Tom Hardy has risen to become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, and has been in the industry since acting in Band of Brothers in 2001.
He has changed his physique dramatically over the years to suit different parts.
Piling on the weight to play Charles Bronson in 2008 before dropping his body fat to star in Warrior just 3 years later.
Starring as Bane in the Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film, Hardy looked like a comic book villain come to life, with massive muscles and almost no body fat.
His work ethic cannot be brought up for debate, but did he achieve these incredible transformations with or without steroids? The purpose of this article is to examine the evidence and offer our opinion.
A Quick Biography of Tom Hardy
The son of English screenwriter Edward “Chips” Hardy, Tom was born in Hammersmith in 1977. Amazingly this makes him 40 years old! He looks about ten years younger.
His big break came in 2001 at the age of 24 when he was cast in Steven Spielberg’s television show Band of Brothers. Next he was cast in the blockbuster Black Hawk Down. In 2008 he played Charles Bronson a notorious criminal and prison inmate.
2010 saw Hardy star alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Inception. Since then he’s appeared in numerous high quality Hollywood films, and is about to star in the film Venom meaning he will have played characters in both DC and Marvel films.
Tom is has been married twice and has two children. He is still married to his second wife, English actress Charlotte Riley.
What Are Steroids?
Steroids are organic compounds that have a number of varied functions, the most well known steroids are the sex steroids oestrogen and testosterone.
Many bodybuilders and athlete use steroids (particularly testosterone) to boost their muscle mass, reduce body fat, and to generally train at a higher intensity than regular people.
It’s important to note that a lot of people who use steroids and similar performance enhancers don’t necessarily use them for hypertrophy (muscle size) purposes. They are commonly used to speed up recovery time after an injury, or to allow the athlete to train harder and recover quicker from the gym.
So, not every steroid user is going to look like a massive bodybuilder. Remember this later on in the article.
Benefits of Steroids
The biggest benefit of steroids is the ability to train longer, and to get better results from doing so.
A professional bodybuilder can spend hours in the gym each day without being in danger of overtraining. They can also build more muscle mass from those workouts.
If a natural lifter attempted the same they would probably injure themselves, or just see poor results.
Steroids can help you to lose fat, because they increase your metabolism. They also help you train more which will further increase your metabolism.
Growth hormone is really effective at helping you to recover from injuries, it also maximally stimulates protein synthesis.
Other drugs such as Clenbuterol can help get you shredded, while drugs like insulin can help with muscle growth.
What are the Signs of Steroid Use?
The most obvious sign of steroid use/abuse is larger than natural muscles, but as we mentioned earlier that’s not always a good indicator.
Fast recovery from injuries, the ability to train at a much higher intensity than other gym goers and more frequently. Other signs of steroid abuse may be a little harder to spot.
There are a lot of people who believe that roid rage is a real thing, but the truth is that it affects people in different ways. Much like how alcohol can increase the mood of happy people, and lower the mood of depressed people, steroids can have that same effect.
Some people may become more angry, while others become depressed, the majority of steroid users won’t notice any difference to their mood. Some may even notice an improvement.
Physical changes such as bad skin (lots of spots on the arms, back, and chest), and acne around the face can become noticeable over time.
Men can also develop breast tissue when off steroids – though this can be managed with anti-aromatase products.
Main things to look for: Bad skin, breast development while “off-season”, fast increases in muscle mass, an extremely cut or “dry” look, fast recovery from injuries, fast recovery from very intense workouts.
Does Tom Hardy use Steroids? The Case For
When Tom Hardy was training for the film “Warrior” in 2011 he was training up to eight hours per day for seven days a week. He kept this up for two and a half months!
His sessions included two hours of boxing, two hours of kickboxing, two hours of weights, and two hours of choreography. During this ten week period he is supposed to have gained 28lbs of muscle.
The idea that this could be done without performance enhancing drugs is almost laughable.
Bodybuilders, who openly admit to steroid abuse can barely handle eight hours of training per day. They also require days off to recover, and they also don’t build 28lbs of muscle.
If what is said about Tom’s work ethic and results is true and not a fabrication … then he must be taking steroids.
How else would he recover? Protein synthesis is required to build muscle and recover from workouts.
The amount of muscle he gained would require a massive amount of protein synthesis to occur, and unless you are taking growth hormone or testosterone your body just can’t do that.
Next there’s the risk of overtraining. If you trained for eight hours for just one day you would be at risk of losing muscle rather than gaining it, due to insanely high cortisol levels.
If you did it for two or three days in a row, you would be likely to suffer from overtraining. Tom did this for 70 days. This is borderline impossible.
Olympic athletes, who are without a doubt among the fittest people on the planet, could not train at that intensity. Also, Tom hasn’t always been in the greatest of shape. He was an alcoholic for many years, and was approaching 33 years old in 2011.
Another thing to consider is how Tom managed to build 28lbs of muscle while also burning body fat. This is something that experienced lifters could never manage without steroids.
To build muscle you need to be in a calorie surplus, while to lose fat you need to be in a calorie deficit.
Taking massive doses of testosterone can allow you to break this rule though, with many steroid takers building muscle and losing fat at the same time through use of Clenbuterol and similar drugs.
In terms of physical evidence of steroids, taking a look at photos of Hardy while playing Bane you can see lots of acne and spots on his back, and his traps are absolutely massive (a common sign of steroid use).
Just comparing his size in that role compared to his natural physique when he was in his twenties is also an eye opener. He also has a bit of a bloat, which is a common issue for people taking growth hormone.
Does Tom Hardy use Steroids? The Case Against
A lot of the evidence for his steroid abuse is based around his workout routine for Warrior in 2011.
His workout routine has been picked apart by many websites in an attempt to allow their readers to repeat his results. But we cannot verify how accurate these reports are. Yes his transformation was suspicious, but it’s not impossible.
Tom Hardy has the best trainers, the best physios, the best dieticians available to him, he also has a naturally impressive physique.
The Verdict – Does Tom Hard Use Steroids?
Tom Hardy almost definitely took steroids to get into shape for many of his roles.
His physique might be impressive naturally, but that physique while he was playing Bane, the muscle growth he experienced in 2008 when playing Charles Bronson, the insane workouts that he performed for the Warrior, all point to steroid use.
The truth is that most actors probably have access to steroids, and people who can help them master them.
When Sylvester Stallone got caught with performance enhancing drugs in his luggage the myth of the action movie star being all-natural evaporated.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is another example of a movie star who was just too big to be believable – who has also admitted to steroid use.
The question is, does it matter? There are many benefits to taking steroids. Improved strength, lowered body fat, improved cognition, the ability to craft an incredible physique.
Yes there are side effects, and potential long-term health issues. But well managed steroid use can avoid most of this, and the dangers are much less severe than other drugs – alcohol being a fine example.
It’s not like Tom Hardy is a professional athlete competing against hundreds of “clean” athletes. His steroid use does not give him an edge over another performer, it is solely used so that he can better portray certain characters for his movies.
Replace Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan with Woody Allen and suddenly you understand what we mean.
We want our comic book characters to be larger than life, larger than it is possible to be. It’s an exaggeration.
Same thing goes for action movie stars, we grew up on Rambo, and Predator, we want movies about boxers who look like they are 5% body fat, not 20% body fat.
If Tom is taking steroids, then he is only getting help. He still had to do the 8 hour workouts, he still had to work 7 days per week for ten weeks.
While steroids can help you gain muscle and lose fat without doing anything, that doesn’t mean that he didn’t work as hard as possible. The fact that he probably did take steroids just goes to show how hard he needed to work to reach that physique.
The truth is that without steroids he would never have built 7lbs of muscle per week to portray Bronson. No way.
The workout that he describes for his Bronson transformation was “push ups, ab work, and resistance training”  while eating junk food. There is nothing special about that training program, no secret move that can create 7lbs of muscle in a week.
The average increase in muscle for a new lifter (the less experienced you are the more muscle you can grow) is around 20-25lbs per year . Around 2lbs per month.
The more experienced you are the lower the number, 1lb per month for someone who’s been training for 2 years, 0.5lbs per month for someone who has trained 3 years, and you’re talking 3-4lbs per year for anyone who is even more experienced.
But Tom Hardy gained 7lbs in a week? A WEEK? Even if he claimed to increase his muscle mass by 7lbs in a month alarm bells would be ringing. He’s gaining more muscle in a month than an experienced lifter could in 3 years. It’s just not possible.
At the end of the day, Tom Hardy has worked hard, looks incredible, portrays huge comic book type characters, and has done so fantastically.
He is a modern version of those 80s and 90s movie stars that we all loved. Deep down you KNOW that all of them took performance enhancing drugs, but it didn’t matter, because they were action stars. Tom Hardy is exactly the same.
How to Gain Muscle and Strength without Steroids?
It is certainly possible to gain massive amounts of muscle without using steroids, although it wont be easy.
Increasing the intensity of your workouts and getting adequate nutrition is important.
Supplements are also a good idea, and while nothing is as effective as anabolic steroids for muscle growth there are legal options that offer various benefits.
One of the best companies for “legal steroids” is Crazy Bulk, who offer products such as D-Bal that is a safe and legal alternative to Dianabol, an anabolic steroid that has been banned due to its side effects.
Made using proven ingredients like BCAAs, Whey Protein Concentrate and Tribulus Terrestris these ingredients when combined can help to increase nitrogen retention. This in turn will lead to an increase in protein synthesis.
Other benefits on offer include:
- Increased strength and muscle gains
- Improved endurance
- More nitrogen retained
- Extra blood flow thanks to the additional oxygen sent to muscles
If you are wondering whether D-Bal works as claimed then you only need to visit the Crazy Bulk website. They have numerous testimonials available to prove these claims.