look older for their age. Here at Kill Your Lifts, we absolutely love John Meadows, his advice is top notch and there’s always something valuable to be learned from him. However, after years of (ab)use, he does not really look like he’s in his 40s. Other signs, like early baldness, fatigue, disturbance in sleep patterns and more, without any specific reason, can lead to the conclusion of steroid use.

John Meadows


They Are Not as Cut

People who are on steroids grow abnormally huge muscles and cut body fat to an unbelievable amount that leaves them with deeper cuts. This makes them more ripped and seem bigger even if they have the same weight as the natural bodybuilders.

But this doesn’t mean that people who are giving their blood and sweat to bodybuilding and keeping it natural cannot have deep cuts. With proper diet and workout, they can have a defined body as well.

Ryan Terry


Not Much Changes Other Than Physique

Natural bodybuilders are not introduced to androgenic hormones that are present in steroids. This means they will only experience two things with natural bodybuilding: gain in muscles and decrease in fat.

Things that result in the consumption of androgenic hormones, like a deeper voice, gynecomastia, hair loss and increased aggression, will (usually 😉) not happen with people doing natural bodybuilding.


4 Tips to Recognize Steroids Based Bodybuilding

Though we have explained the things that give away the identity of steroid users, here are a few common tips to help you recognize steroid users:

  • Bodybuilders who look pregnant are likely to be steroid (among other things, such as growth hormone) users. This is because steroids, and GH, increase the size of intestines as well, and that results in fat bellies.
  • They tend to have boulder shoulders that seem like they’re straight out of Photoshop. This is because steroids cause high growth in deltoids that make them seem more prominent than the rest of their muscles.
  • Steroids stimulate the sebaceous glands in the body that result in increased sebum production. And when that happens, the user can get acne as the sebum clogs up the pores of the skin. Though not every steroid user will get acne, if someone in your gym suddenly gets a bigger body along with acne, you will know something is fishy.
  • Steroids decrease the production of collagens which makes skin look thinner, and veins look more prominent, providing them with an extreme level of vascularity.

3 Old-School Natural Bodybuilding Lifestyle Tips

For those of you who want to keep it natural while still gaining muscle and shredding fat, here are a few tips from the golden era of bodybuilding.


Full Body Workouts

Back in the day, natural bodybuilders used to perform a full body workout on the same day instead of having separate days for chest, legs, back, shoulders, and abs etc. If you do the same, you can just hit the gym 3-4 days a week instead of 6-7 days.


Focus on Volume

Natural bodybuilders used to focus on a high number of sets and reps and would go for 10 sets of 10 reps each to do more muscle damage. This helped them heal and grow their muscles even faster resulting in increased strength of muscle, bone density and hormone production.


Take Recovery Days

Due to the fact that natural bodybuilders in old times used to do full body workouts and focused on high levels of volumes, their bodies needed more time to recover. This is the reason that they used to hit the gym three to four times a week and rest on the other days. If you are thinking of adopting the old-school lifestyle, make sure to take recovery days as well.

Final Words – Is Natural Bodybuilding Worth It?

While we think that everybody should be able to put anything they want in their own body, as long as it doesn’t harm others, we would recommend you try to stay away from the use of steroids, and focus on getting your gains through a natural workout and healthy lifestyle.

There are excellent natural supplements that can help you reach your goals, such as testosterone boosters. You can also adopt the old-school exercise lifestyle we mentioned above, and see how it affects your body.

If you have any thoughts on natural bodybuilding, do share below! 😉

1 Comment
  1. What’s up friends, good post

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