Disclaimer: Although this verdict is based on evidence, it’s not guaranteed to be correct. I don’t condone steroid-use, but I also don’t judge those who do take them as it’s their own personal choice.
Kris Gethin is a Welsh bodybuilder and the CEO of supplement company – Kaged Supplements. He also writes for Bodybuilding.com and is a celebrity personal trainer.
He's gained a lot of recognition online due to his epic transformations, going from chubby to lean in just 12 weeks. These before/after pictures have stirred a lot of speculation online about Kris' natural status and whether he's used anabolics to build the jacked physique he has today.
Kris is a bit different to your average bodybuilder, he's not shredded to the bone and generally looks more smooth due to his higher body fat percentage. However, because Kris' look isn't freakish, he's able to inspire many bodybuilding fans around the world; who view his physique as naturally attainable (albeit very difficult).
First off, if you're a natural bodybuilder and Kris Gethin's physique inspires you – that's a good thing.
Because whether he has or hasn't taken steroids, doesn't change the fact his physique IS attainable for a natty. You might need good genetics or have to spend several years bulking up to gain this type of mass – but it is possible. He's not freakishly big and most of the time he's not insanely shredded.
Height: 5 ft 8
Weight: 185lbs (contest), 220lbs (off-season).
So, is Kris Gethin on steroids…or is he another example of a genetically blessed specimen in bodybuilding?
Does Kris Gethin Claim Natty?
On his official website KrisGethin.com it states nowhere that Kris is natural. You would've thought if you were natty you'd mention this on your about page when you talk about all your accolades. However, on his profile on Bodybuilding.com it does say Kris is a ‘Lifetime natural PRO bodybuilder' (1).
However, Bodybuilding.com aren't exactly the most trustworthy company. In 2012 they were sued for $7 million by the FDA, because they were found smuggling anabolic steroids into supplements which were meant to be 100% natural (2).
Would there be any motivation for Kris Gethin to take steroids?
Apart from the temptation of any weight lifter getting more jacked, he's also the owner of a supplement company. So the more people who idolize him, the more money he makes. In modern bodybuilding, if you're swole and claim to be ‘natural', it won't be long until you have a fan base in the millions.
So we know that claiming natural could be a unique selling point for Kris, but this doesn't mean he IS taking steroids. He could well be natural, so lets take a look at the real evidence.
Does Kris' body shout out steroids?
There's a few things that look a bit iffy when you look at Kris Gethin's body.
The first thing that looks off is Kris' abs. A steroid-user will often develop very thick abdominal muscles. If we compare the thickness of Kris' abs against a proven natty like Rob Riches, we see there's a big difference.
In the above picture Kris Gethin's abs are a lot thicker than Rob's.
It's also worth pointing out that these 2 bodybuilders are of a similar size. When they're both ripped and contest ready they both weigh around 185lbs. Kris is 2 inches smaller than Rob, so he looks a little more muscular as he's carrying the same weight on a smaller frame.
Rob Riches is well-known for his frequent rigorous ab workouts, as well as performing big compound lifts, which will also strengthen/thicken his core.
So it's unlikely that Kris will be doing more core work than Rob; if anything he'll be doing less.
Another sign of steroid-use is a blocky and bloated midsection. This is different to a steroid gut.
If you've got a steroid-gut your belly will protrude from the bottom of your abdomen. When you're bloated your whole midsection sticks out.
Natty's often have a very tight midsection which they can vacuum easily, like Jeff Seid. Guys on steroids will find it much harder to suck in their stomach's due to steroids enlarging the organs and extra water retention.
Kris Gethin can often be seen with this bloated-look to his abs (see below).
The above picture is of Kris Gethin and 6x Mr Olympia champion Dorian Yates.
Dorian Yates was known to be taking a cocktail of steroids in the 90's including: dianabol, anavar, primobolon, testosterone, deca durabolin and human growth hormone (3).
As a result he looked very bloated, similar to what Kris Gethin looks like in this picture next to him.
We can see Kris' abs in this picture so we know that he's at a low body fat percentage, despite having this bloated look.
It's interesting to see what federations a bodybuilder has competed in, especially when they claim to be natural. This is because there are federations who conduct several rigorous tests to weed out any drug-users from their shows. Such credible organisations will perform various tests at random times including:
- A polygraph (lie detector)
- A urine test
- A blood test
When these are conducted at random, it'd be almost impossible to pass all of these and be on steroids.
Any federation which doesn't test bodybuilders at random, aren't legit natural federations because a user can stop taking certain steroids in time for a scheduled test so the compounds can pass out of their system.
On Kris Gethin's bodybuilding profile it says he's competed in two ‘natural' bodybuilding competitions, being the Natural Idaho Championships and the Natural World Bodybuilding Championships. Thus we can assume he passed their tests.
However it states on both of the federation's websites that they only require you to be steroid-free for the last 7 years. So you could be juicing for 20 years then come off for 7 years and win these ‘natural' shows (4)(5).
To our knowledge Kris Gethin has not competed in any life-time drug free bodybuilding shows. This does raise the question as to why he hasn't chose to compete in federations which require you to be a lifetime drug-free bodybuilder such as the BNBF.
Here's a couple of transformation pictures of Kris Gethin when he was younger compared to how he looks like today.
We can assume that Kris has already been lifting weights in the before photo for a good period of time, as he's performing these bodybuilding poses (well).
And we know that once you've experienced your newbie gains, your potential for muscle growth is very small. Natural bodybuilders make virtually all of their gains in the first few months of training, then make slow and small gains from thereafter.
However, in these photos Kris looks to have gained a good 50-60lbs of lean muscle AFTER he's likely to have experienced his newbie gains. This much growth is abnormal for a natural bodybuilder.
Based on the evidence it seems like Kris Gethin could have taken steroids at some point in his life.
One likely scenario is that Kris took steroids from an early age helping him gain a tonne of muscle, then stopped taking them and trained his butt off to keep most of his steroid gains. Then he could've competed in the two natural federations which require you to be 7 years drug-free (which he would've been at the time).
His bloated and thick midsection, combined with him gaining 50-60lbs of muscle after he started lifting, are two crucial pieces of evidence for him taking steroids.
From a geographical perspective this verdict may not be surprising to some, as Kris is Welsh, and 7/10 people who go to ‘heavy lifting gyms' in Wales are on the juice (6).
Possible Steroids Taken:
Test and D-Bol when taken in good doses can create this thick waist which Kris has. Both of these steroids are also capable in gaining large amounts of lean muscle and bringing out the deltoids and traps in particular (two muscles which stand out on Kris).
HGH when mixed with insulin can also cause a mild steroid gut, which Kris has a mild case of.
The fact Kris might've taken drugs doesn't take anything away from his work rate or his exceptional knowledge, which has helped millions of bodybuilders transform their bodies all around the globe. Also you can't just take steroids and look like Kris, you need to back that up with a relentless work rate in the gym and smart nutrition behind the scenes…whilst other gym rats are gorging their faces with Cheetos and Twinkies.
I also believe Kris Gethin's transformations which have gained lots of popularity online…(going from a fat mere mortal of a man, to a ripped beast in just 12 weeks) are legit and have been done without the use of steroids. His transformation reminds me of Jamie Alderton's one (but in a shorter time period).
All Kris is doing here is burning fat and retaining the muscle he already had. This can give the illusion that he's gained a load of muscle because he's becoming more toned, but that's not the case. You don't need steroids to torch fat and keep your muscle in tact – that comes with smart dieting and a solid workout plan.