Donte Franklin: Steroids or Natural?

Donte Franklin has recently been hailed as the greatest natural bodybuilder in the world by Generation Iron. Naturally this has caused a huge rise in speculation whether this statement by GI is accurate…or whether Donte is actually secretly juicing.

Everyone has their own opinion, however one thing is for sure – Donte claims to be natural harder than Anthony Joshua throws punches.

To say Donte’s adamant at the fact he’s natural would be an understatement. He’s keen to let all of his followers know that he’s drug-free, referencing it in almost every Instagram post…despite haters constantly trolling his account.

This mentality from Donte is something I’ve always said I’d adopt if I was HUGE and natty. I’d be wanting the whole world to know the truth, especially when you’re being wrongly accused on a daily basis.

Donte Franklin’s stats:

  • Height: 6ft
  • Weight: 215lbs

From these numbers, it’s clear that Donte’s pretty light for such an extremely muscular and tall bodybuilder. Weighing less is something that often correlates with being natural, but lets have a look at some more evidence…

Achievable Size?

Firstly, I’d like to point out that it IS possible to be as big as Donte Franklin without taking steroids. So if you think Donte’s juicing, merely based on the size of his muscles, this isn’t a credible viewpoint.

IFBB pros like Phil Heath are proof of this, based on how big they have looked before taking steroids.

See what Phil Heath looked like as a natty in his younger years below.

phil heath young

IFBB pros like Phil and Kai Greene are genetic freaks when it comes to building muscle, and thus Donte’s genetics could well fall in the same category.

Gains Timeline

Looking at someone’s progress over the years is a sure way to find out whether they’ve taken steroids or not.

Donte says he started lifting weights as early as 12 years old.

Natural guys will build a significant amount of muscle quickly when they first start lifting weights; but after this initial growth spurt, gains will slow down and they’ll stay pretty much the same size from then on.

Donte has uploaded several incredible before/after transformations on his Instagram, enabling us to spy on his gains since he was a teen.

The below picture is a 6 year progress photo of Dante, aged 18 on the left and him now on the right. 

donte franklin steroids

Looking at this photo, you could assume he’s definitely on steroids because he’s got ridiculously bigger…even though he wasn’t a newbie in the first picture on the left.

However, the above picture isn’t a reliable way to compare a person’s gains over the years, because he’s posing in complete different positions. Certain angles can make you look much bigger than you really are…especially when flexing in one picture and not the other.

So, lets take a look at Donte aged 18 vs now in the same position…

Donte Franklin natural transformation

As you can see in this front, relaxed position – Donte’s only a little bigger now compared to what he looked like at 18.

This is realistic progress for a natty, especially as he’s done some aggressive bulks in the offseason, increasing his body fat %, in a bid to put on even more size.

…instead of staying ripped to shreds all year round for the last 8 years.

If he’d taken steroids he would’ve gained approximately 50-80 pounds of muscle, instead of 15-20lbs like he has here. His weight gain correlates to adding approximately 2lbs of muscle each year, which is perfectly possible for a natural to achieve…especially if you’re regularly bulking.

Drug Tested

Donte Franklin has also passed rigorous drug tests from credible natural bodybuilding federations such as the INBA and the NANBF.

These are genuine natty federations that perform strict tests at random throughout the year, keen to expose anyone who’s not a lifetime drug-free bodybuilder. Anyone on steroids who’s trying to keep a ‘natty’ status won’t be seen competing in these shows, due to the well-known accuracy of such tests.

Instead, there are other ‘natural shows’ that do not test randomly and give you the exact date of any tests, meaning enhanced bodybuilders can stop taking certain substances in time for them to clear out of your system.

If you want to compete in INBA or NANBF shows you’ll have to pass any/all of the following tests at any unexpected time:

  • Polygraph (lie detector)
  • Urinalysis (pee in a cup)
  • Voice stress
  • Blood
  • Saliva

Donte has passed these tests when he became the NANBF Novice champion. He apparently only competed in the event to prove a point to people that he is natural. Fair play to him.

You can listen to his interview with the federation below:

Verdict: Natural

Donte was JACKED after finishing puberty at the age of 18. If he took steroids, he would’ve gained a lot more mass over the years; becoming even more swole than he is now.

What Donte currently looks like is what Mr Olympia pros look like before they start juicing. They’re already massive as nattys before they hop on the sauce.

The rigorous drug tests that Donte’s completed with the INBA and NANBF, without ever being flagged, is another crucial piece of evidence.

So it seems like Generation Iron were correct when they hailed Donte as the best natural bodybuilder around…

Donte’s probably the biggest natty bodybuilder I’ve ever analysed on The guy’s simply a genetic beast.

…plus he’s got bicep peaks that would even make Arnold jelly.

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Ernst Peibst

Ernst Peibst has spent over 3,000 hours researching anabolic steroids and PED's. He's also dedicated the last 7 years educating people about their effects, with hundreds of thousands of people reading his articles. He's studied countless science papers, read several expert books and has consulted some of the finest doctors in the world - on the topic of steroids.

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