“You MUST Be On Steroids!!!”


You’ve been in the gym, working your glutes off for months or even years and you’ve built a physique that you’re damn proud of! Finally, you have chiseled six pack abs – the type that “ordinary” people want and envy (but don’t want to put in the work to achieve). You’ve gained muscle too! You’ve built big, round “caps” on your delts, you’ve put some nice slabs of muscle on your pecs, your legs are pillars of strength, your back is a chiseled mound of sinew, and your arms look great from every angle in a t-shirt. Best part: You did it naturally. You did it with hard training, disciplined nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. And then…. Some BUTTHEAD comes along and says, “YOU MUST BE ON STEROIDS!” How do you respond? I recently received and replied to that question and felt compelled to share the answer with everyone. I’ve withheld the name for privacy.


Dear Tom: Today I received a rather disturbing e-mail from an anonymous source accusing me of using illegal substances. It appeared to have originated from the discussion group but was constructed in such a clever way that the sender remains anonymous. I left the group instantly. I received quite a number of reactions privately asking me not to give in by leaving but I do not know how to cope with this.

I’m devastated by this. I can imagine however that one or two people may have accused you from doing the same. My question is, should you find the time to read and reply, how does one deal with this? Apart from the fact that it is plain hurtful, the person who sent this e-mail remains unknown. I find that very hard to deal with.

Yours truly,
[name withheld]


The world is full of critics and jealous people and the more successful you become the more they will come out of the woodwork to attack you (Because it’s easier to tear down someone else’s castle then to build one of your own, isn’t it!)… BECOME SUCCESSFUL ANYWAYS!

You DONT deal with these loser butt-heads, you ignore them and you deal with your own response to them. (Especially coming from some gutless anonymous jerk who doesn’t have the spine to identify himself and say it to your face).

If you allow someone else’s criticism bother you, let alone “devastate” you, then you have just allowed someone else’s opinion of you become more important than your opinion of yourself. No one can “hurt your feelings” without your permission.

You wrote, “I can imagine however that one or two people may have accused you of doing the same.” ONE OR TWO? Are you kidding me? I get accused of taking drugs all the time.

I say “Thank you!!! That’s the biggest compliment anyone could ever give to a natural bodybuilder.

You know what the best feeling (and the best “revenge”) is??…

The best feeling is NOT just “having” a great body… the best feeling is walking around with a body like Sylvester Stallone in ROCKY IV (or Monica Brant, if youre female), and knowing that you earned it with hard work and discipline and that you never touched a drug in your entire life.

The world is full of losers who want a short cut. They will never enjoy that feeling.


PS. Who gives a &#@! what other people think???

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Comments on “You MUST Be On Steroids!!!” Leave a Comment

February 9, 2006

Ken @ 12:27 pm #

I agree with what you said about how to handle criticism, and I think it also pertains to anybody or anything that comes between you and your goals.
“Between You and God”
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the end, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.
–Mother Teresa

Moe @ 12:38 pm #

Well said! Jealousy can make a person very ugly, and that can reflect on the outside as much as on the inside. It IS a compliment to the author of that email. I can only imagine how many professional fitness competitors are accused of using something to get an edge up over the average ” no willingness to dedicate time to working out” crowds…..screw ’em!

Konstantin @ 12:53 pm #

I agree with you Tom, I would most definitely take it as a compliment! (Although it has other intent). In reality these accusations come from the fact that you make it look EASY! And when these, and il quote direct here “loser butt-heads” try to achieve your physique and fail they rationalize to their own content that its not the lack of education, dedication and GUTS, its bcs you use drugs! Eureka they scream to themselves im normal he is just on drugs thats why he is the way he is. Love these people! They are the same ones who call their jobs “a grind” and obtain their biggest pleasure in life by getting out of work early and planting themselves in front of their TV. To you I say, don’t quit your group but rather make that accusation public! And let these “silly people” go on with their “silly lives” as you grow ( in every way ).
P.S Tom I tried your back routine from the previous post ( just no torture machine haha ) but still OMG !

Chuck @ 3:22 pm #

Well said all!!,
Many times over the past year or so people I haven’t seen in 4+ years see me and can’t believe how much weight I’ve gained (30 lbs ~ 4 years, Starting weight 143, Currently 173). It’s been a long, hard, dedicated road and I look and feel teriffic! Several of these einsteins think it must of happened overnight and ask the question, “Are you on steriods?” I tell you , I love it and just like Tom replied, I say “Thankyou so much, you don’t even know what a compliment that question was!!!”

jo-brit @ 3:57 pm #

Please don’t give this person more importance than they have earned – only you matter! YOU have sweated & cried, YOU have to look in your mirror & YOU have to lay down at night knowing you have done well today. Don’t even give your pity – please don’t let then win.

Brian Neitsch @ 3:59 pm #

Tom, Well youre right- you should never take the defensive side because that means they are talking about you. If youre a natural bodybuilder and they think you have taken pills to get the job done, then Tom your right on with what you said, what a great compliment. Just forgive them and don’t think twice about it.

Chris @ 4:41 pm #

I agree. I’m not to the point (yet!) where people mistakenly assume I’m on steriods, but my goal is to get there this year. I think it will be great, because *I’ll* know that I did it all with hard work and nutrition.
Still… I’m guilty of the same thing. Who here can say that they don’t at least *think* about it at the gym whem you see the “obvious juicers”? Bloated HGH guts, unnaturally huge racks of muscles? I mean… I’m a bodybuilder, but I don’t *want* to look *that* huge! Is part of it envy? Am I placating myself by dismissing them as steriod abusers? I don’t know.
I *do* know that I certainly would not let it bother me. It’s like the saying goes: “Honor – it’s the only thing that no one can give you and no one can take away.”

Justin Cataldo @ 5:48 pm #

Tom. I agree completely with what you’ve said. I stopped caring what other people thought a long time ago, as I realised that it was having a negative effect on my focus and therefore my training. Arnie put it nicely in the ‘Pumping Iron’ DVD, where he says that you have to be kind of cold to any negative energy coming in on you.

Liz @ 6:27 pm #

Yeah, I always say: never let other people live inside your head rent-free.
But, um, I’m not sure how the heck I’m ever going to earn boobs like Monica Brant through hard work and discipline.

Tiago @ 7:41 pm #

Well said Tom. You could’nt have said it any better about how easier it is to “tear down someone elses castle then to build one your own”. I truly admire how much hard work and discipline was required to build the natural body everyone desires. Keep up the great work, your truly inspiring.

Otto @ 8:22 pm #

This is an interesting subject. Over the past three years I’ve lost 53lbs. I’m still at a hefty 231 as of today(2/9/06). I’ve lost a lot of this just on the first chapter of the BFFM e-book 🙂 I’m certainly not where people would accuse me of taking steroids but I do get noticed. Everyday I repeat to myself “I am lean, strong, helthy and happy!” Those who really appreciate hard work accept that. So if anyone thinks I’m using drugs or for that matter the victim in this thread, hey let them think that. Your secret is hard work, you have earned it and so have all of us who have taken our health care under our control. Keep on!

Barbora @ 9:12 pm #

Smart coping strategy, Tom.
It needs lot of inner strength.
Yeah, be straight and continue doing what you do…excellent job.

February 10, 2006

Debbie Mumford @ 6:34 am #

Good advice 🙂 Tom! I try for the most part not to let peoples comments interfere with my feelings, but sometimes it is hard. I am currently living in Kenya, Africa, and well I do attract a lot of attention. At 60kg’s with 12% bodyfat and the only woman in the gym to train with weights “real weights”, I get accused of being on steroids, frequently. I had a man nearly trip over his shopping cart the other day whilst shopping. Women with muscles are just not the “in thing” here in Africa. I have been tempted to twist one or two of my “admirers” into a pretzel, but mostly I just smile and stare back till they look away. Hard work got me where I am and I am proud of what I have achieved.

Maureen @ 9:17 am #

Ah… strength of mind – the most important benefit we’ll ever achieve through these killer workouts that you’ve got us all hooked on Tom.
It’s not easy to be strong and say that other people’s opinions don’t matter. Since taking up bodybuilding/competing just one short year ago, I have had two highly respected trainers advise me to take banned substances in the quest for both burning fat and building muscle. My decision to stay clean was not an easy one. You can just imagine what was going through my mind when someone who has been in the business for years tell me that I’ll never be a serious contender on stage unless I do the “stuff” that the other competitors are doing. I just thank god that I had the strength to hold firm. These blogs have been a critical resource for that strength. As it turned out – when I got to competition, yes, some of the winning athletes did use but many didn’t. More importantly I now have the confidence and the knowlege that I can achieve my goals without using.
If someone were to ask me if I were on steroids, it would be an open invitation for me to begin my usual excited rant about how building a beautiful breathtaking physique is possible without drugs. All it takes is hard work and dedication. Thanks so much for being my winning role model Tom.

Tom Venuto @ 11:22 am #

It’s sad state of affairs when certain “highly respected trainers” prescribe drugs in the same breath and with the same nonchalance as they prescribe a workout or a diet program.
In fact, it’s no secret among the well-informed veterans of sport, who have been exposed to harsh reality, that many trainers and coaches are not only drug “supporters” and “drug advisors”, they are actually the “drug dealers” and “drug pushers” themselves.
There are certain athletic venues, IFBB pro bodybuilding being only one of them, where a natural athlete not only has the odds stacked against him or her, but the odds of even being competitive (or even becoming a pro in the first place), are infinitesmal.
That is not a reason to quit or give in to drugs. Train natural anyway. Compete natural anyway. Why? Because in bodybuilding, figure and fitness, there ARE 100% drug free champions who have gone to the highest levels in national competition where they have placed well or won. That is inspiring to other naturals.
There are also plenty of venues today for natural competition – even natural PRO organizations such as the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF).
Perhaps there are many solutions to making drug use the exception in physique sports, and not the rule, but I believe that maybe the best way is simply to train natural, compete natural, go out there, kick some ass and SHOW the world exactly what can be done drug free.
Attacking or criticizing drug users accomplishes nothing and brings us to the same level as the people who accuse natural bodybuilders of taking drugs. A war on drugs simply cannot be won and should not be waged.
Don’t worry about what others are doing or saying. Live and let live. Tend to your own garden. Worry about yourself. Build your own body. Then, don’t hide it under a bushel. SHOW everyone! Don’t just tell them, SHOW THEM THAT IT CAN BE DONE! Visible and vocal role models can inspire, influence, change minds and change lives.

Ileen @ 11:26 am #

That happens to me a few times as well. And like your posters question, i was really offended. My trainer told me that it was the highest compliment a natural builder could get..
Smile on! Hold your head up and BE PROUD!

Donna @ 9:14 pm #

Just wanted to say that this has been an interesting exchange and to thank ALL of the participants. (It’s past my bedtime now if I’m gonna get up early and work out tomorrow morning, but thanks everyone for keeping me inspired to keep on working towards my goals!)

February 24, 2006

charlie @ 1:33 am #

idiots come and go, right tom, just ignore them.

November 17, 2010

Alfredo @ 3:54 pm #

People just hate when someone progresses while they remain stagnant as a result of their own lazyness, lack of seriousnes, ignorance or lack of dedication and willingess to sacrifice. I’ve had a few people in my journey (at least 5) who have tried to ridicule my efforts. The funniest and dumbest comment I heard was a dude at work who said I “dissappointed” him because I drank protein shakes and took Animal Pak pills and other supplements such as multivitamins. I had to laugh at him.
Hey…fk those idiots and keep working hard! Let haters hate.

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