Bodybuilder hits back at critics who claim his muscles are photoshopped

Earlier this year, Instagram fitness model Gracyanne Barbosa was accused of using fake weights in her weightlifting videos. It was a huge blow to her reputation, as people condemned her for faking her workouts using incredibly heavy weights, just to attract more attention and gain followers.

The story is one of many cases where people are more and more dubious of photos and videos uploaded by Instagram models. Increasingly, people look at photos from "influencers" with skepticism, and sometimes call them out as fakers.

Now, a 21-year-old bodybuilder Tyler Cooke has been accused of photoshopping his muscles in his Instagram pictures.

Bodybuilding and fitness news site Generation Iron suggested that Cooke could be photoshopping his images. They said Cooke had "insane proportions" and an "alarming" physique, leading them to question whether his Instagram photos were retouched: "While we never try to just assume someone is natural or on gear, it’s even more rare for us to call out people for looking photoshopped."

Cooke, who lives in north west England, denies the accusations. He told the Liverpool Echo that although there's an element of genetics, his incredible mountain of muscle is due to hard work that has paid off. "It really is just a lot of hard work – I like to body build and so I do it," he said. "I’ve not missed a meal or a trip to the gym in the last 5 years and I work out properly."

Cooke can apparently lift the weight of a Shetland pony and during the off-season he consumes 5,000 calories per day. A single meal on such a day could look like 400 grams of chicken on 400 grams of rice or potatoes, topped with a casual 10 eggs.

He's been working out since he was 15, and has shared the difficulties of his journey in this photo comparison of how his body has changed:

"ive [sic] came from a tiny frame, with no signs of being what i [sic] am now," he wrote, "its [sic] so easy to give up, thats [sic] why only the commited [sic] unleash whats [sic] inside."

His long-term dedication and presence in the bodybuilding community make it hard to believe the images are in fact photoshopped, not to mention the fact that he came second in Britain's national bodybuilding championship. You can't photoshop yourself that kind of title.

People have left supportive comments for Cooke on the Generation Iron article page, most of whom have trained together with him in person.

body builder photoshop Credit: Generation Iron

Cooke himself added a comment on the article page, offering proof that his images are not photoshopped:

"Ill [sic] happily share with you my full posing routine video i [sic] got those screencaptured pictures from that you used for the header. And youll [sic] see nothings been done to doctor the images, but big thanks for the compliments outside of the photoshopping accusations."

He's rebutted the accusations in a very friendly manner, but if I were the original photoshop accuser, I'd still be slowly backing away after realising those enormous muscles actually exist.