Many gym goers take BCAAs to help improve their muscle size and strength.
In my opinion, they’re a great supplement as they’re safe, cheap and effective.
But can you take BCAAs in natural bodybuilding competitions, and are they classed as natty?
Are BCAAs Natty?
Yes, BCAAs are considered a natural supplement. They aren’t prohibited by the 3 large sport’s governing bodies – the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the NCAA.
In this post, we will define what natty means, whether BCAAs are a steroid, whether BCAAs are banned, and much more.
What Does Natty Mean?
‘Natty’ is a slang term used by bodybuilders to describe something/someone as natural.
But depending on which bodybuilder you speak to, natty can mean different things.
Some people think that no supplements are considered natty.
But to me, this makes no sense.
Well, many supplements like amino acids and caffeine are natural found in food and drink.
So you can’t really call something unnatty if it’s part of what humans consume on a daily basis.
On the other hand, most people agree that to be natty, you don’t take any banned PEDs (Performance-Enhancing Drugs).
I.e., your physique is achieved solely by diet, resistance training and supplements that are approved by the world anti-doping agency.
Are BCAAs Steroids?
When discussing steroids in the weightlifting community, people are usually referring to anabolic steroids, like Deca, Dianabol and Anadrol.
These are synthetic versions of male testosterone, which help increase size and strength.
Whereas BCAAs are a natural substance that’s found in high-protein food like fish and red meat.
So no – BCAAs aren’t a steroid.
Are BCAAs Drugs?
Well, it depends on how you define the word drug.
According to Dictionary.com:
A drug is a chemical substance used in the treatment, cure, prevention, or diagnosis of disease or used to otherwise enhance physical or mental well-being.
So by their definition, you could argue that BCAAs are a drug since it enhances physical well-being.
Whereas Yourdictionary.com define a drug as:
A chemical substance, such as a narcotic or hallucinogen, that affects the central nervous system, causing changes in behaviour and often addiction.
By this definition, BCAAs aren’t a drug as it doesn’t affect the central nervous system.
Are BCAAs Banned Substances?
BCAAs aren’t banned by the 3 large sport’s governing bodies – the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), or the NCAA.
4 Examples of Unnatty Bodybuilding Substances
Ok Robb… So if BCAAs are considered natty, then what’s unnatty?
I’m glad you asked!
Here are 3 substances that are most certainly not natty.
The WNBF (World Natural Bodybuilding Federation) has banned hormone precursors like DHEA, which converts into testosterone in the body.
Growth hormones include Insulin, HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor-1).
These are also banned by the WNBF.
There are many different varieties of anabolic steroids, including:
They are all banned from natural bodybuilding competitions as they help spike your T levels.
Interestingly, Testosterone itself is banned in most forms.
(It’s often sold as gels, cream and patches.)
SARMs are substances which mimic the effects of steroids.
SARMs are not considered natty as they’re currently banned by WADA and USADA.
6 Other Natty Supplements
Creatine is great for skinny guys as it can help you gain a lot of weight fast.
Creatine is considered natural as it’s found in red meat and you can take it in natural bodybuilding competitions.
Many people take pre workout for lazer focus during a workout.
Pre workout is considered natty as it isn’t banned by the large governing bodies.
Another popular supplement amongst gym goers is mass gainer.
Mass gainer is natural as you can take it in natural bodybuilding competitions.
Whey protein is a safe and effective supplement to help increase your overall protein intake.
You are natty if you take whey protein powder as it’s a natural ingredient that’s derived from cheese production.
Some people take testosterone boosters with the goal of increasing their T levels.
One of the most hyped up supplements out there are fat burners.
Fat burners are considered natty as they’re not currently banned by WADA or the NCAA.
Wrapping up, most people would class BCAAs as natty.
They’re a safe, natural and effective supplement that just about every natty bodybuilder should be supplementing with.
Well, that’s all for today folks!
Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this article.
I really hope I’ve answered your query as clearly as possible, but if you have any additional questions regarding BCAA use, I’ll get back to you in the comments below.
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.