What Does Natty Mean in Bodybuilding?

All the time you hear the phrase ‘natty’ tossed around- but, what does it actually mean?

For instance, you might view a fitness TikTok and see someone comment, “there’s no way he’s natty”. Or, someone could be fighting back and saying, “Nah I’m all natty bro”.

So- What does natty mean in bodybuilding? “Natty” means “natura”- as in a natural bodybuilder. This means they are NOT taking any performance enhancers like roids or other illegal things. Also, creatine is a supplement- those taking creatine are still natural!

Let’s cover this more in-depth and explain: what a ‘natty’ is, what the difference is between a ‘natty’ and ‘non-natty’ bodybuilder, et cetera.

What Does "Natty" Mean in Bodybuilding?
What Does “Natty” Mean in Bodybuilding?

#1 – ‘Natty’ is Short For “Natural”

Natty is short for the term, ‘Natural’ in the bodybuilding world.

As you can see, ‘natty’ looks very similar to natural. Why do we call people natty instead of natural? I don’t know. But there’s just a ton of slang in the bodybuilding and fitness world in general.

What is a ‘Natty’ Bodybuilder?

A ‘Natty’ Bodybuilder is a ‘Natural Bodybuilder’. That just means they don’t take any performance enhancers or other illegal things that make them grow muscle faster like roids.

Supplements, Pre-Workout, Etc- Do NOT Make You Non-Natty

So, this is where the whole ‘natty’ and ‘unnatty’ thing gets confusing.

If someone takes roids, they are not natty- right? But, if someone takes creatine or pre-workout, they are still considered natural. Why is this?

Well, generally speaking- things like creatine and pre-workout are considered natural as we consume them normally and they are approved by the FDA and many other numerous organizations.

Things like testosterone and other illegal substances are BANNED. Injecting that stuff into you is how you become ‘non-natty’.

#2 – What’s The Difference Between a Natty and Non-Natty Bodybuilder?

So, you might be now wondering- what’s the difference?

Well, a natural bodybuilder has a muscle growth limit. We all do, naturally. For instance, your body may only genetically put on 150 pounds of muscle and that is its’ limit.

To increase that, you would take illegal substances and when you do that, you lose your ‘natty’ card and become a ‘non-natural’ bodybuilder.

Hopefully this explanation is starting to make sense. When you are going to the gym, growing muscle, and not using substances to increase your genetic limits- you are completely natural.

When you use things that force your body to grow muscle against your body’s wishes- you are no longer natural.

You see how this is kind of coming together? It’s not natural to force your body to grow muscle it doesn’t want to. Once you start doing this, you are no longer ‘natural’.

#3 – Why Does It Matter?

Now that we’ve explained Natty vs Non-Natty- you might be wondering, why does it matter?


So, when you grow a ton of muscle and want to enter a competition like bodybuilding or powerlifting- you have two main categories first off: natural and unnatural.

You have to take a test that examines the substances in your body to see if you are natural or not. If you are natural, you enter into the natural bodybuilding competitions, and if you are not natural- you don’t enter in those competitions.

The reason for this is simple. Using things like performance enhancers is kind of like cheating, and it’s not fair to use cheats against people that aren’t. It’s fair to judge people that are cheating with others that are cheating, and keep those that are not cheating together and judge them separately from the cheaters.

To put it simply. If someone was hacking in your video game- is it fair that you go against them when you aren’t hacking? No. It’s the same concept here.

However, if both of you are using hacks- now it’s a level playing field.

The Problem Is Some People Lie

So, generally to figure out if you’re natural or not they are going to do a range of tests- it’s different at every place so I won’t get into that.

The problem is, you can do a ton of things to make these tests make you look like you’re a natural bodybuilder- even if you aren’t. It’s the same thing if you have to perform a test to see if you’re using illegal substances at work- there are ways to get around it if you are using it. It’s no different here.

This is where the problem comes in. If someone who is NOT natural, claims they are natural, and competes against other natural bodybuilders- they will basically always win because they have an unfair advantage.

When it comes to competition levels, you will start to see some people accuse bodybuilders in the natural competition fields of using those performance enhancers and lying.

Unfortunately, oftentimes these allegations end up being true. And it’s unfair if someone wins a bodybuilder competition if they are cheating and competing against people that aren’t.

Ego Is Also A Huge Part

So, you’ve probably seen ‘natty’ or ‘not natty’ commented across TikTok posts and other things like that. Why are they commenting that here?

Well, unfortunately, a lot of it is ego. There are many people that don’t put in a ton of effort in the gym and want to attack others that are working harder by saying they are ‘non-natty’ and basically cheating at the sport.

It makes people feel better about their lazy work. It’s no different than playing a game of basketball and saying that someone is traveling or double-dribbling when they aren’t. It’s just a way of people trying to make themselves feel better because someone else is better than them.

Now, sometimes people aren’t natural and are lying. That happens surprisingly often.

But, now you’re probably wondering- what does it matter if they aren’t natural?

#4 – What Does It Matter If They Aren’t Natural?

Now that we’ve explained what a natty lifter is and isn’t- you may just be confused why people care at all? What does it matter if someone is a natural or non-natural bodybuilder?

Well, to be honest- it doesn’t really matter. If someone uses performance enhancers it’s really their own choice. Even if you use performance enhancers, the muscle just doesn’t magically appear- it still requires the same hard work and diet normal training does too.

Yes, there are downsides to hopping on performance enhancers. Bodybuilders like Zyzz have died directly because of a performance enhancer they used, and generally speaking, they lower your life expectancy and cause many other health problems.

Generally speaking though, if someone uses it- it’s their own choice. And who are we to hate? We are all here to build each other up.

Personally speaking, I don’t use any of that stuff myself just for my own personal health reasons. But, that doesn’t mean I hate on anyone using it- I don’t see any difference, I help them out in the gym the same as anyone else. We are all in this together.


Is Creatine Natty?

Yes, creatine is natty. If you take creatine you are still a natural bodybuilder. Creatine does not increase your ‘genetic limit’ of muscle growth nor make muscle grow really any faster. Creatine is also found naturally in all meats. For the most part, creatine just makes you look bigger and more shredded by telling your muscles to hold onto more water.

Is Pre-Workout Natty?

Yes, using pre-workout is natty. While some sports organizations ban it for use in their sport, by definition it does affect your muscle growth or increase your muscle genetic limit- so it is natty.

#5 – Conclusion of What Does Natty Mean in Bodybuilding?

So- yeah, ‘natty’ just means ‘natural bodybuilder’- someone that doesn’t use performance enhancers.

It’s kind of a weird slang term and I’m still not sure where it originated from (I’ve been in this sport for 5+ years now) and I’ve heard it occasionally but it seems to have really made a big comeback in 2022.

Hopefully, this article answered your question- please let me know if you have any other questions and I will answer them for you below!

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