Trent Reznor of NIN Gained a Ton of Muscle. Did He Ruin His Look?

Trent Reznor, the main singer of Nine Inch Nails is one of my all-time favorite musicians. This guy reminds me a bit of David Bowie in that he is a true innovator. I believe many people won’t truly appreciate the full impact he made on the landscape of music until later in his career. I have followed Trent since 1988, when “Down in It” was a big dance hit in the clubs and soon after that in 1989 his first Album “Pretty Hate Machine” was released. I am used to Reznor surprising me with innovative music, but he shocked me a bit with his physical transformation. After three years out of the spotlight, in 2006 he went on tour with a new “buffed up” Hulk look.

Trent Reznor in 2006 looking buff

[Here is what Trent Reznor Looks like these days. I am not saying he looks terrible or anything, he just looks like a different person to me. His neck and face have grown big time.]

Trent Reznor Was Probably Too Skinny Early in His Career

In the late 80’s and early 90’s Trent was super skinny…probably too skinny. Over a period of 6-8 years, he seemed to put on a bit of weight. I could tell that he was working out and he looked good. He had the ideal “look good without trying to look like you are looking good” thing going on. Throughout the mid 90’s to 2002 he looked like a typical star who kept in great shape.

Trent Reznor in the Mid 90’s Looking Great!

Trent Reznor toned but not too muscular

[In this picture, you can tell he takes care of himself. His arms and shoulders have nice tone without being excessively muscular. His face has the angular defined look, like a model. This was a great look for him.]

In 2006, Trent Comes out of Hiding Looking like the Hulk!

When people saw Trent Reznor’s new look. There was a lot of steroid rumors. I have no idea whether he did roids or not. I don’t like to speculate, but it certainly is possible. One thing was certain…he looked like a completely different person. I really preferred the way he looked before he packed on all that muscle. His face and neck look really bloated to me now. He lost his distinct look. There are probably some people who think he looks more bad-ass with all of this muscle, but something just seems a “little off” to me.

“Artsy” Guys Aren’t Suppose to Bulk Up!

trent reznor has put on too much muscle

[In this Picture he looks like he is trying to “bulk up”…gaining muscle along with fat. This is a typical bodybuilder strategy that I don’t recommend…it creates a sloppy look.]

My Recommendation of Gaining a “Natural” Amount of Muscle

I am not against gaining muscle. I thought it was great when Trent Reznor packed on 10-15 pounds of muscle. That was the perfect amount for his frame. He went from super-skinny to an athletic build. He kept this aesthetic athletic build for close to 10 years. The problem was when he went from a toned look, to the excessively muscular look. My guess is that he added another 20-30 pounds…this was when his face became unrecognizable. Not a good look for him in my opinion.

Trent Reznor “Going Against The Grain” Again!

I don’t want to harsh on Trent too hard. He is still one of my favorite musicians. In fact, part of me thinks it is “slightly cool” that he did something so out of the ordinary. Most Alternative Musicians are slim and he did the exact opposite and packed on a ton of muscle. I just hope for his long-term health that he gets back to a more natural size.

“Head Like a Hole”…Some “Old School” Nine Inch Nails For Ya’

[Some people think this is just “noise”…I love the intensity!]

Johnny Cash Covering “Hurt”, a Nine Inch Nail’s Song!

[This was one of the last recording that Johnny Cash did before he passed away. Trent Reznor wrote and performed it, but when Johnny Cash sings it…it just gives me chills. This song fits Johnny Cash’s life better than Trent’s…it is simply an amazing version of this NIN song! It shows clips of Johnny Cash’s life. When I hear him sing it…it reminds me the life passes by quickly and that I must live every day to the fullest!]

Note: Again…not a typical fitness article. I admire people out there living life with other interests besides just getting as ripped as possible and posing in muscle magazines. Those people in the fitness magazines bore the hell out of me! Get fit in the context of an exciting and adventurous life.

Some Sites Giving Info About Free NIN Downloads…

Free music downloads here to stay, says Trent Reznor – “I think free music downloads has been very important for a long time” says Jim Guerinot, talent manger whose clients include, among others, the rock band Nine Inch Nails. The band itself oversaw the ‘leaking’ of a number of tracks from …

Nine Inch Nails Offers Album for Free Online via BitTorrent – After bailing on his record label earlier last year, Trent Reznor releases his band, Nine Inch Nails, new album “The Slip” Online via BitTorrent. Trent Reznor, leadman for Nine Inch Nails has long been known as a vocal artist who was …

Trent Reznor “Slips” Fans a Sweet Surprise – Following the footsteps of Radiohead’s “In Rainbows” release in October, Trent Reznor’s giving fans a chance to download the new 10-track NIN album (The Slip) for FREE, in any format. (Read More About “The Slip” After The Jump) Put it …

Trent Reznor to Give Away New NIN Album – Taking a cue from better band Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor will be releasing the new NIN album, The Slip, for free through the band’s Web site. Sign up here to receive an e-mail about where to download the record and …

Trent Reznor Prevails With Profits and Fans – Trent Reznor, lead singer of Nine Inch Nails, has formed the foundation of a successful musician in a post-peer-to-peer world. Along with Radiohead, Reznor is the first musician to truly generate record profits and please a massive fan …

58 thoughts on “Trent Reznor of NIN Gained a Ton of Muscle. Did He Ruin His Look?”

  1. Just to back up my claim, Trent is about 5′ 7″. According to the body mass index, a healthy weight for him would be around 147 pounds. Looking at him here, I’d say he’s a TAD over that.
    Check some of the other photos of him and you can see a good 30 pounds in his belly alone.

  2. Good article if you ask me. Almost makes me laugh to hear all these people say stuff like his current size is a more healthy size. Typical Americans have completely no sense for what is a healthy size anymore. Trent is overweight to be sure in these photos. If you think that looks good, then great. But don’t kid yourself. He’s overweight for his height in any medical sense. As his muscles are not all that defined, it just looks to me like he hit the gym throughout most of his recent years and has steadily gained a similar amount of fat with that muscle. There are people in much worse shape to be sure, but I wish my fellow country people would stop saying that what is clearly overweight in a medical sense, is healthy. He just looks good to you, because you are way overweight!

  3. Lose the buff. Stay off the drugs, and grow your hair back dude. Thats all im sayin. And to ambroyo, dont get your panties in a bunch. Breathe with me here, in….and out…in…out…there we go. Feel better? No? Too much butthurt? Cry me a river. I prefer the old strung out trent imo. He was so raw back then, but age does do damage. He def cant scream anymore…but good for him on being healthy. If it werent for bodybuilding hed prolly be dead by now.

  4. I thought he looked like a freaky little creep before… Always been a huge fan of his music… but his looks, not so much. Now I look at him and holy crap, “Closer” sums it up rather nicely.
    I have worked with recovering drug addicts before. Addictive personalities are just that… addictive. In the long run you can hope to be drawn towards positive practices, vs negative ones. I would hazard a guess that his new addiction, his new outlet, is weight lifting. As someone who enjoys weight lifting as an outlet on a personal level, I’m happy for him that he’s discovered it. More than that, I think he looks like a man now, not a boy.

  5. Steroids would potentially change his voice. It would be more likely HGH if he was on anything, but Test and HGH probably should be prescribed to most men over the age of 40 anyway. Your levels start to drop pretty dramatically. I mean dosing in low to moderate levels in cycles. But you can simply eat a lot and work out every day using compound exercises and get like that, too.

  6. I didn’t read every single comment here, but I did want to echo what people have been saying about what his lifestyle was really like back in the 90s versus what it’s been like since he got clean and sober.

    He admits that he was a bad heroin addict, finding himself often throwing up from withdrawal sickness. He wasn’t in control of his own mind and I doubt very much he spent much time trying to stay fit.

    After he got clean and sober, he started working out a LOT. I think at first it was trail cycling near his home (at the time) in Louisiana. He funneled a lot of his energy into both therapy as well as lifting and cycling. That period between 2002 and 2005 when we never heard a peep from him, he had absolutely no confidence in his songwriting abilities anymore and did other things.

    2005’s “With Teeth” was his return into the spotlight as a sober person. He said he honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if that album had failed since he had been out of the limelight for so long. The rest is history.

    I can identify with the whole concept of fat being harder to keep off now compared to when I was young. I’m almost 37 and you wouldn’t know if you looked at me how much I do for myself. It takes so much more now than it did when I was 20 and could get away with anything.

    Thanks for reading. 🙂

  7. Firstly, comparing these photos hardly seems fair. One is a modelled photo designed for advertisement, which could easily have been doctored in a number of ways. The second is a photo from underneath, which adds several pounds, and is during a live gig, where, as a singer he has to make certain movements to extrude some notes. Also I should point out the 10 year time shift that could have some effect on why he doesn’t look the same.

    Yes, he has gained some weight, but no it doesn’t look bad, perhaps he’s just taking a little more of a laid back approach to life as he gets a little older. And why the hell not?

    Just seems like this post is a bit of an attack of Reznor, suggesting he’s used steroids, saying he’s too fat… All just a bit too personal y’know? ‘Specially from someone who’s claiming to be a fan.

    Also – Eminem. Lyrically, he’s great. But I guess I can understand wanting to punch him in the face… Not really my kind of music, but you gotta give some respect, yo?

  8. I don’t know, it could just be from getting older. It happened to me. I just got wider all around as I got older. I never took steroids and I actually work out less than when I was younger and lighter. At 5’8″, 205 lbs, I do have some fat,but my overall mass is suprisingly dense. People that haven’t seen me in a while comment on how I’ve transformed “into a linebacker.”

  9. Johnny’s version BLOWS Trent’s out of the god damn water.

    Trent is nothing. Johnny Cash = LEGEND

  10. I just wanted to say in response to Hurt fitting Johnny’s life better than Trent’s….

    Uhhhhhh no. The beauty of music, especially Trent’s music, is that you can relate to it. I mean, if anything, this song fits TRENT’S life better than Johnny’s. Yes, I love Johnny’s version, but that just pisses me off.


  11. Its good Trent started to get it together. It’s good when someone has the need to change, wants to change, and then acts on it and begins to change. These days we really lack control. So we have to cheerish what we still have, that we are still able to decide things for ourselves sometimes. Lifting weights can really help put your focus into something else. Since i’ve been lifting its helped me manage my stress/anxiety. Reguardless of what Trent looks like or does, he is one of the few true musical genious in the world. And if he can be healthier and feel better while doing it, all the power to him!!

  12. shane#1,

    So you came over to the dark side and are eating meat now! Welcome! Chicken is great, but I’ve been eating a lot more fish recently as well. In fact when I go out to eat, I always look to see if they have some form of non-breaded fish and vegetables.

    Fred Durst makes me angry. Just looking at him irritates me. All those slacker wannabe kids that act like they are from the tough part of town drive me nuts.


    Dave Navarro was really pudgy when he was addicted to drugs. He hired a personal trainer after he left Jane’s Addiction and cleaned his act up. He isn’t the ideal health role model, but he is working at it.

    Good point about Trent Reznor. Perhaps I was a bit harsh, but did you click that video? He isn’t just pudgy…he is a muscular freak of nature. Anyway…I really enjoy everything he does and I am one of his biggest fans. If he wants to stay big, I’m still going to his concerts…buying his music, etc. I think he is a musical genious.

    Have a great one!


  13. Meant to mention if you’re siting Navarro and Kiedis as examples, both are recovered heroin addicts.

  14. I was thinking that perhaps it might be due to medication FOR depression. Certain medications make you gain weight.

    Also, given that he’s been an addiction wouldn’t that kill his seratonin levels anyway? The guy’s metabolism is probably knackered by now.

    He’s probably got to expand before he can shrink back down and there’s always a chance he won’t be that small again.

    Actually, depression and weight gain are two of the more obvious reasons to avoid drug use.

    I actually think it’s good that he’s getting clean and taking the hard route.

    Also, I don’t doubt that there are eating disorders in the male rock singer ranks – the superskinny look may be because a few are naturally that way but it’s also, I suspect, because a lot of them are addicts of some kind.

  15. dude that is so funny what you said about fred durst and eimnim,
    i freaking hate those guys.its like remember the late 90s and the early 2000s when if you were a walking idenity crisis you could be wanna bees made me sick.i was the odd ball at the gym with my type o negative songs playing on my ipod,arent you so glad that rap/rock mix stuff is done with…yuke….now all we have to do is get rid of these guys like good has went from thug wanna bees to emo girlish wanna bees.oh yeah one more thing,im off that vegetrian kick i was on for over 3 after reading some of your post i got some of that 100%natrul chicken breast,and dear god that stuff is freaking good1!!!ill as i was eating it i was like chicken,”lets never fight again”good stuff man.i feel like im getting leaner now cause i cut alot of carbs out

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