Bodybuilders live in seasons: Bulking season, cutting season, contest season.
They are physique competitors who earn their money by looking “good” which in this case translates to “muscular, tanned and so, so lean”. That´s not everyone´s wet dream but forget about that for a second.
It´s common for professional bodybuilders to get fat during their bulking season that´s usually during the colder months. They eat everything in sight and train six times a week to gain as much muscle during winter as possible.
At the end of the bulking season nobody would be able to tell that they are actually physique competitors because they look just… fat. Not even muscular, just fat.
But after only 12-16 weeks of cutting they are ripped again and get in contest shape. How do they do that in such a short time?
There´s a simple answer to that question: Discipline (and probably steroids).
While it is not impossible to go from fat to something that resembles an athlete in 16 weeks it is almost impossible to go from fat to contest ready.
You need to have really good genetics, a lot of willpower and a diet so low in calories that you will lose muscle for sure.
Sure, physique competitors often have a decade of training and extreme dieting knowledge. But when you check bodybuilder forums you often see diet advice like eating only cooked vegetables and white fish five times a day for eight weeks.
White fish has zero carbs and very low fat, same goes for cooked vegetables.
A person as huge and muscular as a physique competitor would lose a ton of body weight on this diet – and screw up their hormone levels because of the low fat intake.
Fat is necessary for our body to function. A low carb intake can work for fat loss but a low fat intake over weeks at a time paired with training six times a week will ruin your body. Too much protein without an adequate fat intake can even lead to protein poisoning.
The use of steroids is far more likely to be the reason for the rapid fat loss. Steroids are taken in cycles. That´s why bodybuilders get so fat during their bulking season: they are off steroids during that time.
After they start taking steroids again the fat is easier to get rid off, even in a short amount of time and a low fat intake.
I am sure there are natural bodybuilders who are successfully competing and dieting down in more natural ways. Bodybuilding is an extreme sport after all and humans have the ability to do extreme things with their bodies.
With steroids or without, it all comes down to one factor in the end: to have a great body you need to train right, eat right and have a lot of discipline.
Steroids won´t build you the body of a physique competitor or superhero if you are not disciplined. Even Captain America who has the advantages of the super-soldier-serum needs training to attain his physique and strength.
Hard work and consistency will bring you far if you are a natural. Just take your time.