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How Much Muscle Can You Build (Natural vs Enhanced)

What would be the maximum a person could get?

How much muscle can you build if you would compare a natural athlete vs an enhanced one? That is what we are going to find out.

An enhanced bodybuilder and a natural bodybuilder differ in how they achieve their muscular physique. Let’s break down the main differences in simple terms:

  1. Muscle Growth Methods:
    • Enhanced Bodybuilder: An enhanced bodybuilder, often referred to as a “steroid user,” relies on using anabolic steroids or other performance-enhancing substances. These substances can greatly accelerate muscle growth and recovery, allowing them to build muscle mass at a faster rate than naturally achievable.
    • Natural Bodybuilder: A natural bodybuilder, on the other hand, relies solely on their genetics, diet, and training to build muscle. They don’t use any artificial substances to enhance their performance or muscle growth.
  2. Health Considerations:
    • Enhanced Bodybuilder: Using steroids or performance-enhancing drugs can have serious health risks. These substances may lead to heart problems, liver damage, hormonal imbalances, and other negative side effects.
    • Natural Bodybuilder: Natural bodybuilding places a stronger emphasis on overall health and well-being. By avoiding the use of harmful substances, natural bodybuilders generally have fewer health risks associated with their training.
  3. Competitive Advantages:
    • Enhanced Bodybuilder: The use of steroids can give enhanced bodybuilders a significant advantage in terms of muscle size and definition. This advantage is especially noticeable in competitive bodybuilding events where the focus is on extreme muscle development.
    • Natural Bodybuilder: Natural bodybuilders compete on a level playing field, relying on their dedication to training, diet, and genetics to achieve their physiques. While they may not reach the same extreme levels of muscle mass, they are admired for their dedication and hard work.
  4. Long-Term Sustainability:
    • Enhanced Bodybuilder: The use of steroids is often unsustainable in the long term due to the health risks and potential legal consequences. Many enhanced bodybuilders face challenges once they stop using these substances, as maintaining their gained muscle mass becomes difficult without continuous use.
    • Natural Bodybuilder: Natural bodybuilding promotes a more sustainable approach to fitness and muscle development. By focusing on healthy training and nutrition, natural bodybuilders can maintain their physique for the long term and enjoy a healthier lifestyle overall.
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The main difference between an enhanced bodybuilder and a natural one lies in the methods used to build muscle, the health considerations involved, competitive advantages, and long-term sustainability. While enhanced bodybuilders may achieve remarkable muscle development quickly, natural bodybuilders prioritize health and well-being, competing without the use of performance-enhancing substances, and focusing on sustainable muscle growth in the long run.

But how much muscle can you build if you are one or the other? Luckily, to answer that we turn to the expertise of Jeff Nippard. Jeff Nippard is a natural professional bodybuilder and fitness coach who shares tips and training programs on his YouTube channel. He often uses scientific studies to decide how to train a certain way, which exercises to choose and to answer the most asked fitness-related questions.

See below his take on the matter.

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How Much Muscle Can You Build (Natural vs Enhanced)

Speaking from his own perspective, as a natural bodybuilder, people will experience a bigger boost in how much muscle they can build in the first few years of going to the gym consistently. With that, you can still make gains, but they will get smaller and harder to get.

Over 15 years of training naturally, Nippard managed to get around 20 pounds of muscle in the first five years, but at the end of 15 years, he got to around 27 pounds (12 kilos) of muscle. Some people can build more, some can build less, but with a similar growth of muscle gains.

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And what if you take steroids? How much muscle can you build? The answer is: much more.

According to a study with randomised people, those who took steroids and trained at the same time gained 3 times more muscle mass than the group that trained consistently without steroids. And a group that only took steroids and did not train (and we are talking about injecting testosterone here) gained 1.5 more muscle mass than the group that trained naturally.

For more information on that, scientific studies analysis and what steroids have been tested on, watch Jeff Nippard’s video below.

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The most common steroids used by bodybuilders include:

  1. Testosterone: Testosterone is the primary male hormone, and it is responsible for the development of male sex characteristics such as muscle mass and strength. It is also the most commonly used anabolic steroid in the bodybuilding community.
  2. Dianabol: Dianabol is an oral steroid that is often used to kickstart a bulking cycle. It is known for its ability to rapidly increase muscle mass and strength.
  3. Deca-Durabolin: Deca-Durabolin is an injectable steroid that is commonly used for bulking cycles. It is known for its ability to increase muscle mass and strength, as well as its ability to reduce joint pain.
  4. Trenbolone: Trenbolone is a powerful steroid that is often used by experienced bodybuilders. It is known for its ability to increase muscle mass and strength while also reducing body fat.
  5. Anadrol: Anadrol is an oral steroid that is often used for bulking cycles. It is known for its ability to rapidly increase muscle mass and strength, but it can also cause a range of side effects, including liver damage and high blood pressure.

It’s important to note that the use of anabolic steroids without a prescription is illegal in many countries, and can have serious health consequences.

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