Nurture Your Muscle Power

Words: Kerry DULIN 

The term natural envelops almost every facet of life today — this includes natural muscle building.

Here is a clear analysis on what ‘natural’ bodybuilding is and what it is not. 

The term natural has undergone multiple revisions in the last few years. New and ‘high-tech’ supplements have blurred the distinction between legal supplementation and steroids. The addition of various pro-hormonal stacks and related supplements to the bodybuilder’s arsenal has caused most people to conclude that natural bodybuilding no longer exists.

Ask yourself these questions. Is it natural to consume 5gm of creatine-monohydrate, or 10gm of L-glutamine in a single serving? Is it natural to use Taraxatone to increase muscular definition and apply five coats of pro-tan prior to competition? Does pre-digested ion exchange whey protein exist naturally?

The obvious answer is a big no. On the other hand, while it is possible to achieve an impressive and healthy physique without supplementation, you need to be aware that the proper use and combination of legal supplements will increase the tempo of your physical transformation and that your competitor [should you decide to compete] is likely using them to their advantage.

For the professional bodybuilder the answer lies within the rules of the sanctioning organisation that they compete in. Always check the banned substances list for the competition and/or the sanctioning body that you are competing in. If you meet the requirements of the sanctioning body you can consider yourself to be ‘natural.’ On the other hand, several events are not drug tested at all. If you know in advance that you are competing in a non-tested event and ‘get beaten’ by someone that you believe to be an enhanced athlete, you have no right to complain. You chose to compete under those conditions.

A natural bodybuilder must understand and respect their own genetic limitations. It is important that our physique goals are reasonable and obtainable. If your goal is to eventually look like an Olympics contender, then you need to find a black market pharmacist and start looking over your shoulder. I have spoken to nationally ranked competitors who were sadly asking the question, “How many more drugs do I have to take.” Some were frightened — they saw a dim light at the end of the tunnel and they know where it is leading them.

As a natural trainer, therefore, you must respect your genetics, you must respect your limitations and you must respect your long-term health. Your training, nutrition, supplementation and recovery programme must reflect your goals. If you’re going to call yourself a bodybuilder, then train like one and educate yourself. Anything less and it won’t work for you.

You should also be aware that valid and accurate drug testing is expensive and that cheaters occasionally go undetected. This is a sad fact about our sport because natural athletes need and deserve a level playing field. Once caught, however, is usually sufficient to ban the competitor for life. For the purpose of attempting to define the term, however, suffice it to say that the term ‘natural’ implies that the athlete has not engaged in the use of performance-enhancing drugs, or substances banned by the sanctioning organisation of a competitive event.

While this topic is controversial in some circles, it is important that natural athletes not try to assume a moral superiority over our ‘enhanced’ brothers. Our sport has yet to receive full recognition by the public and quarrelling among ourselves will not help our cause. The important thing is that you should remain true to yourselves as athletes, and promote our sport, not only in word, but also in deed. For a sound mind in a sound body, and vice versa.

KERRY DULIN, a world-renowned fitness guru, first got into professional bodybuilding at age 40. He won his first bodybuilding competition at 41. Now 62, with a physique that would put someone half his age to shame, Dulin has what he calls ‘a manageable programme,’ 12+ top trophies to show for his fitness endeavours and a brace of health and fitness websites. He lives in the US [This article is published by special permission from the author. ©Kerry Dulin].

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