3x Mr. Natural Olympia Brandon Lirio really doesn’t want natural bodybuilders to compete in untested leagues

In the world of competitive bodybuilding there are two major kind of leagues. First there are untested leagues, where drugs are not condoned but also not tested. Then you have natural bodybuilding leagues – which go through rigorous testing protocols to ensure no PEDs are being used by competitors. There is no rule that disallows a natural bodybuilder from competing in an untested league – though many believe it is impossible to win on the uneven playing field. You can count former natural Olympia champion Brandon Lirio among those people. In our latest episode of the U-Natty States Of America podcast, Brandon Lirio explains why it is a waste of time to compete in an untested league as a natural bodybuilder.

So you want to be a pro competitive bodybuilder but you don’t want to risk using illegal steroids or other potentially dangerous PEDs. You think to yourself, how many people could really be using these drugs in the pro leagues? I’m sure I can hold myself and win some big shows if I put in enough effort. There has to be plenty of natural pro bodybuilders competing… right?

It’s no secret that many competitive bodybuilders use steroids in untested bodybuilding leagues. It’s such an open secret, in fact, that many previous Mr. Olympia champions and even current athletes will openly discuss their steroid use.

However, this is not to condemn those athletes nor take away from what they accomplish. While steroid use may be common in competitive bodybuilding – the hard work, laser focused dieting, a strong mental state, and great genetics all out-weigh steroid use. Essentially, you can’t start taking steroids and easily look like Ronnie Coleman or Dorian Yates.

So this begs the question, is it possible for an all-natural bodybuilder to out-work other competitors who use steroids? Can a natural bodybuilder be Mr. Olympia?

According to 3x Mr. Natural Olympia and our podcast host, Brandon Lirio, no it’s not possible. And it’s also a waste of your time and energy. In fact, it’s wasting away the passion you have for something as fantastic as bodybuilding. Sound pessimistic? Let’s break down Lirio’s comments.

Why Brandon Lirio believes that natural bodybuilders should never compete in untested leagues

Brandon Lirio often trains aspiring natural bodybuilders who have their eyes set on the biggest league in the sport – the NPC and IFBB Pro leagues. This makes sense, it’s where the most attention is and where the most prize money gets handed out. However, Lirio always says the same thing to each of his clients – don’t do it.

For those who want to remain natural, it’s a personal choice. But it’s a choice that is not compatible with success in untested leagues. This isn’t meant to be a pro steroids nor an anti-steroids argument. What Brandon Lirio wants to make painfully clear is this – why would anyone want to play a sport with an unfair set of rules?

Lirio points out that competing in an untested competition as a natural bodybuilder is a guarantee that you will hit a wall that you never overcome. While it’s possible for natural bodybuilders to earn their pro card in the NPC league… it’s an entire different ballgame in the pros.

Even if you are someone who cares less about winning and more about pushing yourself to a new ideal physique – the continued losses will sting. And if an aspiring bodybuilder thinks they can possibly look like the biggest pros in untested leagues – Brandon Lirio has some painful news for them. Compare any of the top natural bodybuilders today to a champion in an untested league. The natural bodybuilder looks more like an amateur standing next to the untested pro.

Brandon Lirio doesn’t want this to be discouraging. In fact, he thinks this hard truth is essential to help foster the passion of bodybuilding in aspiring natural athletes. If a natural bodybuilder competes in an untested league – they are setting themselves up for a world stacked against them. That’s an oppressive way to enjoy your passion.

While the prize money may be far less in natural leagues – a natural athlete actually has a chance to win them. $1000 is more than zero no matter how you slice it.

At the end of the day Brandon Lirio lays it out plain and simple:

If you really want to win – you need to know how to play on the same field of the league you are competing in. It’s not just a battle with yourself to improve. You are facing other athletes and if they are using methods you don’t allow yourself to lose – you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. It’s simply not smart.

Wrap Up

Brandon Lirio goes into far more detail about untested vs tested bodybuilding leagues – and his reasons for not recommended naturals compete in untested shows. You can watch his full breakdown in our latest episode of U-Natty States Of America above. Make sure to check in every Wednesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

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.