Clean Vs. Natural – Making Sense of It All
A lot of debate takes place on message boards and in gyms across the country as to what is actually a natural athlete. Let’s try to nail down specific definitions for the sake of uniformity in discussion, keeping in mind that drug classifications change with only a pen stroke from legislators, and that moral, legal, and right and wrong are often interchangeable!
This athlete has never used steroids. He hasn’t use pro-hormones either, as they are essentially oral steroids with toxic side effects and a fraction of the results of actual AAS. He’s as healthy and pure as the day he was born – and in this sport, he is extremely rare!
This is the athlete who has spent some time using steroids, perhaps running a cycle or three, but chooses not to use them anymore. He has grown his body permanently in ways which wouldn’t have been possible without ever using them, so he can never again fully claim ‘natural’ status. He’s just currently a former steroid user that isn’t on cycle at the moment, and he always will be. What is the timeline? For many bodybuilding organizations claiming “natural” status, that is only 1 to 3 years without steroid use in order to make this classification.
This athlete is using a cycle of growth hormone and/or supplementation with testosterone, either injectable or oral. He’s big and strong and only claims natural when trying to keep his job or mislead others.
This athlete has used steroids recently and is in a phase of allowing the body’s own natural testosterone production to recover. He has used recently and will use again – this is the state of most advanced bodybuilders.
The reality is that if you’ve ever taken a Bronkaid for seasonal allergies and congestion, an aspirin for a headache, or a caffeine pill to stay awake on a long road trip, then you’ve experienced the same ECA stack that top professional bodybuilders used to get ripped for shows. You consume so many hormones from the chicken and beef you eat on a daily basis that your blood levels look nothing like what would be found in an athlete 100 years ago. The line between clean and natural is such a blurry one that it really doesn’t exist any more. Some people are on steroids, some use pro-hormones, some use over the counter supplements, and some use hormone therapy from their doctors. And over the past 50 years, the definition of each of these has changed.
Therefore the only answer that should matter to you is your own. Use what you need to use in order to achieve your bodybuilding goals, while remaining completely cognizant of the limitations, risks, and stigma that will be associated with the choices you make. In the end, it’s your own body and what you put into it is your business, as long as you play within the confines of the laws of your region. Good luck attaining your own definition and path to physical achievement!