Martin Berkhan is a fitness model, personal trainer and Internet celebrity in the online fitness space. He has become particularly famous for his lean physique and peculiar way of dieting known as ‘intermittent fasting‘.
Many follow Martin Berkhan’s advice in the hope that they can one day achieve similar ‘popping muscles’ and levels of leanness. Since we know that in this world nothing seems to be what it is, it makes sense to ask the good old question – is Martin Berkhan natural or is he using anabolic steroids?
How big is Martin Berkhan?
According to Martin’s profile on bodybuilding.com he has the following ‘body stats’:
Height: 6’1″ – 185 cm;
Weight: 195 lbs – 89 kg;
Body fat: 5.5 %;
That data indicates that Martin Berkhan is 5 lbs over our estimation for a natural bodybuilder at his height.
5 lbs may seem like nothing to you but the truth is that 5 lbs of real muscle can make a ton of difference when you are at your best.
Note: Martin Berkhan is just 5-10 lbs lighter than the legendary bodybuilder Serge Nubret who most of his life competed at 200 lbs @ 6′.
It takes advanced lifters about 2 years to gain 5 lbs of muscle. That’s after a few years of training. So, don’t take 5 lbs so lightly. However, if we accept that Martin Berkhan has really solid genetics and good understanding of training and eating as well as religious motivation, we can accept his mass as possible to achieve naturally.
What about his level of leanness?
One of the hardest things for natural bodybuilders is dieting down to 5% body fat. To tell the truth most people never even come close to 5% body fat. The majority of the naturals lose a ton of muscle mass in that state and there’s a world of difference between 5% and 10% body fat although both are considered very lean.
On his website Martin Berkhan stated that he used the popular fat loss combination ECA (ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin) to increase his level of leanness. For those of you who don’t know ephedrine is a stimulant and is illegal in many countries without prescription.
The goal of the whole ECA stack is to speed up your heart rate and burn more calories when at rest or exercising. As everything else it can be dangerous when used incorrectly and without the right amount of precaution.
Martin Berkhan disappears in clothes…
Believe it or not disappearing in clothes is somewhat good in front of the steroid police. However, pretty much any f* natural bodybuilder such as Layne Norton, Lazar Angelov, Matt Ogus and even Jeff Seid disappear in clothes.
In order to look really big even in clothes you have to be…really big. Those guys count on conditioning and quality muscle mass. They are not mass monsters and probably don’t ever want to be. However, the fact that they are not on Kali Muscle‘s level does not make them 100% drug free. There are doses for rats and doses for elephants.
Martin Berkhan is a strong motherfucker….
Martin Berkhan can deadlift 600 lbs a few times. That’s over 3 times his bodyweight which is a world class deadlift among the natural world. Of course, that does not mean that he is on anabolic steroids but keep in mind that strength and super leanness have hard time coexisting. You can’t serve two masters. Nobody is at his strongest at 5% body fat.
Martin Berkhan is lean all the time…
Achieving super lean body is quite hard, but what’s even harder is preserving it. The very same way landing a good job is hard but keeping it is even harder. Most people unless super genetically gifted are not 5.5 % BF the whole year. It’s just too demanding to maintain and before all not needed.
Conclusion: Martin Berkhan is one of those cases where he may be on steroids but he may also be natural. There is no concrete evidence for either argument. However, if you are a natural bodybuilder don’t expect to achieve the physique of Martin Berkhan easily or ever.