Did Jean-Claude Van Damme Take Steroids?

Jean-Claude Van Damme has always been an inspiration to many people. He is a martial arts legend and an action icon. Because of his ideal male physique, he is often compared to actors like Arnold and other action heroes from the 70s. His extraordinary muscles prompted a more streamlined and achievable look for average males to aspire from. The inspiring muscle mass of Van Damme got him many on-screen roles as an action hero. However, fans and critics often question, did Jean-Claude Van Damme take steroids or his muscular physique is self-made.

Although he is athletic and lean, many people still wonder whether he built his physique naturally or not. We are obviously not going to know exactly what the answer is but we are going to speculate in a logical manner. To keep things fair, we’d have a look at both sides of the coin. The final verdict will wrap this all up.

So buckle in and let’s talk about this amazing man with an amazing physique and see for ourselves whether his muscles have any sign of steroid use or not.

Karate Life

Did Jean Claude Van Damme Take Steroids?

At the age of 10, Van Damme was already in a karate school. He learned to balance and endurance at an early age. It is known that he took ballet training for 5 years and this must have helped him a great deal in acing his balancing act.

Later, he started doing weight lifting and strengthening his body. As soon as he was 18 years old, he achieved a black belt in karate.

Not every teenager is a martial arts champion and bodybuilder. The remarkable physical abilities of Van Damme paved the path to success for him. It is also rumored that he was just 19 when he benched press 166kg!

In the coming years, he participated in various karate competitions and crushed his opponents.

What Made Fans Think He Was On Steroids?

Before I get any further, I would like to mention that Van Damme is not the only celeb to have been suspected of using steroids. Many others such as Michael B. Jordan, Tom Hardy, Zac Effron, Chris Hemsworth, Dwayne Johnson, Hugh Jackman, Anthony Joshua, etc. have been suspected of juicing. While some of them have been clean others are actually guilty of having used roids to gain muscle, strength, and a massive body frame. You can also find out more on steroids vs natural bodybuilders here.

Looking at his progress, as has been mentioned before that Van Damme won a bodybuilding competition for Mr. Belgium at the young age of 18.

Those pictures of his show reveal that he had a decent muscular body for an 18-year-old. Although, it does seem far stretched as he started looking smaller when he was 21. He was not as big as he was at the age of 18 but he was in great shape.

This remained up for speculation from his fans. His body transformation between these years seemed unacceptable to many.

Back in 2010, there was a circulating rumor about Van Damme having suffered a minor heart attack. Everyone knows that the chances of a heart attack at some point in life are quite likely for steroid users. However, he denied having a heart attack. He said it was a piece of fake news.

Did Jean Claude Van Damme Take Steroids

Did Jean-Claude Van Damme Take Steroids?

As the reasons for suspicion on Van Damme’s physique have been discussed, we can move on to discuss the authenticity of those suspicions.

Start of Movie Career

Van Damme used to work as a stuntman in some movies at the start of his career as an actor. Soon, he starred in action movies where his amazing physique served as a major attraction for most viewers. He started gaining fame in his 20s and that’s the time frame where we have a better gauge on what he probably did for his muscles.

Peak Career Stage

Moving on to his heroic roles in ‘Bloodsport’ and ‘Kickboxer’, his physique took on the form that people engraved his looks in their minds forever. The world has witnessed patented spirits and the acrobatic kick of Van Damme in these movies.

All through the last 30 years of his acting career, he has been immensely popular in movies like Universal Soldier, Double Impact, Timecop, and Street Fighter. The general consensus of experts states that Van Damme is a natural. The reason is that he is athletic and he is not too big for his frame. His fat percentage is in single digits which emphasizes the fact that he has not used steroids for his physique.

Jean Claude Van Damme’s Stats in His Prime

There was nothing really freakish about Van Damme’s body when was in his prime. He didn’t have weird 18-inch arms with body fat as low as 3%. Instead, he weighed 84kg at 5ft 8 height. He had an arms size of 16 inches with an estimated body fat of 7%. Still, it can’t be said for sure that Van Damme is natty.

It’s clear that his muscles from Brussels are attainable naturally, however, there are other factors that need to be brought under consideration before reaching a certain conclusion.

Van Damme’s Workout Routine

Van Damme does consistent workouts so that his body can adjust to internal growth. Karate, kickboxing, bodybuilding, and action-hero careers have kept Van Damme active his entire life. Every day he trains 2 muscle groups. Doing cardio and weight training thrice a week has played a key role in him maintaining his weight.

Van Damme’s Diet Routine

Van Damme’s diet hasn’t been the same all through the years. Having consumed a lot of meat in his youth, he shifted to veggies and fruits in the later years of his life. He usually takes berries for his breakfast. In order to keep his body burning fat, he eats small portions of food every couple of hours. Moderation is his secret to eating.

Now And Then Photos of Van Damme

Now and Then Van Damme

Having a look at the pictures of Arnold in his prime vs his post-steroid life, you will have an idea of how the muscles shrink after one comes off steroids. It has also been observed that the loss of muscle mass of steroids users is unbelievable if they end up in prison somehow.

Their look is astonishingly scrawny when they get out of jail. The loss in their muscle mass could be the consequence of them getting barely enough calories in prison which keeps their weight in balance and their muscles flat. Another reason for their skinny appearance could be that they stop taking steroids in prison.

A Mr. Olympia contestant, Victor Martinez is a fresh example for the aforementioned case. He was put behind bars on the charges of dealing drugs (GHB and butanediol). He had to spend a tenure of seven months in prison without any steroids intake. He had a devastating muscle mass drop at that time. His physique was unrecognizable when he was released.

Having said that, Van Damme shows a muscular physique that was the same in his prime 30 years before. The world knows how he looked back then and how he looks now. In the case of steroid users, it is seen they keep getting bigger with time even if when they are not beginners.

The volume of their massive muscles is because of anabolic steroids. With every cycle they go through, their muscles grow bigger regardless of the fact whether they train or not. No considerable change in the muscle mass of Van Damme strongly hints at the fact that he is natty.

No Steroids Symptoms

So, did Jean-Claude Van Damme take steroids or not? Well, let’s discuss the symptoms of steroid use:

The common symptoms of steroid use include gyno, bloating, and flushed skin. Van Damme has never shown any signs of such symptoms. Taking a look at the recent pictures of Van Damme, it is clear that he has aged a lot. You can take a guess at his age just by looking at his face. Premature aging can result from steroids intake. Aging can also be accelerated by sun damage and anxiety.

Van Damme’s fans would know that his skin is tanned in almost all of his movies. Tanning is the obvious consequence of frequent sun exposure. Research reveals that 80% of all of our wrinkles are caused by sun damage. This proves that wrinkles on the face and body are not necessarily related to steroids.

Final Verdict:

Jean-Claude Van Damme is a natty.


He has perfect genetics. His lifting weights in his teenage years helped him in the long run. He got jacked as soon as he attended gym sessions. Without spending a bulk of his life on bulking and cutting, he picked up dumbbells and his genetics worked wonders.

Instead of becoming a world-class bodybuilder by responding to steroids, he built his muscles by working hard through weight lifting.

He followed a routine of riding a bike through the woods in the morning and then doing gym in the evening.

The muscle mass of Van Damme is achievable for anyone as his years of hard work in the gym and several bulks paid him off by giving him such a muscular physique. People who are not as genetically gifted as Van Damme can still achieve a muscle mass like his if they follow a regular work routine and healthy diet.

Tanveer Quraishi, the main editor of this site has vast experience in the field of bodybuilding. He has been training for almost two decades and has studied steroids and SARMs extensively over the past 10 years. When he is not sweating it out at the gym or writing for this site, he can be spotted playing with his two lovely daughters.