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Actors these days all seem to have impeccable pecs and abs of steel, and an increasing number of them may not be coming by their ripped physiques the all-natural way. According to a new story in The Hollywood Reporter, performance-enhancing drug (PED) use is all the rage in Tinseltown -- including when it comes to prepping for a bulked-up role in a studio tentpole.
Estimating that about 20 percent of actors turn to PEDs, trainer-to-the-stars Happy Hill tells THR that human growth hormone (HGH) is particularly popular. "HGH is on the scene now more than ever before," says Hill, who has worked with the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Phillippe and doesn't believe in resorting to PED use. "It's hard not to use. Some people ... are looking for that perfect gym body, and they want a shortcut."
Hill adds that older actors are more prone to taking such a shortcut, given that it becomes more difficult to remain chiseled after age 40.
The article opens with an anecdote about a 30-something, relatively unknown actor prepping for a major movie role in 2005 who revealed to the film's trainer that he was using HGH, among other PEDs.
"He told me that HGH made him feel like nothing else ever made him feel," recalls the trainer. "He was basically addicted. I told him to find another trainer. He did."
While it's all very hush-hush about who's using and who stays away from the stuff, at least one big-name star got his superhero physique through good old-fashioned hard work(outs). Elite trainer Mark Twight, an extreme alpinist who runs Gym Jones in Salt Lake City and is firmly against PED use, turned "Man of Steel" star Henry Cavill into Superman without any chemical assistance.
"With Superman, well, that guy better be clean," says Twight. "Because otherwise, it's the kind of thing that turns around and bites your whole marketing campaign in the backside."
As grueling as his "Man of Steel" workouts were, Cavill glimpsed the true reward of the training through all the sweat. "Mark Twight is probably one of the most incredible people I've ever met," the British actor gushed in a National Guard promotional clip. "He's opened my eyes to seeing past what I thought were my limits. He's a remarkable man, truly."