*What is natural bodybuilding, R-E-A-L-L-Y?*

“Love can sometimes be magic. But magic can sometimes… just be an illusion.”


Defining natural bodybuilding is not as easy as one may think. There are two main definitions which require a lot of explanations to be understood correctly. One is the official definition while the second is considered an underground “secret” and only individuals who have done rigorous analysis of the fitness world and the bodybuilding scene are aware of its meaning.


Natural bodybuilding {official definition}

Natural bodybuilding represents a competitive sport in which the participants are judged by the aesthetic qualities of their physiques. The practitioners are trying to increase the size of their musculature while reducing the amount of fat cells (adipose tissue) in their bodies to the lowest possible healthy minimum, all without using performance-enhancing drugs (PED) banned by national laws. The prohibited substances depend not only on the legislation of the country but also on the different bodybuilding federations in which the muscle athletes compete.


Natural bodybuilders have to pass through many drug tests in order to earn their right to compete. The most common procedures to determine the status of a bodybuilder are: urine, blood and polygraph testing. Competitors who fail to pass the required tests and examinations cannot compete. Depending on the bodybuilding organization participants may also have to be drug free for at least seven years prior to the testing in order to be allowed to take part in official competitive events.

Variations of natural bodybuilders

Lifetime natural bodybuilders

Lifetime natural bodybuilders are bodybuilders who have never in their lives taken any kind of banned performance-enhancing drugs (PED). Those kind of bodybuilders do not look very impressive because they are relying solely on training and nutrition in their quest for the perfect physique. There are many reasons to be a lifetime natural bodybuilder but the most popular ones are: personal and social morals, health issues, lack of interest, poverty and reasonable thinking.

Fake natural bodybuilders

Fake natural bodybuilders are bodybuilders who are using banned performance-enhancing drugs (PED) during their preparation for bodybuilding contests. Despite the use of illegal drugs such as anabolic steroids, growth hormone, diuretics and others those individuals still claim that they are “natural” and continue to compete. The drug testing procedures are usually manipulated through wide variety of well elaborated strategies.

Half-natural bodybuilders (half natty)

Half-natural bodybuilders are fake natural bodybuilders (see above) who either have bad genetic response to anabolic drugs and/or use only small amounts of muscle enhancing drugs.

Note: Fake natural and half-natural bodybuilders seem to be suffering from schizophrenia and have many alter egos. They will never, under any circumstances, reveal their addiction to muscle enhancing drugs and sometimes even their families are clueless to what’s going on. They (the bodybuilders) are extremely secretive and have at least three different personalities – one for the general public, one for their significant other and one hidden identity they reveal to nobody – sometimes even themselves.

The described above is, of course, also true for many people in general. What makes this particular case relative to the topic is the fact that the initial cause of the presented insecurity issues is being cured through the creation of a powerful muscular physique which is supposed to serve as a shield against the external world. Fake natural bodybuilders and half-natural bodybuilders (half-natty) are afraid that if they reveal their use of steroids they will end up looking weak in front of others and therefor keep their secret hidden deep in a personal Pandora box.

Natural bodybuilders {underground definition}

The underground definition of natural bodybuilders describes bodybuilders who are only using hormones produced by the human body. An example of such hormone would be the good old testosterone and all muscle enhancing drugs based on it. Those individuals still consider themselves “natural” regardless of their usage of PED.

Interesting fact: The word “natural” describes animate and inanimate objects who have been produced by nature. A good lawyer would be able to twist that definition quite a lot since everything, even plastic, is by definition a part of nature, and therefor the usage of all kinds of synthetic hormones and anabolic steroids could also be treated the same way – as something natural that you put in your body, just like food. If that is made the rule even people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who are known steroids users and have admitted so themselves, could be considered “natural” bodybuilders despite their abuse of PED. To each their own.

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