Natural bodybuilding stands for muscle building in the most original sense: steroids and other doping substances are officially taboo. The muscles should grow through a balanced diet and well-structured training. We show what exactly is behind it.
Natural bodybuilding emerged as a countermovement to conventional bodybuilding. The focus is still on building muscles, but this should only take place in a natural way. Of course, this means that performance-enhancing substances such as anabolic steroids are completely avoided.
Anabolic steroids are artificial derivatives of the male sex hormone testosterone, which is largely responsible for muscle growth.
Bodybuilding is to be understood as a lifestyle. Sport therefore takes a holistic approach based on four pillars:
- Positive thinking
Natural bodybuilders are not just interested in exercising to build muscle, perform, or look good. Of course there are many athletes who take part in competitions and pursue optical goals accordingly. But in the sense of the guiding principles, the core goal of natural bodybuilding is to challenge and promote yourself physically and mentally in order to improve the general quality of life and health in the long term.
What is the difference between natural and conventional bodybuilding?
No matter how intensely you train and how strictly you pay attention to your diet, there are limits to natural muscle growth. Genetic predisposition alone causes athletes to stagnate with their performance at some point. But not everyone wants to accept that.
According to estimates by the Association for Natural Bodybuilding, around 200,000 strength athletes in Germany alone occasionally use chemical substances that are supposed to artificially promote their muscle growth. This practice is accepted in the conventional bodybuilding scene.
Doping agents such as anabolic steroids, growth hormones, dehydrating agents or stimulants (e.g. cocaine) increase performance and release already existing reserves – at least for a short time.
All of these preparations mean drastic long-term interventions in the organism and sometimes have severe side effects. Anabolic steroids alone increase the risk of cancer, heart attacks, liver damage and mental illness.
Supporters of natural bodybuilding therefore consciously differentiate themselves from doping. They want to show that building muscle can also work without chemicals. Performance-enhancing substances, such as those used in conventional bodybuilding, are prohibited.
Only food supplements that are on the so-called list of doping-free sports nutrition are permitted. They are associated with a minimized doping risk and are therefore also permissible for top athletes who compete.
Natural bodybuilding diet
Regardless of whether you are a runner or bodybuilder, nutrition accounts for 70 percent of training success. It is therefore also the foundation of natural bodybuilding. Those who are committed to sport pay special attention to the following three factors:
Excess calories in the build-up phase
In the muscle building phase, an increased calorie intake is essential for bodybuilders. After all, muscles need energy to grow. As a rule, athletes are advised to have an excess of 30 to 35 calories per kilogram of body weight. A calorie deficit, on the other hand, would be fatal. The body needs energy for all vital processes. If it does not get it through food, it falls back on existing reserves – among other things, the muscles have to believe in it. One possible consequence: muscle loss.
Carbohydrates are therefore a must, especially after training – for example in the form of oatmeal, whole grain products or legumes.
Sufficient protein to build muscle
Proteins are the building material for new muscle cells. Athletes should eat 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight if they want to build muscle. High-quality sources of protein are eggs, quark, cottage cheese, poultry, salmon, mackerel, but also vegetable alternatives such as beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, broccoli and soy products.
With increased protein intake, it is important to drink enough – at least two liters spread over the day. Since excess protein is excreted through the kidneys, the body needs enough fluids.
If you have little time and still want to supply your body with energy and protein quickly, you are on the safe side with a protein shake. Put protein powder with water or (plant) milk in the mixer, done. Our whey protein vanilla is on the Cologne list and is therefore ideal for strength athletes who want their muscles to be as good as possible – without steroids! – want to support.
A varied and balanced diet
Proteins and carbohydrates alone don’t make muscles strong. The body also needs fat as well as minerals and trace elements to stay in balance. For example with nuts, avocado and fish as well as local fruit and plenty of vegetables. A varied and balanced diet is therefore crucial on the way to becoming a natural bodybuilder – and generally for every athlete.
The distribution of macronutrients can be based on the ratio 40-40-20. That means: 40 percent of the daily diet should consist of carbohydrates, 40 percent of protein and 20 percent of fat.
How do natural bodybuilders train?
Everyone who wants to shape their body needs a well-structured training plan. Building muscle without training is impossible. However, it is not important to lift weights as intensively as possible. A lot doesn’t necessarily help a lot.
Common mistakes in natural bodybuilding are exercising too hard, i.e. with too high weights or repetitions, and too often. Even too short recovery phases between training units can slow down muscle growth.
Natural bodybuilders at an advanced level usually work with 3 or 4 split training plans. A different muscle group is trained in each training session, so that the rest of them have time to regenerate. In this way, athletes can go to the gym more often and make faster progress without overloading their muscles and risking a drop in performance.
How healthy is Natural Bodybuilding?
Natural bodybuilding is a holistic approach. The focus should not only be on appearance and performance, but also on the health, fitness and general well-being of the athletes.
The Association of Natural Bodybuilders emphasizes the importance of the four cornerstones of their lifestyle: a balanced, varied diet with sufficient carbohydrates and proteins, optimally structured training with enough regeneration phases and a positive attitude. In terms of a healthy lifestyle, it is also recommended that you avoid alcohol, nicotine, caffeine or other luxury foods.
There are strict controls in place to ensure that bodybuilders are free of doping substances when competing. In addition to urine samples, some of the participants have to undergo lie detector tests. This is to guarantee that all natural bodybuilders actually adhere to the goals and guidelines for which the sport officially stands. Anyone who violates this or refuses to take a test must expect to be banned from competitions, sometimes for several years. After all, the image of natural bodybuilding should remain “clean”.
Apart from the risk of injury that every sport brings with it, natural bodybuilding is basically not harmful to your health. How each individual athlete ultimately interprets the lifestyle for himself is of course completely individual.
Summary: Natural Bodybuilding?
- Natural bodybuilding is a countermovement to conventional bodybuilding and stands for natural muscle building without performance-enhancing substances.
- Doping drugs like anabolic steroids increase the risk of cancer, heart attacks, liver damage and mental illness.
- Natural bodybuilding is a holistic approach that includes the areas of nutrition, fitness, regeneration and health.
- In natural bodybuilding, the focus is on muscle building – through a balanced diet rich in protein and carbohydrates, muscle building training with enough regeneration phases.
- In order to meet the requirements of natural bodybuilding, there are strict controls at competitions – only supplements that are on the “Cologne List” are allowed.