Is natural bodybuilding possible?

Is natural bodybuilding possible?
  • 30 Jul 2023

Debunking the Myths Surrounding Natural Bodybuilding

As someone who has grappled with the whole fitness ethos for quite some time, I've often encountered quite the conundrum - is undiluted, unadulterated, natural bodybuilding really possible? This question has floated around fitness circles for ages, with diverse opinions and theories fuelling heated debates. In the hustling bustling environs of Darwin where I live, I've met quite a few folks who've grappled with the same question. It's fascinating and quite enlightening.

Thus, your good old mate Xander decided to thoroughly plunder this topic, examining the myths, the truths, and all the convoluted alleys regarding natural bodybuilding. Picture this. You’re pounding away at the iron every week, taking your protein shakes, creatine, and a whole load of other supplements. But no matter your dedication or how many bananas you consume pre-workout, you're still unable to sculpt your body the way those Instagram bodybuilders or the grinning folks on Fitness magazine cover do.

Defining Natural in Natural Bodybuilding

Alright, getting dialled in, what do we mean by 'natural bodybuilding'? In simple terms, it means you're aiming to build your body, increase your muscle mass and strength without resorting to performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) like anabolic steroids or other substances. Speaking of shadows, natural bodybuilding has often been seen as the holy grail of fitness, with the extra glory attached to those who manage to achieve fitness goals while sticking to this clean route.

However, the echoes of 'possible or impossible' often loom large. Let me share my thoughts - achieving gob-smacking, impressive results naturally is an arduous journey. But it's 100% possible. That's the beauty. You'll sweat, grimace, cuss, even cry. Yet the joy of moulding your body, seeing your sinews harden, feeling your strength surge - naturally, is deeply satisfying.

Genetics: The Not-So-Secret Force in Bodybuilding

Now, if you've dived into bodybuilding, you've probably overheard gym gurus waxing poetic about genetics. Is it the secret key to unlock superior gains? Do poor genetics mean even the humblest of six packs remains an elusive dream?

Well, lo and behold, genetics do play a significant role in how your body responds to different training stimuli and nutritional intake. But it’s equally imperative to remember that while genetics can gift or curse you with muscle-building potential, it’s far from a death sentence. My son Archer, is a prime example. He was always on the skinny side, but with regular weight training, he’s managed to build some impressive muscle. He also often outruns me in our morning sprints. Bloody unfair, I would say. Be that as it may, it absolutely articulates that with discipline, dedication and hard work, one can improve upon their genetic limitations.

The Role of Nutrition: You are What You Eat

Ah, food! Our beloved companion that grows muscles, fuels workouts and incessantly tempts us towards cheat days. The role of nutrition in bodybuilding, natural or otherwise, cannot be overstated. What you consume influences your energy levels, recovery time, and ultimately, how much muscle you can pack on.

And if natural bodybuilding is your quest, the emphasis on nutrition becomes even more pivotal. You need to fine-tune your diet with an optimal balance of proteins, carbs, and fats while constantly adjusting and tweaking as per your changing physical goals and body responses. Some days, it feels like you're a one-legged man in a butt-kick competition. But trust me; the results are worth the juggle! A point worth noting - hydration is often overlooked in the nutritional dialogue, but it serves substantial importance in muscle recovery and growth.

The Philosophy of Progressive Overload

This one is as straightforward and as brutal as it gets. To grow bigger and stronger, you need to perpetually push your limits, both in terms of weights and workout intensity. Progressive overload is a simple yet wildly effective principle - you increase the stress on your body over time, forcing your muscles to adapt and grow.

Now remember, progressive doesn’t directly translate to ‘aggressive’. Constant, gradual progress is the sustainable route here. Mindless heave-hoes might inflate your ego but won’t give you the gains you’re after (and not to mention the risk of injuries it carries along). So remember, while pushing your limits, play safe. You are in a marathon, not a sprint.

Assessing Supplements: The Good, the Bad and the Unknown

For the uninitiated, the world of supplements can often seem like a perplexing labyrinth filled with promises, fancy labels and quite a few wolves in sheep's clothing. With natural bodybuilding, many folks wonder - are supplements considered 'natural'?

The supplement market is a mixed bag. On one hand, you have genuinely helpful substances like protein powders, creatine, and vitamins that can expedite muscle growth and recovery. On the other, you have an assortment of unregulated, untested concoctions ridden with side effects. The key is keeping an informed approach, assessing your body’s needs, and not falling for the flashy trap of miracles in a bottle.

The Role of Rest: Why Snooze is not Lose

I often see folks at the gym, pumped and raring to go, working out like frenzied zombies to the point of exhaustion and still dragging themselves back for more the very next day. It’s like everyone’s running an invisible rat race. Folks, it’s important to remember: Rest is vital!

Growth happens not when you're stressing your muscles, but when you’re resting and allowing them to recover. Natural bodybuilding mandates you schedule rest days, prioritize sleep, and avoid overtraining like a ‘roo avoids dingo. It’s the forgotten piece of the puzzle that often holds the key to a successful fitness journey.

Embracing Patience: The Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The journey of natural bodybuilding is not for the faint-hearted. It requires dedication, hard work, discipline, and maybe a gallon or two of blood, sweat, and tears. (Okay, I’m dramatizing but you get the drift.) The point is, natural bodybuilding is not a dash; it’s a marathon.

There’s something bewitching about sculpting your physique in an au naturel way. It's a gradual process of transforming both body and mind. A process that teaches you patience, fortitude and a deeper understanding of your physical being. Yes, it’s slow. Yes, it’s tough. But believe me, in the end, it's gratifying, rewarding and so incredibly satisfying. So, keep pushing, stay disciplined and remember – the tortoise did win the race.

Posted By: Xander Steel

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