Is Giannis Antetokounmpo on Steroids or Natural? (Revealed)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 10, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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Giannis Antetokounmpo, a Greek professional basketball player for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, is often referred to as the "Greek Freak" due to his remarkable size, speed, and skills on the court.

However, questions have arisen about his exceptional physique, speed, and weight gain compared to other NBA players, leading some to speculate about the possibility of performance-enhancing drug (PED) use.

In this analysis, I will explore Giannis's workout and diet routines to assess whether there is evidence to support these PED accusations.

Signs That Bajheera Might Be On Steroids

person using a weighing scale and a man flexing biceps

Drawing from my personal experience, let's dive into the signs that often raise eyebrows in the world of sports.

51 Pounds Weight Gain

In 2013, Giannis entered the NBA draft weighing approximately 196 lbs (89 kgs).

By 2018, he had gained an impressive 50 lbs (23.2 kgs) of pure muscle, a fact supported by a 2018 Twitter post from ESPN where Giannis himself confirmed putting on 51 pounds of muscle since joining the NBA.

Additionally, a notable observation from comparing his earlier and current photos is his consistently low body fat level.

This is most likely due to high metabolic activity.

According to the WebMD, certain steroids such as clenbuterol (popular among athletes) increase metabolism (and muscular gains when taken with other PEDs) [1]. Based on his current physique, his increased muscular mass can be explained by the possible use of steroids.

I've witnessed firsthand how dramatic weight changes can be a red flag, and Giannis's case is no different.

High Vascularity

man flexing back muscles

Giannis plays as a power forward in the league. His main job is to block tall players and get rebounds.

Both these moves demand constant shoulder engagement.

And if you look at some of Giannis' photos, you’ll notice he has abnormally vascular shoulders. Vascularity is something I've come across in the MMA world, and it's essential to explore its implications in basketball too.

Corticosteroids are well known for enhancing vascularity, according to the Cardiovascular Research [2]. And many athletes take corticosteroids to recover from muscular exertion.

Since Giannis’ position requires constant exertion of his shoulder muscles, he could possibly be taking PEDs to boost his performance on the court.

Incredible Strength for His Size

For his height, Giannis’ weight is relatively low compared to other players in the league. For example, Lebron is shorter than him yet weighs more.

Despite this disadvantage, the Greek Freak has the strength to knock down and push around heavier players like Anthony Davis. In one game, he shocked the crowd by driving into a bigger player, almost throwing him off the court.

Being in the world of combat sports, I understand the significance of strength, especially when it seems exceptional for one's size.

Some PEDs are known to increase athletic strength and, by default, performance [3]. Given his weight, Giannis’ relatively incredible strength compared to larger players shows possible signs of him using PEDs.

Giannis’ Stats And Accomplishments

  • Age: 29 (born on December 6 1994)
  • Weight: 242 lbs (110 kg)
  • Height: 6'11" (211 cm)
  • Wingspan: 87 inches (2.21 m)
  • Chest: 44 inches (111.76 cm)
  • Waist: 33 inches (83.82 cm)
  • Biceps: 16 inches (40.64 cm)
  • Vertical Jump Reach: 146 inches (370.84 cm)


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A post shared by Giannis Antetokounmpo (@giannis_an34)

He received the Most Improved Player award in 2017. He also won two NBA Most Valuable Player Awards in a row in 2019 and 2020 and NBA Defensive Player of the Year 2020.

In 2021, he led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA championships since 1971 and received the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award.

“The Greek Freak, I think, is a force, and I've never seen anything like him…he could end up being the best player to ever play if he really wanted to. That's pretty scary to think about.”

— Kevin Durant, American Professional Basketball Player

Is It Possible To Get the Greek Freak’s Physique Naturally?

Yes. If you have Giannis’ genetics and train like him, you can naturally achieve his physique and strength.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's remarkable performance on the basketball court is not solely the result of natural talent but also a testament to his rigorous training regimen, which includes grueling workouts, agility drills, and a dedication to constant improvement.

However, if you have certain genetic barriers to bulking up and getting stronger, your best move would be to take a natural bulking stack. These are known for building muscles and enhancing strength naturally.

What Would It Take To Bulk Up Like the Greek Freak?

chicken breast and a man using a barbell

Let's break down the training and nutrition aspects, drawing from my experience in the fitness world.

Diet & Supplements

Beyond the basketball court, Giannis's commitment to excellence extends to his dietary choices, with a carefully curated nutrition plan that fuels his performance.

Giannis' breakfast includes plenty of fresh fruits, oatmeal, eggs, and bacon. High-protein foods such as chicken and steak are a staple for all his other meals.

He spaces out six small meals throughout the day for more effective nutrient absorption and digestion.

Tough Training

Giannis trains hard but smart. He does an intense upper-body workout on Mondays and Wednesdays. He incorporates dynamic exercises known to build strength and endurance.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he trains his lower body. And Fridays and Saturdays are dedicated to cardio.

Rest days are important for Giannis as his workout sessions can get pretty intense, so Sundays are off.

Was Giannis Ever Tested for Using PEDs?

Possibly. As far as we know, players of the NBA are often tested for PED usage. So, it’s highly likely that Giannis would also be subject to drug testing. However, there’s no official statement saying he’s taken a test.

Related Articles:


Was Giannis Ever Banned for Ped Usage?

No. The league has never banned Giannis for PED usage during his basketball career. However, he has received a one-game ban for headbutting a player.

Does Giannis Have Any Health Issues Due to Doping?

No. Other than the usual injuries faced on the court, Giannis does not seem to display any PED-related health issues.


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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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