Hollywood actors have always come under intense scrutiny regarding the use of steroids. Achieving godlike bodies for superhero and action roles seems impossible to the average citizen, but for actors, who have all the time in world to devote to their craft, it’s just another day at the park.
This doesn’t mean that every actor, whether male or female, is always up to the task, though. It takes a grueling workout regimen, strict dieting, and a superimposed will for actors to turn their bodies into superhero-sculpted masterpieces. However, you can’t blame the public for being suspicious about steroid use in Hollywood either, since it’s been an issue in the past. Much like the game of baseball, you can’t assume that, just because a player is performing above the norm, they’re cheating.
The conversation of steroids isn’t going away anytime soon, which is a good thing. In reversing the trends of the past, actors have stepped up to the challenge. We’ve compiled a list of men and women who you might be quick to judge for steroid use at first, but have proven that the results they achieved were completely natural.
From former surfers and singers to lifelong martial arts fighters, here are the 16 Actors Who Look Like They’re Using Steroids (But Actually Aren’t).
16 Terry Crews
The former NFL player, actor, and host to Netflix Ultimate Beastmaster, Terry Crews is the genuine real deal. Crews never misses a workout ─ ever. It’s easy to jump to the conclusion he got this way using steroids, or that he does it simply for the look, but Crews has a much deeper reason for his passion.
In discussing his daily routine, Crews talks about what happened after he retired from the NFL: “When I retired from the NFL. You have – there’s a depression that happens because you’re not an athlete anymore. And I spent about a few months not working out. And my mood, my attitude, everything about me was down. Once I got back in the gym, it literally changed.”
“I never stopped working out again, and it’s been — it’s literally my lifeblood," he said.
Crews naturally uses his massive physique as an advantage when landing Hollywood roles, but we’re pretty sure he’d continue to hit the gym no matter what job he’s doing.
15 Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel has been pumping the iron ever since he went by the name Mark Sinclair Vincent. For the last 27 years he’s been putting those muscles to work in the movie business, landing starring roles in xXx, The Chronicles of Riddick, and the Fast and the Furious franchise.
At 50, he still continues to workout three days a week, but with more of a focus on flexibility instead of building mass and strength. While he admitted to smoking pot “back in the day” on Leno five years ago, Diesel has always spoken out against steroid use and is adamant about never using them.
The drama he recently had with Dwayne Johnson while on the set of Fast and Furious 8 gave the Rock a chance to tattle on Diesel if he was using steroids ─ but he didn’t, only validating his innocence more.
14 Chris Evans
Chris Evans didn’t accomplish his superhero physique overnight, the man had large amounts of solid base muscle already before beefing up for the role. Remember him as Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) in the Fantastic Four? However, interesting enough, it wasn’t Evans muscles that sold audiences on Captain America: The First Avenger.
Evans nailed the whole “V” superhero look, along with awesome acting, making Captain America a household superhero name once again. As far as his build goes, the man works out almost all the time to keep his ripped look. Even on his two rest days, he generally does cardio.
Rumors have been floating around that Evans' days as Captain America are numbered, but don’t worry ─ Evans looks to be hanging around Hollywood for the long-haul.
13 Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee (Lee Jun-fan) is the most influential martial arts artist of all time regarding American cinema. Besides being able to take down dozens of men with his lightning fast moves, Lee was ripped from head to toe. Obsessed with working out and training constantly, Lee wanted to achieve perfection in everything he did.
His death at 32 years old was shocking, but had nothing to do with steroid use as some have tried to claim. After mass media attention and drama surrounding his death, it was ruled that he had an allergic reaction to pain medicine he took for his diagnosis of cerebral edema (excess fluid in the brain, which caused headaches).
Sadly, martial art fans can only wonder what Lee would’ve gone on to accomplish. Though his memory and achievements will always be honored.
12 Zoe Saldana
If you thought women walked into comic book roles without beefing their muscles up, then you’re completely mistaken. The gorgeous Zoe Saldana can pose for the red carpet, but as we saw in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, she can kick some butt too.
However, Guardians wasn’t her first sci-fi beefed up character, and it won’t be her last. Saldana was Lieutenant Uhura in the Star Trek movies, and will return as Neytiri for the upcoming Avatar films.
Despite suffering from autoimmune disease, Saldana manages through it by eating clean foods and avoiding training that is too hard-core for her body accept. She pulls off the build she needs to make these characters come to life on the big screen through lots of floor work, power yoga, and a steady routine of cardio.
11 Jason Statham
Jason Statham has got more than his English accent going for him. He has landed himself in movies like The Italian Job, Transporter, and several Fast and Furious flicks. The British man of charm will be the first to admit that he doesn’t have a set daily routine for staying ripped.
In talking about his workout philosophy Statham said: “I can’t say, yeah, I run 3 times a week, lift weights twice, and go swimming once just to change it up. That doesn’t apply. My workout is constantly changing, which for me is the best thing in the world because variety is what keeps me interested.”
He's also a sucker for good beer, which doesn’t help him stay in shape, so Statham does his best to eat clean and avoid what he calls “s**t fried food.”
10 Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman has been strenuously attacked for using steroids in creating his signature Logan look for the X-Men franchise. However, Jackman hooked up with trainer David Kingsbury after coming off his performance in Les Miserables. Kingsbury says that, despite Jackman looking “normal,” he had a great foundation of lean muscle, which they used to their advantage to create the Wolverine look we all know today.
Jackman put Wolverine to rest this past year with his final film Logan at the age of 48 ─ and we don’t blame him. Jackman took on the everyday workout regimen to accomplish his and the studios' goals in a natural and organic manner without complaining, but he’s getting a bit old to maintain that pace now. Jackman is ready to return to doing other roles.
9 Jet Li
Whereas some actors need to buff up extra for certain movie roles, Jet Li has been training for what he does since the age of eight. Martial arts is in his blood, as Li won his first national championship in Wushu (Chinese combat arts) at the age of 11. He would go on to win five gold medals and be crowned the Gold Champion during the Chinese martial arts competition.
His first movie was The Shaolin Temple, and he would go on to make his Hollywood debut in Lethal Weapon 4. Chinese kung-fu training is notorious for its extreme training measures. Fighters train in order to toughen bones and joints, as well as kill nerve endings so that they can strike without feeling pain.
Li also enjoys playing badminton in his free time, which is provides him with a cardio workout.
8 Alexander Skarsgård
From vampire to Tarzan, Alexander Skarsgård took on the challenge to become the man raised by apes in the jungle. The task didn’t come easy to the Swedish born actor, though, who had been previously playing a womanizing vampire on True Blood.
By training and conditioning for over 8 months, Skarsgård pulled off what many thought was impossible without the aid of steroids. “I’ve never seen anyone more hardworking," said his trainer, Magnus Lygdbäck. "I had to force him to take days off sometimes. He was eating food out of a box for about eight months, and not a drop of alcohol.”
While The Legend of Tarzan didn’t perform that well in the box-office, Skarsgård has certainly proved that he’ll do whatever it takes physically to make a role successful.
7 Jennifer Lopez
We couldn’t have a list about actors beefing up without including the infamous Jennifer Lopez. The 48-year-old singer and actor has maintained the same rock solid body since her debut single "If You Had My Love" in 1999.
Lopez and her trainer David Kirsch focus on full body workouts due to her crazy schedule, along with a regime of clean eating that Lopez says she’s been doing since her childhood days.
Kirsch recently said in an interview: “She’s very connected to her body, and she’s got crazy discipline. And I’m not just saying that — it’s a pleasure to work with someone who is as dialed into her overall wellness as Jennifer is. When she shows up and I get 500 percent. There’s no phoning in the workout.”
J. Lo is a great example of a strong woman in our modern day society, and we hope to see more examples of women like her in Hollywood.
6 Matthew McCaughey
As the creator of the "alright, alright, alright" philosophy, Matthew McConaughey relies on cardio activities like running and biking to stay in shape. However, he’s not afraid to hit the heavy weights when he needs to bulk up for a Hollywood role.
McConaughey looks amazing considering the fact that he’s 47 years old. “It’s always been a lifestyle,” he said. “Then it became something that was like, ‘Hey, it’s also good for my job.’ I’m not a professional athlete, but I have a job where I like to look good and be as healthy as possible.”
McConaughey doesn’t mess around when it comes to looking good. He’s a versatile actor who can step into any role thrown his way. Heck, maybe we’ll get to see an American whiskey drinking James Bond someday with McConaughey as the lead.
5 Matt Damon
From Dogma to the Bourne franchise, Matt Damon works extremely hard to maintain his solid physique. His daily workouts with trainer Jason Walsh include 300 push-ups, single-leg squats with 125-pound dumbbells in each hand, and sled reps.
According to Damon, "You have to look like you've suffered. And the only way to do that is to suffer."
Despite being done with the role of Jason Bourne, Damon continues to work with his trainer to maintain the solid build he’s accomplished over the last 15 years. His career, however, much like Mark Wahlberg's, is leaning towards being a producer rather than actor.
Who knows, though, maybe he’ll team up with Ben Affleck again once he officially retires as Batman. With his build and brains, the possibility of what he could achieve is endless.
4 Chris Pratt
Playing Starlord in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies was a huge opportunity for Chris Pratt. However, it also required him to bulk up in massive ways. Taking to the gym like an NFL combine athlete, Pratt shocked the world by quickly obtaining his superhero look.
Like Hugh Jackman, Pratt came under heavy attack for using steroids to create his superb physique. However, his achievements were accomplished by tons of hard work and a grueling workout regimen. Through a strict diet plan created by Phil Goglia and daily muscle building from trainer Duffy Gaver, Pratt achieved what others consider impossible.
Pratt has noted in several interviews that he worked very hard to achieve the optimal hero look only to have it covered up with costumes through a majority of the movies. Don’t worry, though, Pratt, we’re sure it was worth it.
3 Hillary Swank
Much like Linda Hamilton, Hillary Swank is one tough lady who isn’t afraid to pack on the muscle when she needs to. Regarding her training for the role in Million Dollar Baby, she said: "My training was two-and-a-half hours of boxing and approximately an hour and a half to two hours lifting weights every day, six days a week."
"The producers asked me to gain 10 pounds of muscle. I gained 19 pounds of muscle," she said. Swank is the example of a woman who can be casted for a variety of different Hollywood roles, breaking down stereotypes and laying the groundwork for a more diverse female casting.
Swank continues a daily regimen of cardio and training, but admits that she doesn’t pound the weights as hard anymore because her body can’t take that kind of regular beating anymore.
2 Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig knew it was time to chisel up when he landed the infamous role of James Bond. Craig took a different approach than his fellow actors towards achieving his look, however, knowing that Bond is more of a GQ spy than a massive superhero vigilante.
By working with ex-marine trainer Simon Waterson, Craig took his already good looking body and sculpted it into the new face of the James Bond legacy. Despite the next James Bond film being his last, there’s been some speculation that he might be interested in stepping into some kind of superhero role.
Considering the fact that he hasn’t slacked off at all regarding his daily training and heavy workout routine, we’d love to see Craig shift from spy to superhero or villain status.
1 Chris Hemsworth
Stepping up to play Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn’t as easy for Chris Hemsworth as his casual personality might suggest. With the upcoming The Avengers: Infinity War and Thor: Ragnarok, Hemsworth has fit in perfectly with the Thor character that Marvel intended to produce.
Hemsworth actually started off as a surfer, so he already had a mass a lean muscle to expand on. However, his body needed to be put through grueling workouts to achieve what we see on screen today. Such strenuous daily tasks include squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and boxing training in order to keep Hemsworth at the top of his game without the use of steroids.
With Ragnarok being the final movie in the Thor trilogy, there might be a shift happening in the MCU which could lead to less Thor in the future.
Can you think of any other buff actors or actresses who've never used steroids? Let us know in the comments.