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Do Actors Use Steroids to Prepare for Movie Roles?

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Do Actors Use Steroids to Prepare for Movie Roles?

Whenever an actor gets jacked for a movie, many people immediately wonder: is he on steroids?

 

Cavill in Man of Steel, Hemsworth in Thor, Jackman in X-Men, Pitt in Troy, Bale in Batman, Butler in 300.

Whenever one of these types of physiques pops up on the silver screen, gals swoon, guys rush off to the gym, and the fitness industry has a field day.

Men’s Health invents workouts that the stars most definitely didn’t do, supplement companies start rumors that their products were responsible for such impressive gains, and wannabe gurus weigh in on how we too can get ripped like so-and-so.

But amazing Hollywood transformations also always beg the question: were these guys on steroids? Do we mere drug-free mortals have any chance at making similar gains?

Let’s find out, starting with the controversial subject of steroids itself.

Demystifying the Power of Steroids

People unfamiliar with the world of steroids think many different things about the drugs.

  • Some people think steroids guarantee superhuman levels of muscle growth, whereas others claim they don’t change much unless seriously abused.
  • Some people think that you can’t achieve anything special in the way of your physique without steroids, and others claim that with proper diet and training, you can achieve any type of physique you want.
  • Some say steroids are incredibly dangerous, and others say regular steroid use is safer than regular alcohol drinking.

Well, let’s take a cold, scientific look at steroid use to see what kind of effects they really have, and then we’ll talk about their potential use by actors.

So, how much muscle-building power do steroids really have? Well, a few scientific studies give us a good idea.

Researchers at Maastricht University conducted an extensive review of literature related to the use of anabolic steroids and found that the muscle gains in people engaging in resistance training while on anabolic steroids mostly ranged between 2-5 kg (4.5-11 pounds) over the short term (less than 10 weeks). The largest amount of muscle growth researchers found was 7 kg (15.5 pounds) over 6 weeks of weightlifting while on steroids.

Now, a newbie (male) not on drugs following a good weightlifting program (including proper dieting) can expect to gain about 20-30 pounds of muscle in his first year of lifting if he does everything right. As we can see, mediocre steroid gains delivers this, and proper steroid use can nearly double those numbers.

Another study that lends insight to the power of steroids was a case study conducted with an elite bodybuilder. Researchers followed him for a year, and he used steroids for all but 4 weeks of the 12-month period. In that year, he gained about 15 pounds of muscle, which is quite dramatic considering his level of training experience and conditioning.

For comparison’s sake, I’ve never taken steroids and I’ve gained about 9 pounds of muscle in my last two years of lifting 5 days per week, without any breaks outside of planned rest weeks. And I was playing catch-up with my legs, which I had neglected for many years.

A study conducted by researchers at McLean Hospital is also worth reviewing. Before we get into it, however, I want to define fat-free mass, which is everything in your body that doesn’t contain fat, such as muscle, bone, and water; and fat-free mass index (FFMI), which is a measurement of how muscular you are, and it’s calculated by dividing your fat-free body mass in kilograms by your height in meters squared.

Now, the above study involved the analysis of the physiques of 157 male athletes, including elite natural bodybuilders and strongmen. About half of the men had used steroids (with two-thirds of them having used steroids in the past year), and half had never used steroids.

What researchers found is that the average steroid user had an FFMI of about 25, whereas the average non-user was around 22. The most muscular steroid-enhanced physique clocked in around 32, and the best drug-free physique around 25.

To put those numbers into perspective, check out the following picture of me in some really obnoxious neon shorts. I’m 6’2, have never done steroids, and I weigh about 183 here with about 6.5% body fat, putting my FFMI at 22.

Now, if I wanted to increase my FFMI to 25, the average level seen in steroid users and pinnacle of natural weightlifters, that would mean adding over 15 pounds of muscle to my frame. If I wanted to increase it to 30, the top of the steroid pack in the above study, that would require getting up to 240 pounds at this body fat percentage.

So, now that you have a better idea of what steroids make possible and in what time frame, let’s get to the real subject of this article: actors and steroid use.

Actors and Steroid Use

The first thing that has probably already jumped out at you is the speed with which certain actors have gained muscle and lost fat for movie roles.

We’ll often hear outrageous numbers like gaining 20+ pounds of muscle in a few months while staying lean, or even reducing body fat.

Well, you now know that such gains just aren’t possible without steroid use. If you’re brand new to lifting and drug-free and can gain .5 lbs of muscle per week, you’re doing superb. You MIGHT be able to gain around 1 lb per week for your first couple of months if you make really good newbie gains. If you’ve been weightlifting regularly for several years, you’ll be lucky to gain more than 3-5 pounds of muscle in a year of consistent, intense training.

So the simple answer is that yes, many actors use steroids to prepare for movies. 

Did the guys I named earlier do this? I don’t know. But I don’t know why they wouldn’t have.

Think about it for a second. Most actors aren’t dedicated weightlifters that stay in great shape year-round, and they have some pretty strong incentives to use steroids to prepare for a role:

  • A multi-million dollar payday.
  • Fame, which will bring more multi-million dollar paydays.
  • A tight schedule to get big and lean.
  • Access to the best doctors to ensure nothing goes wrong in terms of possible side effects.

The only disincentive would be a personal distaste for drug use and moral qualms about the illegality of steroids. And Hollywood actors aren’t exactly known for their clean living habits and lawfulness.

The prevalence of steroid use among actors preparing for movies is also glaringly obvious when we look at how they trained and ate. 

We’ll often hear that so-and-so worked out for 2+ hours per day, 7 days per week, and then did conditioning work on top of that. Sometimes they worked out for 4-7 hours per day, which would crush even the most well-conditioned natural athlete, yet they did great. And diets? Thousands of calories per day with huge amounts of protein, yet somehow they stayed lean.

You simply can’t do these things without steroids. If a drug-free guy were to try such an approach, all that would happen is he would wind up overtrained and fat.

Now, I didn’t write this article to call out anyone in particular or hate on Hollywood actors or people that do steroids. While I’ve chosen to be drug-free and recommend people do the same, I don’t get personally offended by people that use steroids. They can do what they want with their bodies. And I especially understand why Hollywood actors would do it.

The reason I wrote this article is so you can better evaluate some of the more impressive Hollywood transformations, and not make the mistake of following the same training and dietary protocols. If you want to get a better idea of what type of transformation is actually possible without drug use, read my article on how much muscle you can build naturally.

 

What are your thoughts on actors and steroid use? Agree with me? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

How to get lean and build serious muscle and strength, faster than you ever thought possible…

Depending on how you eat, train, and rest, building muscle and losing fat can be incredibly easy or incredibly hard. Unfortunately, most people make many different mistakes that leave them stuck in a rut.

And that’s why I wrote Bigger Leaner Stronger for men, and Thinner Leaner Stronger for women: they lay out EVERYTHING you need to know about diet and training to build muscle and lose fat effectively…

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I’m Mike Matthews and I’ve been training for nearly a decade now. I believe that every person can achieve the body of his or her dreams, and I work hard to give everyone that chance by providing workable, proven advice grounded in science, not a desire to sell phony magazines, workout products, or supplements. More about me.

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130 Comments
  • Eddy Paradis

    Mike..I agree with you totally…I personally think maintaining at ANY percentage of body fat under 10 at your height and weight is almost a full time job! So, even tho you look crazy good, you sacrifice! And very few guys could do it, what with a full time job and wife and kids! You obviously have a lot of ME time, and for guys that don’t, they see steroids as a “door” to that look, without so much ME time needed! Little do they realize, steroids aren’t “magic”…wrong steroids for the wrong body type, poor diet and insufficient hydration practices, I could go on and on, all lead to failure and disappointment(s)!! STAY CLEAN, EAT LEAN!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Eddy!

      Honestly staying under 10% isn’t too hard when you know what you’re doing.

      I lift weights 5x per week for about 45-60 minutes, and I do 25 minutes of HIIT cardio 2-3x per week. I’m very flexible with my dieting.

      Just something to think with!

      • Chris McAuliffe

        How flexible is your diet? I know you love pancakes but how about a beer now and then?

        • Michael Matthews

          I eat the same foods every day during the week and usually play with my foods a little on the weekends (mainly to just allow for a larger meal or two without exploding my macros).

          I’m not into alcohol at all but there’s nothing wrong with having a couple beers per week. You might like this article of mine:

          https://www.muscleforlife.com /does-alcohol-consumption-affect-weight-loss-and-muscle-growth/

          • Chris McAuliffe

            Thanks I will check it out. Beer is my Achilles heel. I am a home beer brewer and I love all different kinds. That being said for some reason your book kind of jogged with me as you say a few beers are ok but when you really look at the calories that add up when your in a cut and counting calories it can blow your whole diet out of the water.

            They are empty calories too completely devoid of any nutritional value and the alcohol disrupts fat burning and protein synthesis and all that bad stuff. Still I got have two or three a week!

          • Michael Matthews

            Haha I understand. Yeah there are the calories in beer and the effects of alcohol as well.

            BUT…if you use the dietary strategy outlined in the article, you should be able to have a couple beers per week without issue.

          • Jon

            From what i know beer is probably the worst alcholic drink known to man. If you do some research you will find out that beer is full of estrogen which creates the beer belly and also lowers you testosterone levels because the more the estrogen the lower the t. I would find another drink if i was u and if u r serious into weight training and general health. Go for red wine. Google estrogen and beer mate

          • Chris McAuliffe

            Wow I just read a few sites that say the estrogen is from the hop plant that is used to bitter beer. One site basically said the german beer purity law was enacted because protestants and puritans protested the use of gruit and other bittering herbs used in beer because they carried stimulating affects.

            It was noted young girls who handled the hops from the fields had menstrual cycles early because of the contact with the estrogen laden hops.

            I always heard beer could lower testosterone but had read recently that there were studies that say this affect was greatly exaggerated however due to my taste for beer which is actually for hoppy pale ales I am not taking chances. I had already severely reduced my alcohol intake anyway but I will only have a beer sparingly now! Unless I brew some without hops! Thanks for the information.

          • Michael Matthews

            Interesting–I’ve never heard of that. Plant estrogens CAN affect the body though.

            Regular drinking can definitely negative affect T levels, among other things. Good call on cutting back. :)

          • Michael Matthews

            Interesting! I’ll have to check out the estrogen issue.

          • Les

            Yeah beer is the worst thing you can drink for muscles

      • ev

        with the right genetics it may not be that hard. Its like me saying having 18 inch arms is not that hard since they have been that size oe bigger since i was 17 years old but getting to 10 percent body fat is very hard for me cause i think at best i have been between 10-12 percent never lower.

        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah I understand. I was never below 12% for the first 6-7 years of lifting simply because I didn’t know what I was doing.

          Now I’m never above 10%…

      • Michael C

        But it essentially IS your full-time job. :)

        • Michael Matthews

          Writing and running my businesses are. Working out is not.

  • Mike Lutz

    I agree with everything you said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with steroid use if someone decides to use it. As a collegiate athlete I feel using steroids in sports is wrong. It gives you an unfair advantage and it is against the rules. I have not used steroids and I won’t as long as I’m still playing football. I have thought about it, we have constant pressure to be bigger, faster, better. As for actors, body builders, average Joe, and so on I see nothing wrong with it as long as you don’t mislead others about it. It’s up to to you if you want to take a short cut.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Mike! I agree that people can do what they want with their bodies. I just choose to be drug-free and recommend it to others.

      I agree that the prevalence of steroids in sports is unfortunate, but probably necessary in many ways. Pro athletes absolutely pound their bodies and I highly doubt they could even recover from such strenuous lifestyles without drugs.

      I also agree that it’s the deception that is the problem. It leads to unrealistic expectations.

      • Jon

        Hey,

        Steroids is a very wide term. Depends what you mean by steroids and what dosages. There are steroids oral ones that are very harmful for ur liver. Actors either have built the muscle at some point in their lives and then muscle memory takes over or others like the rock in pain and gain definitely use steroid cycles like testosterone!

        Whats the difference between the rock and the average joe though? That the rock has multiple tests and doctors to monitor him every single step of the way. The average joe though does a testosterone cycle without knowing shit, without monitoring blood presure, hematocrit, hemoglobin and doesnt do a post cycle therapy.

        Result is that the rock will go off the steroids and worse scenario just loose some muscle. The average joe though will shut down his body and will probably create permanent endocrine damage maybe even forever.

        Steroids get a bad name because people abuse them and many unfortunately die. If u do some research u will realize that total testosterone are dropping dramaticly as years as passing and men are looking more and more like woman. Why? We are surrounded by xeno estrogens in our food, water, gromming products etc. testosterone replacement therapy is climbing like crazy.

        I dont agree in abusing steroids BUT i agree in TRT because if a man doesnt have adequate t levels and low estrogen levels, very simply he wont be a man. Normal levels of t are necessary for your psychological and physical health. Its what will give u drive everyday to go out and conquer.
        Sorry for the long msg, i have been studying hormones for a while now and im going crazy :D

        • Michael Matthews

          By steroids I simply mean anabolic steroids, whether injectables or orals.

          Yeah TR is on drugs but as you said, has access to the best doctors in the world. That said, certain drugs are just VERY hard on the body, regardless of proper dosing.

          Raising T is just the beginning of steroids.

          Yes, TRT is great for those that need it.

          Thanks for the comment!

          • willy Ericsson

            Just eat a lot to get big, gee whiz…A 300lb person will easily throw a 200lb person in the garbage can upside down! Bahahaa.

  • Graeme Fryer

    Mike, another great article, but your maths is a little off. To get a FFMI of 22 for your stats, the maths must be “lean mass in kg divided by height squared in m” (kind of like a lean BMI). As written, your FFMI would be 44 …… Still love the honesty of the article though. Keep then comming. Cheers, Graeme

    • Michael Matthews

      Woops, good catch! I did the calculations correctly (just used an online calculator) but wrote it incorrectly, haha.

      Thanks on the article though!

      • jonathan

        your welcome!!!!

        • Michael Matthews

          :)

      • Joe

        I checked two different online FFMI calculators and given your input numbers you were correct at 22 FFMI.

      • Joe

        I just figured out where Jonathan got 44 from. As written in your article he was right. You needed to clarify in the calculation that it is not “calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared.”, but more specifically, fat-free body mass in kg) x (height in meters)-2. The difference being FAT FREE BODY MASS in kg, not just your weight in KG. That should clear things up I hope.

        • Michael Matthews

          Thanks Joe I fixed the typo!

          • Joe

            You’re welcome Mike. Great blog.

          • Michael Matthews

            Thanks! :) Glad you like it.

  • Mariusz Swigon

    im agree with you, steroid is lie , hard work is a key , im steroid free

    • Michael Matthews

      Great, keep up the good work!

  • jonathan patterson

    no I know for a fact they don’t !!!

  • Bill

    Mike,
    This was a very interesting article. I agree 100% about Men’s Health and Fitness websites posting absolutely ridiculous workouts that definitely do not make any sense, all the while plowing you with supplement ads.

    I do not believe that everyone on your list of actors did steroids, just from how they looked in the movies.
    Cavill had to train for 6 months to get ready for his role, and he was in about the same shape as you, except around an 8% body fat. The suit just made him look bigger. (You may have played the role better!)
    Hemsworth I can believe did steroids as he was a thin rugby player before Thor, and as we all saw he was a fucking monster for that role, huge veins and all.
    Jackman…well that’s easy…have you seen that meme with him and a buddy titled “X-men don’t let other X-men skip leg day”? If he had done steroids I really believe he would have had at least something happen to his legs. IMO I think he’s just a topheavy dude.
    Pitt has been in a lot of physically demanding roles since his beginning, so he easily could have done steroids in any of them.
    After seeing Bale play a role where he was 135 pounds…I can believe he did steroids for Batman.
    Butler I think worked his ass off for his role, and with the help of a litttle bit of CGI and computer work, he was given godly abs and a generally tough physique.
    Those are my opinions of these guys, not that I am a defender of their reputation, however I don’t want people to get the wrong idea or label these guys in a bad light when some of them truly do look down upon PED.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Bill! I’m glad you liked it.

      I honestly don’t know if the guys mentioned in the article were on drugs. I was just using them as examples as the Hollywood physiques that wow people.

      That said, I know that Cavill’s and Butler’s workout schedules were absolutely insane. I doubt I or any natural weightlifter could do them for any period of time without overtraining.

      But again I have no issues with actors using steroids. If I were in their positions (3-5 months to gain a huge amount of muscle, millions of dollars and the launch of my career on the line), I probably would do the same.

  • Nathan

    A well thought out and written article. I had always wondered how certain actors managed to achieve these results, still like to believe that not all of them take the steroid route and just put in the hard work and eat well.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Nathan! I appreciate it.

      I doubt it’s RAMPANT but the more impressive Hollywood transformations definitely involved drugs…

    • Conrad Murray

      Many many Actors in Hollywood use steroids… And I would say RAMPANT would be the right description.They are mostly on it, and it is written into their contracts. Nicholas Cage turned down ‘The Wrestler’ which was written for him, because many roles come with training routines, which the actors have to stick to, attached. Rhis particular role had cycles in it!

      • Michael Matthews

        I could see that. i guess I don’t have enough inside info to know it’s rampant or not, but very common in certain situations (need to get fit for a movie quickly) is a no brainer.

  • Mark Middleton

    Excellent article on a slightly controversial topic Mike! I personally have never used steroids as I have always been of the opinion that I’d be ‘cheating’ myself if I did. I must admit I have been tempted on occasion though just to see how my body would respond. However, I do know guys who use steroids and I do know how incredibly hard they still have to work in the gym and on their diets to achieve good results. Steroids definitely are not a magic potion you can just take and expect to suddenly perform miracles without putting the work in! As I said I’m still on the fence. As for actors using them to achieve a certain look, in my opinion I think they most certainly do. Infact I don’t see how they can’t be when you look at the facts you’ve just presented mike! Personally I don’t see the problem in it however as they are not harming anyone and it makes for a greater cinematic experience when the characters look so impressive. Who wants to watch a 145lb superman or batman anyway!! Athletes using steroids/PEDs however are a whole different matter as this is most definitely cheating and wrong!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Mark! I’m glad you liked the article.

      Yup steroids don’t automatically give you a great physique–you still need to know what you’re doing. I’ve known plenty of guys that were on drugs but that looked worse than the average natural weightlifter.

      Haha I agree with the celebs. I can’t fault them. There’s really no reason for them not to do it.

      With athletes, I think it’s unfortunate but depending on the sport, they may not have a choice. NFL players, for instance…

  • Jenny Leadem

    Umm Hemsworth doesn’t need roids, he’s the god of Thunder duh. Plus he’s Kirk’s dad from Star trek.

    • Michael Matthews

      :)

  • Joe

    Great article, Mike! As far as muscle growth, you say that guys who have been lifting for years can expect 3-5lbs of muscle growth per year. What about those of us who have been lifting for years but have had minimal gains due to either a poor training program or insufficient nutrition/calories? Would the 3-5lbs a year apply to us as well?

    • Joe

      Mike, I just read your “How much muscle can you build naturally?” article and that answered my question. Thanks.

      • Michael Matthews

        Thanks Joe! I’m glad you liked it. I’ve seen guys that had been lifting and eating correctly for several years make year 1 gains when they start doing it right.

  • Gilberto Gil

    Hey Mike, definitely food for thought especially with the rise in body dysmorphia among men. As you mention, it is apersonal choice and the stakes are higher in Hollywood. And yes, it is even more dangerous both psychologically and physically if these gains are positioned as the natural or realistic for the average man. Kudos to you on a great article that contributes a much needed perspective these days.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Gilberto! I totally agree that it’s the deception that is the unfortunate part.

  • Eric

    Great article, Mike!!!

    One question: What are the motives that you don’t go on drugs? Is it more related to health in general, or because once you use it, it’s difficult to workout with the same intensity without them?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Eric! Good question. Few reasons:

      1. I prefer to not do illegal things.

      2. I’m generally an anti-drug person. I don’t drink, have never done street drugs, etc. I don’t hold such things against others, but that’s my personal choice.

      3. Although the scientific evidence I’ve seen shows that proper steroid use is unlikely to cause any serious health issues, the psychological addiction is very real. Many guys find it REALLY hard to come off once they start simply because they get used to feeling like a god.

      4. I like being able to honestly claim I’m natural. I don’t like people that mislead others into following their advice or aspiring to their physiques by falsely claiming natty. These fraduers are doing a big disservice to the people that place their trust in them.

  • big d

    with the salary that these guys would make in my opinion i dont see why they wouldnt be using growth hormone…almost no side effects, larger and more permanent gains

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, GH use is very common as well.

      • bobs robs

        ignorance by tiny d. (btw any guy with the name big d has a small d lol).
        GH affects the size of your internal organs, and longterm health effects haven’t been studied yet.
        ever heard of GH gut? GH plus insulin is very dangerous and can be attributed to a lot of meatheads having heart attacks as it increases organ size as I said.
        could also possibly lead to tumors…who knows yet.

  • Steve

    Interesting article.

    I’m not interested in using steroids personally, but was just curious if you got to the size you wanted with steroids – can you maintain that mass through hard training without steroids thereafter?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Steve!

      It depends how big you get using the drugs. If you go beyond the limits of natural muscle growth, then you’ll probably shrink back to something more natural looking.

      • Steve

        Oh thanks. It’d make an interesting study.

        It’s funny, my friend’s boyfriend’s brother takes steroids and doesn’t train or go to the gym! I can’t fathom that one – unless his only aim is to shrink his testicles…

        Having said that, I’ve lived with people that take protein shakes and don’t train. It’s always those that eat plenty of meat too.

        It’s a strange world!

        • Michael Matthews

          I bet there are studies out there, I just haven’t seen them.

          Lol that’s quite interesting. You should ask him if you get a chance.

          At least a high-protein diet has general health benefits…

          • bobs robs

            you don’t know the answer to this? yea that’s suspect bro.
            anyways they’ve done studies and anabolics without training still adds muscle mass to your frame…
            to answer his question or w/e it is.

  • Sérgio

    Terrific this article. Congratulations. You really have to doubt something. How these feeble-minded actors get such a shredded body ?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Sergio! Remember they also have access to great nutritionists and trainers, so they just have to eat, lift, and inject when they’re told, haha.

      • Sérgio

        Sorry, but I didn’t understand the final expression you used : ” when they’re told”. It means like : “when something is said them to do ?”. Right ?.

        2013/7/20 Disqus

        • Michael Matthews

          Ah sorry yeah, exactly.

  • Greg – Kinobody

    Great article! I really enjoyed at the end how you pointed out that if these actors are training 2+ hours per day, 7 days per week and consuming 5000+ calories, they would end up overtrained and fat without the use of steroids. Very, very valid point and it makes you wonder about people like Henry Cavill, Hugh Jackman, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans. Given that these guys physiques are still achievable without the use of steroids, I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! Yup, that’s pretty much the bottom line. Those guys’ physiques are DEFINITELY achievable naturally, but it takes longer without the drugs, that’s all.

      • bobs robs

        lol no they’re DEFINITELY NOT. not unless you spend YEARS AND YEARS at it. there are virtual limits to how big you can get while staying lean.
        hemsworth’s look is not attainable really as he is quite tall. neither is jackman’s really.
        cavil’s is certainly attainable if you’re a high performance, top of the line athlete, which most aren’t obviously.
        and of course most athletes juice nowadays anyways.

        it’s like 10x easier to lose muscle than it is to gain it.

  • Paul Higham

    Spot on.
    Incredible how many clients come up to me and say,
    “I want to look like Hugh Jackman, Gerard Butler etc.”
    “Absolutely, 5 year fitness package ok with you?”
    “I thought he did it in 6 months?”

    What have the majority of these actors have in common?
    Age. Not one of them under 30.
    Cavill – 30, Hemsworth – 30, Bale – 39, Jackman – 44, Butler – 43, Pitt -49

    I’d be very suprised if every single one of them didn’t have a few years training already under their belt.
    Majority of the time, actors just cut down body fat % to appear bigger on screen.

    The fact is, if they aren’t on steroids… they have put the graft in over the years.

    Would be interesting to see them in the flesh, however.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup, agreed on all points.

  • Pingback: Yes, [famous body] is probably getting chemical help | Squatting Fixes Everything

  • TXTbone

    Lookin beast my friend

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks :)

  • charlie

    very interesting read ive always found it hard to believe that actors can change they’re physique so drastically in such short periods of time, though having said that there must be at least a few who are all natural which is pretty impressive.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Charlie! Yeah some are surely natty and just maintain a good physique year-round, and thus are able to get into “movie shape” within a few months…

  • Lucidz

    Jackman spoke to using his time on les mis to do heavy compounds and bulk, fyi. He said “the man was an ox” and that he wore that huge coat for the whole movie, and as I recall, immediately following les mis, he went on a huge cut.

    Not to say he didn’t use roids, but he was prepping for that movie in advance. Also, Hugh looks good in wolverine, but I read multiple places that to give him that appearance he was dehydrating the crap out of himself (almost fainted) before they shot to give him that dry, ripped appearance. Seems unnecessary if he was just juicing to the gills.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah he’s a beast. Works hard as hell, drugs or no drugs. And diuretics are necessary to get that prepped, paper-thin-skin look.

      • bobs robs

        pot calling the kettle black?
        as I already said you have all the signs of a guy who literally DOES USE “diuretics”.
        btw I don’t even consider diuretics as “drugs” per say. they’re not performance enhancing. in fact they’re debilitating as hell to use.

    • bobs robs

      jackman is full of sh*t. he’s on the wrong side of 40. he clearly took some form of T to even be able to maintain that insane kind of training.
      but based on what I saw of him in the movie, disregarding special effects, he def. took anabolics.
      he was INSANELY veiny.

      • lucidz

        People who are in very very good shape have an easier time of getting back in very good shape than people who have been in awful shape for a long time. Jackman never goes more than a year without getting ripped up for something. And what I mean by the fact that he’s using diuretics to look like that is this: Jackman is not ripped up by body builder (read, juiced up) standards, at all. People who are doing massive cycles of clen, tren, dbol, etc, they can look like him without having to get to the “bout to pass out stage”. Look at someone like lazar angelov. That dude looks like that year round. You want vascular, look up Kali Muscle. Plenty of guys are huge and shredded and aren’t compromising their daily lives to do it, other than 10+ daily injections…

        Point is, jackman is NOT that big for his height, and he clearly stays in decent shape year round, if not shredded like that. Sp being 40 plus has little to nothing to do with it.

        You can look that way over 40, quite easily. Take a look at Dave Goodin. A natural body builder in his 50s. Far more jacked than Hugh.

        • Seeker

          Yeah right, Dave Goodin is the man to look up to -_-

        • Michael Matthews

          Haha great comment. Thanks for sharing.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah my guess was light anabolics, heavy lifting, and diuretics.

  • Gautam

    Great article Mike. Very genuine.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thank you!

  • Pingback: RTR033 – Golden Ratio Bodybuilding & Steroids In Hollywood with Mike Matthews | NoGym.net

  • William Stryker

    I’m sure all those guys took steroids. I got nothing against it. Besides Stallone, all the other actors you mentioned (and didn’t mention) are just moderate users who only juice for movie roles. That’s called dedication. If you want the part, you better look the part! Besides, I doubt they ABUSE steroids, with the exception of Stallone..maybe…

    • Michael Matthews

      Haha yeah I agree on all points.

  • bobs robs

    first off, while you may not use “steroids” aka anabolics, I’d bet dollars to donuts you use OTHER things to maintain that cut look. YOU may not see, say insulin or diuretics, as “drugs”, but I was a personal trainer not too long ago, and unless you’re not taking in ANY water at all, or OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVELY work out 6 days a week, eat ONLY chicken and veggies everyday, and have insane genetics, yea….you are DEF. on something.
    anytime I hear a guy on a site say “drug free” I laugh a little inside. lol yea sure, you and everyother asshole on youtube who says that to keep a good reputation and get sponsors or w/e.
    I’d be less surprised if you had said – I don’t use MUSCLE BUILDING drugs like others do, but I’ve dabbled in other, perhaps less “seedy”, enhancement drugs to maintain and look as cut as I can.
    Is it impossible to get your look? lol no. But you’re also neither 6-2 OR 183 in that picture either. Maybe 5-10 and 183, or say, 6-0 and 190, but no, you’re not my height (6-1.5) weighing what I weigh LITERALLY right now (183 on the dot) and looking like that.
    Anyway bodybuilding is what they say in Fight Club, it’s masturbation for those with a short man’s complex. Healthy and looking like a model or 2 different things. I’d rather be endowed, as I am, in other way, and generally have decent health and be able to play sports, then slave away 5 days a week as I used to, and have to constantly maintain weight.
    But hey, your shortcomings are your fuel I guess, and my source of laughter, no offense. Someone has to do it I guess, but with all due respect, I got out of working at gyms b/c it’s such a pathetic, vain, OCD way to live….

    • Michael Matthews

      I’ve never taken and will never take a single drug for my physique or fitness.

      Not insulin (why would I be using insulin without anabolics??), not clen, not anabolics…nothing.

      I do know where you’re coming from though. Everyone claims natty and many of these people are so clearly not.

      Lol my stats were exactly as I state. That’s what being lean will do for you, and my weight has always been strangely low. Hollow bones maybe? ;)

      And FYI I work out about 6 hours per week, with 2 of them being cardio. I also eat foods I like:

      https://www.muscleforlife.com /what-is-if-it-fits-your-macros-and-does-it-work/

      Not as hard to stay lean and muscular as you might think.

      • bobs robs

        bro. cut the crap. you don’t “eat what you want”. I’m not even going to bother reading that article b/c I took enough nutrition to know that unless you’re doing NON STOP cardio, in order to add and MAINTAIN lean muscle mass, you have to take in a very low fat low sugar diet combined with vitamins and nutrients found in vegetables, which also helps in metabolism and digestion of said proteins.
        I’m not being “jealous” (not that you implied that b/c that would be just beyond ridiculous anyways) nor am I talking out of my ass…you are neither 6-2 in that photo NOR 183. I can tell by your bone structure and the manner in which your biceps form that you’re not 6-2, b/c you have for the most part lean mass. no one who is 6-2 with mostly lean muscle mass has a bicep that looks like one that belongs to a 5-9 guys.
        to me personally you look about 5-11 AT MOST, and probably around 190sh in that picture. did I say you took anabols? no I didn’t. I said that I’d bet dollars to donuts you take diuretics or do some sort of shady weight cutting technique to get that kind of look. plenty of amateur weightlifters do it, they use plenty of supplements that are illegal to get that “hard” look, which is actually extremely unhealthy.
        btw, at first you said you worked out 5 days a week, now you say 6. which is it buddy?
        and lol at you trying to convince someone who did this for a living for 3-4 years that “getting a cut look is easier than I think”.
        No ACTUALLY it’s HARDER than you’re spouting. For anyone reading this, please don’t believe that bullsh*t. It takes INSANE genetics, along with MONTHS TO YEARS of a strict diet and 5-6 days a week of circuit training without injury to get that kind of look.
        the problem with people like you kiddo is that you offer this advice that has clearly worked for only YOU, but you fail to realize the average schlubs on the street aren’t going to be able to duplicate this b/c you live an obsessive compulsive lifestyle that most normal people either don’t care for, don’t have the patience for, or simply aren’t insecure enough to commit to.
        you’ll have to do maintenance on your body every day of your life to maintain that “perfect look” you think you have. but unless you’re an athlete or training to climb mt. Everest, why even bother?

        • lucidz

          Dude. You do not know what you’re talking about at all. Trusting a personal trainer for anything is hillarious. FFMI crap? Yes lets discount literally the ONLY research ever done to try and come up with an applicable formula to determine reasonable genetic limits for musculature.

          You’re dissing someone for having variance in their workout program for working out 5-6 days a week?

          Hey genius, you run different programs. Strength programs differ greatly from hypertrophy programs which differ amongst themselves, and whether you’re cutting or bulking makes a difference. Push Pull Legs split can be done 3 days on, 3 days off, which gives you 5 days one week, 6 the next. Just as an example.

          As for putting effort in, every single day, sure. It takes that kind of effort. But its not nearly as much as people who like to make excuses make it out to be. After a few months of counting calories, and writing it down, you realize how much of the same sh** you eat, and you do the math in your head.

          I can’t talk to ANYONE about fitness because people are so filled with bad ideas, bad science, bro science, and non sense that it consumes them.

          And just because someone “is in the fitness industry” doesn’t mean ANYTHING.

          The moron at the supplement store said he gained 40 lbs of solid lean muscle in 3 months thanks to his workout. I didn’t even know where to begin with that dude, so I just thanked him and left.

          • Michael Matthews

            Well said.

        • Michael Matthews

          Lol this is now just a waste of my time. Believe what you want, move along.

      • bobs robs

        also should mention – seems like the point of you writing this ridiculous article is to simply brag about your supposed lean body mass.
        of course actors take roids. the reason I’m just as unlikely to believe you as I am to believe, say, terry crews, is that I’ve not only worked in gyms (being there for HOURS ON END) but talked to and seen roid users, and you can tell the non users apart from the users. terry crews, who is almost undoubtedly on gear, SWEARS he’s clean too, just as you do.
        someone not on roids or ANY weightcutting drugs AT ALL will still have some subcutaneous fat to their muscle that is clearly visible. as you add muscle to your frame, you also add fat. that is undisputable. you can’t shake it, you can’t ignore it. the more food you eat to gain mass, the more fat you gain, and not everyone adds muscle the same way either. NATURAL MUSCLE doesn’t look “perfect” either. so either you have insane genetics and an obsessive almost unhealthy routine that leaves little else to do on your schedule and comes from a place of deep insecurity, or you’re on something. but hey if you’re not man, kudos I guess.
        personally, no offense guy, but you have the look of a guy who goes on 2 day waterless binges AT THE VERY LEAST to get the look you have. which is insanely dangerous and unhealthy.

  • Poe

    Hi, i am Poe, currently 17. i have gained about 5~6kg in 6months, while mainteining my BF at 8%, using the great advises you gave and worked out smartly in gym, i felt GREAT. THANKS MAN ! In the meantime, a senior of my school, gained like 12kg in 5months and even dropped 2%BF, eating1000+kcal surplus per day , he claimed to be clean, but i doubt it. Is it natrually possible that he have incredible gene, or he’s on some kind of pro-hormone or steroids?
    I’ve long made up my mind to be a natrual, otherwise i would defeat the initial purpose i have for bodybuilding: being healthy, fit, SEXY. LoL. And please tell me that he is gonna suffer from those drugs he took, can’t stand his cockiness….. Also i wondered why juicers like Arnold, The Rock, Stallone are still looking OK, instead of having racked health,and even reached the age of 65 without major health issues?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Michael Matthews

      Wow great job Poe! That’s awesome!

      Uhh that’s drugs, 100%. Gaining that much muscle that quickly AND losing body fat is just…never going to happen naturally.

      Steroids and your health is a whole other subject, but the harder drugs definitely have serious side effects and long-term health implications.

      Keep up the good work!

  • Eric

    I jumped on the web after I saw a reporter talk about cavil and hemsworth “bulking up” for their roles. Gave some numbers about 16 to 18 pounds of muscle in 5 or 6 months and used the old “3 to 4 hour work outs, 7 days a week” with 5-6000 calories worth of protien shakes a day” with hemsworth giving a smile and a chuckle.
    NOW, even though I dont have a problem with these guys or any other bodybuilder, To me its like the difference between a natural race car and the same car with NOS. its just whatever your ok with. But I think its BS. that they go with the natural claim.
    Now, I personally believe Jackman could be natural. maybe a little testostorone for the cut at his age, BUT! not the mass and bulk hemsworth, and cavil put on! and you can throw marky mark in with that last bunch too.
    At 37, With 20+years natural working out, and pretty good genetics I have a pretty good Idea of what is and is not possible in “5-7″ months. I have seen guys over the years I felt so bad for they would bust their ass, do everything right, years would go by might get a lot stronger but no physical change, over YEARS! Then you see a little guy come in, scrawny, pack on 20- 30 lbs in a year, I talk to them, most will fess up to cycling something.

    • Michael Matthews

      Honestly do they even claim natty? I doubt it. They don’t care.

      I agree that it gives people unrealistic expectations, which sucks.

  • Teenager

    As a teenager (18) who started lifting with seriously unrealistic expectations due to to “natural” secess story on the internett, I despise roids. Young teenagers are trying out roids to get the bodies thye see on the silver screen and online. Expecting way too much. It isn’t healthy and they can be very dangerous done wrong (which these teenagers likly will). Great article though.

    • Michael Matthews

      I totally agree.

  • Luke

    Great article. Yea I think the tell tale signs are the 7 days a week training at 2-3 hours and 5-6k calorie intakes. Feed that kinda training into any nattys life and watch their bodies fall apart regardless of age. I think there’s plenty of movie magic as well on top of the AAS cycles. I encountered Tom Hardy during the time he was shooting “Warrior” for which he in many scenes looks rather large. But in person at the same time he was honestly moderately lean 10-12% or so but honestly not nearly as large as he looked in Warrior. I think he’s another prime example because look at him 2004 (Layer Cake) to early 2008 (RocknRolla) and then late 2008 in Bronson he’s lookin pretty big although not particularly lean. Also the most damning evidence would be the pictures of his obvious fail cycle for the dark knight rises. Dude was blessed with some slightly above average genetics (traps especially) but I believe the most recent statistic was like 5.8% of people (I think the sample group was “active americans”) used steroids at some point and I have to believe him amongst many of his warrior/tdkr co-stars are on it.

    Off topic and I mean no offense by this and I know everyone leans out a little different and all but your 6.5% pic looks a lot like my 8.5-10% range. Just curious because I’ll albeit I’m a slightly more vascular than average guy but at sub 7% I start showing some veins in quads and lower parts of hamstrings and well as more striation just about everywhere. I mean my shoulders start showing striations cold no pump around 12%. Just curious as to what makes for such a drastic difference because at 5′ 6″ and 6.8% (leanest I ever fought to get) at 179.2 lbs I looked notably different.

    P.S.- Great articles on this site. I reference it to many younger uninformed guys around my gym as a great place to start especially the aesthetic leaning guys. Keep up the great work.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Luke!

      Lol exactly on the training and yes, post-production works wonders too.

      A lot of actors use other drugs so why not steroids? Might as well, especially when millions of dollars are on the line.

      Good question on my lack of vascularity. It’s odd. I start to lose all vascularity around 9-10% (arms, shoulder). I’ve seen a quad vein ONCE, around the time of the picture.

      That said, I highly doubt you have full ab veins at 9-10%? If so, that’s crazy…

  • Henry

    Hey man, would you be willing to present your chest and your ab work out regimen?

  • J.J

    Good insights.
    The sad matter of fact is that most likely half of all guys who LOOK like they probably would have needed to been lifting well for 3+ years have actually done one or two steroid cycles and continue along with their crappy training habits.

    The same goes for actors bulking up. Though there I’d dare to venture that it’s more like 80% of them who use some type of anabolic aid to bulk up.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks man. Honestly most guys on drugs look like garbage. They don’t know how to cycle, train, or eat correctly and wind up looking like big bloated meatballs.

  • Ben

    Breast implants may be unsafe as well. But steroid use can be quite an attention getter. Before and after results fueled by Popeye fantasies.

    • Michael Matthews

      Hah yup

  • James O’Toole

    I agree. The human body can only create so much muscle in so much time. These hollywood celebs make crazy claims. It’s kind of irresponsible though as so many people will go chasing after the workout routine and diets. Good article well done!

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup. It’s pretty simple. Thanks.

  • sheldon

    After seeing the new Captain America movie I was talking about it with my wife there is no way Chris Evans doesn’t juice his lats are huge and the amount of mass he put on in just a few years is impossible. I respect the work it takes. Once I build my base up for maybe another year I’m probably going to try a few cycles to see what I can achieve

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah I’m sure he does as he doesn’t maintain that look year round–he just blows up for roles like that.

      • Seth Dunn

        You think Chris Evans was on roids for Capt America 2? I don’t know about that….I would think if he were, he would have been more chiseled….and we never see him shirtless, the closest we see is him in a “wife-beater” tank. And he doesn’t look all that big, his physique looks attainable. I personally am 6’1″ and ~180 lbs right now, and still have abs…..trying to get more mass now….but I think I could achieve his build.

        • Michael Matthews

          Yeah, I would think so. Steroids commonly used for gaining size don’t make you look leaner. In fact they make you look puffier.

          His look is achievable naturally but it’s definitely up there around the top of the genetic potential for his frame.

          • Seth Dunn

            Hmm….Ok, I guess you could be right on that one. But I know for me, he and I are similar in stats….I mean he prolly looks a bit “thicker/fuller” than I do, but I have hopes of getting to around 185 – 190, without the use of those things….makes me wonder if it is achievable at my age.

          • Michael Matthews

            Yeah I have a similar build as well. He may have been a little bigger than me in CA2 but I’m leaner, so if I were the same body fat percentage, I would look very similar.

            It’s doable.

          • Seth Dunn

            Good to know, I guess I will keep plugging away then. Putting on muscle is so FREAKING HARD for someone like me. Gotta love the game I guess.

          • Michael Matthews

            Yeah it takes time even when you’re doing everything right…

  • CommonSense

    They definitely definitely definitely use steroids. Christian Bale went from 120 pounds (The Machinist) to 220 pounds (Batman Begins) in 6 months. 6 months! I don’t care how much ‘muscle memory’ you have that just ain’t happening! Another thing is that a specific training plan and diet plan that a hollywood actor actually used has never ever leaked online. I find that to be very strange considering the age we live in now of the press and social media etc. It’s like a secret is being guarded and we’re not allowed in on it! Also, people who look up to these actors will form unrealistic goals and it could affect things like self-esteem/body image and so on!

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah… Haha.

  • Josh

    Did nikki Minaj take steroids for her ass? There was some serious gains there

    • Michael Matthews

      Heheh

  • Guest

    Well that’s it. I’m a Brit and the use of steroids in this country is heavily heavily frowned upon but now I’m like fuck it why not?! All high paid actors use steroids as evidenced by the ridiculously short time in which they get ripped for roles. Dan Stevens went from skinny Downton Abbey actor to this in the upcoming film ‘The Guest’ in less than a year. It’s not naturally possible to make this jump! He left Downton Abbey as a skinny rat in late 2012 and started filming ‘The Guest’ in summer 2013. This is just absurd.

    • Michael Matthews

      Lol steroids just aren’t necessary. His progress is a bit much for 6 months but that could be done naturally in a year or so.

  • omnimoeish

    Who said testosterone is illegal? Sure there are laws that regulate the distribution of it to those with a prescription from a doctor, just like you would need a prescription for viagra, but it’s certainly not illegal. I think people hear about athletes like Sammy Sosa getting busted for it, but that’s their league’s rule. So if you’re not a professional athlete, and you get a doctor to write a script on it, it’s completely legal and above board.

    So yes, if I’m Chris Evans prepping for Captain America, I’d have no problem getting a doctor to write me a script for it and properly dose and monitor my T levels to maintain safety and achieve maximal performance.

    • Michael Matthews

      T is only the beginning my friend…

  • bird

    what about GENETICS?? they limit u not everyone gets the body of their dreams they need to do like 3 hours a day n eat like a rabbit while someone else runs to catch the bus n eats junk n stays lean, i mean a lot of reason people get away with lazy sloppy diet training is GENETICS…im one of them!

    • Michael Matthews

      Yeah, genetics do play a role.

  • nm

    that pic is of you without steroids?? you lying pos

  • mbrink12

    I always am skeptical of actors that bulk up insanely large. For example, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in Pain and Gain. Look at the before Pain and Gain at Wrestlemania 28. Very lean compared to his gorilla sized looking self in Pain and Gain. He’s also had two major injuries the last two times he’s wrestled. Wouldnt that be a side effect of steroids too?

    Picture since it wouldnt upload: http://aaccuratequote.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/the-rock-before-and-after-pain-and-gain-144.jpg

    • Michael Matthews

      OFC DJ is on drugs. He never claims natty though.

      Steroids can precipitate injuries because your muscles out-pace your tendons and ligaments. You’re able to move a LOT more weigh than they can handle.

  • spyros

    Another great read Mike keep up the enlightening reads

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks!

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