All gain no pain: Does Hollywood have a steroid problem?

How do the world's leading men get superhero abs seemingly overnight? Sometimes it's down to sheer hard work, says Harry Shukman. But sometimes, of course, it's not...

It’s been called the worst-kept secret in Hollywood. How do actors who play superheroes and action hunks get in Zeus-grade shape? How do they get ripped in the space of a few months, and maintain their vascular, zero body-fat physiques over a 90-day shoot? How do they do this well into middle age – fitting in high-intensity workouts twice a day – when the majority of their peers are doing burpees not for cardio but to help their baby grandchildren digest their dinners?

According to the personal trainers hired to whip A-listers into shape, the answer is performance enhancing drugs, or PEDs. Actors of a certain age whose roles depend on being hench are said to keep little vials of PEDs in the fridge, which they will inject into their bellies and thighs to give them an edge in the gym and maintain a toned look of rippling muscles.

Fitness industry professionals who have spoken to the Gentleman’s Journal say a surprising number of Hollywood actors, whose faces and abs will be familiar to you from their heroic roles in ancient battles and intergalactic showdowns, are secretly juicing. The audience might think the actor’s transformation involved a cutting-edge workout plan, long hours in the gym, and the consumption of a zoo’s worth of protein, but these experts say that’s only part of the truth. Call it the magic of cinema — it’s just an illusion.

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