Do Bodybuilders Have A Body Odor Problem? Are Steroids To Blame?

The competitive bodybuilding world often consists of large muscular men in small gym spaces pushing themselves to limit. So it should come as no surprise that the smell might not be so great. But is this just a natural extension of training harder than the average person? Or are there other bodybuilding specific elements that raise body odor levels for bodybuilders? In our latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, Victor Martinez discusses how steroids and other PEDs affect body odor in bodybuilders.

Competitive bodybuilders are large, heavy, and often sweating when they workout in the gym. This combination can make for some heavy body odor. But beyond a hard training session in the gym – do bodybuilders typically smell worse than the average person? While we can’t make a blanket statement to cover every individual bodybuilder – Victor Martinez does admit that bodybuilding athletes often carry a unique stink to them.

Yes, the heavier weight and the intense workouts often contribute to this. But it’s more than just a sweaty gym session. Victor Martinez points out various elements key to bodybuilding that contribute to stink. This includes diet, hygiene, and drugs.

It may come as a surprise to many, but the drugs we consume can have an affect on the odor we emit. Victor Martinez believes that steroids do contribute to body odor for bodybuilders. He bases this off of his personal experience in the bodybuilding world – and also his experience working at a mental health ward around patients often taking a variety of medications. He states that he would notice the drugs affecting the patients’ smell.

Does this mean that a steroid using bodybuilder will always stink? No, not necessarily. But Victor Martinez spends this week’s episode pointing out key aspects that can cause bodybuilders to stink – and how athletes need to take extra care to fight against the smell for everyone who has to stand around them. Let’s jump into it.

Disclaimer: Generation Iron team are not medical professionals and are not advising for or against the use of any performance enhancing drugs, rather stating the facts surrounding these substances.


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Can steroids make bodybuilders smell bad?

While Victor Martinez is not a doctor or medical professional, he draws upon his decades of experience as a bodybuilder to proclaim that, yes, steroids can stink up body odor. Medical experts have commented that certain drugs can increase body odor. This is most typically found in drugs like opiates and antidepressants.

Victor Martinez believes that steroids are also a drug that cause individuals to sweat more and make that sweat smell rancid. Martinez believes that this is due to the way it alters your hormones. Just like when you go through puberty and start having more body odor – steroids jack up your testosterone, throw your hormones out of wack, and increase unpleasant smells.

Add on top of this that bodybuilders are using steroids and then working out intensely – this creates a hurricane of body odor that is hard to miss.

Hygiene is still a big factor for body odor in bodybuilding

While steroids do contribute to body odor – it’s a manageable issue for most. That is, of course, if the bodybuilder or athlete follow proper hygiene. Most clean bodybuilders already know the struggle of working out in hardcore gyms. There is always a small percentage of individuals who won’t wipe down their machine after use.

Odds are, those are the same people who don’t keep themselves as clean. Victor Martinez shares a story of a bodybuilder he knew who would wear the same dirty shirt to the gym every day, five days a week. He has also known of bodybuilders who don’t shower immediately after a workout.

Combine this with the potential for worse smelling body odor due to steroid use and you have stinky gyms and stinky athletes.

You are what you eat

Victor Martinez also brings up one final key component in bodybuilding body odor – the food in their diet. Bodybuilders need to eat a lot of food to bulk up and build muscle. While many eat clean, others will bulk dirty only focusing on packing on as many pounds to convert into muscle.

Even the clean eaters might partake into certain foods that are known to alter the smell of your body odor. Martinez even jokes that some bodybuilders have “special foods” that they ritualistically believe are the secret to their physiques. Sometimes those foods are ones that add to smelly body odor.

What we put in our bodies directly impacts everything about our existence. It affects our health, our energy, our muscle, and yes – it can affect the way we smell. Victor Martinez warns to take a hard look in the mirror and decide if your diet is contributing to some heavy body odor.

Wrap Up

Ultimately, Victor Martinez admits that every individual is different in terms of body odor. Outside of bodybuilding, we have all known that one person who just smells a little bit worse than others. Sometimes it’s not hygiene or diet. Sometimes it’s just bad genetics.

However, Martinez stresses the importance of improving hygiene as a bodybuilder. Steroids and possibly other drugs contribute to smellier sweat in addition to dietary contributions and a heavy workout. So it is more important for bodybuilders to pay extra attention to staying clean every single day.

You can watch Victor Martinez and the GI crew talk in more detail about steroids, bodybuilding, and body odor in our latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast above. Don’t forget to check back every Tuesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

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.