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Let me begin by saying I'm completely against steroids, as everybody should be.

I don't plan to get into fitness model shape, as I know it often involves extremely strict diets and starvation prior to competition. What I'm interested in learning is what level of muscle is possible to achieve (given the right genetics) without the use of steroids.

Guys like Scott Dorn claim to be completely natural bodybuilders. Is this even possible? If not, what level of muscle is one able to peak at without using steroids? I'm extremely interested in bodybuilding and would appreciate any advice as how to achieve muscle which is both aesthetic and functional.

I know many natural body builders, who appear to be stronger, in all reality are less capable of lifting than athletes. Is there a way to get the best of both worlds?

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There's plenty of valid reasons to be using steroids, the only situation in which it's objectionable is if it's banned in your sport, in which case it's the same as any kind of cheating. –  Robin Ashe Jul 17 '12 at 2:04
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@RobinAshe for medical purposes as prescribed by a doctor, yes. Otherwise, not really. Even the "natural steroids" have serious risks mayoclinic.com/health/natural-steroids/HQ00226. –  siouxfan45 Jul 17 '12 at 2:21
    
Those risks are often far outweighed by the benefits for athletes in contact sports - less susceptibility to injury and faster recovery from injury. Unfortunately it does nothing for brain damage, but it doesn't worsen that either. –  Robin Ashe Jul 17 '12 at 7:53
    
@Robin : Are you saying Steroids are good for the heart ? –  Geek Jul 17 '12 at 8:53
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No, I'm saying steroids are good for preventing and recovering from acute injuries. –  Robin Ashe Jul 17 '12 at 20:37
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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The question as asked seems to be "can I trust a bodybuilder based on their appearance?" I would have to say no - too many athletes have been caught in lies over the decades. This includes unknown amateurs who lied to researchers to get gym time, physicals, etc. It's a serious problem for sport science. That said, you might be pleasantly surprised at what you will accomplish when you try. Remember, you don't really know your genetic potential, or your innate talent for effort. Finally, don't worry about suddenly waking up looking like the Hulk - worry about waking up one day and suddenly realizing that you're 50 pounds overweight with a bad back. The latter seems to be what's happening to most people.

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Agreed, especially with not worrying about looking like the Hulk. Worst case scenario, you get too much muscle definition and you get to take a break and enjoy not working out for a few months while the muscle goes away :-) –  Moses Jul 17 '12 at 17:22
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It's really hard to disprove steroid use. Any muscular physique that can be attained without steroids can also be attained more quickly with the use of steroids. Only very, very muscular bodybuilding pros have naturally impossible physiques (Ron Coleman, Arnold Schwartzenegger level).

The guy you linked could be natural. I doubt he is, but he could be. If you want to stalk a particular person, you should track their rate of gains over time. That's the biggest clue.

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