What does bodybuilding mean to you

Natural Bodybuilding: How Does Natural Muscle Building Work?

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.

What is natural bodybuilding?

Natural bodybuilding emerged as a countermovement to conventional bodybuilding. The Muscle building in focus, 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.

According to the ‘German Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation e.V.’ (GNFB), bodybuilding is to be understood as a lifestyle. Sport therefore follows a holistic approach based on four pillars:

  1. training
  2. nutrition
  3. recreation
  4. 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 principle of the GNFB, 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, that 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 GNFB, 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 substances such as anabolic steroids, growth hormones, diuretics, or stimulants (e.g. cocaine) act performance enhancing and release existing reserves - at least in the short term.

All of these preparations mean drastic long-term interventions in the organism and sometimes bring about strong effects Side effects with himself. Anabolic steroids alone increase the risk of cancer, heart attacks, liver damage and mental illness. (1)

Supporters of natural bodybuilding therefore deliberately differentiate themselves from doping. They want to show that building muscle can also work without chemistry. Performance-enhancing substances, such as those used in conventional bodybuilding, are prohibited.

Only food supplements that are based on the so-called "Cologne list of doping-free sports nutrition ” stand. They are associated with a minimized doping risk and are therefore also permissible for top athletes who compete.

What Diet In Natural Bodybuilding?

Regardless of whether you are a runner or a bodybuilder, nutrition does 70 percent of the training success out. It is therefore that too Foundation in natural bodybuilding. Anyone who has committed themselves to sport should pay particular attention to the following three factors:

1) Excess calories in the build-up phase

In the “mass phase”, i.e. in the muscle building phase, an increased calorie intake is essential for bodybuilders. After all, muscles need energy to grow. Usually athletes will be one Surplus of 30 to 35 calories per kilogram of body weight recommended. A calorie deficit, on the other hand, would be fatal. The body needs energy for all vital processes. If he does not get it through food, he 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.

2) Sufficient protein to build muscle

Proteins are the building material for new muscle cells. 1.5 to2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight athletes should eat daily 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 quickly supply your body with energy and protein, you are with one Protein shake on the safe side. Put the 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.

3) A varied and balanced diet

Proteins and carbohydrates alone don't make muscles strong. The body needs next to it fat as Minerals and trace elementsto 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 your daily diet should consist of carbohydrates, 40 percent of protein and 20 percent of fat.

How do natural bodybuilders train?

Anyone 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 the rest of the time is spent regeneration to have. In this way, athletes can go to the gym more often and make faster progress without overloading their muscles and risking a decline in performance.

To promote recovery, athletes should get enough sleep and generally reduce stress. Our Recovery Aminos are also a good addition (also on the Cologne list). They are high in essential amino acids that will give your muscles back energy after a workout.

Example of a 4-part split training plan


Body regionSample exercises
1 | upper bodychest


Back shoulders

Bench press, chest press, butterfly, lat pulldown, rowing, pullovers, lateral raises
2 | upper bodyShoulders in front


Military press, front raises, lateral raises, rows, hammer curl, French press, dips, biceps curl
3 | upper bodymove



Lat pulldown, rowing, chin pulling, dips, crunch, leg raise
4 | legsThigh



Leg extensions, squats, leg presses, lunges, calf raises


How Healthy is Natural Bodybuilding?

Natural bodybuilding is understood as holistic approach. The focus should not only be on appearance and performance, but in particular 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 stimulants.

To make sure that the bodybuilders are free of doping substances in competitions, there are strict controls. In addition to urine samples, some of the participants have to undergo polygraph tests. In this way it should be guaranteed that everyone Natural bodybuilder 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 "stay 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.


  • 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 building muscle - through a balanced, protein and carbohydrate-rich diet, 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.



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  • (1) German Sport University Cologne. Available at: https://www.dshs-koeln.de/institut-fuer-biochemie/doping-substanzen/nebenhaben-von-dopingmittel/nebenhaben-von-anabolika/, last accessed on: May 13th, 2020.