Is Bryson Dechambeau on steroids?


If you were to take a look at Bryson Dechambeau before he went on a protein shake chugging spree and the after Bryson who gained approximately 30 to 40 pounds you might think they are completely different people. Gaining so much weight and muscle that quickly is a herculean task for anyone and has left some with the burning question- did Bryson Dechambeau take steroids? Is that what has allowed Bryson to hit monstrous drives such as the one below at Bay Hill’s sixth? I will provide what I believe to be the answer to that question and it might not be what you think.

Lets talk muscle

There are some wild claims that people make as to how much muscle they have put on in a short time frame. Or for that matter how many fitness and muscle building magazines will have claims such as “gain 30 pounds of muscle in just one month” or “gain 2 pounds of muscle in your biceps from just one workout”. I hate to be a downer but those claims are simply bogus and are not physiologically possible even for those on steroids or performance enhancing drugs. For reference Bryson claims to have gained about 30 pounds during the 2019-2020 offseason from 195 to 225 pounds which will have taken him several months. Bryson is now listed at 240 pounds and so has packed on even more muscle mass.

Realistic Muscle Gain

There is ample evidence which suggests those new to lifting can gain 1-4 pounds of muscle in a month. Novice lifters will quickly lose their “newbie gains” however and after a few months will only be able to gain 1-2 pounds per month. This might sound depressing to those who are new to lifting and want to gain 40 to 50 pounds in a year. I would like to point out that when I and the research say 1-2 pounds per month we are strictly speaking about skeletal muscle and not the other weight which will be gained such as adipose tissue (fat), water weight, and miscellaneous other sources of weight gain such as increased glycogen stores. So while you may only be able to gain 1 to 2 pounds of skeletal muscle you will likely be putting on much more weight through an increase in fat and water weight and can easily gain 3 to 6 pounds a month depending on your diet and intensity.

Was Bryson’s weight gain possible naturally?

Bryson’s weight and muscle gain is 100% able to be achieved naturally and without any performance enhancing drugs. While I am not sure that Bryson has directly said himself that he has gained 30 or 40 pounds of muscle many news articles and publications like to say that phrase instead of the more accurate that he has gained 30 to 40 pounds. Gaining 30 to 40 pounds of actual skeletal muscle mass in the timeframe Bryson did would have been impossible naturally however it would have been possible with performance enhancing drugs. Now gaining 30 to 40 pounds with maybe 16 to 18 pounds of that being actual muscle and the rest being fat, water weight, etc… is entirely plausible in that time frame. There is zero chance that Bryson put on that much weight with it all being muscle. If you look at his before and after pictures you will notice that he definitely put on a lot of muscle but there is a decent amount of adipose tissue as well. Combine that with the water weight and you can easily see how he could have gained 30 to 40 pounds without steroids. Another consideration is that those who take steroids have that “steroid look to them” with veins bulging everywhere which Bryson does not have at all.

So how would Bryson have done it?

With the nickname the scientist, Bryson has and always is looking for ways to take his game to the next level whether it be gaining strength and muscle or trying a 48 inch driver. While some may not like Bryson’s dogged and scientific approach to the game as it takes away from that natural feel no-one can deny his work ethic. Bryson is often one of the first to arrive at the golf course and one of the last to leave. His training has been no different. Bryson reports he works out on a daily basis and at night-time which allows him to rest and than train or play golf the next day. When you combine Bryson’s bull-dogged stubbornness to find ways to improve no matter what and combine it with having the best trainers, nutrition, and performance team I am not surprised in the slightest that he was able to gain the muscle and size he did. If you have ever seen Bryson during a press conference a protein shake won’t be too far away. In order to have gained and now maintain that amount of muscle, Bryson has to consume a large amount of protein per day. For someone as busy as he is this is much easier to do with protein shakes. Check out this article on Do you need Protein for Golf? for more information on the importance of protein and a list of good options. Another less known supplement at least in the golf world is creatine. Although it sounds scary I would recommend you read this article- Should you take Creatine for Golf? to dispel some of the myths and see how it might actually boost your game.

So did he take steroids?

I would bet the farm that Bryson has never taken steroids or any other performance enhancing drugs for that matter and believe he is and has been 100% natural. The doubters and naysayers likely don’t want to hear that as they want to find a chink in Bryson’s armor. The fact is that if you follow a well designed weight training program with proper nutrition what Bryson accomplished is entirely possible. Being strong and developing the power necessary to hit long drives has not always been at the forefront for golf however with Bryson showing just how advantageous it can be I think a new breed of golfers will begin to climb the leaderboards.

Won’t he just injure himself?

Won’t all that extra muscle mass increase his risk for injury? If you go on any YouTube video on Bryson or popular article where there is a comment section it won’t take you long to find comments that Bryson only has a couple years in him due to his size and that he is due for an injury. These are simply false claims. There is ample research which suggests that increased muscle mass and strength prevent injury. Increased strength and size through proper weight training will increase tendon, ligament, and muscle strength as well as bone density which all contribute to injury prevention. Bryson has also taken a cue from the long drive world and will lift as well as pivot his left foot during the mid swing and follow through which decreases stress on the left knee joint and to a lesser extent the thoracic and lumbar spine. These are advancements in the knowledge of body mechanics which golfers such as Tiger Woods did not have and may have contributed to their injuries. Now I am not saying that Bryson will never get injured. The golf swing is a very violent motion and places a tremendous amount of stress on the body. The only 100% proven way to stay injury free is to never play at all. In addition Bryson must ensure he maintains his flexibility and ROM as decreased mobility could increase his risk for injury.

Summary

To summarize I do not believe Bryson has ever taken steroids or any performance enhancing drugs and I think it is a shame that those rumors still exist. I doubt it affects Bryson at all as he seems to be very mentally strong but it takes away from the hard work that he has put in. I believe that Bryson is starting to demonstrate how important being strong and powerful in golf is and that it can have drastic improvements to your golf game. I think this is something the golf community should embrace instead of continuously attack as it will lead to more exciting tournaments, bring more people into the game of golf, and also decrease the injury and pain of golfers.

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