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Hey there! If you are on this page, you might be wondering whether the famous fitness YouTuber Merijn is still natural or not.
Indeed, when looking at his Instagram, you may notice something has changed. I am going to cut it short for you, this fitness YouTuber has announced himself that he is not natural anymore! So, why make this article if it has already been revealed?
I think it’s important to look at the impact this kind of thing has on the fitness industry. It’s a good example of someone being open about their use and discussing the effects it has had on them.
Merijn is allowed to do what he wants and this article is about what the rest of us can take from it – from his own words, to the fitness industry at large, to what budding bodybuilders should do.
Basically, if you’re into fitness industry controversial topics, this article is for you!
One of the long-term dangers of steroids and other PEDs is how their use by successful, visible people impacts the next generation. Most of the people watching bodybuilder videos on YouTube – especially the content of guys like Merijn – are in their late teens and 20s.
That’s a time when the body is still going through a lot and the temptation to get massive and shredded on gear is high. I think we all want to be Arnold in our early years.
YouTube influencers are the new celebrities for a lot of younger bodybuilding fans and there are some interesting changes to what that means for the fitness industry.
The important thing first: what’s going on with Merijn?
Merijn mentions in his video that he is doing testosterone replacement therapy. Basically, the doses he’s using are lower than what a usual steroid cycle is but is also enough to increase his levels significantly. (Still, TRT can be quite a lot of extra testosterone compared to the low/average levels).
TRT is a doctor-controlled form of steroid use that is often used for those with naturally low levels of testosterone. Merijn notes that his own TRT is the result of depressive phases and other low-testosterone symptoms, and that it’s a medical therapy.
He’s also cut down in his bodybuilding life more than once and this might have had an impact on his natural testosterone levels. He thought out after reflecting, that TRT was the good choice for him.
Each time I go to YouTube, I see a lot of comments thanking the athletes for being honest about their performance-enhancing drug use.
I think that’s important – we’re all tired of hearing influencers lie about being natural to keep sponsorships from products that didn’t get them big. On the other hand, nobody talks about how TRT and other forms of discussion about steroids happen in the fitness community.
Revealing that you are not natural to your audience can also have a negative impact to the fitness community, here’s why:
Imagine that you have built a massive audience over the years online. Picture having 200,000 people following you, or even a million, just like a lot of YouTubers do.
What will happen once your fans who have been buying your products and love you learn that you decided to take steroids or “simply” go on TRT? We can assume that a minority of them will want to follow their idol. A minority, that’s not much.
But when it is even 0.5% of 200,000 people, that is still 1000 people. About a thousand people who might decide to buy SARMS or steroids, or do TRT replacement because they could be new to the gym, misinformed, or merely following in their hero’s footsteps.
It’s easy to see how changes in the life of one person could trigger countless impressionable young men (mostly) to follow in his footsteps and look for any way to get that same edge.
People should be responsible for themselves, therefore, it’s hard to blame the influencer for revealing his non-natural status. But I would say it’s not as simple as that.
The increasing availability of steroids and SARMS on the market and their treatment as “half-natty” really show how keen the community is on these compounds. Honesty is one thing, but it’s a problem when the rest of the culture is about glorifying their use – even in a tongue-in-cheek way.
Should have steroids in the first place become that popular?
Are they as safe as some fitness authorities pretend them to be…?
Haven’t we all had life periods where we’ve been influenced to an extent?
Now, Merijn as he explained might have had his very personal reasons to do so. The thing is, people watching this going through depression might then want to do the same.
Is depression a good enough reason to do TRT at a young age? Certainly not without the guidance of a doctor – and we need to have those conversations about the role of PEDs in long-term health.
Will the regular check-ins be enough to prevent the dangers that TRT represent? That’s also very doubtful. It’s important to remember that Merijjn’s experience is also associated with a “last resort” form of supplementation – he’s likely to be on TRT. For the rest of his life. There will be medical consequences to that and, while I hope it works out great for his mental and physical health, we’re all quick to forget the risks when it’s TRT, rather than steroid abuse.
Doctors are hesitant to prescribe testosterone for a reason!
We have seen many bodybuilders before who did regular check-ins and blood tests still lose their life suddenly. Just because it is only low testosterone levels injected does not diminish the danger of injecting. Looking at Merijn’ pictures, he definitely looks different than before.
At the end of the day, Merijn might thrive all his life very well without any health consequences, and I really hope so.
What I want to see is a mature response to this kind of problem. It’s a medical therapy and the gains look good, but it’s also important to remember the medical consequences that come from TRT and remember that it’s not a good thing for everyone to start injecting testosterone.
There are risks to Merijn’s health that have to be considered and are between him and his doctor. We can all look and see the positive changes, but the internal medical change isn’t so easy to see.
There are many studies letting us know that TRT isn’t as safe as it might sound. But there are many others which also highlight the benefits of TRT.
Looking at this article from Harvard, they highlight that the long term consequences can be dangerous even for people who start their treatment with low testosterone. This other study says that TRT can be both beneficial and dangerous to the patient with low testosterone.
Beneficial because the person will have higher testosterone, but also likely to cause some negative side-effects due to drastic changes in hormone levels. In my opinion, genetics will then play a massive role from one another and we can’t prevent factors like sleeping diseases occurring along the way.
I do believe out of common sense that you can’t be cheating your body for too long even on TRT. The lifestyle you lead and your genetics will interact with TRT – just like any other medication – and it’s important to be careful and remember that it is supposed to be a medical problem-solving: it’s not just about bigger lats.
Steroids are becoming very popular. Maybe because people who take them haven’t had many issues yet, they will generally be young and more resistant to the drugs or have the right genetics to thrive for decades. They are carrying long-term changes, however, that can’t always be undone.
Those people then usually are the ones who become famous in the industry and the ones who fit those standards. The influence then comes from them and goes into the hears of the average gym-goer.
Remember: watching influencers on Instagram and bodybuilders and fitness models only shows you the successful side of PED use. For every gymshark athlete that’s living the dream because they’re juiced up, there are 100s of people paying for their PED use with their health and cash, month on month.
We will then probably hear that it is possible to “do it the right way”. That’s true for them, but not necessarily for everyone else! It is not safe for the average person out there. There is no safe way to take steroids or TRT if you weren’t meant for it. There are some ways to make it safer, but it’s always a serious event – even when administered by a doctor.
Others will thrive for a few years telling their friends that it’s ok to take steroids, but then things might start going downhill for them, too. By the time they realise the side-effects, it’s too late for them and their friends have already started.
This is basically what I have felt has been happening for the past few years, spending quite a lot of time in the gyms. And it keeps becoming more common. Social media takes a huge part in that with everyone usually only showing the best side of things, it’s easy to think steroids aren’t that harmful.
I’m no data scientist, but these graphs are alarming, and that is from google trends.
One terrible thing about SARMs is that they’re legit sold as “natural” supplements in shops.
That’s super worrying because – no surprise – they’re not natural supplements. The term androgen-receptor modulator should give that away.
And while this trend keeps growing, no one is really saying much about it. We hear more about athletes asking for steroids to be legalised than real awareness about the danger of these drugs. Maybe I’m right, maybe I am wrong, but I believe these are more dangerous than some people say – especially the PEDs used in the bodybuilding world.
Can we compare cannabis, alcohol and steroids and say we should legalise steroids? I would say steroids are more dangerous than what a lot of people say, but what’s your opinion?
I think it’s good to end this article by respecting Merijn’s choice to take performance-enhancing drugs, specifically if it is genuinely for medical purposes. It’s important to remember why he is taking them – to treat even worse mental health concerns – and not glamourise what should be a conversation between one man and his doctor.
But I hope that everyone takes his advice seriously: do not follow him on this path unless you’ve thought about it more than a hundred times!