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Natural Bodybuilding and Supplements

Are you a natural bodybuilder if you take supplements?

The other day someone sent me a message at the request address asking how I can say I support natural bodybuilding if I support using testosterone boosters, creatine, caffeine, etc. What's the difference, they asked. Where do you draw the line?

Well, my response was and is that natural bodybuilding means different things to different people, but it always means No Steroids. After that point, it depends on the individual or the competition in question to set lines or definitions.

While supplements can be effective ergonomic aids for training, the acid test is this:

Can you make comparable gains WITHOUT this aid?

If you are using supplements, yes. If you are using steroids, pretty clearly, no.

"Natural" basically means that it is you pushing the limits of your own work capacity. Supplements -some, at best - maximize your ability to use the existing capacity. A few good meals or a thorough warmup can produce the same sort of effect. Steroids vastly increase the raw work capacity, period.

One way is legal, and one is not.

I think it is pretty safe to include caffeine as an ergogenic aid for all natural bodybuilders. The dosages we talk about here are actually a lower TOTAL than many non-athletes consume every day.

The bottom line is that "natural bodybuilding" is a concept that is still new and somewhat undefined. There are some gray areas, but that does not mean the idea is flawed inherently, or that its proponents are "hypocritical" (Guess who are the people who make that charge!). It means that it is up to you to give the phrase a meaning and a value.

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