Is Shawn Rhoden on Steroids? We Investigated and found out


Bodybuilding and steroid use are almost synonymous, and it isn’t hard to see why. Most people are just unable to wrap their heads around how a person can be able to pack on such vast amounts of muscle without some ‘help.’

In fact, if you were to show a random person on the street a picture of a pro-bodybuilder and ask them their opinion about it, it wouldn’t be long before the term ‘steroids’ popped up. About four decades ago, however, if you were to show an individual the same picture, they would probably think that it was a reincarnation of a Greek God.

This goes to show how much power the media has over people’s opinions. Ever since anabolic steroids started being associated with bodybuilding, people immediately assume that anyone who achieves an extraordinary physique is on the juice.


However, just because someone thinks that might be the case, it doesn’t make it true. This is because, today, there are a variety of products that can enable one to achieve insane muscle mass without using anabolic steroids.

As such, if you are looking to establish whether someone is on the juice, it is better to be analytical about it.

So, are you wondering whether former Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden is on steroids? Let us find out.

Who would someone think that Shaun Rhoden is On Steroids?

In case you didn’t know, Shawn Rhoden is one of the most accomplished pro-bodybuilders to walk the face of the planet. He is a rare breed of athlete. How rare? He’s among the 15 people in the world to have ever won the Mr. Olympia title.

Mr. Olympia is a crown dedicated to the best bodybuilder on the planet, which has been contested for more than 50 years. You can see how difficult it is to get that title. What’s more, Shawn Rhoden happens to be the oldest person who has ever won the title at 43 years and five months old.

In light of the above, it seems that the Mr. Olympia crown is only meant to be won by ‘special' people. How special? Let us look at what attributes you need to have to achieve that feat.

In today’s bodybuilding, bigger is deemed better. Thus, to win the title, you need to achieve unbelievable levels of muscularity, while keeping your body fat levels below 7 percent. When he won Mr. Olympia, Shawn came to the stage at a whopping 240 pounds of pure muscle. There wasn’t a single ounce of fat.

So, this begs the question, how is someone able to attain that level of muscle mass well into their forties? Considering that the essential ingredient for muscle building is testosterone, which usually starts declining once you reach 30.

But before we automatically assume that Shawn Rhoden is on the juice, let us look at how he matches up against the telltale signs of steroid use.

Signs that Someone Uses Steroids:

  • Massive amounts of gains in a short period

This is perhaps the most obvious sign of steroid use. If someone suddenly becomes a giant ball of lean muscle within a few months, chances are they are on the juice. This is because, even with the best workout and diet plan, it can take years of going at it consistently to build a decent amount of muscle.

For example, if you share the same height as Shawn of 5’10, it will likely take you more than three years of hard training and eating right to be 200 pounds of pure lean muscle. And that is being generous; it typically takes a lot longer.

This is certainly not Shawn’s case as he started bodybuilding as a teenager. Moreover, he was an active soccer player before getting into bodybuilding, meaning that his body was already accustomed to training.

Therefore, it wouldn’t be accurate to use this parameter to determine whether Shawn has used steroids since he has been actively bodybuilding for more than half his life.

  • Bubble Gut (Distended Stomach)

Popularly referred to as the ‘bubble gut’ in the bodybuilding circles, it refers to the situation where a massive and ripped bodybuilder also happens to have what can be best described as a beer belly. Some even look as if they are pregnant.

It is almost an oxymoron. How can someone have such low levels of body fat and still have a big belly? After all, isn’t a belly an indication of high body fat levels?

Well, this condition isn’t actually caused by steroid use, but rather HGH (human growth hormone) use. However, most individuals that use HGH tend also to use steroids. This is because most HGH users are bodybuilders looking to achieve extreme amounts of muscle mass, and HGH works very well with steroids to yield massive muscle gains. HGH is a synthetic version of the natural growth hormone that we produce naturally in our bodies.

It not only encourages muscle growth but also that of other organs and tissues as well. Thus, a distended stomach usually results from the enlargement of the individual’s internal organs.

Again, Shawn doesn’t fit this bill as he has one of the smallest midsections of any pro-bodybuilder. In fact, so much so that it was one of the main reasons he was able to win Mr. Olympia.

  • Acne

If a person is god-level jacked and has acne, you can almost bet your life on it that they are on the sauce.

Steroids, if you didn’t know, are artificial hormones. Most of them are synthetic versions of testosterone. As such, steroid use is often accompanied by fluctuations in hormone levels. Moreover, most anabolic steroids stimulate the sebaceous glands on your skin, which usually secrete a thick and waxy substance known as sebum. Sebum serves to protect your skin from bacterial and fungal infections, as well as to keep it from becoming dry.

However, when too much of this substance is secreted, it can clog your skin pores, thus causing an accumulation of dirt inside the skin since you are not able to sweat. This is what usually causes acne.

Steroid users, therefore, are particularly prone to acne breakouts since they are constantly secreting large amounts of sebum. While they can always wipe the face, they may not be able to pay that much attention to their back and rear deltoids. Partly because they are unable to reach those parts.

Shawn Rhoden, once again, hasn’t appeared anywhere with signs of acne showing on his body. But then, bodybuilders usually have a dark tan sprayed on their bodies before they hit the stage. So, who knows?

  • Huge Traps and Delts

It’s hard to find a more impressive looking muscle group as well as developed traps and delts. They scream that you lift heavy and hard. Nonetheless, they are also among the most difficult muscle groups to develop. This is why you don’t see too many people walking around with boulders for shoulders.

Interestingly, however, these muscles are the most sensitive to steroids. Trapezius muscles and deltoids have the largest amount of androgen receptors of any muscle in the body. What this means is that, upon getting steroids into your system, even the slightest bit of training will result in a lot of growth in these muscles.

While it doesn’t mean that anyone with boulder shoulders is on the juice, if they happen to have other signs of steroid use, it is likely they are on the sauce.

It is, however, hard to use this criterion to tell whether Shawn Rhoden uses steroids since, after all, he is a professional bodybuilder; it is his job to grow muscles. Thus, juice or not, his huge traps and delts would have inevitably come as a result of consistent hard work.

  • Gynecomastia

Popularly referred to as ‘gyno,’ it refers to the situation where an individual has what can best be described as ‘tits.’ In fact, they are titties. Gynecomastia is one of the most common side effects of steroid use and is caused when the testosterone undergoes a process known as aromatization, where it is converted to estrogen.

Estrogen is a female sex hormone, which is vital in female development. It makes women who they are, physiologically. When a male has high levels of this hormone in their body, they might start growing breast tissue, just like females. To make matters worse, this effect is irreversible.

It is, therefore, one of the easiest ways of telling whether a jacked person is on that secret sauce.

Shawn Rhoden happens to have one of the best chest developments in the game and has no sign of gyno.

Is Shawn Rhoden on Steroids?

Based on our criteria of accurately determining whether someone is on steroids, it is hard to say matter-of-factly that he is indeed on the juice. However, amassing over 240 pounds of lean muscle on a 5’10 frame is virtually impossible without some sort of ‘help’ regardless of how hard you train.

In recent times, science has brought us legal steroids. These are natural supplements that mimic the anabolic effects of anabolic steroids but without the side effects. For a bodybuilder, it is a no-brainer that they would opt for legal steroids over anabolic steroids. Shawn Rhoden, therefore, more than likely, uses legal steroids.

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