True Natural Bodybuilding

About Me

a true natural bodybuilder

My name is Jos. I am a TRUE natural bodybuilder, which basically means that I have NEVER used ANY performance enhancing drugs or unnatural sports supplements in my life. I currently have more than 38 years of experience with true natural bodybuilding, and I have never participated in any bodybuilding contest.

I have a master's degree in physics and one in computer sciences. I obtained my Ph.D. in the field of biophysics/biochemistry. I have worked a couple of years in an investment bank as financial and technological analyst of pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and as a stock fund manager of pharma and biotech companies. Currently I work since 2003 in one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies of the world, where I am happy to contribute to the development of new medicines for all kinds of serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, HIV, hepatitis C, etc.

The Early Years

I was born in the year that Arnold Schwarzenegger won his third Mr. Olympia contest. I came to the world at a mind blowing body weight of 9 lbs ripped (well, "ripped" may be slightly exaggerated ;-) ). Before I started true natural bodybuilding, I have been practicing judo for about 8 years. From childhood on, I always wanted to be the strongest and most muscular man of the world, and I was convinced that I would get there one day (at the age of 8, I didn't know about the existence of Arnold yet ;-) ). I probably started doing some simple strength exercises such as sit-ups and push-ups already before I started practicing judo at the age of 8.

Soon, however, I realized that judo was not going to make from me the strongest and most muscular man of the world. I needed something else, dumbbells. It took me till the age of 14 before I was successful in convincing my parents that they should allow me to buy a pair of dumbbells. Since that day on I started to work out like crazy, six days per week, over 2 hours per day. My goal was clear, and nothing was going to stop me.

natural bodybuilders

I started growing, and it didn't take long before I needed bigger dumbbells. Fortunately, my father was working in a steel company, and wanted to help me out. Soon my bedroom was completely filled with steel dumbbells and I was literally sleeping between them. In the mean time I had been watching any video and reading any book about bodybuilding that I could find. I probably watched Arnold Schwarzenegger's Pumping Iron more than a dozen times.

young natural bodybuilder

At the age of 18, when I entered university, my parents allowed me for the first time to go to a real gym. Luckily for me, Gold's Gym Hasselt, probably one of the better hard core gyms Belgium has ever had, was only 4 miles away from home. Studying physics at the university and going to the gym 5 times per week was a tough combination. But "when the going gets tough, the tough gets going", and I was getting some very good results at university and in the gym. The muscles grew, and the boy became stronger, squatting 10 reps with 120 kg (265 lbs) and benching 10 reps with 100 kg (220 lbs), at a body weight of about 87 kg (192 lbs) and 183 cm (6 feet) tall, after only 4 months.

Life was becoming too bright and fate turned itself against me. The heavy leg workouts took revenge and I got a severe lower back injury, a spinal disc herniation, about the worst injury you can get as a weight lifter.

Life after the Lower Back Injury

Many doctor visits and a major depression later, the conclusion of the medical professionals was clear and unanimous: I would never be able to lift weights again. As my lower back injury was so debilitation that I could hardly walk for months, I decided to change my dumbbells for a darts board. I learned to live the life of a lower back patient and avoided any stress on my spine, because any wrong movement caused the pain to return.

Two years and a half later, at the age of 21, I coincidently read somewhere that 8 times Mr. Olympia Lee Haney was going to give a seminar in a gym at walking distance of where I lived at that time. I decided to attend the seminar. The next day I bought my first new gym membership since my back injury 2.5 years ago. As my lower back was still very vulnerable, I decided for the rest of my life only to do those exercises that put no stress on my intervertebral discs, and today I am still loyal to that decision. I also changed my focus from heavy weights to intense muscle contraction, and experienced that this actually works very well for me.

true natural bodybuilder most muscular

Although I missed two and a half of my best years (I believe that 18 till 26 are the most productive years to build muscle as a true natural athlete, because your natural testosterone levels are at their maximum in those years), it took less than 6 months of training to pass my previous level and cross the psychological barrier of 90 kg (200 lbs) of bodyweight. I gradually improved, and by the age of 25 I reached my peak condition as a true natural bodybuilder. Today, more than 15 years later, I can fairly say that I am still in the best condition of my life.

When I am in my best condition, and that is about all year round unless I didn't work out for a while because of one reason or the other, my body weight is about 100 kg (220 lbs) at a length of 183 cm (6 feet) and a body fat percentage of about 12%. This corresponds with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or a Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI) of 26. My arms are about 49 cm (19"), my legs 68 cm (27"), my calves 45 cm (18"), my waist is 80 cm (31"), and my chest 122 cm (48"). I have never tried to get my body fat percentage below 10% because I don't compete, and because I think 12% is quite a good number for a true natural bodybuilder to look okay and at the same time provide the body with enough energy to allow intense workouts and to promote muscle growth.

natural bodybuilder

The photos of me that you find on this website are obviously unaltered. Most photos are taken at the age of 35 or later, except the back shot on the home page, which was taken at the age of 25. All photos were taken without pumping up. I've made a slide show of some of my photos and the most recent pictures you find in my photo blog.

Would my physique have been much better today if I had never had my severe back injury? How would my physique have been evolved if I had taken the decision to start using doping (anabolic steroids, growth hormone, insulin)? Unfortunately, we will never know the answers to these questions.

Jos from TNBB