Natural Bodybuilding vs Steroid Bodybuilding – Which Is Better Health Wise?

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: June 21, 2023
Natural Bodybuilding vs Steroid Bodybuilding

When it comes to bodybuilding, there are two popular approaches: natural bodybuilding and steroid bodybuilding.

For years, proponents of each side have argued that their method is superior, leaving many people undecided.

To determine which approach is more beneficial, it’s important to understand the differences between the two.

Natural bodybuilding involves building muscle through a combination of strength training, consistent nutrition, and careful attention to recovery.

Steroid bodybuilding, on the other hand, involves the use of performance-enhancing drugs to rapidly increase muscle size and strength.

While both approaches may yield results, it’s important to weigh the potential risks and benefits before making a decision.

What Is Natural Bodybuilding?

Natural bodybuilding is a fitness approach that focuses on building muscle mass, improving body composition, and enhancing overall physical performance without the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) such as anabolic steroids or human growth hormone (HGH).

Natural bodybuilders prioritize proper nutrition, consistent training, and adequate rest and recovery to optimize their results.

By adhering to a well-structured diet plan that includes a balance of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), natural bodybuilders can fuel their workouts and promote muscle growth.

They also employ various resistance training techniques, such as progressive overload and periodization, to stimulate muscle hypertrophy and strength gains.

Furthermore, natural bodybuilders recognize the importance of rest and stress management, as these factors play a crucial role in recovery, muscle growth, and injury prevention.

Ultimately, natural bodybuilding emphasizes a holistic, drug-free approach to achieving one’s fitness goals, prioritizing long-term health and sustainability over short-term gains.

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Steroid Bodybuilding

Steroid bodybuilding refers to the practice of using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), such as anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (HGH), to build muscle mass, increase strength, and improve overall physical performance.

These substances artificially boost hormone levels in the body, leading to accelerated muscle growth, enhanced recovery, and increased training capacity.

While steroid bodybuilders often achieve impressive physiques in a shorter time frame compared to their natural counterparts, they also face potential health risks and ethical considerations.

The use of anabolic steroids has been associated with numerous side effects, including liver damage, cardiovascular issues, hormonal imbalances, and psychological disturbances.

Moreover, steroid bodybuilding may encourage an unhealthy focus on short-term gains and aesthetics at the expense of long-term health and well-being.

Despite these concerns, many bodybuilders continue to use PEDs to gain a competitive edge or achieve their desired physique more rapidly.

It is essential for individuals considering this approach to be aware of the potential health risks, legal implications, and ethical ramifications associated with steroid use in bodybuilding.

serious side- effects of taking steroids for bodybuilding include:

  • Liver damage and toxicity
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Hormonal imbalances, leading to gynecomastia (male breast enlargement), testicular atrophy, and infertility in men, and menstrual irregularities, deepening of the voice, and facial hair growth in women
  • Acne and oily skin
  • Hair loss and male pattern baldness
  • Increased risk of tendon and ligament injuries due to rapid muscle growth
  • Adverse psychological effects, such as aggression, irritability, mood swings, and depression
  • Weakened immune system
  • Kidney damage or failure
  • Stunted growth in adolescents who have not yet reached their full height
  • Increased risk of blood clots and stroke
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia
  • Dependency and addiction potential
  • Legal consequences and ethical concerns related to the use of banned substances

Natural vs Steroids Bodybuilder

When comparing natural and steroid bodybuilders, several key differences emerge in terms of their approach to training, the results they achieve, and the potential risks involved.

Natural bodybuilders rely on a drug-free, holistic approach that prioritizes proper nutrition, consistent training, and adequate rest and recovery to optimize muscle growth, strength, and overall health.

They focus on sustainable, long-term progress and invest time and effort into developing well-rounded, functional physiques.

In contrast, steroid bodybuilders use performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) such as anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) to accelerate muscle growth, enhance recovery, and increase training capacity.

While they often achieve rapid gains and impressive physiques, this approach comes with potential health risks, legal implications, and ethical concerns.

The most significant difference between natural and steroid bodybuilders lies in the potential side effects associated with PED use.

Steroid bodybuilders face numerous health risks, including liver and kidney damage, cardiovascular issues, hormonal imbalances, and psychological disturbances.

On the other hand, natural bodybuilders promote long-term health and sustainability by adhering to a balanced diet, strategic training methodologies, and proper rest and recovery practices.

Another notable distinction is the public perception and ethical considerations surrounding these two approaches.

Natural bodybuilding is widely regarded as a healthier and more ethical pursuit, as it emphasizes hard work, dedication, and patience in achieving one’s fitness goals.

Steroid bodybuilding, however, may be perceived negatively due to its association with cheating, doping scandals, and the prioritization of short-term gains over long-term well-being.

Ultimately, the choice between natural and steroid bodybuilding depends on an individual’s personal values, goals, and risk tolerance.

It is essential for those considering either path to be aware of the potential benefits, drawbacks, and consequences associated with each approach before making a decision.

Reasons To Be a Natural Bodybuilder:

Long-Term Health and Sustainability

Natural bodybuilding promotes long-term health by focusing on a balanced diet, consistent training, and proper rest and recovery. By avoiding performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), natural bodybuilders reduce the risk of potentially harmful side effects that can impact their overall well-being. This approach allows them to maintain their physical health and continue pursuing their fitness goals for years to come.

Ethical Considerations

Choosing the natural bodybuilding path reflects a commitment to fair play and sportsmanship. By adhering to drug-free principles, natural bodybuilders demonstrate that impressive physiques and athletic achievements can be attained through hard work, dedication, and patience, without resorting to shortcuts or banned substances. This ethical stance earns them respect and admiration within the fitness community.

Mental Well-Being

Natural bodybuilding not only benefits physical health but also contributes to mental well-being. The discipline required to follow a structured diet, training regimen, and recovery plan instills a strong sense of self-control and self-mastery. Furthermore, the knowledge that one’s progress is achieved through perseverance and effort can lead to increased self-esteem, confidence, and personal satisfaction.

Lower Risk of Injuries

By focusing on strategic training methodologies and emphasizing proper technique, natural bodybuilders minimize the risk of injuries. Developing strength and muscle mass at a gradual, sustainable pace allows the body’s tendons, ligaments, and joints to adapt alongside the growing muscles, reducing the likelihood of strains, tears, and other injuries that can result from excessive stress or rapid growth.

Financial Savings

Choosing to be a natural bodybuilder can also be a more cost-effective option. Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) can be expensive, and their ongoing use can become a significant financial burden. By opting for a drug-free approach, natural bodybuilders can allocate their resources towards quality nutrition, gym memberships, and other fitness-related expenses that directly contribute to their long-term health and progress.


Natural bodybuilding has emerged as a safe alternative to traditional bodybuilding practices, which often rely on performance-enhancing drugs to achieve rapid muscle growth.

The use of these drugs can have serious health consequences, including strokes, heart attacks, liver failure, and psychiatric disorders.

Instead, natural bodybuilders prioritize a protein-rich and carb-based diet, combined with a properly structured workout routine that includes adequate rest periods.

In addition to these safety practices, all athletes are required to comply with anti-doping regulations by consuming only Cologne List supplements during competitions.

By emphasizing natural methods for muscle growth, natural bodybuilding allows individuals to achieve their physical goals healthily and sustainably.

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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.