Outside of of Youtube channel fan wars the next most popular topic of discussion amongst bodybuilders is whether people are “natty or not”, meaning whether they use illegal growth inducing drugs or not.
The Natty or Not Debate Is Timeless… and Endless
It’s an interesting topic for sure. There are plenty of Youtube channels dedicated to analyzing bodybuilders diets, body fat percentages, weight/PR histories etc in an effort to determine whether said lifter is natty or not. Sites like nattyornot.com have even sprung up dedicated to the topic of sussing out who’s on the juice and who isn’t.
Just like video games or cigar smoking or many other trivial fun wastes-of-time however, everything should be consumed in moderation.. right?
However, judging from Youtube comments, Twitter dialogues and Reddit threads, people are spending waaaaaaay too much time hating and judgement passing and not enough time actual lifting or planning out their individual roadmaps to success.
Oddly, it seems the bro-osphere became way more focused with witch hunting than building actual gains sometime in 2014. If anyone has any theories as to why we’d love to hear them!
Here are a few reasons why you should step back from the natty or not Salem witch trials and focus more on relevant things like your own gains, or the conflict in Syria.
What Really is Natty? What Is Not?
What is a natural lifter? What does “natural” even mean? In the typical debate, a “natural” lifter is someone not using steroids or growth hormone or insulin or any other combination of often injected muscle-growing drugs.
Is this a fair yardstick of measurement though, and on whose authority? Taken to extremes “natural” could have a completely different definition than is commonly used.
Would a truly natural lifter be one that only uses other natural tools in his natural environment to workout with and build muscle? Would the true natural lifter be limited to moving boulders and overhead pressing fallen logs only?
After all, machines like peck decks and leg extensions are completely man-made contraptions designed for the sole purpose of manipulating our bodies in a way that our external environment fails to do in the pursuit of over-stimulating (what some would say) is “unnatural” muscle growth we don’t get from driving around in automobiles and sitting at desks all day.
Surely, even if the metal alloys and plastic composites that make up the composition of the “modern gym” can be considered “natural” (debatable, if matter is neither created or destroyed are all plastics/alloys technically “natural”?) then surely the artificial stress applied to our muscles in effort to break the fibers and stimulate new growth is also artificial if it’s not for a utilitarian purpose?
Taken into extremes it would seem the only “real” natty’s out there are off-the-grid survivalist lumberjacks..
What is a “natty” diet?
Outside of the devices used to stimulate muscle growth under “simulated” stress conditions, one must also consider the diet used in pursuit of new muscle growth.
Surely the processed foods that make up a portion of so many of our diets (bro don’t tell me you don’t eat pizza) isn’t natural.
Surely micronized creatine monohydrate and whey hydro-isolates aren’t natural? Where has mother earth created such things? Yet these tools are used religiously by natty lifters in their pursuit for what for our 21st century lifestyles could be considered unnatural muscle gains.
Are Paleo diets natural? Eliminating processed foods makes sense, eating only locally sourced meats and plants seems natural, but in the quantities required to really get big, is that natural?
Would a tribe exist in the jungle with one or two of it’s members needing a whole chicken a day to themselves so they can maintain their unnecessary and potentially cumbersome muscle mass make sense?
With both equipment and diet and even motivation of building muscle, are we not all in some way unnatural?
If steroids aren’t natural then neither are most of the vaccines that keep us from dying of infectious diseases no? That’s probably why steroids exist and people can get them relatively easy by claiming to have “low testosterone”. What is natural and what isn’t is all a matter of perspective, and debates revolving around perspective are rarely solved.
Why the Scrutiny Anyway?
WWE can thrive with almost the entire world understanding it’s staged. It’s not “natural” fighting at all, yet we eat it up as pure testosterone fueled entertainment. How are our modern bodybuilders not the same?
Why must people who make money be held to absolutes in terms of morality? Do people think businesses work with 100% honesty and transparency? If you haven’t read any Michael Lewis at least go watch The Big Short and enlighten yourselves to the malicious nature of modern capitalism. Efficient and global-conquering it may be, honest, fair and natural it most definitely isn’t.
Bodybuilders selling protein and creatine aren’t nearly as dishonest as many of the rats on wall-street or greedy pigs in the military industrial complex or the scum of the big pharma industry.
Sure, Simeon Panda telling his followers they’ll get big like him if they buy his supplements and do his workout is a lie, and how many others claim to be “all natural” could be seen as a lie too, but are they scamming adults out of mortgages? Is drinking protein and supplementing with creatine detrimental to your gains? If not, why so much hate?
If you are a passionate natty-or-not witch hunter then at least apply your polarizing view of the world to everything you consume, including pornography, perhaps the most profitable “unnatural” form of entertainment consumed by bodybuilders both natties and unatties alike.
Fake tits, fake scenarios, fake pleasure, it’s 100% fake.. but what kind of pedantic prick goes on a crusade against pornstars for making money selling something completely fake that hundreds of millions of people love and spend their money on (way more than the supplement industry)?
No one. Why? Because natty-or-not crusaders are kind of just a bunch of nancy hypocrites at the end of the day.
Being a Big Non-Natty Still Require Hard Work
Gear isn’t magic. If it was that easy the Mr. Olympia would rival the Olympics in popularity. Your neighbor, the postman, your local barista, they’d all probably look much different than they do now.
Steroids and other drugs do allow for more rapid recovery and overall greater growth, expanding the limits of what can be physically attained without the drugs, however to unlock all these benefits of the drugs you still have to do one thing first: lift. a. lot. of. weight.
Whether a guy is 250lbs or 300lbs at 6% body fat or 16% body fat, they’re both putting together routines to stimulate complete muscle growth throughout their bodies.
The primary difference is the guy on juice will provide a better educational lesson simply because he looks like a f*cking illustration out of a caricaturization textbook showing the different muscle groups of the body.
It’s much easier (and fun) to watch a shredded animal at 6% body fat explaining a particular exercise than it is a big natty strongman at 16% body fat. Again, this is like seeing the sinewing illustrations of a textbook come to life, it’s just cool and clearly shows what muscles are stimulated under certain movements.
So this means that guys on juice can still provide huge educational benefit to their audiences, sometimes even more clear visual education than some natties could provide.
Will you look like them exactly? Of course not! But if that’s your aim your delusional anyways
Over Analysis is a Complete Waste of Time
How many of you know who is on gear and who isn’t and really don’t care? Probably a lot, and you don’t feel the need to log onto Youtube and start a flame war about it. Just like rational adults can discuss politics without spazzing out or threatening bodily harm to the other person, most legit gymrats can appreciate juiced lifters without getting all fired up and combative on the internet.
Most bodybuilders out there never even intend on taking drugs but still love the Olympia just like they love hollywood movies and porn, because it’s entertaining, a brief escape from reality to sooth the mind.
You can’t afford the drug cycles that IFBB pros use, just like you can’t afford the track special versions of your favorite super car, or date your favorite supermodel, but you still follow them on Instagram and hang pictures of those cars on your wall. Why? Because you like them and at the end of the day that’s all that matters.
So don’t worry about the witch hunters. Keep investing your time in honing your craft and when you’re not in the gym indulge in the beauty that is drug-induced perfection if that’s your thing.
Time spent hating on steroid users is just like all time spent hating: a complete waste of time.
Sure, once and a while it’s fun, and some guys with egos really could use the frank “yes, built with the aid of drugs” but for the most part, just enjoy the show, you know you like it.