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Layne Norton: Steroids or Natural?

A lot of you are wondering if Layne Norton uses anabolic steroids. Find out here if this bodybuilder who holds a PhD in nutritional sciences does or not. 

Layne Norton Steroids

Layne Norton is a pretty famous bodybuilder, and he is quite educated too. He has a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a PhD in nutritional sciences. Furthermore, he claims to be a “natural” builder.

Layne is not an average bodybuilder – he is massive, and he’s a scientist, quite a combination. He is also insanely powerful, and he has a couple of records to prove it. Layne set a US deadlifting record, lifting 323 kg at 93 kg bodyweight. He also set a world record with a squat of 303 kg with the same bodyweight.

The bodybuilder has gathered a large fanbase over the years amongst who his strength and physique have become a subject of discussion. Is he all natural?

Natty Claim

According to bodybuilding.com Layne Norton is natural.

This website claims that Layne Norton is natty, but can we trust them? No, bodybuilding.com is not the most trustworthy company. They got sued for $7 million in 2012  for adding steroids to supplements and lying about it, for which they have pled guilty in court afterwards.

Bodybuilding.com is not the best source if you are trying to discover if someone is juicing or not. However, we can’t assume that Layne is lying just because it’s not a credible source.

Layne personally said he never felt the need to take steroids in the video below (at the 1:54 mark). He further mentions that he has always been a drug-free bodybuilder by stating that he’s not in it to get famous.

Let’s look at the evidence that might help us find out the truth.

Body Composition

Height: 5ft 10

Weight: 191-205lbs

Arms: 18 inches

Chest: 48 inches

Thighs: 27 inches

Calves: 17 inches

These measurements are almost unbelievable for a natural bodybuilder this tall. So is it possible?

Layne’s monstrous proportions would be possible for a natty with many years of hard work, but only if they have good genetics. Without good genetics, a physique like his would not be possible, no matter how hard he trained.

With some bodybuilders, you need one look at them to know they are taking something. One could probably guess what they are using too. However, it seems like this is not the case with Layne. His shoulders and traps do not have that almost unrealistic, 3D look that some builders have. On top of that, you can never see him looking artificially shredded or dry.

External Symptoms

There are apparent symptoms that are usually a sign that a bodybuilder is using steroids. Some of these visual signs are:

  • Acne appearing, especially on the shoulders and back
  • Gynecomastia, or abnormal growth of breast tissue in males
  • Some groups of muscles are overdeveloped, especially traps and shoulders
  • Excessive vascularity or “popping” veins, caused by the absence of fat
  • Dry look
  • Steroid gut
  • Bloating
  • Flushed skin

Layne Norton doesn’t show any of these signs.      

Many steroid users show at least a couple of these symptoms. Still, the absence of external symptoms doesn’t automatically mean Lane’s natty. For some lucky guys on the juice, there are no external symptoms. On the other hand, even some natural bodybuilders can get one or two of these symptoms. In conclusion, there is no accurate way to tell whether someone is on steroids or not just by looking at their body.

Body Transformation

layne norton transformation

If you compare a photo of Layne before he started lifting weights to a recent picture you will notice a huge difference. He looks like he has gained at least 60lbs of muscle during his training years. Is this possible without steroids?

Guys that manage to achieve tremendous gains naturally are usually pretty big even before they start working out. For example, look at Chris Hemsworth. He was very muscular also before he started training for Thor and he only gained 20 lbs to play this character.

The guys with good genetic predispositions for bodybuilding always look big even before any training. They do not get an unnatural amount of muscle with exercise. Generally, everybody gets the same amount of tissue with practice, some of us start with more.

As you can see, Layne looks pretty average in the before photo so we can conclude his genetics are average too. How did Layne get to where he is now? There are only three possible explanations.

First of all, he could have had great genetics, but we can rule that out with some certainty.

Second, he could have done something differently to everyone else on the planet that would enable him to gain twice as much muscle mass. For example, he could have trained or eaten separately. However, although Layne knows a lot about muscle development (judging from his PhD), he doesn’t claim to have found a new, revolutionary way to build muscle.

The only option remaining is that he has used steroids at some point in his life. As a newbie weightlifter, you can gain about 20 lbs of muscle. With the use of steroids, this number can come up to 40 or 50 pounds.

Competition History

Norton has participated in some bodybuilding competitions. He competed in contests organised by IFPA and NGA, federations that do have drug testing protocols. However, both of them require contestants not to have used steroids for 7-years.

Obviously, a person could use a whole range of steroids, come off them for seven years and then compete in NGA or IFPA. Furthermore, when Layne set a national deadlifting record of 668 lbs, he was going against steroid users.


Layne Norton has gained over 60lbs of muscle, which is pretty unrealistic for a complete natural. Furthermore, he has competed in bodybuilding shows that don’t require contestants to have never used steroids in their life.

Since he has never shown any physical symptoms of steroid use or abuses, it is most likely that he has used them but in a brilliant way. Most likely, he was juicing when he started training, gained a lot of weight and then stopped.

He still had to work hard to maintain the strength and size he gained. This hard work eventually enabled him to achieve good results in various bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions even though he doesn’t have great genetics.

For a starting bodybuilder, like Layne was, a couple of cycle of testosterone is all that it takes to gain 40 or more pounds, after newbie gains.

Testosterone is very popular among beginners, and it often doesn’t show a lot of side effects. Since Layne Norton didn’t have any visible symptoms of steroid use and yet he gained a considerable amount of mass it is likely that he has used this steroid at some point in his bodybuilding career.

About James Smith

James Smith is a personal trainer for professional bodybuilders. He uses his experience, knowledge, and understanding of all the intricacies regarding bodybuilding and anabolic steroids, to deliver detailed reviews for every new legal steroid on the market. As an author, he may receive some small compensation for some of them. However, we guarantee the neutrality regarding the evaluating of each of the products and the factuality of the information.