What Does Natural Really Mean?


February 13th, 2006. A Bodybuilding Secrets reader wrote: “Tom, could you tell me what supplements you take? I know from reading some of your articles and newsletters that you aren’t really big on supplements, but I remember reading somewhere that you said you believe in a few basic supplements but I don’t remember what they were. I also read something on Jon Benson’s website where he said you are the most “natural” bodybuilder he knows and that you don’t even take aspirin. Is this true?”…(more)

“To tell you the truth, Tom, I do not believe it is possible to obtain 3% bodyfat with as much muscle as you have without drugs or at least supplements. And also, don’t you think that the term “natural bodybuilding” has been abused quite a lot everywhere? No one who uses it on the net is really natural. As natural would mean one eats only what appears in nature and does not ingest man-made stuff from bottles. Right?”




You’re 100% correct – the definition for “natural,” as you pointed out, is vague and open to an individual’s interpretation.

If you take creatine, does that mean you are no longer natural? After all, you can’t get that much creatine out of your food in its natural form (unless you eat half a cow!) Again, it depends on what “natural” means to you.

To me, the definition of a “natural” in the context of bodybuilding means no illegal drugs, prescription drugs or any substances that are banned in competition.

I also use the term “natural” in a different context when describing my food. Natural food is food that has not been “messed with” by human hands. If it grew on a tree, off a plant or out of the ground – it’s natural. If it walked, flew or swam (and wasn’t pumped full of chemicals) – it’s natural.

As for supplements, I use only a multi vitamin and an oil blend of essential fatty acids (or fish oil, although I prefer to just eat the fish). I’ve used creatine in the past with some results. I also use some protein powder almost every day (mainly because it’s convenient and I think vanilla protein powder mixed in oatmeal with some cinnamon tastes good). I also use post workout drinks when I’m working on gaining muscle. That’s it. No other supplements… no drugs.

If you were to stay away from man-made drugs and man-made foods, that alone would take you a long way towards better health and a better body and you’d probably surprise yourself how far you could take your physique. Don’t underestimate what you can achieve naturally… why would you put limits on yourself like that?

If you don’t believe it’s possible to reach low single digit body fat without “fat burning” supplements or drugs, then you never will. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said in the book of the same title, “You’ll see it when you believe it.” Have you heard of “self-fulfilling prophecy?” How about the “placebo effect?” It’s a scientific fact that belief can change biology.

Even if you believe you can do it naturally, you’d better be willing to work for it. Sitting around visualizing, thinking positive and meditating on it won’t give you ripped abs or build one ounce of muscle.

Positive thinking + positive doing = results… not one or the other. With both, you can develop an amazing body 100% naturally, but it takes a lot of work!

Most people not only underestimate the amount of hard work and discipline it takes to reach extremes of low body fat and muscularity, they are downright kidding themselves at the amount of results they expect for the amount of work they put in… Then they complain that “It can’t be done without drugs.”

Most people have been so brainwashed by advertising for supplements and diet pills that they get frustrated and give up at the drop of a hat when they
don’t have six pack abs “almost overnight” like the ads promised.

Forget about drugs and forget about so called fat loss supplements. A great body doesn’t come in a pill – never did and never will. Stay natural (drug free), eat as natural as possible and work your butt off. Pay your dues. Pay your dues!!!

If you’re willing to pay the price in hard work and discipline – and if you have the right information such as
what I provide in Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle – then pick the body you want … pay the price… and take it, it’s yours.

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Comments on What Does Natural Really Mean? Leave a Comment

February 14, 2006

Justin Cataldo @ 6:07 pm #

Hi Tom,
After reading your Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle book I have change my eating and training habits. I’ve been going to a gym and have a personal training session once per week and have experienced amazing results with just 7 weeks training. I know I can get the lean body that I want to get without drugs or unhelpful supplementation. All it takes is disipline and hard work!
All the best!

Tiago @ 7:39 pm #

It’s great to read that you don’t take any prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs. If I was to tell someone that I had a headache and refuse to take Advil or some other drug because its not natural, they would think that I’m down right crazy. Some people that know me already know I’m already crazy. It’s a great relief to finally find somebody else that also refuses to take man made products. After reading this blog, I’m no longer going to hide from freinds my view on man made drugs and living a “natural” life. Even if they laugh at me or think I’m crazy. Thanks a whole lot Tom.

John Bartlett @ 8:38 pm #

Here’s an interesting fact about aspirin. It can adversely effect your fitness goals. Aspirin, and other pain killers, produce a state called analgesia (absence of the sense of pain without loss of consciousness) by acting on the Central Nervous System (CNS). These drugs are believed to block the secretion of luteinizing hormone (LH) which blocks the release of Testosterone (T). The better the drug is at relieving pain, the more it will reduce your natural T levels. So stay away from the pain killers if fitness is your goal.

February 15, 2006

Chris Whittle @ 2:37 pm #

I think it’s important to say that stopping your aspirin medication (which could have been recommended/prescribed by a doctor, but not necessarily) puts you at an increased risk of MI (heart attack) or stroke.
An average amount (the amount prescribed is usually 81mg/day) will not significantly decrease testosterone levels (and I personally question whether it will decrease testosterone levels at all – but that’s another matter for discussion and research).
Perhaps what is most important is that you don’t take it for the smallest most trivial pains you get, especially if there is a risk that it detriments your training.

February 16, 2006

Otto @ 1:14 am #

On the subject of naturalness 🙂 In the last three years I’ve managed to loose some fat, I no longer need blood pressure medication. I have not gotten really sick as I used to. Now it’s a cold for half a day and it’s over. Not taken any medicine for it either. I do have whey and creatine almost every day. My body fat is still high but reachin my goals is so much closer now. I can now actually taste the different fruits and can drink tea without sugar and enjoy it. I feel great, I’m strong, healthy and happy 🙂

February 19, 2006

Gerry Iacullo @ 4:15 am #

Now that you are in your mass gaining phase it would be informative to see your current nutrition plan, laid out meal by meal along with the amount of carbs, protein and fat you are currently taking in. You have been a great source of information and inspiration for me and for this I thanks you.
Best Regards,
Gerry Iacullo

Tiago @ 9:24 pm #

Hey Tom, since we’re on the topic of natural, what natural bodybuilding magazine would you recommend reading? Is there one that gives you just the truth on bodybuilding and the quality information as you do on your blogs?

February 26, 2006

Tom Venuto @ 10:28 pm #

Tiago, check out Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness magazine. It is the only mag dedicated to drug free training – I believe it is published quarterly and is put out by Chelo Publishing based out of New York city.

March 3, 2006

Allan @ 3:38 am #

Natural is the way to go ! work hard and strive on, u should get what u want !

May 28, 2006

joe @ 6:56 pm #

Im 18 and have been training hard for some time now, and there is a lot of steroid use going on throughout my gym.
Despite what my friends say (that i WILL end up on roids) i am determined to stay (drug free). All your information and comments have been very encouraging for me

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