Victor and the GI team break down the natural status of The Rock, Zack Efron, Jeff Seid, Simeon Panda, and more.
The natty or not debate has been discussed for as long as bodybuilding culture hit the mainstream. But with the recent revelations of Liver King’s steroid scandal, many bodybuilder and celebrity names have resurfaced questioning their natural status. That’s why for this week’s Generation Iron Podcast episode we decided to play a fun game guessing if a physique is natural or enhanced with steroids. Victor Martinez and the GI crew look over a list of names alongside physique photos for both celebrities and pro bodybuilders. Who is natty and who’s not? Let’s try to find out!
Before jumping into a breakdown of some of the natty or not highlights – we want to make it clear that these statements are all speculation. Unless a specific person undergoes rigorous and consistent drug tests, it’s impossible to truly prove who is using steroids. Victor Martinez is a pro bodybuilder who has used steroids throughout his career – and has known many pro bodybuilders who also use it. With that in mind, he uses his past experiences and gut instincts to evaluate the photos and give his best guess.
The comments made in this video are not accusations or value judgements on the individuals mentioned. Instead, it’s an entertaining way to explore the complicated reality of steroid use in not just bodybuilding but all pro sports and even in cultures beyond athleticism. Let’s jump into it.
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Natty or Not Celebrities: The Rock, Zack Efron, and Hugh Jackman
The 1980s was a massive time for bodybuilding physiques in action cinema. This was largely due to the rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger alongside many other action stars who became known for their incredible mass monster physiques. Today, we don’t have that same level of mass monster size – but the super hero era of action films has produced many new stars with sculpted physiques.
Most notable as of late are Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Zac Efron, and Hugh Jackman. All three have been in the news recently for their powerful physiques. The Rock recently starred in Black Adam, Hugh Jackman is returning to his role as Wolverine, and Efron has significantly bulked up his physique for an upcoming wrestling movie role.
In all three cases, the actors have denied use of steroids in the past. Hugh Jackman most recently claimed that his physique was accomplished “the old fashioned way” – and that he would not risk his health even for his deep passion of acting. But do the physiques tell a different story?
Victor Martinez believes in all three cases, these actors must have used steroids at some point. The harsh deadlines and significant altered transformations these actors go through for a role are near impossible to accomplish naturally. Zack Efron, in particular, has gotten so massive so fast that it seems unlikely he wasn’t aided with PEDs.
The GI team all agree – and while there is no proving it – there is no obvious signs or evidence that would indicate a clear signal natural means accomplished these super-hero physiques.
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Are the most popular natural athletes actually using steroids?
Beyond the celebrity mentions, Victor Martinez and the GI crew also look at a wide variety of bodybuilder physiques from different divisions. In most cases, these athletes have claimed to be all-natural. Are there any holes in their claims?
The most notable names brought up are Jeff Seid, Chef Rush, and the extremely young bodybuilder Tristyn Lee – who built up quite a reputation due to his shredded body during his teenage years.
This is where things get a bit more dicey. Victor Martinez believes that the general public are far too quick to claim an athlete is enhanced. For Jeff Seid, Martinez is split 50/50. When discussing smaller sized divisions – you do not have the 300 lb mass monster size to make things so obvious. Seid very well could be using steroids but it’s also believable that he’s obtained his physique naturally.
Same can be said for Chef Rush, the team becomes split here on this call. Victor Martinez thinks that with his military background, his dedication to 1,000 pushups a day, and blessed genetics – that his massive arms can be all natural. Ehsan disagrees – thinking that the massive size is just too unrealistic for an all natural individual.
When it comes to the teenage bodybuilder phenom Tristyn Lee, things get more heated. Half of the team believe that he is so young that it’s possible he is natural. That very same logic is used by Victor Martinez and Ehsan as proof that he must be using some form of PEDs. They just don’t believe a kid that young can get that shredded.
This brings up the topic of steroid use in teenagers. Vlad is surprised to learn how allegedly common it is today vs previous decades. Ehsan and Victor explain that the media and also the internet has completely changed the perceptions of steroid use for teens. Access is easier via the web and social media. Victor himself admits that many teenagers have asked about if it’s smart for them to start steroids young. It may not be an epidemic – but it’s a reality in today’s world.
The goal of the natty or not game is just that – an entertaining way to talk about some of the most notable physiques in bodybuilding and beyond. The speculation around an individual’s natural status can never yield actual truths. Though in some cases, such as Liver King, the constant denial of steroid use can lead to some dark secrets being leaked.
If nothing leaks and no proof can be procured for a person’s entire lifetime – then there is no fundamental truth behind the speculation of PED use and abuse. But it is a game we all play – and one that helps both bust and prove certain myths about these powerful substances.
You can watch the full episode of the Generation Iron Podcast above. And don’t forget to check back every Tuesday for new episodes on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.