Mike Thurston: Natural or on Steroids?

big arms steroids

Mike Thurston is a 26 year old English bodybuilder and personal trainer from Leeds, who started attracting eyeballs on Instagram back in 2013; where he began uploading pictures of his ripped physique. He’s also an EHP labs sponsored athlete, promoting the same supplements as Josef Rakich and Jaco De Bruyn.

Mike Thurston’s stats:

Height: 6 ft

Weight: 205-215lbs

Mike’s a bit different to the average bodybuilder on Are They On Steroids , because he openly admits to having consumed a lot of alcohol in his early lifting years at university.

…yet his body still responded immensely.

This is similar to Anton Antipov who also had great ‘drunken’ gains.

So is it possible for a bodybuilder to get jacked whilst consuming large volumes of alcohol, or is Mike’s gains the result of using anabolic steroids?

No Steroid Symptoms

Mike Thurston has a big and thick build, but nothing on him stands out as artificial looking.

His traps and shoulders are in proportion to other muscles; and he’s not overly dry/shredded, except for when he’s prepping for a competition.

Although he has a good level of vascularity, it isn’t excessive to the point where he looks like a human roadmap. These are perfectly reasonable veins for a natty.


Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish whether someone’s got gifted genetics or their juicing.

However, it’s easier to decipher how good a bodybuilders genetics are – based on how they looked during puberty. If they looked fairly average during their adolescent years, then they get huge at 25…you know they’ve been on the sauce.

But if a person’s jacked long before they’ve even touched a weight, it’s clear they’ve got some badass muscle-building DNA running through their veins.

We saw this with Mike O’Hearn – where he practically looked like a monster at 14 years of age.

Thanks to a video that Mike shared on YouTube, we can see a few pictures of his muscles evolving over the years. 

The picture below is of Mike Thurston aged…

Get ready for it…


mike thurston aged 10

Yes, Mike Thurston was more ripped at 10 years old than most grown men down your local gym.

…and he wasn’t even lifting weights at this time.

Warning: if your calves are severely lagging because they’re ridiculously stubborn, you might not want to look at the bottom half of this picture for too long; because there’s a decent chance Mike Thurston’s 10 year old calves are bigger than yours.

Gains Timeline

Mike said he first started lifting weights regularly in his first year of University, aged 18. This is what he looked like then (after 1 year of training):

mike thurston natty

He mentions that he was still drinking 3-4 times a week and partying hard during this first year, however we can see that his arm/shoulders have still responded exceptionally well, despite Mike’s less than optimal nutrition.

During his second year of training Mike mentions that he was drinking a lot less and lifting even more than before, which you can see in the picture below:

mike thurston young

He’s added more thickness and size, with his arms looking more jacked than the previous year.

These do look like natural gains. If he had been taking steroids during this time, his arms would’ve blown up a lot more than this. These gradual gains are normal for natural bodybuilders to experience, especially when you’re still new to the gym scene, and you’ve cut out catabolic substances such as alcohol.

Here’s a before/after picture of Mike’s 6 year progress:

mike thurston transformation

We can see that he looks considerably better in the second photo (as he’s prepping for a comp), however his muscle size is more or less the same. It’s very common for natty guys to experience little growth after their initial newbie gains, which is what’s happened here with Mike.

This transformation picture is another good example of how much better your muscles can look if you’re more shredded.

…And have a sweet tan.

Competition History 

Mike Thurston has competed in the WBFF in the past, which doesn’t give us any further evidence as to whether he’s on steroids or not. This is because the WBFF doesn’t have a drug testing page or policy on their official website, leaving us to assume that no drug testing takes place with this federation.

You could question this and say,

“Well if he’s natty why doesn’t he compete in the BNBF or UKBFF – which are strict, natural, UK-based federations”.

Firstly, only a fraction of the bodybuilding community troll Mike saying he’s on steroids, which pales in comparison to the hate guys like Simeon Panda or Donte Franklin get. So the motivation for him to prove his natty status will be small.

Secondly, many bodybuilders choose which federation to compete in based on the exposure and monetary gains they will receive as a result of entering certain comps. The WBFF for example is one of the most popular federations in the world for fitness models. Thus taking part opens up the possibility of gaining new sponsors, increasing your fan base and ultimately making more money from doing what you love.

Verdict: Natural

It’s clear that Mike Thurston was destined to be jacked, which was obvious to see even from the age of 10.

Mike has some epic genetics that he’s fully taken advantage of, quitting his partying days and turning his passion into a full-time profession; with his online personal training business.

Mike has no trace of steroids whatsoever in his gains timeline, or any visual signs present on his body, making this verdict an easy one.

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Ernst Peibst

Ernst Peibst | Writer

Ernst Peibst is an expert in anabolic steroids and PEDs with over 3,000 hours of research. He's been educating people for 7 years through his articles, written after studying science papers, expert books and consulting top doctors in the field. He is a former bodybuilder and creator of multiple fitness websites.

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Nickolas wallace
Nickolas wallace
2 years ago

Mike Thurston is not natural I checked and there has been steroid use. I do not believe genetics is a key genetic don’t have that much power . I don’t have either of mine so how does that work

2 years ago

And your also worng he is not natural and he is in his 30s not 26

John Sunny
John Sunny
2 years ago

Look at his bald head at mid 20s and you know why….a big sign of long term use of steroids

King julie
King julie
2 years ago

Do one on ronnie Coleman…the biggest natural bodybuilder

Mike thtrsuton
Mike thtrsuton
10 months ago

hes 100 % on steroids

Mike thtrsuton
Mike thtrsuton
10 months ago

Bit weird you creeping on his 10 year old pics

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