First things first. I wish you all a Happy New 2016 and hope that you will reach immense heights of success, a year filled with love and happiness!
Back to the actual topic! Over the past couple of months there has been a wild trend going around called ‘Natty or not’ where various people from the internet are trying to “expose” famous fitness models of their anabolic drug use. One of the most famous ones is the website called Nattyornot.com and the YouTube vlogger Vegan gains with his online series called ‘The worst of the fitness industries’ featuring famous fitness models such as Simeon Panda, Mike O’Hearn, and others. There are also numerous other websites and Forums trying to display the truth to the world about who is natural and who is not.
I totally understand the incentive behind this trend – stop the lies to young beginners who believe that you can get as large as those fitness models claim you can easily just by buying their bullshit fitness programs, which by the way are worth anywhere from 50-120 US dollars. However, I believe that this trend has gotten… out of hand. Instead of aiming to provide the Internet with the truth and allowing less confusion and saturation of information to occur in the digital environment it has turned into a sheer hatred bath full with people who are dissing on bodybuilders, as if they are trying to destroy their career. What is furthermore, most of these natty or not claims use very vague techniques of determining whether or not somebody is an anabolic user or not.
What Is Wrong With Natty Or Not ?
The main method used to characterize a fitness model as a fake or a ‘natty’ is the Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI). It takes into account the amount of muscle mass a person is carrying and relate that to their height. It is also believed that a FFMI of 25 is the upper threshold beyond which everybody is classified as a ‘steroid user’ and 19 is considered as the average of a healthy male. Pretty straightforward, right ? Take the height, bodyweight and body fat percentage of the person you are trying to analyze, which is all available on their BodySpace profile, and if the numbers show anything above 25 then we shame him on the internet through videos and various other articles how the are liars and do not deserve the amount of success they currently have and have worked hard for.
Who is natural and who is not?
To find out what exactly is wrong with using the FFMI, we are going to go way back in the past and take a look at what exactly did bodybuilders used to look long before the anabolic steroid was created.
The first injectable testosterone was first created in 1935 and it becomes available to the general public, so to say, around 1945. In other words it’s safe to say that every bodybuilder before the year 1940 is steroid free. Here are some of the most famous ones:
Very impressive physiques, aren’t they? These men were trying to represent the idea of what a body of a greek god would look like. Even more impressive is the fact that the highest FFMI that was discovered amongst there one hundred percent steroid free bodybuilders was 27.3.
What does this prove ? This proves that the FFMI is not only an indication tool that can be used to clarify who uses anabolic steroids and who doesn’t but it also helps spot the genetic elite of physical perfection, we are talking about the 1 in a 100,000.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
How Has The Human Body Changed In 100 Years?
Keep in mind that those are men who have presented their bodies of art around one hundred years ago. Throughout that time the human body has changed, evolved due to the constant changes that are happening around us.
In a study of British recruits the average height of British men, who had an average age of 20, was about 5 feet 6 inches (168 centimeters). Now they stand at an average of 5 feet 10 inches (178 centimeters). In other countries such as the Netherlands the average height is 6 foot 1 inch (185 centimeters).
Furthermore, there is proof that children do mature at an earlier age now. Before the average year when girls had their first menstrual period was at the age of 17. Now, according to Bogin, that age is 12.9.
Alongside with our body evolutionary transformation occurring over the last one hundred years, we have also experience a number of other changes that would impact our fitness lives greatly.
We have also drastically increased our nutrition spectrum, meaning that we consume food at a higher variety. Different sources of macro nutrients such as protein, carbs and fats, as well as micro nutrients such as vitamins and minerals have given us an opportunity to grow larger and increase muscle sizes and bone density.
We have a wider range of information available. The internet is a pool of lies and deceptions, whoever there are websites and blogs which are dedicated to provide the truth to the masses. If you go to my blog, for example, you can find all of the fitness information your heart desires, various health and fitness articles literally ready for you to read. We are far more sophisticated and knowledgeable when compared to our bodybuilding ancestors. We have much stronger understandings in the field of fitness and health. None of these bodybuilders counted their protein consumption or kept track of their overall calorie consumption or even ate 5-7 times a day because they were unaware of the benefits those things had on muscle hypotrophy.
We have different machineries and weights available at all of our local gyms allowing us to properly train our bodies. Bobby Pandour, in fact, would have trained his legs by carrying his brother through a flight of stairs every single day, something that you would never do because you know that it would not lead to potential muscle growth.
We have various supplements that help us out by lowering our catabolic (muscle destructive) state and maximizing our anabolic (muscle building) state. BCAA, Whey protein, Creatine are the three main muscle building supplements that will really change your body overall.
With such advances in technology it is almost daft to compare a 1900’s bodybuilder with today’s fitness models let alone with today’s bodybuilders.
My point is, even back then when there were no anabolic steroids available in the market bodybuilders were still capable of developing impressive bodies with the littlest they had available. The genetic elite would always exist and they would always be the ones that we watch with amazement and awe. What back then was considered as a genetic perfection (27.3) would without doubt have evolved to something better by now. We are constantly growing stronger and bigger thanks to these constant changes occurring around us. Pointing fingers and saying that somebody is not natural just because you think they are not natural is misleading and quite frankly makes everything even worse. To a certain extent the fact that somebody is taking steroids and you want to achieve a body like his without consuming any will act as a stronger incentive and make young people to train even harder. I still look at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body and say to myself that I am going to reach him, one day, even though I know the harsh truth.
I am not saying that there are no people out in the fitness industry that are hiding the truth, but there are also the exceptions out there that are truly the modern form of genetic perfection.
Quit with this Natty or not bullshit and just focus on training!