Before we get started with this article, let’s make some things clear. There is no concrete evidence either way to answer this question. This is just conjecture.
We are all aware that those in bodybuilding have to walk a tightrope between honesty and avoidance of law enforcement. Using anabolic steroids is illegal, so it would be a pretty crazy bodybuilder who openly admitted to using them.
Those who have admitted to using them (Frank Zane, Lee Priest, Arnold Schwarzenegger) have done so after finishing their careers.
As an audience we should have to accept that, nobody wants to see the entire top 10 of this year’s Mr Olympia suspended and replaced with “natural” bodybuilders.
We want our bodybuilders to look enhanced, we want them to look impossible, we want freaks.
Kali Muscle is a bodybuilder, this is his profession. The purpose of this article is not to vilify him, but to examine the evidence, and decide whether he is telling the truth when he says he is steroid free.
But even if he is taking every performance enhancing drug under the sun, it still does not take away from his achievements. He is still a fantastic bodybuilder, and has led an inspirational life.
- 1 Kali Muscle Biography
- 2 Kali Muscle Training Program
- 3 Kali Muscle Diet
- 4 Kali Muscle Supplements
- 5 What are Anabolic Steroids?
- 6 The Benefits of Steroids
- 7 What Drugs Could Kali Muscle be Taking?
- 8 No Prisoners Take Steroids
- 9 Reasons Why Kali Muscle Might Not Be Taking Steroids
- 10 Reasons Why Kali Muscle Might Be Taking Steroids
- 11 Conclusion: Is Kali Muscle on Steroids?
- 12 Gaining Muscle and Strength without Steroids – Is it possible?
Kali Muscle Biography
Kali Muscle (real name Chuck Kirkendall) was born in February 1975 in Oakland California. He had two brothers, a mother, and a step-father.
If you know anything about Oakland in 1975, you’ll know that he grew up in a deprived area that contained a lot of crime.
Apparently he was given his first firearm while still at elementary school. He lost his brother tragically in a gun-related accident.
This accident sent him into a downward spiral, before it had happened he was a promising Footballer on scholarship at Fresno State University.
Not long afterwards he took part in an armed robbery and was caught. He spent 11 years in San Quentin Prison. Here he dedicated his time to bodybuilding, a pursuit he had always loved.
While in prison he trained with weights daily, getting bigger and bigger. One day the guards took away all of the equipment, with no other option Kali turned to bodyweight exercises. Because of this he was not only able to maintain his size, but to grow even further. This led to a complete change in his training philosophy, and has influenced him ever since.
Once leaving prison he turned his life around. He stuck with bodybuilding, and started his own YouTube channel, where he motivates, and educates fellow lifters.
He has also starred in multiple commercials, and even some television shows and movies. He has also written a biography where he talks about his time in prison, and subsequent life afterwards.
His story is an inspiring one, and a rare example of someone making the most of post-prison life.
Kali Muscle has embraced his time spent there, while describing it as the worst way to spend a part of your life. His physique is now incredibly impressive, and he has similar height and weight stats to Phil Heath (the current Mr Olympia).
Throughout all of this he has maintained that he does not take steroids (a sensible thing for an ex convict to say regardless of the truth), and puts his size down to diet and training. But is he telling the truth? Or disguising his use of anabolic steroids?
Kali Muscle Training Program
Where Kali differs from almost any other bodybuilder is in his promotion of calisthenics.
When you watch his training videos he demonstrates how he built his physique using just some books, a bag, and the bars of his cell.
He would fill the bag with different amounts of books (to select different weights) and perform shoulder, back, arm, and leg exercises.
He uses push ups for his chest muscles, and inverted rows for his upper back (holding on to the cells of his cage and rowing his body).
Kali uses high reps and multiple sets, meaning that he gets a lot of volume per muscle. This is a great way to promote hypertrophy (the increasing in muscle size), and while his techniques are fairly unique, they still follow a scientific approach to training.
Kali Muscle Diet
Kali claims that when he was in prison he lived off tuna and ramen noodles, pointing out that these foods are quite calorie dense. Meaning that there are a lot of calories in a small serving.
He claims that high density foods and lots of calories are essential if you want to get huge.
He’s not huge, but you don’t need to follow the tuna and ramen diet. There are many ways to achieve size, and many more appetising foods out there!
In a video for Bodybuilding.com Kali makes one of his favourite (cheap) muscle building meals .
It’s basically rice and chicken with honey and cilantro. There’s a lot of protein in the chicken, the rice is high in carbs, and the meal is low in fats. This is only one meal, but as you can see it’s all about high calorie, and high protein.
Kali Muscle Supplements
When it comes to supplements, you normally expect a bodybuilder to talk endlessly about all of the great supplements out there.
This is partly because they are paid to promote supplements, or have their own companies, but it’s also partly to deflect attention away from their steroid use. “Oh this physique? Yeah it’s all down to whey protein and multivitamins”.
Kali Muscle does not do this, he claims not to touch any supplements at all. His physique was made from tuna, ramen, and bodyweight exercises.
Later on in this article we are going to be discussing whether we think he takes steroids or not, but if he isn’t at least taking supplements, one wonders how he has managed to get this physique.
What are Anabolic Steroids?
Before we can really get into whether Kali Muscle uses steroids or not, we should first take a brief look at what anabolic steroids actually are.
Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of sex hormones. They are used to mimic the effects of testosterone and are medically used to prevent muscle wastage in people suffering from diseases.
They are used by athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, and a surprising amount of regular gym rats as a way to build muscle, burn fat, and improve recovery. There are many different types of anabolic steroid, that have different functions.
You have steroids that help you bulk, for example Dianabol or Trenbolone.
Then there are steroids that help improve strength and power, these are commonly used by athletes who want to perform better in their chosen sport.
Finally you have steroids that primarily help with cutting, Clenbuterol for example.
Bodybuilders tend to take anabolic steroids in stacks, and combine them with other drugs. Lots of bodybuilders take HGH or Human Growth Hormone, as well as insulin (which increases muscle cell volume).
The Benefits of Steroids
Considering that they are illegal, expensive, and come with lots of potential side effects, you may be wondering why anyone would ever take steroids in the first place.
The truth is that without anabolic steroids, no bodybuilder would look half as good as they do.
Steroids can help you to increase your strength, your power, and your athleticism. This makes them incredibly effective for athletes, which is why so many stars have been caught taking them.
Testosterone can also help you to train longer in the gym and get better results from lifting. It helps stimulate protein synthesis meaning that your muscles will grow bigger and stronger than they would without steroids.
You can recover faster from exercise, and train for hours per day without suffering the usual side effects.
If a non-assisted lifter trained to the same extent they would be in danger of overtraining, and would fail to build any more muscle.
As we mentioned earlier, anabolic steroids can have many different uses, either bulking, strength gain, fat burning, or performance benefits. In bodybuilding all of them can be used at different times.
What Drugs Could Kali Muscle be Taking?
Strength building and muscle gaining steroids such as Dianabol and Trenbolone would be likely candidates for anyone who has grown as big as Kali Muscle.
Fat burners such as Clenbuterol would also help him to get that incredibly lean and shredded look.
HGH would be very high on the list (and would account for the slight gut that he has behind his six pack). Insulin is also likely.
No Prisoners Take Steroids
On a couple of occasions Kali Muscle has claimed that he doesn’t take steroids, and that nobody in prison takes steroids.
In fact an actual quote would be:
“I never heard of any black person in prison taking steroids. Steroids were never even spoke about in prison amongst the blacks, nor was it even a thought of why an inmate was swole”
It’s difficult to tell whether Kali Muscle is telling the truth or not here, a quick Google search throws up arguments from both sides.
Some people say that there are no steroids in prison, while others claim that there is all you want.
It may be that each prison is different. Our opinion? Most things are available in prison if you know who to ask, and drugs are definitely an issue, as is corruption.
It seems unlikely that a lot of the physiques maintained in prison are possible without steroids.
One thing that does seem to be universally accepted though is that people in prison tend to have much more dedication to bodybuilding than those outside. There are many anecdotes of prisoners training at every available moment, of performing incredible feats of strength, and sculpting amazing bodies using just their hands and whatever equipment they find laying around.
Reasons Why Kali Muscle Might Not Be Taking Steroids
#1: Prison Time
If it’s true what he’s saying about prisoners not using steroids, or not having access to them then it can only be concluded that his physique is due to exercising regularly and eating lots.
Kali muscle has been training nonstop for decades, and clearly has an excellent work ethic. Being that consistent while training well and dieting can yield some impressive results.
Reasons Why Kali Muscle Might Be Taking Steroids
We’ve looked at a lot of bodybuilders in our time but have never seen one who got such incredible results from bodyweight training alone.
The amount of size that Kali has just does not seem like a natural reaction to non steroid assisted training.
He trains almost every day and never suffers from overtraining or muscle catabolism. This is incredibly unlikely.
#2: Size & Weight
Kali Muscle is the same height and the same size as one of the most successful bodybuilders of all time, Phil Heath.
He is much bigger than Frank Zane (who has admitted to using steroids throughout his career).
How is it that a bodybuilder with no help from performance enhancing drugs has managed to achieve the size of steroid taking superstars? Particularly if he only uses bodyweight exercises.
This might sound harsh, but Kali Muscle does not seem to give the impression of knowing too much about nutrition. He doesn’t talk about bulking, calorie counting, or optimal protein intake.
If he was truly “natural” he would need to be taking every advantage he could.
His diet sounds quite poor, and that is where steroids usually play a big part. If you’re taking HGH, Trenbolone, Clenbuterol, Insulin etc … you can get away with a sub-optimal diet.
Conclusion: Is Kali Muscle on Steroids?
If Kali Muscle is not on steroids then we will just have to accept two things, 1) He is the greatest natural bodybuilder in history, and 2) If he started to take steroids, he would become the greatest professional bodybuilder of all time.
If he is not taking steroids and is currently outside the top 10 bodybuilders, why on earth isn’t he taking any?
The reality is that unless laws are relaxed (and this is an increasingly unlikely situation) no bodybuilder, particularly one who has spent time in prison, is going to admit to taking steroids.
Even if they were allowed to talk about it, they wouldn’t. Why tell everyone the truth when you can sell supplements, or workout programs and say that this is the secret behind your success?
Gaining Muscle and Strength without Steroids – Is it possible?
Of course it is possible to gain muscle and strength without the use of steroids. A good start would be to start training intensely and eating loads, but there is more to it than this.
Your next step should be to look at using a supplement. They are probably not going to be as effective as using real steroid, but they can certainly offer some benefit.
Crazy Bulk offer a range of “legal steroids“, such as the popular D-Bal that works in a similar fashion to the now-banned anabolic steroid Dianabol.
D-Bal contains numerous ingredients, which include BCAAs, Whey Protein Concentrate and Tribulus Terrestris.
These ingredients when combined can help to increase nitrogen retention. This in turn will lead to increased protein synthesis.
Other benefits on offer include:
- Gains in both strength and muscle
- Increased endurance
- More nitrogen retained
- Extra blood flow due to the additional oxygen being sent to your muscles
Does D-Bal work as claimed? You only need to visit the Crazy Bulk website to discover the truth. There are numerous testimonials available to prove them.