Real Life Stories from the Gym | Genetic potential and steroids

About a year ago, I wrote a guide presenting how big naturals can get without steroids. I spent the last few days reviving old memories, and I had the opportunity to follow the steps that lead me to the conclusions outlined in the table.

image source: BenjaminNelan;

image source: BenjaminNelan;

Sorry. Nothing has changed. I still believe in the same numbers, if not less for the average person. In addition, going back and rereading some old material from people I was following before made me realize once again – the muscle game is one big swindle.

While I have spent a ton of time reading on the Internet, I was also able to collect a lot of information from the local muscle scene in my town.


When I first started lifting, I went, of course, to the closest local gym. My first workout I did some 95 lbs. deadlifts, overhead presses with just the bar, some funny front squats…etc. After that, I decided that this gym sucked for me. I needed more, or so they told me.

I guess I was “lucky” to find out that about 1 hour from my home there was an underground gym (literally) where powerlifters and some pro bodybuilders were training. It was the type of gym where the toilet works once every week and 70% of the equipment is homemade, but it still had all I needed for my “superior” barbell lifts. There was a squat rack, bench presses….everything. It was dirty, but I decided to settle. This turned out to be the place where I was going to make most of my strength gains.

While it was a powerlifting gym, the hardcore pro level powerlifters were training mainly in the evening, and during the working hours most of the people there were typical bodybuilding “brahs” looking to get “swol”.

I was doing my routines, eating a ton of calories while believing that everybody around me was training like a complete idiot. I was suffering from the beginner 5×5 syndrome. With that said, I do believe most people there were training like imbeciles, but later I had my moment of truth and realized that I was wrong and right at the same time.

I trained hard for months. Sometimes I was spending over 90 minutes in the gym because of the big rest periods I was taking due to “lifting heavy”. So, what happened?

I got relatively strong – 1.6 BW squat, 2.5 BW deadlift and only 1 BW bench press. All that in 5 months. Natural (of course).

Looking back, I made some decent progress, but I wasn’t happy. I felt cheated. I was breaking my back, but the mirror was not reporting anything spectacular. I was just a typical skinny fat dude with a 36-inch gut, no chest, no arms, big ass, some back, no quads, no hamstrings and some crappy barbell lifts. In other words, I did my end of the bargain, only to realize how much of a clown I was.

What do you do when your feel like that? Well, you ask yourself: WHAT THE FUCK?

I started paying attention to the “guys with muscle” in that gym despite the fact that some were lifting baby weights. It appeared that most of them were on steroids and the code name for steroids was supplements. All the time the big guys in the gym were talking about large amount of money spent on supplements each month (something in excess of USD 750). Obviously, they were buying juice and not protein powder. With USD 750 you can buy enough protein powder for a whole year or more. You will probably even get a discount for mass bulk purchase.

All powerlifters that I met there were also on steroids and many were very fat to say the least. Occasionally, there were also needles left in the locker room. As I said, the place was a pig farm.

I even had the chance to meet a natural bodybuilder competing in the so called “classic bodybuilding division”. I remember the first time I saw the man. He was doing some sort of bending with a dumbbell for the obliques. What punched me immediately was his synthetic look. He was not incredibly big, but his abs just screamed – synthetics. Later, I found out that he was juicing. He said so himself in a conversation with a fat powerlifter. Somewhat ironically, he weighed as much as me, albeit lean and 2-3 inches shorter. He had no hair and was rather ugly. He was also looking at me like I was a poor kid with dirty clothes and no money lost in the mall. I hated it. I do not think I deserved his pity.

Somewhere at this point, I participated in a powerlifting meet. I lifted pathetic numbers while being surrounded by hardcore juicers. I mean everything – steroids, insulin, GH. It was an amateur gym meet, and I decided to try it for fun. I was on that powerlifting addict drug. I got the chance to see a ton of steroid users, hear them talk and gather information.

I gained some respect because I outrained many lazy bastards, and I am naturally very good at the deadlift. Ironically, I hated the place a lot. It was dirty as hell and people were brutally mean. I would say that the amount of people there taking steroids was AT LEAST 85%.

I learned first-hand how the Dbol bloat looks. 🙂

At that gym people were talking about tren and anavar openly. This was also the place where one of those “big guys” on everything from slin to GH tried to fight me because I dared to use the cable machine while he was doing a triceps superset. I remember the guy pushing me from the machine, changing the weight and immediately measuring his arms pumped. He had nice GH gut to boot with that 19-inch arm.

It was fun, but I had to go somewhere else. I did not fit there and was never going to.

I found a gym close to work. It did not have a lot of equipment, but it was plenty – squat stand, leg press, bench press, incline…etc. At that point, I was not really training. I lost 20 pounds because I simply did not care about maintaining my skinny fatness anymore.

This little gym was also a good teaching ground. It got me a chance to meet some of the mini juicers.

Those are the type of guys who take steroids but are not phenomenally strong. Remember: I was used to seeing 600 lbs. + squats, 450 lbs. bench presses…etc. Those guys were taking test, at least, and benching 275 lbs. which is still a very respectable number, but nothing to write home about.

I remember one time when two guys came out of the bathroom together, and the air was filled with the smell of alcohol right away. What happened? Those two morons used alcohol to disinfect the spot and injected each other’s glutes. I will probably never forget the “we didn’t fuck, so don’t worry” facial expression of those two idiots. One of them had traps Tom Hardy style and was benching some decent numbers. The other one was a permabulker and lifting a little less. They were also doing cocaine, at least according to their stories.

Later on, I met the thinking steroid user. He is the type of guy with really big muscles which always look full of water. He is silent, does not talk much, and looks at everybody else with a sense of superiority. Since I am a good people reader, he could not hide from me. He had enormous legs despite only doing some puny leg presses and lunges with 100 lbs. or so. He also had a huge back, and all he did were some pathetic 275 lbs. partial deadlifts and, of course, all the machines. He was an obvious drug user and admirer of male bodies. Damn, was he creepy.

Why am I telling you all this? To be honest, similar posts are like a soul calmer. It is like writing in my diary, and I do not quite know where to stop.

The point is that I had a chance to see some elite powerlifters and bodybuilders in action from the first row. I also had the opportunity to analyze the typical low-level gym rat juicer in the gym. After I became extremely mad at the whole bodybuilding game, I did a lot of research, which backed my conclusion on what can be achieved naturally. I also realized the shortcomings of my muscle genetics and overcame it mentally to some extent.

Remember: just because you have bad muscle genetics, it does not mean that your genetics are bad in general. If you are healthy,  you have decent genetics. Don’t let the juiced lifters in the gym tell you otherwise.

More conclusions:

All people showing out of the ordinary muscle size are on steroids regardless of how strong or weak they are. Period.

Steroid users always have a very specific look to their physique. A look that has something artificial in it. It is hard to describe it, but after some experience in the gym, you can clearly see it. It is more visible when they are lean. There are many fat steroid users who hide that technological appearance under layers of fat.

I am still certain that the numbers I presented in the original post are true, but only for elite lifters. I myself cannot reach the weight for my height at 5% BF, but that does NOT mean that others will share my fate. What many people ignore is that if you truly reach the outlined numbers, you will look exceptional in almost every gym you go. I have no doubt about it.

As final words, I wanted you to know the following because nobody is willing to put it in a clear text:

  1. What can be achieved naturally in terms of strength and size is light years behind steroid limits. We are talking about many hundreds of pounds less.

Example: If you can bench press something like 250-300 lbs. naturally, you are very very GIFTED in the lift. There are people who can do that thanks to favorable levers and heavy bodyweight (obesity), but you will never find an average natty person at low body fat that can bench that. NEVER. Many hardcore juicers barely bench press 405 lbs.

  1. 95% of the YouTube fitness gurus are juicing. The other 5% are not popular. Some of them admit it, others don’t. Either way the result is poor understanding of what naturals look and perform like. YouTube has grown a lot and many are making thousands, even millions, from videos. I think you get the rest.
  2. There are constantly new ideas and videos on how to add one inch to your arms with overtraining and other stupid broscience, but in the end of the day for an average person the priority should always be: get stronger in doing the basic lifts with GREAT range of motion and remain injury free. Sure. If you train your arms every day for 3 months, you may get some growth, but in the long run you will end at the same place regardless. When you are younger this may not make a lot of sense to you, but as time goes by you will realize that you were killing yourself and pushing yourself for nothing.

Of course, the so-called bodybuilding motivational videos will not tell you that. Those clips are brainwashing you like MTV. They present you a world build on illusions. They show you what you are supposed to want, but they also hide the “darkside”. It’s business as usual. The result is a bunch of teens who think they are saving the world by lifting weights and tossing around phrases like “do you even lift?”.

Lifting weights is certainly a great activity. It will keep you healthy and unless you try to “break the records”, you will also remain injury free and stronger than your untrained version. However, I believe there is a point when people need to outgrow this. Focusing on the flesh is fine but only for a while. The important part is spiritual. This is the only thing that matters. Eventually, we will all disappear. The world keeps on turning, new gadgets appear every day, but we, the people, are still the same. Nothing has changed and nothing will ever change because we are in prison. Some have better sentences than others, live in nice houses, make lots of money and couldn’t care less about others, but they are still in jail too.

Lifting weights is like eating, although a bit less important. You need it to be happier here, but it’s not why you are here. Remember that the next time you pump that hardcore music in you iPhony player and do half-reps on the bench press after watching a “motivational video”.

P.S. I have a lot more stories from different gyms. Looking back they are all funny, but it sure as hell did not feel amusing back then.

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