What is natural bodybuilding?

Natural bodybuilding, bodybuilding program, bodybuilding workouts, muscle building workout, bodybuilding workout plan, muscle building program, lean muscle workout, agility training, core strength exercise

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You’ve probably seen a lot of talk online regarding ‘natural’ bodybuilding and might – at some stage – have wondered what it’s all about.

If you’re keen to get into the best possible shape you can AND you want to do it without the dubious ‘benefits’ and honestly pretty terrifying side effects of chemical enhancers then natural bodybuilding is exactly what you’re looking for. 

In basic terms, natural bodybuilding is a combination of hard work, good nutrition and the right program of exercises. 

Natural supplements, like protein, are fine. Chemical enhancers, like steroids, are not. If you’re thinking of getting seriously into natural bodybuilding and want to look at competing you should check out the whole list on the World Anti-Doping Agency website. <link> https://www.wada-ama.org/

Benefits of natural bodybuilding

Natural bodybuilding = natural shape

We’ve all seen the ‘Roid Boys at the gym – you know, the ones who look a bit like balloon animals. They’re usually massively out of proportion and top heavy and you get the feeling they’re just totally out of balance most of the time and are at risk of falling over. 

Natural bodybuilders, on the other hand, tend to have a far more ‘ripped’ and natural shape. That’s not to say you can’t get massive – you absolutely can. But because you’re going to have to work hard to get it, and it’s going to take some time to get there, you’re going to wind up with a whole lot of ripped lean muscle mass and a far more natural, symmetrical shape.  

No nasty side effects

When you look at the side effects of most performance enhancing drugs, it’s hard to see why anyone would ever want to go anywhere near them. Sure, you’re going to get massive gains fast but boy, the damage they do to your internal organs, your libido, your mood and your general wellbeing are pretty brutal. Side effects of steroids include: 

  • Liver damage
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Overall enlargement of internal organs (read: they have to work harder and wear out faster)
  • Drop in libido (and a lack of ability to ‘follow through’ even if you are interested)
  • Testicle shrinkage, lowered sperm count, possibly total infertility
  • ‘Roid Rage 
  • Moodiness 
  • Hair loss or excessive hair growth
  • Acne 
  • Water retention
  • Increased blood pressure

Seriously, is getting bulky faster really worth risking all that? 


Not that you should get all caught up in what other people think of you, but when people see you putting the hard work in, the props they give you for the results you get mean a whole lot more. And you’re going to respect yourself a lot more for not taking the ‘easy’ route as well. 

Top tips for a better natural bodybuilding program

Be patient

Building natural bulk is going to take time, but working out every single day isn’t going to get you there faster. Your best results will come from having a workout-rest-repair approach. Every natural muscle building programis based around the same formula: the muscle being worked and then given time to rest and repair. You just can’t shortcut this process if you want to take the natural approach.

Give your diet a makeover

Great results are fuelled by great nutrition – and this goes a lot further than just having a protein shake before or after you workout, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing. If you’re serious about wanting to build lean muscle or bulk up with natural bodybuilding then it’s definitely worth having a chat with a sports nutritionist who will be able to work out your personal base metabolic rate to calculate your optimum caloric intake so you can make sure you’re eating to it. They should also be able to help you with meal planning so you can incorporate the most nutritionally beneficial foods to support muscle repair and growth and make sure you’re eating the right things at the right time (ie: meals for workout days and meals for rest days). This is super important if you are vegetarian or vegan – because may need to look at certain supplements to make sure you’re getting all of the micronutrients and macronutrients your muscles will need. 

Take a wholistic approach

Getting ripped is not just about lifting heavier and heavier weights. Sure, you’ve got to increase the amount you lift as it gets easier for you to lift it, but you also have to look at your whole body. There’s no point having massive arms and shoulders if your core is weak or if you’re not flexible enough to bend over to tie your shoes. Lifting is important for getting those massive gains, but stretching, balance work and cardio are going to be the things that left you keep lifting for longer. Take the time to warm up and cool down. Stretch (this is best done after your muscles have warmed up). Throw some cardio into the mix by setting up a circuit at home with things like a skipping rope and some of the agility training that pro basketballers use. Agility drills normally need minimal equipment, but will absolutely keep you on your toes. You might even want to have a shot at some core strength exercise like yoga or pilates to help with your core and balance. All these things are going to keep you injury free and improve your overall condition, so make sure you work them into your routine. 

In short, with natural bodybuilding, it’s 100% possible to bulk up and build quality lean muscle without using any harmful chemical enhancements. And the added bonus is that without having to worry about all those nasty side effects, you’ll be able to enjoy all the rewards that come from working so hard.

Top Natural bodybuilders of the world

Steve Reeves ,Steve Cook, Abbye Stockton, Rob Riches, Eugen Sandow, Donte Franklin, Mike O’Heaern, No steroids, Natural bodybuilder, steroids help retain fluids, shredded, world-class genetics for bodybuilding, IFBB Men’s Physique division, Musclemania and BNBF, Men’s Physique, become skilled at dieting and learning how to lower his body fat %, rather than adding mass, 100% natural , Low body fat,

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Bodybuilding has been around for a considerably long time and basically involves the use of progressively changing the resistance of weights while exercising, to control and develop one’s musculature. Bodybuilding came to be in fashion when Eugen Sandow, who is also known as the ‘Father of Modern Bodybuilding’ began to promote it and allowed audiences to view his body and musculature for a fee.
Bodybuilding competitions are judged by looking at the bodybuilder’s symmetry, musculature, size, and presentation. Some popular competitions you may have heard of are the IFBB Men’s Physique Division, Musclemania, and BNBF.

Over the last few years, natural bodybuilding has begun to gain importance again as the side effects of steroids come to light. A natural bodybuilder is one who abstains from performance-enhancing drugs like insulin, the growth hormone, steroids, and more. Different organizations have different rules about the amount of time the athlete should test drug-free for – this can vary from the day of the event, a few months prior to the event, or a certain number of years.

Since natural bodybuilders must avoid such drugs, in order to build their bodies and continue their progress, they often adhere to strict training schedules, follow diets and regimes to stay on top of their game. Natural bodybuilders must also become skillet at dieting and learning how to lower body fat percentage, rather than adding mass. As a rule of thumb, a male bodybuilder could have anywhere between 3-4% body fat percentage, whereas a female bodybuilder could have anywhere between 8-10% in comparison.

Recent studies have shown that bodybuilding may have a lot to do with a person’s genetics too. Body types can be classified into Mesomorphs, Endomorphs, and Ectomorphs. In general, Mesomorphs are better at building their bodies as they have what is described as ‘good genetics’. Mesomorphs usually have well-defined muscles and large bones. While it is easier to poses world-class genetics for bodybuilding, as one will gain muscle faster, if you have a decent structure, respond well to training, follow a good nutritional plan and are motivated, there’s no reason why you can’t work towards getting the body you desire.

Some philosophies of the Top Natural Bodybuilder’s and what you can learn from them –

Mike O’Heaern –

Bodybuilding Titan and winner of Mr. Universe and various other accolades, Mike O’Heaern believes that a great base is important when it comes to working out. Learning about your body and how you can grow from different workouts is the first step. Mix up your workouts – he recommends doing cardio almost every day.
Mike also follows workouts with compound movements. These are exercises that work for several muscle groups simultaneously and do 8 to 10 repetitions of each.
A great example is a squat that targets the lower back, core, and glutes all at the same time.

Eugen Sandow –

The Father of Modern Bodybuilding, Eugen Sandow was a big supporter of full-body training. He proclaimed his usage of light dumbbells (5lb to be exact) and a very high number of reps (120) led to his Greek god-Esque stature.
He was quoted as saying –

“Nothing, in my opinion, is better than the use of the dumb-bell, for developing the whole system, particularly if it is used intelligently, and with a knowledge of the location and functions of the muscles.”

Steve Reeves –

The professional bodybuilder, actor, and philanthropist believed in a philosophy called ‘Attention to Recovery’. Commonly most athletes focus on their training, Reeves on the other hand worked on resting and recovery between sets and after workouts. He never trained two days in a row.
Steve liked to focus on the body holistically and set small goals to reach his long-term goals. Often changing his time limits, repetitions, weights, etc. he looked at new ways of maximizing the time he spent training.

Abbye Stockton –

Known as the ‘Queen of Barbells’, she appeared in oven 40 magazines and was known for popularising bodybuilding for women in the 1940’s. Known for putting Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach on the map, they defied the notion that weightlifting made female bodies less feminine. Abbye Stockton was affectionately known as ‘Pudgy’ and was an exceptional athlete, gymnast, and bodybuilder.

Rob Riches –
Fitness model and bodybuilder Rob Riches has competed in over 30 shows and won two world championship titles. Being passionate about training, he believes in continuously changing his regime and learning about new things that help his training and physique.

He uses the Weider Principle to maintain his body. Developed by Joe Weider, the Weider Principle refers to following forced reps till you reach failure, then having a spotter help you get a few extra reps. Essentially pushing your muscles beyond fail and forcing them to grow, the method is considered controversial. Rob also follows a diet eating complex carbohydrates, lean protein and lots of fibre.

Donte Franklin –
The bodybuilder was recently awarded the title of Greatest Natural Bodybuilder in the World. Following a 100% natural mind-set, Donte started working out at a young age and is known for following a vegan diet, a factor that may contribute to his low body fat.

It is great to learn from natural bodybuilders and understand more about their fitness regimes, or the different fitness options available to you. If you are looking at trying out a new routine, be sure to consult a professional trainer who can help you pick out a plan tailored to your goals.

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