Layne Norton – Steroids or Natural?

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Written By Jonathan Deventer

Did Layne Norton Take Steroids?


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

Disclaimer: This is an objective review based on evidence found online. We can’t guarantee it to be correct.

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 definitely not an average bodybuilder – he’s jacked and he’s a scientist, quite a combination. He is also insanely strong and he has a couple of records to prove it. He 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 body weight.

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

Natty Claim


According to Layne Norton is natural.

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

layne norton steroids

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 just need one look at them to know they are taking something. One could probably guess what they are taking 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 external 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
  • Very 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


If you compare a photo of Layne before he started lifting weights to a recent photo 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 naturally achieve huge gains are usually pretty big even before they start working out. For example, look at Chris Hemsworth. He was very muscular even 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 training. Generally, everybody gets the same amount of muscle with training, some of us just 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 differently. However, although Layne obviously 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, in fact, 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 lbs.

Competition History


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

Obviously, a person could use a whole range of steroids, come off them for 7 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.

Verdict: Layne Norton Probably Used Steroids

Layne Norton has gained over 60lbs of muscle, which is pretty unrealistic for a complete natty. 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 abuse it is most likely that he has used them but in a very smart 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 cycles 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 huge amount of mass it is likely that he has used this steroid at some point in his bodybuilding career.

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