The Anabolic Doc debates with Vlad Yudin: Will fans really abandon pro bodybuilding if strict drug testing were applied to all leagues?

There’s no doubt that natural bodybuilding leagues such as the INBA/PNBA have been growing over the past decade. But the IFBB still holds strong as the most watched and widely seen league in competitive bodybuilding. While they don’t condone drug use – the IFBB differs from natural leagues by not conducting drug tests. This is true of many pro leagues that do not hold the term “natural” in their title. This begs the question – are untested pro leagues more popular because of the drug use? Will fans abandon these leagues if they were to start strict drug testing? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, the Anabolic Doc shares his thoughts on fan reactions to natural bodybuilding.

Generation Iron: Natty 4 Life was a film that dove deep into the world of natural bodybuilding – revealing a collective of passionate athletes and passionate promoters who want to dedicate their love of bodybuilding to fair drug tested competition. This dedication feels more prescient than ever due to the recent too-soon deaths of many competitive bodybuilders in the sport. While nearly all of these deaths have no announced cause at the moment – the conversation about health for athletes has reached an all time high.

That’s why during our conversation with Dr. Thomas O’Connor, aka the Anabolic Doc, we asked for his opinion on the bodybuilding fanbase as a whole. Namely, do bodybuilding fans want a safer more natural version of bodybuilding? It’s no secret that, while growing, natural leagues still fall behind the IFBB when it comes to mainstream attention. Fans seem to want a safer sport – but not want to sacrifice the mass monster size that has come with PEDs.

The Anabolic Doc thinks that this hypocritical separation comes from a base need in our DNA. Ever since the earliest times of history – humans have been entertained by violent spectacle. The Roman gladiators are used by an example by the Anabolic Doc. Fans separate the men and women from the spectacle – and desperately want to believe that the drug use isn’t the main cause for health issues.

Of course, the Anabolic Doc had dedicated his life to anabolic research. So he knows that continued drug use on a scale seen in pro bodybuilding is definitely dangerous. Despite this, the bar has been set too high in terms of expectations for physiques. It can come at a cost for athletes – but so long as they are willing to take that risk, fans will be enamored with the results.

That being said, the Anabolic Doc also believes that the dislike for natural bodybuilding is overstated. He thinks that the online world has created a loud hateful minority that takes all the spotlight. Perhaps as natural bodybuilding leagues such as the INBA/PNBA continue to grow – we will see a shift in terms of health. But that shift will happen slowly. Perhaps the recent deaths in bodybuilding will be the first chapter in a long book of change.

You can watch the Anabolic Doc’s full comments on natural bodybuilding vs untested bodybuilding in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.