What Does Natty Mean In Fitness? (Natty vs. Fake Natty)

There are a range of terms in the fitness world that may be confusing to somebody that’s just started working out. You might be reading about the terms or see your favorite fitness influencer talking about them, but often the terms aren’t explained, including things like natty or PR.

Most of the time, you’ll hear things like, “are you natty?”,  “I’m a natty influencer,” or “he’s not natty,” but it doesn’t necessarily provide much of a hint about the term, just that there may be some negative connotations around being “not natty.”

What Does Natty Mean In The Gym?

Natty means natural, and it refers to a person who does not use performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), such as steroids, human growth hormone (HGH), and other artificial chemicals that provide an advantage in fitness that wouldn’t be easy or possible to attain naturally. 

From a fitness or gym perspective, this refers to chemicals that can make your muscles grow bigger or make you stronger, and in some cases, it can refer to chemicals that help you cut down your body fat percentage.

The definition of natty can vary based on who you’re talking to and if you’re simply a gym bro or a professional athlete, such as a bodybuilder, strong man, weightlifter, or powerlifter.

Definition of Natty In Professional Fitness

Natty in professional fitness still means a natural athlete, somebody who hasn’t taken performance-enhancing drugs. However,  the list of drugs is greatly increased, and most professional organizations will perform blood tests at meets or randomly throughout the year.

Which professional organization you belong to will determine the exact type of drugs that are being tested for, but large organizations such as IFBB list all of the drugs that are banned.

One of the problems is that testing negative for banned substances doesn’t mean that you haven’t taken anything recently. Many ex-professional athletes have confirmed that you simply cycle off the drugs before the event, or you use other drugs to mask your use of PEDs.

What Is A Lifetime Natty?

A lifetime natty has never taken PEDs to improve their physique or strength. It’s become a popular term in the fitness industry to differentiate yourself from people that have previously taken PEDs but don’t now (natty) vs. somebody that has NEVER taken PEDs (lifetime natty).

You will typically hear influencers on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube refer to themselves as natty or lifetime natty, though the terms are technically interchangeable unless somebody is being directly asked which they are.

What Is A Fake Natty?

A fake natty is somebody who has taken or currently takes PEDs and actively says they are natty. The major problem with fake natties isn’t at the gym but through social media, where fitness influencers sell products by saying you gain their physique just by taking their products.

The results of fake natties are not naturally attainable for most people, so it’s considered false advertising and detrimental to people, especially younger people, to hear that just taking expensive supplements will make them look like the influencer.

Fake natties are somewhat different from people who just don’t say if they take PEDs or not, these influencers are typically trying to protect their endorsements and career, they don’t want to lie but also don’t want to come out as an enhanced athlete and risk losing money.

Taking Supplements Does Not Mean You’re Not Natty

Most supplements that you can buy in pharmacies or fitness stores don’t take away your natty status as an average gym-goer, though some supplements can be an issue if you’re competing, even in amateur competitions, such as stimulants or water cutting compounds.

Does Taking Creatine Stop You From Being Natty?

One very popular supplement that has some confusion around is creatine. However, creatine is a completely safe supplement that is not banned or tested for in any organization. Creatine is a natural compound that you get from the foods you eat, and supplementing with it is safe.

Creatine slightly enhances your performance by allowing you to do a few extra reps, which will enable you to become stronger quicker, but it doesn’t increase your strength or physique potential.

Do Testosterone Boosters Stop You From Being Natty?

Most testosterone boosters from reputable brands are safe to take, just be wary of the ingredients in testosterone boosters or similar products from disreputable companies, they may be including things that are banned in some organizations.

This has been reported by athletes who tested positive for banned substances and determined it was certain products brought over the counter from fitness stores.

Does Taking Stimulants Stop You From Being Natty?

Taking stimulants such as caffeine is very common among most people that go to the gym or are involved in fitness activities. While you’re still considered a natty, most stimulants are banned from competitions if you decide to enter any.

On the low end is caffeine which is relatively safe, but some people combine it with other stimulants like ephedrine and aspirin to increase performance and cut fat quicker. However, it can be a very dangerous combination and provides an unfair advantage if being used.

What Makes You Not Natty

Prescription drugs are what make up most PEDs in the fitness world, so if you’re on testosterone replacement therapy, then you are 100% not natural whether you mean to be on or not. 

Most people using PEDs have gotten them from doctors or whoever they purchased them from originally had a prescription, so prescription drugs can remove your natty status.

Some prescription drugs not specifically for increased performance do get used as PEDs, an example of this is the breast cancer drug tamoxifen, which can also be used to suppress estrogen and helps increase your muscle mass.

So if you’re concerned about being natty or plan to compete in natural competitions, it’s well worth checking with your doctor or online to see whether any drugs or supplements you’re taking could remove your natty status.