Is Layne Norton on Steroids? We Investigated and found out


“No way he can be that jacked without some help, he’s definitely on steroids.” This is one of the most overused statements in online bodybuilding forums. For some reason, a lot of people do not believe that someone can pack on a good amount of muscle using good ol’ fashioned work ethic and a proper diet.

However, there should be a limit to how much muscle mass you can actually acquire naturally, right? While there are a lot of ‘haters’ who’ll spew negativity just for the sake of it, there are some actual hard workers out there who wonder why they’re unable to achieve the level of muscularity that some of their idols possess in spite of following their diet and workout plans.

One of the most talked-about natural bodybuilders is Layne Norton. Standing at 5’10 and weighing in at 215 pounds of pure lean muscle, he’s truly a sight to behold. However, he’s also a popular topic of debate among his fans and naysayers. Is Layne a natural bodybuilder as he claims to be? This article will try and determine whether Layne Norton is on steroids by seeing how he measures up against steroid users.

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Who is Layne Norton?

Dr. Layne Norton is one of the most popular as well as respected figures in the bodybuilding community. Notice that we referred to him as a doctor? It was no typo; the man holds a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science, which automatically makes his accomplishments as a bodybuilder even that more impressive.

His opinions on physique matters, therefore, are some of the most sought after, and is a regular columnist at, as well as a plethora of other fitness websites and magazines. Layne is also the owner of PHAT Workout.

Whether it is due to his extensive knowledge of bodybuilding and nutritional sciences or pure work ethic, one thing’s for sure, Layne has one of the most impressive ‘natural’ physiques in the bodybuilding world.

We have used commas around the word ‘natural’ since most people do not actually believe that Layne builds his physique without some help (steroids). These allegations, admittedly, do hold weight since he looks a lot better than a lot of bodybuilders who have admitted to using steroids.

What’s more, Layne has also competed in powerlifting competitions and was very impressive at it. We shall look at that later.

Let us look at his body stats.

What are Layne Norton’s Statistics?

At his peak, here are the measurements that he brings to the table:

  • Height: 5’10
  • Walk around weight: 215 – 230 pounds
  • Contest weight: 195 pounds
  • Chest: 48 inches
  • Arms: 18 inches
  • Thighs: 27 inches
  • Calves: 17 inches

Admittedly, for a natural bodybuilder his height, these are some pretty insane measurements. To add even more fuel to the fire, he’s an accomplished powerlifter with the following numbers:

  • Deadlift: 712 pounds or 323 kg
  • Squat: 668 pounds or 303 kilograms
  • Bench press: 386 pounds or 175 kilograms

These are mind-boggling numbers for anyone, let alone for a natural lifter. Also, the deadlift and squat were actually world records for his weight class of 205 pounds. Interestingly, the organization where he competes at – the American Powerlifting Federation -, does not perform drug tests. This means that Layne was more than likely going against individuals who were on steroids, yet he bested them.

While all this makes Layne an excellent prospect for the ‘fake natty’ category, we can’t honestly know unless we drug test the man. What we can do, however, is see how matches up against the most common signs of a steroid user to help us determine the likelihood of Layne Norton being on steroids.

Signs of Steroid Use

  • Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia, also known as ‘gyno,’ is a condition characterized by the development of breast tissue in males. It happens to occur in some adolescent males as their hormones stabilize. Often, it is usually a result of having too much estrogen levels in the body. Luckily, in male teenagers, the condition usually rectifies itself, and the enlarged breast tissue disappears without any outside influence.

In bodybuilders, however, especially those who do it professionally, this condition tends to manifest itself due to anabolic steroids use. They appear as if they have actual breasts, albeit smaller. In fact, between 1980 and 2013, 1,574 bodybuilders underwent surgery for gyno. And these are only the documented cases. The vast majority of bodybuilders with gyno either stop being competitive or go to shady doctors to rectify the condition, not only because it’s embarrassing, but also because the procedure is quite costly.

As such, gynecomastia is a very common condition among competitive bodybuilders. Most anabolic steroids are synthetic derivatives of the muscle-building hormone – testosterone. As such, they help one increase their level of muscle mass by increasing the levels of the hormone in your body. However, this causes a hormonal imbalance, and the body attempts to rectify the situation by converting some of the testosterone into estrogen through a process known as aromatization.

Estrogen, however, is a female hormone that is responsible for giving ladies their feminine characteristics, such as breast development. Males also contain estrogen, but in such minuscule amounts that they can’t cause any physiological changes. But at high levels, however, estrogen will undoubtedly result in the manifestation of feminine characteristics, and this is what usually has happened to steroid users that develop gyno.

Layne Norton, however, hasn’t ever shown any semblance of gynecomastia throughout all his years of bodybuilding. Therefore, he checks off one of the boxes for being a natural bodybuilder.

  • Rapid Gains

It’s not unheard of for an individual to amass as much as 30 pounds of lean muscle within a year of using anabolic steroids. In terms of muscle building, anabolic steroids are just that effective.

Comparatively, it would take as much as five or more years of not missing a day at the gym for you to make those kinds of gains naturally. It is just that hard. Therefore, if you know someone who has suddenly ballooned up within a couple of months, the chances are that they are on something, especially if all the ‘new mass’ is lean.

When it comes to Layne, he is by no means an overnight success. He has over 15 years of dedicated lifting under his belt. Thus, even though it appears as if he has added over 40 pounds of lean mass onto his frame, it has taken him a very long time to achieve his physique.

Besides, Layne has a damn Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences, meaning he has more than sufficient knowledge on what he needs to put into his body to accelerate the rate at which he creates muscle.

We, therefore, cannot use this parameter to determine whether he’s on the secret sauce.

  • Massive Traps and Delts

If there’s one trait that all anabolic steroid users share, it’s a set of hulk-like trapezoids and deltoids. It’s like someone put lumps over and around their shoulders, and it’s by no coincidence either.

While building a decent set of delts and traps is incredibly difficult for a natty, steroid users don’t even have to try. This is because these muscles contain the largest portion of androgen receptors of any part of the body. Androgen receptors are nuclear factors that are activated when they bind with androgenic hormones, thus spurring growth. Guess what one of the main androgenic hormones is, you got that right; testosterone!

As we mentioned, anabolic steroids increase testosterone levels in your body. Thus, these enhanced levels will cause massive growth in those muscles, even without a lot of work. This is why a lot of bodybuilders are very top-heavy.

Layne Norton, admittedly, does have a set of gargantuan traps and shoulders. But we can’t just assume that they are as a result of steroid use since the man actually trains those muscles every other day. So, we are a little bit on edge here.

Is Layne Norton on Steroids?

Layne claims that he has been natural all his life, his exact words being, “I’ve never really felt the need/desire to take steroids. I’m not in it to get famous.”

Nonetheless, a significant portion of bodybuilding enthusiasts feels that there’s no way that Layne could possibly be natural. A common argument that people bring into that discussion is how his body stats are so similar to those of past bodybuilders such as Frank Zane and Serge Nubret, who, during their time, anabolic steroids were completely legal.

However, when you compare him to today’s IFBB bodybuilders, you get to see how ‘small’ he is. Also, given the fact that Layne is an educated man, he surely knows better than to use anabolic steroids.

His physique, as impressive as it is, does look achievable if you put the right kind of work in. Obviously, nutrition fundamentals are Layne’s forte and, therefore, have played a huge factor in crafting his body.

While Layne Norton might not be on anabolic steroids, chances are he’s on or has used legal steroids. Legal steroids are named so since they mimic the anabolic effects of anabolic steroids. However, they consist of natural plant-based ingredients as opposed to artificial hormones, thus making them safe to use.

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