Hollywood and PEDs

One of the most common ways that a man enters fitness is by wanting to look like a certain actor. Almost every boy has seen a comic book or watched a movie and thought "I want to look like Superman". 

    Whether you're part of the generation that grew up watching Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky movies, or if you just thought that Ryan Reynolds looked shredded in the Blade franchise, and wanted to show the girls at the beach the same type of physique. Hell, even if you enter any movie theater in the US with no background you'll eventually begin to see a pattern of actors in Hollywood being asked to make really big physical changes in terms of musculature in order to fit a certain role. Case in point, Mark Wahlberg allegedly gained some 20lb of LBM to play professional boxer Mickey Ward in "The Fighter". Chris Hemsworth was allegedly about 220lb at 6'2" and in the 10-12% bodyfat range while playing Thor, whereas his natural weight fluctuates around a smaller 180-185lb. I've heard from certain big-name trainers in Hollywood that while preparing to play Superman and man of steel, Henry Cavill actually worked up to a near 500 pound front squat to make sure he could walk the walk, not just talk the talk. 

    Evidently the muscles aren't fake, but we all ask ourselves sometimes; how does John Krasinski go from playing the goofy, lanky dope in a comedy sitcom to playing a Navy SEAL in a major motion picture? Now, anyone who's ever seen before and after Photoshop jobs knows that there's a lot more to the way that actors in Hollywood look than just what we see on the screen; however, it's really hard to to deny at this point that actors in major movies have gone from very skinny to very muscular and back very very fast. The extreme nature of the changes inevitably begs the question of PEDs in Hollywood. 

    There are not very many physiques in Hollywood which would to any reasonable person immediately draw the conclusion that steroids were NECESSARY to achieve it. In fact even our most buffed up action heroes usually fall with a Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI) that is fairly reasonable for a natural lifter with a lot of experience, but that's not where the secret is. The elephant in the room regarding the physiques of celebrities isn't how big or lean the male lead of the action movie gets: it's how fast.

    Major motion pictures are usually filmed in 12-16 weeks, and many A-list celebrities line up their production for the year end to end before taking a break. A solid, dense muscular physique, as any bodybuilder will tell you, can take years and years to develop naturally. This isn't to accuse this celebrity or that celebrity of using PEDs, but it's public information that Sly Stallone was stopped at the Australian border with several kits of HGH. When Christian Bale gained 30lb of mass to play Batman, there really isn’t anything unusual about that for a gifted natural. Especially a gifted natural bodybuilder whose entire career is to eat, breathe, and sleep that muscular character to convincingly play the caped crusader. However, what is unbelievable is that Bale had just 12 weeks to accomplish this feat, between hours of filming, reading lines, and doing takes. Sometimes crews film for 20 hours straight on set, which is a huge recovery burden, and limits time for training and planning meals. 

      However, there isn't anything about a 6'2" 220lb reasonably lean actor playing the action hero that screams NOT NATTY; however, the fact that he started at 180lb just 16 weeks prior to the film's debut is a lot more suspect. There have been dozens of news stories about female film stars abusing diuretics and ephedrine to look thin. Why would we assume that that's the only bodybuilding drug ever used in Hollywood and that men don't do it too? Yes maybe there is nothing about Jason Momoa's FFMI that suggests that he isn't just a gifted natural athlete, but when an actor builds, loses, and then regains that same physique before your milk expires; that's probably a sign of PED use, not to push the peak limit of physical ability like IFBB Pros do, but to speed up the process to above average. 

    There's only one thing sillier in the world of "fitness fame" than going on a steroid witch hunt, and it's assuming that people wouldn't do anything to get an edge when millions of dollars are at stake. Chances are, if your entire career depended on how you look; even if that isn't very impressive by bodybuilding standards, there's no doubt that you like so many actors including the myth, John Rambo himself, who most likely used growth hormone, fat burners, and other PEDs not to get huge, but to get from medium to big 10x as fast. 

    Next time you go see a movie in which the male hero is "jacked" by laypeople's standards, see if you can find what that same actor looked like 3 months ago. That's where drugs like HGH and clenbuterol really fall into place in Hollywood: speeding up the clock, not necessarily pushing the envelope.

Nick TrigiliComment