Let’s get straight into it. After I shared my thoughts on Aamir Khan’s transformation, I had more than a few people asking me about the possibility of Aamir “being on the juice” (using steroids) as it were. In particular, this video kept coming up as a point of conversation. Before I begin, let me start by saying that I have nothing against the guy posting the video. I don’t know him from Adam and I do see where he’s coming from. But intent can only excuse so much. There’s just a bunch of stuff here that is factually incorrect. Also, I realize that this is a lot of info to take in at once. I might actually end up doing a dedicated post for each of these points. Here we go:
- Any actor going shirtless is likely using steroids. Really? That’s like saying it is impossible to get screen-worthy muscles without steroids. In which case guys like Lazar Angelov, Ulisses Jr don’t exist (both of whom are in their 30s). That statement is just objectively wrong. Get this through your head people, you can get a terrific physique without touching drugs of any kind. Heck you can look phenomenal without even touching weights, let alone steroids. Look at any serious gymnast and tell me they look unimpressive. Do actors use steroids to look god-like? Sure. Does EVERY actor do that? Come on.
- It would take 5-6 years to transform oneself. Bullshit. Absolute bullshit. Sure, you aren’t getting onto the Mr Universe stage in 6 months, regardless of what you do. Gaining 10 Kgs of pure muscle is a time-intensive process. But if the goal is to shed 20% of body fat (starting from levels in the 35% range), that’s very achievable. We are talking about 3.5% of fat loss every month here (assuming a 6 month window) sure that’s going to be a very hard road, increase that to a year and it’s a lot easier but even then (and I cannot stress this enough) IF you are ready to do what it takes. 95% of people aren’t. This shit isn’t easy. But it’s entirely possible. I’ve done it (though admittedly I had biology on my side seeing as I was 20) and I’ve helped my brother do it when he was 32 and diagnosed with diabetes. Neither of us used steroids or possesses exceptional genetics (quite the opposite if anything).
- Most gym goers quit because they get bored with how long it takes. Alright, some truth to this. As a child of the 80s that dreamed of looking like Arnold and Stallone, I understand this. That being said, the reason why people give up the quest for size has less to do with boredom and more to do with a lack of results. And the reasons for this are many. Poor education, horrible diets, unrealistic expectations, gross misguidance by so called “trainers” and a steady stream of lies coming out of muscle mags that fixate on selling you crap. Point is, it’s not boredom, but discouragement.
- The examples of Akshay Kumar vs Aamir. First off (getting a little tired of repeating myself here) please understand the difference between a bodybuilder vs any other athlete. Training for size requires a completely different modality as opposed to training for a sport such as martial arts. Last I checked, Akshay Kumar is a dedicated martial artist. If anything, gaining 7 kgs of muscle might slow him down. Of course he doesn’t look anything like a bodybuilder. He isn’t one! This is like comparing Tiger Woods to Brock Lesnar. What’s the point? There are very few people that can straddle the line between Mr Hollywood and being a genuine martial artist. Micheal Jai White is a good example. The man looks phenomenal for his age (49 as of today) and can throw kicks like a 25 year old. That’s rare but explainable once you realize what his training looks like.
- Age. Alright, fair point, Aamir is 51. The chances of him using some pharmacological help are fairly high but let’s clear something up here. TRT (testosterone replacement therapy) is not the same as steroids. Confusing the two is not only incorrect, but highly irresponsible. The former is a legit medical protocol recommended by a doctor and the latter, not so much. Since the video made a reference to Vitor Belfort, lets just stick to him. Vitor came to the UFC from Pride, an outfit where steroid use was damn near encouraged. It’s very likely that Vitor’s T levels dropped to super low levels DUE to years of steroid abuse. See the difference a little context makes? Here‘s a good article explaining the difference between the two (interesting to note that in both cases the drugs used are often the same). I’m not denying the effect of TRT on an athlete’s physique, but to say it’s the same as using steroids is just factually incorrect. Speaking of which, if you must use pictures of Vitor to make your point, at least do it while he weighs the same. The first pic is him at 205 lbs the second is at 185 lbs (he’s 2 years older too). The man dropped a whole weight class in a combat sport, is it surprising he looks different? Heck, I’m surprised he looks as big as he does at 185.
- Steroids are harmful. Oh boy. OK. Let’s first understand why steroids even exist in the first place. Before they started showing up in gyms and stadiums, steroids were used for very specific medical conditions. As such they were meant for clinical purposes only. Anabolic steroids used to promote muscle gain on the other hand, are something else entirely. But to say steroids are harmful is about as accurate as saying aspirin is harmful. Both can and will kill you above a certain dose. There’s too much to get into here but I’ll let Mr Dorian Yates (6 time Mr Olympia and a living legend in the sport of bodybuilding) explain it better. This is an excellent podcast where he gets into how bodybuilders trained and his own experience with steroid use. It’s a long listen and a good one but folks wanting to just focus on the steroid use bit may want to jump to the 24 minute mark.
- Athletes retire because their T levels drop around their 30s. Some truth here but a gross oversimplification. T levels certainly have a role to play in athletic performance but its far from the end all and be all. If anything, the primary reason athletes retire is because of injuries and loss of speed/explosiveness. A 24 yr old athlete may have lower T levels than a 35 yr old in the same sport, the senior may have higher strength and even muscle mass as well (the strongest guy I ever met in real life was a 53 year old captain I served under. Before you ask, no, there’s not much access to steroids in the middle of the bloody Pacific). Heck, many strongmen competitors and endurance athletes hit their peak in their late 30s. But the one advantage the young gun will always have is that of speed. No amount of steroid use, TRT, HGH, fairy dust or voodoo is bringing speed back. Time. It’s a heartless bitch. It gives zero fucks. And it WILL slow you down.
- Huge deltoids are a sure sign of steroid use. Maybe, if said deltoids explode in a very short period of time. However, as I’ve mentioned before, we dont really know what Aamir’s training was like during his fat phase. The assumption here is that he only started training for size once he was on the fat loss track. I don’t think that’s true at all. You have to look closely, but there is a fair amount of muscle under all that blubber. BTW a dead giveaway of steroid use is getting a huge, albeit muscular, gut. The reason? Viscera growth. Yep, that’s right, abuse steroids enough and even your internal organs grow bigger. Bet your latest issue of Flex didn’t say shit about that.
To surmise, I’m not saying Aamir most definitely did not use any pharmacological solutions. I don’t know. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. Hell, if anything made me suspicious, it’s the undeniable lack of stretch marks or loose skin. THAT is a real head scratcher. Here’s the thing though, regardless of what he did or did not use, it does not change the fact that even with all the help he had, it took a shit ton of good old fashioned hard work to do what he did. You can pump yourself up with all the drugs and hormones you want, it wont do jack unless you put in the work.
Transforming your physical self requires tremendous effort. More than that, it involves changing who and what you are at the core of your being. You have to literally become a new person. Inside and out.
No drug can help you with that.
Picture from Aaamir’s twitter feed.