We’ve seen all the men and women who take fitness to the next level. We can’t help but wonder if they did shortcuts to get their fit bodies and many of us want to know how they do it. With a little research, we find out that the fastest way to get ripped and in shape usually has something to do with substances that promise instant results.
If you’re well-versed with bodybuilding terminologies, the term all-natural (or natty) gets thrown a lot around. This is especially true in physique competitions where fat percentage is taken into account. There are a multitude of products that burn fat but are all of them safe and natural?
What Makes Someone Natural in the Bodybuilding Community?
The term “natural” in the bodybuilding community differs from person to person. It’s the same confusion when people are introduced to the terms vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based. Natural bodybuilding would likely mean NOT introducing steroids to the routine.
Some bodybuilders would go as far as not taking supplements like creatine and amino acid tablets and call themselves natural. Which is fine, but they completely discredit how creatines and amino acid supplements are actually natural products produced by the body and are also found in food.
Celebrity fitness models claiming being natural receive flak from the bodybuilding community. The signs that someone is using steroids can be seen by someone who has spent some time researching and being in the fitness lifestyle. Professionals, or gym instructors from, say, 24 Hour Fitness and 9 Round, have a good eye at noticing who is natural or not.
How to Tell If Someone is Natural or On Steroids
There are several physical signs when someone is abusing steroids. Here are some of them:
- Thinning hair. Excessive testosterone which will increase muscle mass and is responsible for secondary sexual characteristics like body hair will also eventually lead to hair loss or the classic male pattern baldness. If someone has a receding hairline, either they’re in their late ages or they’re abusing steroids.
- Rapid gains in muscle mass. In as little as a month, people using steroids will have a noticeably faster progress than someone who isn’t. In a span of one year, the muscle mass gain potential can exceed a healthy amount, and if the user stops their cycle, they will lose their gains quickly.
- Gynecomastia. This is almost a telltale sign that someone is using steroids. Gynecomastia is the development of breast tissue in men. People with gynecomastia will have plump flesh surrounding the nipples. It’s common for infants, teenagers, and older men but if you see a shirtless guy in the gym and you notice their nipples take on a slightly pyramidal or conal shape, chances are they’re using steroids.
- Acne. It’s the very same reason why teenagers get acne – the body is flooded with hormones to develop secondary sex characteristics. Testosterone regulates the amount of oil produced by the skin and steroid abusers will go through a second, albeit, false puberty. The acne doesn’t limit its location on the face. It can be found on the back, on the chest, and even at the upper arms.
- Thickening of the brow bone. This is one of the less subtle signs of steroid abuse. Growth hormones or growth hormone-inducing steroids will command the body to attempt to continue developing bones. Strangely enough, people afflicted with gigantism have hormonal imbalances that cause their joints and bones to jut out. This leads to the classic skull bossing feature in people also affected with acromegaly.
- Joint pains. This is related to the previous sign. Joint pain occurs because there is less cartilage to support the growing bones. Growth hormones also affect the production of lipids and collagens that are needed for tendons. Bodybuilders who abuse steroids will have pains
- Hoarse voice or lisping. Androgenic hormones or steroids will cause a man’s voice to become lower, almost to the point of a whisper or a lisp. In women, this will mean a lower voice. Androgenic steroids, again, help males reach maturity and develop secondary sexual characteristics. (In this case, a lower voice.)
- Increased body hair. Not all steroid abusers are men, some females who are into competitive bodybuilding and have used anabolic steroids will develop a thin layer of hair above their lips. Hair may also grow from their thighs and forearms. For men, these will mean a thickening of the hair already present in their body. Their chest hair will have a more greasy appearance due to the overproduction of sebum.
Should I Be A Strictly Natural Bodybuilder?
To be a natural bodybuilder means you have to discipline yourself in terms of dieting and a strong commitment to weight lifting. If you want to be the vegetarian-type of bodybuilder, then that’s a healthier option but that will mean the results will not be as fast as a bodybuilder who has no dietary restriction or preferences.