ITV2 dating series Love Island has always come under fire for its body representation ever since it relaunched in 2015.
During five seasons of short-shorts action and flexing by the pool, the men on the show have almost always come with rippling six packs and bulky arms.
The 2019 season is no different, with fans accusing the likes of Anton Danyluk and Michael Griffiths of using steroids in order to achieve the perfect Love Island body.
Alongside health and fitness expert Liam Holder, Director of Urban Training Personal Training, we investigate the relationship between Love Island, reality TV, steroids and mental health.
Love Island’s ‘perfect body’
The raunchy dating show has become synonymous with models, social media influencers and those with flawless Instagram bodies.
While many fans complain on social media and call out ITV for not mixing up cast members with the ‘average Joe’, the TV ratings simply wouldn’t be the same.
We’ve witnessed Big Brother crash and burn over the past few years, with Love Island’s key selling point the use of characters with stunning figures and having them wear minimal clothing throughout.
Love Island USA launches its first-ever series in July and the cast follows in the same exact suit as the UK show – lots and lots of models.
If you don’t want to see six packs and boob jobs, find something else to watch cus’ Love Island won’t be changing its casting call format any time soon.
Why when Love Island is on do I feel the need to keep snacking, like seriously if looking at these bodies can’t stop me from eating, then there’s no fucking hope for me 🤦🏻♀️ #LoveIsland
— H a n n a h (@HanHan1) June 30, 2019
Are the Love Island men using steroids?
Steroid use has significantly increased in the UK over the past five years with a 2018 report from The Guardian suggesting that around 1 million people in the UK were now taking anabolic steroids.
The reasoning was linked to muscle-conscious young men, aged 21-30 years old, looking to increase muscle mass and burn fat to achieve a certain look.
Fitness expert Liam says that he has met countless youngsters in his gym looking to achieve the ‘Love Island body’ and that the show has had a huge negative effect on male mental health in the UK.
He said: “I personally think it has a huge negative effect on the UK public both physically and mentally. I have met a lot of people in gym facilities who love the programme, love the people who are on the show for their bodies and want to be just like them.
But they are starving themselves with food, training for hours on end trying to attain those physiques and that’s the way they think they can attain them when it’s really not.
Is Michael Griffiths using steroids?
One of the most-desired male bodies on the current show is Michael Griffiths, the towering 27-year-old firefighter who has huge broad shoulders and thick muscular arms.
However, Liam doesn’t think that audiences should be looking at Michael and instantly dismissing him as a steroid user.
He said: “Michael is clearly creating a stir with all the ladies inside and outside of the house. You are never going to get a clear cut answer whether he does use steroids or not but in my opinion, I don’t think he is.
He has a great physique but if he started lifting weights when he was 18, that’s nine years of experience in the gym. With a very physical job like he does then its also going to help.
How Michael built his figure
Liam has stressed that anyone could build a similar figure to Michael but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, both inside the gym and dieting 24/7, seven days per week.
It’s thought that Michael would have forged his wide back and large chest through years of basic compound exercises.
- Barbell squat
- Bench press
- Leg press
- Bent over row
Liam added that Michael would likely stick to traditional 10-12 rep sets while throwing in heavy strength work throughout his training cycles.
He said: “For the show, the majority of the men would have trained super-hard for anywhere between 8-12 weeks. These physiques are definitely achievable but if you want to maintain them, that’s where serious commitment comes into it.
Most of the men have 10-15% body fat. Michael would definitely be between 8-10% body fat with great muscle mass, probably weighing at least 90kg.