Natural vs Enhanced lifting
‘Natural’ or ‘natty’ is a term often heard in bodybuilding and weightlifting circles. Broadly speaking it applies to a lifter who is not using external hormonal assistance (i.e. steroids) to allow him to go beyond his body’s natural limits.
The term steroids is a complicated subject in itself, with a large range of different compounds and effects but essentially they are powerful synthetic chemicals which can drastically alter the hormonal and chemical balance of the human body, eliciting huge leaps in strength, leanness, muscular size and muscular quality.
How do steroids help?
Put simply, steroids and Performance Enhancing Drugs are extremely powerful. No matter who you are, how highly trained, genetically gifted or motivated you WILL be better on steroids.
If your goal is to be stronger you will be throwing tens of kilos on the bar each and every week. If you want to build muscle you can put on a lifetimes natural mass in 6 months. You can train harder, for longer and recover quicker.
It’s like becoming a super version of yourself overnight.
Obviously genetics come into it again; the more naturally gifted you are to start the more powerful you will end up, provided you respond well to the drugs (genes even decide how much you respond to steroids, with some reaping more benefits than others on the same dose).
Steroids won’t turn you into a champion unless you already have the genetic potential to get there first, but they will undoubtedly improve your current natural performance.
They’re more than the icing on the cake
Steroid users and the fitness industry will always try and play down the role of drugs in their training, trying to convince you that in fact because you have the capacity to recover quicker and work harder you have to in fact work harder when you are on steroids.
This is patent crap: studies have shown that steroids can build muscle for individuals not training than those not using and training. That’s right; if you use steroids you can actually build muscle while not even going to the gym.
It goes without saying that a natural lifter has a lot harder time of it than an enhanced one. A big factor is the fact that to make continued progress a natural has to know his or her stuff.
As we have covered gains will slow drastically after the first year or so.
By taking drugs and external help you can overcome this by altering your body chemistry, meaning large gains similar or even exceeding the first year of training can be achieved, often by following the same routines.
Drugs can compensate for lack of knowledge and effort
In truth there are steroid users out there who have great physiques and a lot of mass without really knowing much about training or training with teriible form. They have made their progress due to the drugs, which cover for their mistakes.
Naturals don’t have this luxury and once you are relatively advanced (i.e. 3-4 years plus of consistent dedicated training) you need to start really knowing what works for you and trying new techniques to eke out a continued response from your body.
This is where a true knowledge of how the body works and how to train really comes into its own, and underlines the importance of learning the right way from day one.
If you’re not on drugs don’t listen to those that are as the reality is that steroid users don’t necessarily need to know anything about training to get good results; the drugs carry them even when using shitty form and bad programming.