As you can probably guess, I am getting “natty or not” questions pretty much every day, sometimes more than a few. I don’t mind, and I usually answer when I can. Sometimes, however, I can’t be 100% certain what’s the exact diagnosis.
There is a specific group of people that just don’t seem to jump out of the page as easily as guys like Kali Muscle. Those individuals are somewhat muscular, but not very lean, which makes muscle quality hard to see. Usually, they are also pretty strong for the average gym standards – benching 300 lbs, barbell rowing 275 lbs, deadlifting 600 lbs…etc.
I call those bodybuilders shadow pinners. They pin their glutes secretly in the shadows and have created a peculiar aura around them, which seems to impress the fanboys and the I-can-be-Ronnie-Coleman-naturally-just-give-me-more-time type of guys. Those who dare to question are, of course, haters.
I have a very specific inquiry for the fanboys: how do you know your favorite guru is not injecting his glutes with a healthy dose of testosterone on regular basis while claiming natural? How can you know that?
The answer is: You can’t.
There are a lot of people who are on TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) and still claim to be natural. They could think whatever they want. The reality is they could be considered natty only in their minds.
Different TRT regimens are very effective and give you a significant edge over the real natties. The treatment essentially boosts your testosterone to levels that could be considered high for lifters who are much younger than you. Still, TRT alone will not make look exceptional enough to the point where muscle magazines are fighting for your signature. People in the gym will notice though. If the gym is relatively small, you could even become a muscle oracle and a respected “buff dude”.
I have encountered a few shadow pinners in my past. When I fist started training in an actual gym there was a 30 something guy who used to lift weights regularly about 4 times a week. He had a group of a few 20 something fanboys following his advice and routines. The guys was about 210 lbs @ 6′. He was not very lean – probably 15% body fat. Nevertheless, he looked very good. Huge chest, big back, some legs and unfortunately Dennis Wold calves.
One time I was doing something stupid. It was either chest flies on a machine or seated calf raises. He was there talking to another shadow pinner and admitted to testosterone usage in the past. He was thinking about restarting the program. I am 100% convinced that if he was to maintain a YouTube channel, he could easily persuade the low IQ broke kids on the Internet that he is 100% natty. Yet, he was not. One thing I would give to him is that he trained mainly with compound movements. His workout routine was solid and he never skipped the difficult exercises.
The next time you meet somebody who is pretty big, yet not magazine material, don’t forget that he may be one of the low key steroid users – a pinner in the shadows.