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Natty Or Not? Who Gives A Fuck?

When it comes to strength sports, strength training or the pursuit of anything remotely physical and athletic, whether someone’s “natty” or not always sparks controversy and fuels debate, usually among internet “experts” who are for all intended purposes; weak as piss. It’s an endless and quite frankly, unproductive debate. Alas, it is a debate that cannot be won by either side. The two opposing sides simply cannot see from the other’s perspective.  My only aim for this article is to perhaps sway the demonising mindset that has been created regarding drug use in sports and maybe alter one’s perspective.

Listen, real lifters really don’t give a fuck if you’re natty or not. That being said, this post isn’t intended to promote the use of steroids/drugs or make the abhorrently false claim that you must use drugs to get strong. In fact, more of the opposite. You can and should get strong without the use of drugs first and foremost, especially if you’re considering using them in future.

No one.

Thing is, if you’re a freak, you’ll know about it. Your genetics dictate everything. Include how you respond to drugs. That’s why we’ve got kids aged 16-19 hitting otherworldly numbers in the weight room. That’s why the world’s strongest men and women and the world’s top athletes are what they are. They’re genetic freaks made for doing what they do. Take away any performance enhancing drugs and I guarantee those people would still be freakishly strong or exceptionally good at what they do. They may not be at the same level, but they wouldn’t be far behind it. If you want to be a world class lifter then you need to choose better parents.

Back through time

The idea of enhancing one’s physique with drugs is nothing new. I remember writing about Bill March in 1959 and his “experimental pills” when I was writing a paper in college. Still, the idea of gaining the upper hand on one’s adversary or rival is something I think we can all emphasise with. However, drug use for this type of enhancement has been a feature of athletic competition for centuries. From Norse berserkers in the 9th century using bufotenine to drive them to madness during battle, to ancient Greek’s using hallucinogenic mushrooms to improve performance, to Roman gladiators using stimulants, to South American Indians using coca leaves to increase their endurance, to our very present day athletes using caffeine, nitro-glycerine, cocaine, opioids, ether, alcohol, EPO, peptides, steroids and now more recently, SARMs. You see, throughout history we humans have utilised drugs for athletic and performance in an attempt to dominate the opposition.

Enter the natty bro

Being drug-free has become the latest excuse or “get out” clause as to why someone isn’t lifting this much or that much. It’s probably overtaken the whole bodyweight or relative strength excuse now, I’d say.

And similarly, no one worthwhile gives a fuck if you’re natty or not, just like no one worthwhile gives a fuck how much you weigh. Ok, I take that back, you know my stance on relative strength, and if you don’t it can be summed up like this; if you’re a fat fuck who can hardly walk without passing out but still lifts heavy then you’re good for nothing. No one cares too much about a one trick pony. Similarly, if you’re floating around weighing 60kg piss wet through and bragging about lifting double bodyweight but whinging that you’re too light to move heavy weight then get a fucking grip. Maybe some of you relative strength nuthuggers can see how flawed the idea is now. It’s the same with drugs, to an extent. Relative strength is really just a height chart. At 5’5 I’ve a much better chance of lifting triple my bodyweight than a dude who’s 6 foot. But then again, all the top strongmen, powerlifters and weightlifters tend to stand well over 6 foot.

More and more I see people on Instagram with “natty” in their bios. Like their piss poor lifts and shitty physique didn’t already give it away. I just don’t get it. Why be proud of building a shitty physique without drugs? It bemuses and baffles me. Also, the best one I see is proper natty zealots who seemingly hate anyone who uses drugs. Yet, these guys spout “natty” as if it’s some bragging right while sitting at 30%+ bodyfat.

Being “natty” is basically a chemically altered state, but it’s also a mental game with a lot of guys. If you buy something over the counter, you assume it’s “natural” (which is another bogus, bullshit, nonsensical term in itself), so you take it without any doubt or “guilt”. Hence, we have SARMs currently, which are basically milder forms of oral anabolic steroids. But they’re legal so all the natty bros can still say they’re drug free. Superdrol, one of if not the most potent anabolic steroids was once legal and available over the counter, so think on. Plus, I’m 100% convinced that every single guy and even a lot of women who train would take steroids without hesitation if you could get away with simply running orals forever, with no risk of destroying your liver. Guys, lads especially all get the urge to use drugs, but a lot of them are too scared to put a needle in their body multiple times per week. This is ideal, we don’t need a bunch of fuck-muppets roided up, running around using “da roidz” as an excuse be a bigger dickhead than they already are. But I genuinely believe if steroids weren’t best administered intramuscularly (via injection) we’d have ten times more guys using.

Not using drugs has become like some weird badge of honour for bros who aren’t strong, but it’s also spawned this culture that succumbs and promotes fragility. The natty bro mindset is akin to a commercial gym; celebrating, congratulating and encouraging weakness and mediocrity.

It’s an excuse to be weak:

“I’m only lifting this because I’m not on drugs”

“I’d be lifting more if I was a steroid taking cheater!”

“I’m strong considering I’m clean”

Fucking classics.

Excuse after excuse after excuse.

Me bored to sleep after reading so many shite excuses

At the end of the day, steroid users get a pretty bad rap. The stereotypical meathead doesn’t help that, and trust me, I know troglodytes like that exist but that isn’t the norm, at all. Nobody bats an eye if your mate Dave goes out on a bender, downs 10 pints, sniffs 3 lines, fingers a girl in a side street then starts a fight in the kebab shop. That’s just classic Dave the lad ain’t it? But your mate Tom who works a 9-5, settled down happily with a wife and 2 children who takes steroids, wow, what a fucking scumbag! I bet he beats his wife and kids daily. See the hypocrisy there?

Strength is strength

Again, I care not if you’re natty or using drugs. I literally give zero fucks. Zero.

If you’re strong then you’re strong. I know drug free guys who are so inexplicably weak it’s hard to comprehend, and I also know legitimate drug free guys who are strong as fuck. I know guys who use a substantial amount of drugs and can’t lift for shit, and I know guys who take drugs and lift some serious weight. You know what the strong guys have in common? They bust their fucking asses and don’t give a shit what the next guy was doing.

Fuck me, keep your stupid ass excuses and just fucking lift.

Now, onto the topic of “cheating”. This is something that always gets thrown out by armchair experts, fat fucks and sore losers. Ok sure, if you’re entering a tested or “drug free” federation and use drugs you’re a bit of a dickhead. Similarly, if you choose to enter an untested competition and decide not to use drugs then piss and moan because the winner did then you’re also a bit of a dickhead. Most guys however, aren’t competing, they’re using drugs recreationally, which of course brings about a plethora of other arguments and concerns. Still, how exactly are these guys cheating? Cheating nature? Cheating god? I ain’t the religious type so that one’s lost on me. Mankind has been trying to get the edge over nature for years and years, since the dawn of time. If we hadn’t then we’d all most likely be dead, dying or (more) fucked up in some way or another. I personally subscribe to the idea of Transhumanism, so this whole staying totally natural thing baffles me. Again, if any of us were truly natural we would all most definitely have died out a long time ago.

Testosterone does a body good

Look around you. Look at the average UK male right now. They’re flabby, saggy, pathetic shadows of our ancestors and former selves. The whole fucking “dad bod” movement hit us hard, but even before that we had skinny-fat men plaguing society. The typical British middle-aged man must have 30% bodyfat, surely? We’ve come a long way from the 70s and 80s. Back then lifters were about being strong as fuck, jacked to go with it and about fucking their woman post workout. They weren’t about kale smoothies, foam rolling or worrying that the low intensity effort from having miserable sex would eat away at their non-existent gains.

The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if the human race ended up like those fuckers from Wall.E.

Human race 2.0

Nowadays, lads are but a product of phyto and xenoestrogens from too much food, drink, ten layers of fat tissue and a severe lack of physical activity. Don’t blame processed food, you have access to literally any food you want here. If you’re choosing to eat shit, eat plenty of it and look like hammered shit then there’s no one to blame but yourself. If you’re apparently doing everything right but pussyfooting around in training then again, you’ve no one to blame but yourself for your lack of progress.

How many of your fathers trained? How many of their fathers trained? Seems as generations go on, less and less people are physically fit and strong. Old men succumb. We now have access to testosterone replacement therapy on prescription, and while every older man I’ve spoke to claims to wish he was still somewhat youthful it’s apparently too much hassle.

Testosterone does a body good, both internally and externally. Now, I’m not talking about stupidly high doses or ridiculous mega cycles you see online, that’s just absurd. However, a small dose of say 250-300mg per week would do wonders for today’s average man.

To reduce your exposure to phytoestrogens, limit your consumption of soy, flaxseed, mint and beer. Moderation won’t kill you; you don’t have to eliminate these things from your diet. Additionally, eat your damn fruits and veg! Oh, and stop using plastic containers. They’re loaded with phthalates which are a group of chemicals found in plastics that seem to host a plethora of health risks. You know I’m far from a fucking “chemikillz” wacko, but I do believe limiting or avoiding phthalates could only benefit us, so get some glass food containers and drink out of glasses, not plastic cups.

Let’s move on a bit and take a look at the current trends. More people than ever are going to the gym, yet obesity rates are at an all time high. Why is that? It’s because going to the gym and actually fucking training. Plus, we’re in the age of instant gratification. Slog on the treadmill for 10 minutes, you’ve “earned” that pizza and cake. Fuck me. Pull your head out your ass! I see guys my age who I went to school with who look like utter shit now talking about “cheat meals” and all this other crap. Dude, the last 10 years has been one big fucking cheat meal, you don’t get a damn cheat meal cos you did a fucking “arm day”.

Toxic masculinity and testosterone

Imma make this one short and sweet. Stop confusing toxic masculinity with higher testosterone, or at least putting the two together. People you deem to display “toxic masculinity” are simply bullies, and bullies are cunts of the highest order. Bullies are scared, frail, weaklings that are most likely devoid of testosterone. Through lifting I’ve met hundreds of guys who either use drugs or probably have higher testosterone than normal (through lifting). Most of them have been the least toxic and most friendly, just people I’ve ever met. Of course, you’re always gonna get the odd bellend, but that’s life. Go out in town on a Friday night and you’ll find more dickheads than decent folk.

Your heroes are probably on drugs

Sorry to break it to you, but if you look up to anyone at the high level in strength sports (or any athletic sport, I guess) then they are most likely using performance enhancing drugs. And of course, when I say “most likely” I mean I’m about 99% convinced. But that’s totally fucking ok…until it’s not. By that I mean use your common sense, people. A fucking supplement your “hero” is pimping did not help him/her get that physique, hit that lift or do well in this or that sport. The only time I have an issue with blatantly obvious (and even not so obvious) guys on drugs is when they start promoting shit and becoming snake oil salesmen. Understand that taking drugs doesn’t provide you an excuse to slack off. You can’t pop a few Dianabol tabs, pin a ml of testosterone, go to bed and wake up like Arnie. It don’t work like that. Your sporting idols are still the genetic elite, they are essentially born to be athletes. Drugs or no drugs, they were always gonna be top tier athletes.

This dog ain’t natty

Wrapping this shit up

So, as I stated in the beginning, this is but a tiresome and ongoing debate. In the end, I have achieved nothing. As I said during the previously, this is an argument or debate that simply can’t be won. Neither side will ever truly see the others perspective. This debate is one of the biggest avenues for people who add no or little value to feel somewhat important. People from both camps need to stop pondering and vexing over whether someone uses drugs or not. At the end of the day, you both have more in common than you don’t. If you’re in this game I think it’s fair to say you love lifting or training. So, just enjoy the damn process. Enjoy your individual triumphs and conquer your potential downfalls or failures. Lifting can be extremely communal, but it is also an isolated, individual journey. You can attain an impressive physique without drugs, so don’t for one second assume they’re a must. In fact, don’t concern yourself with what the next person is doing, especially if they’re doing something you simply refuse to do. It doesn’t affect you. It shouldn’t affect you.  However, if you are a die hard “natty” warrior, who simply lives for internet drama and “discussion” then take some solace in knowing that the person you’re mindlessly arguing over will still be strong and/or jacked while you remain weak as piss, driving yourself insane over the physique of another man or woman, while most likely living in your gran’s attic.

Oh, and if you’re the kind of fuck nugget that comments “steroids” under Facebook and Instagram posts you’re most likely a fat, weak, jealous fuckwit. My advice would be to smash your face against your laptop or computer screen till such thoughts abandon you.

The kind of fuck knuckle to comment “stedz!” or complain women look “manly”



author: Louis Whenlock

Hi I’m Louis, a passionate freelance Personal Trainer on a mission to cut through the BS and gimmicks of the fitness world and deliver honest, hard earned results to my clients.