What would Ronnie Coleman look like if he never took steroids?

One of the most common questions I get is what would professional bodybuilders look like if they never took steroids. It’s a fun thought experiment since the IFBB pros are finally starting to come clean about steroid use in professional bodybuilding (see Kai Greene and Branch Warren). However, since Ronnie Coleman takes more heat than anyone else for his chiseled physique (and eight-year run as Mr. Olympia), he makes for an excellent case study here. I’ve got both video and pictures below for your viewing pleasure. At least one is NSFW.

Ronnie Coleman looks like a comic book superhero – and we all know about the special effects used to enhance him. But what if he really was an alien? How would Hall of Fame bodybuilder and eight-time Olympia champion Ronnie Coleman look without steroids? Let’s take a look:

I’ve got three pictures below – two comparisons, plus one standalone picture for reference. The first comparison shows how Ronnie Coleman looked before his steroid use (the early 1990s) compared to now. Notice the much fuller muscle bellies in the earlier photo, indicating higher levels of growth factors during development. Not to mention better genetics since you can’t outgrow good genes. The second comparison shows how Ronnie Coleman might look today if he never touched steroids. As you can probably tell from the “after” picture, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. In fact, Ronnie looks more like he did during his early Olympia years (when he was already on steroids).

I modeled the “natural” Ronnie Coleman after one of my clients, who we’ll dub “Mark.” For reference, Mark is 5’7″, 220 pounds, and 49 years old. His stats: 27-inch neck; 16-inch arms; 11-inch wrists; 28 3/4 -inch thighs; 41 7/8 -inch chest (at three weeks out from a show) and 20-inch calves. He’s leaner than I am right now, but he’s still carrying more than 20 pounds of body fat. Mark is natural, just like Ronnie Coleman was supposed to be.

Here are the pictures for your viewing pleasure – and you can also watch the video below if you want to hear what my thoughts are on steroid use in professional bodybuilding today.