Natural Bodybuilding


With the multitude of substances available to bodybuilders, some legal, some illegal and some scraping the border between the two, with more and more developed substances that are hard to detect during routine testing, it’s hard to tell which bodybuilding performances have been achieved naturally and which have had help from illegal or borderline legal substances. 

Aside from the unfairness of this kind of competing, the use and abuse of this type of substances poses genuine threats to the health and even lives of the bodybuilders who use them. In the midst of this substance haze, natural bodybuilding emerged to promote a natural, healthy alternative to traditional bodybuilding. 

Natural bodybuilding is a type of bodybuilding aimed not only at building a muscular, toned body but in offering a complete lifestyle change to those practicing it, letting its benefits penetrate all aspects of life and aiming for the improvement of the entire quality of life as opposed to only that of the body. Natural bodybuilding focuses on exercise, diet, a healthy lifestyle and the use of only natural, legal supplements.


Natural bodybuilding has a series of organizations, active internationally, which organize natural bodybuilding contests; in fact, natural bodybuilders pride themselves in being more competition-inclined than other bodybuilders. The requirements for entering natural competitions stipulate that a competitor must be drug free for a certain period (generally five years) of time prior to the competition. They must also present two recommendations attesting to their good faith and must pass a lie detector test in regards to their drug use before entering a competition. Winners of competitions must also pass urine or blood tests. Throughout the year, random tests are performed on members of the natural team, sometimes even as often as twice a month. 

The rules for those caught using drugs are very strict, ranging from a one year suspension to lifetime banning, depending on the severity of the violation, and their violation of the natural principles is also made public by posting the offender’s photograph and details on websites. Lack of knowledge about the banned nature of certain substances is not considered an excuse by the International Natural Association.

The list of banned substances coincides with the list of banned substances of the International Olympic Committee, and contains stimulants (with some exceptions made to certain asthma medications, nasal medication and local anesthetics), narcotic analgesics (with the exception of Codeine, Dextromethorphan, Dihydrocodeine, Diphenoxylate and Pholcodine), anabolic androgenic steroids, Beta-2 Agonists, diuretics, HGH, ACTH, HCG and EPO.

While the list of banned substances does not differ greatly from that of most international competitions, natural bodybuilding representatives certainly seem very determined in discouraging all attempts at using illegal substances. The idea of the polygraph test as opposed to urine or blood testing seems to create an environment of trust, unity and companionship between the members of the natural team.

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