With or Without Drugs?
The following article is not meant to pass judgement on other people.
Natural athletes are not better human beings than drug users.
It's simply a choice of lifestyle.
Using drugs can ruin your health and get you in trouble with the law.
Moreover, artificially gained muscle mass is not there to stay - unless
you keep using. For me this has always been reason enough to stay drug-free.
Bodybuild naturally. Feel and look healthy!
As natural competitors, we are often confronted with doubts about our natural status. Many people, both bodybuilders and non-bodybuilders, cannot believe that a competitive, muscular body can be built the natural way.
Among sceptical bodybuilders, there are those who are relatively new to the iron game. It is difficult for them to assess how twenty+ years of consistent, progressive natural training can transform a body. They still have much to learn.
However, more often than not, doubters can be found amongst those who have been lifting weights for several years. Without a genuine road map to success (training, nutrition), many of them are frustrated about a lack of training progress...an they take their frustration out on those who DO make progress/are better conditioned/have more mass.
The non-bodybuilders, on the other hand, should be excused for being suspicious about someone carrying an above-average amount of muscle. They do not know that, normally, there is an enormous difference in mass and conditioning between juiced and drug-free competitors.
Lately, a lot of drug casualties have been reported in the non-tested competitive world. Several top professionals have died at a relatively young age or were taken seriously ill (kidney damage, cardiovascular problems etc.)
One athlete who had been a top IFBB competitor for over 10 years (and a two-time Mr. Olympia runner-up) is Kevin Levrone of the US. In 2004, Kevin quit the pro circuit to pursue a career in acting.
Levrone, who admits to his prior drug use, was advised by friend Arnold Schwarzenegger to slim down to a suitable "acting weight".
I personally find the following "before & after" pictures and videos of Kevin Levrone extremely compelling:
...and after 2004
For all those who still believe that a cocktail of very powerful (and dangerous) drugs is merely putting the finishing touches to an already polished and gifted physique, let me show you the following photos of Paul Dillett, one of IFBB professional bodybuilding's freakiest specimens, who had stopped training in 2003 and tried to make a comeback in 2006.
Here are some before pictures from the late 90's and a staggering offseason photo taken after his three year layoff:
Paul in his prime in the 90's...
...early 2006, after a three year layoff...
...and September 2006 (only a few months later!) coming back at the IFBB Montreal Pro Classic.
One of the hallmarks of natural bodybuilders is that they stay relatively close to their contest shape most of the time. Accumulating too much fat in the offseason is detrimental to progress, as getting back in shape NATURALLY will be either a very long and arduous task, or, inevitably, plenty of muscle will be sacrificed in the dieting process.
Now, while everybody has the right to be somewhat out of shape once in a while, check out the following "before & after" pictures of IFBB professional Lee Priest. Once again, this kind of extreme transition can only be achieved with an extremely dangerous cocktail of both growth and fat burning drugs:
...back on drugs...
...and at contest time, having added water-eliminating diuretics.
Effective, yes - but hardly healthy!
And last but not least, the arguably greatest bodybuilder of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger:
Arnold in his prime...
Arnold openly admits to his former drug use - they were not prohibited in his days. He was smart enough, though, to cycle his drug use (compared to today's top pros who are merely varying the dosage...)
...pumped up in the gym...
Even this bodybuilder of epic proportions shrank to a more naturally-sized self when he was "off-cycle". I am sure you agree that drugs do make a very big difference, indeed:
...and sporting a more slender physique in between contests.