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Natural lifting is fast becoming the most popular form of body composition training, with more and more people attracted to the promise of a muscle-bound body without all the dangers of steroid abuse.
There are many natural lifters out there at the moment who have become huge celebrities in their selected fields, they may not have as impressive physiques as “Professional” Bodybuilders but they do have a certain degree of respect.
But the reality is that natural lifting is completely unenforceable, if you don’t compete in any competitions then nobody is ever going to test your blood-work for signs of steroids.
Even if they did enforce tests, a knowledgeable lifter would always be able to work around this obstacle.
Many of the most common performance enhancing drugs can clear the system in less than a few days (insulin can clear the system within a couple hours). So unless the drug test is completely random, a natural lifter can easily work around this.
Technically, every bodybuilder would classify themselves as a natural lifter – they would be insane not to.
If Kai Green or Phil Heath admitted to taking steroids they would lose all of their supplement sponsorships, and would be in danger of legal consequences. But, because these lifters are clearly not natural they are perceived differently.
It’s an open secret that bodybuilders take drugs, otherwise there would be no need for a “natural bodybuilding” competition.
So when we discuss fake “natural lifters” in this article we are focusing exclusively on people who train for natural bodybuilding competitions, and people who train for social media likes (you know the type).
7 ways to spot fake natural lifters
This is a list of seven ways that you can spot fake natural lifters, this is by no means an exhaustive list and there are many other ways to do so.
It’s just that a lot of those other ways are impractical, for example: Anabolic steroid use can lead to testicular shrinkage. FYI you’re not going to be able to verify this. Nor will you be able to check blood work, nor is it always easy to check for an increase in acne. These 7 ways are easier to spot.
1. Lifter looks “Competition ready” all year round
You know the guys on the front cover of magazines with the well-defined abs and vascular muscles? Yeah the picture you’re seeing is of a guy who has been dieting down for weeks in advance, who is probably dehydrated, and will be looking normal again within 6 weeks.
Non-drug assisted fitness models can only look that lean for a short amount of time and therefore have to peak in time for photo shoots.
Fake natural lifters can afford to look fitness-cover ready 24/7 because testosterone supplementation allows them to get away with it.
2. Very flexible dieting
The fact is that taking Testosterone will massively ramp up your metabolism whilst also increasing fat oxidation, this means that you can eat a higher calorie diet and still have visible abs.
Whilst flexible dieting does work for non-drug taking lifters, it is self-regulating.
You have a certain amount of carbs, fat, and protein to play with. If you waste all of your fats on two bowls of ice cream then you’ll be screwed for the rest of the day!
This means that people who follow a flexible dieting approach may end up eating less junk than they thought they would.
But if you’re taking Testosterone injections your fat/carb allowance will be much higher so you can eat more “bad” food.
If a lifter is boasting how much ice cream, beer, and pop tarts they can fit into their diet and still rock a six pack, there is a high chance that they are taking something.
3. Building muscle while losing weight
The holy grail for most gym goers, losing fat and building muscle at the same time!
While this is possible for brand new lifters, it’s essentially impossible for an unassisted lifter to lower their body fat down to single digits and also increase their muscle size.
4. Fast recovery from injury
Admittedly this is a difficult thing to spot, unless you know the full-extent of the injury and the amount of time that it takes to recover from.
But one of the reasons that HGH is so popular with athletes is that it helps muscle repair itself at a much faster rate.
5. Longer Workouts
One of the reasons bodybuilders who pretend to be natural give for their results is that they work harder than anyone else.
This is definitely true, they can train for 2 hours plus and get amazing results. But the fact that they can work out for two hours is a major benefit that most likely demonstrates the fact that they are on steroids.
One of the main benefits of steroid use is the effect that they have on cortisol (the stress hormone), they can inhibit it which prevents muscle loss.
For a non-assisted lifter cortisol begins to be released after an hour, which can really effect progress. This means that a 2 hour training session would be almost impossible, and if they did do it they would get poor results.
6. Fast recovery from workouts
Muscle protein synthesis is responsible for muscle growth and strength, the more MPS you can stimulate after a workout the better the results.
MPS will also help you to recover from exercise, it is for this reason that protein is so important.
Trying to increase MPS is the most important part of bodybuilding, and many exercise techniques such as drop sets, back off sets, and supersetting, are designed to do this.
One benefit of testosterone injections is that they massively increase MPS stimulation. This means that not only do muscles get bigger and stronger than they would normally, you can also recover from the workout faster. Meaning that a non-natural lifter would experience less muscle fatigue after a workout.
7. Fast muscle gain
Truth is that if someone has doubled in size over the course of a year then there is a high chance that they are taking steroids.
Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone, there are some people who are genetically “gifted” but even that has a limit.
Fake lifters will try and make you believe otherwise, and their fans may just call the detractors jealous, but the science is irrefutable.
Testosterone injections and HGH have been proven to increase strength  and lower body fat , as does Insulin abuse .
Yes training is still a lot of hard work and consistency, and you’d probably be surprised by how many steroid takers don’t get decent results. But it’s silly to pretend that taking these banned substances don’t have huge benefits to body composition, and sadly the majority of the best-looking “natural” lifters are lying.
 Tavares, A., Micmacher, E., Biesek, S., Assumpcao, R., Redorat, R., Veloso, U., Vaisman, M., Farinatti, Conceicao, F. 2013. Effects of Growth Hormone Administration on Muscle Strength in Men over 50 Years Old. International Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 2013, Article ID 942030, 6 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/942030
 Nordstrom, A., Hogstrom, G., Eriksson, A., Bonnerud, P., Tegner, Y., Malm, C. 2012. Higher Muscle Mass but Lower Gynoid Fat Mass in Athletes Using Anabolic Androgenic Steroids. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 26(1): 246-250
 Yu, J., Bonnerud, P., Eriksson, A. Stal, P., Tegner, Y., Malm, C. 2014. Effects of Long Term Supplementation of Anabolic Androgen Steroids on Human Skeletal Muscle. PLoS One 10;9(9): e105330
 Bonadonna, R., Saccomani, M., Cobelli, C., DeFronzo, R. 1993. Effect of insulin on system A amino acid transport in human skeletal muscle. The Journal of Clinical Investigation 91(2): 514-21