T Nation

Disturbing Interview with a Pro Bodybuilder


Found this about a month ago. Don't know if its for real. Tell me what you think about this interview and wether you think its legit.

The State of Competitive Bodybuilding
The Most Shocking Bodybuilding Interview Ever (IRONMAN, February '97)
by Steve Holman
Comments in blue are mine.

Warning:This is an extremely controversial interview. To be honest, we almost decided not to print it; however, because IRONMAN has always been an open forum, going to great lengths to tell the whole truth, we felt it was our responsibility to the sport and to you, the reader, to allow this athlete to speak his mind.

It took a lot of courage for this man to stand up and tell it like it is, and we are keeping him anonymous to protect his status as a professional bodybuilder. We're inserting [blanks] in place of names to help protect his identity-no process of elimination to narrow down the field-and also in place of drug names, so drug-using bodybuilders don't get any inadvertent "help" with their drug programs.

Keep in mind that we paid this man nothing because we feel money can only corrupt the information. When people are paid a high sum, they feel as if they have to give the interviewer his or her money's worth, and that can result in exaggeration.

As you read this, remember that this athlete came to us because, like us, he loves bodybuilding and wants to see it prosper, not die a painful drug-induced death.
Fasten your seatbelts. This dose of reality is going to open your eyes like nothing ever printed in this or any other bodybuilding magazine.

IM: You want to get some things off your chest. You have the bodybuilding world's ear. What is it you want to talk about?
BB: Well, you know, most of the things nobody wants to talk about. I want to let everybody know how it really is.

IM: How it is with the drugs?
BB: Damn right!

IM: You're having to take too many, correct?
BB: Way too many, man.

IM: What kind of drug bill are we talking about?
BB: Well, growth hormone alone costs you $30,000 a year.
That is absolutely true, HGH costs a lot of money.

IM: Good lord!
BB: And steroids, that's not a really big problem. I use a lot, but you can get it cheap. Mostly you gotta pay people to tell you how to use them. The growth hormone, IGF-IÃ?.

IM: And just the thought of putting all that in your body all at one time-that's gotta take its toll on you mentally too.
BB: Well, I don't mind a little bit, because I do like big arms, big back, big chest and legs and everything. But when it comes to the point where I'm as big as I want to get-

IM: They tell you that you have to get bigger, right?
BB: Yeah, I don't have a choice. I'm gonna be bigger. Next year you're going to see me 24 pounds heavier.You know it's the whole mind-set that you gotta get bigger and sacrifice your shape. I may not like the way my back looks. I mean, I've got improvements to make, obviously. But those things come with time. Maturing into a physique is nice, but they want a monster.

IM: Do you think it can ever stop? I mean, if people keep getting bigger, what's going to happen to the sport?
BB: Well, the sport is already-

IM: Out of control?
BB: Yeah. It's an underground sport. It's [a cult that] likes to see the freaky mass monsters....They really don't care. They just say, Whatever it takes to do that, that's what we want to see. But I think a lot of people want to see something that's somewhat attainable.

IM: Do you think the size of the competitors has caused the people to be a little blast about it all? Like: Well, they're just going to have to do what it takes. We don't care; if they die, they die. We want to see 'em bigger, and we want to see 'em better.
BB: That's right. They want us to do it, and the judges want to see something bigger. In order for us to make a living and live our dreams, we gotta do whatever it takes, you know? You got guys like [blank, a bodybuilding columnist for another magazine] saying, "Well, nobody's making you." I guess nobody is, but a lot of us [have] this dream of being the best of the built.
Best of Roid built.

IM: Absolutely. And it's a performance thing too. It's gratifying to be on stage. What do you think is a solution here? Do you think there is one at this point?
BB: Well, it's hard to say. Once you've seen extreme physique development, how are you going to train the eye of the audience to accept something less? You can practically see [some of these guys'] lungs when they do rear lat spreads. You just gotta accept something less. By the way, before I go on, let me tell you right now, there's a lot of things in your hands.

IM: I understand. Your identity is completely confidential, I promise you that. We'll just say you're a top pro. That's all.
BB: Right. Okay. Ask anything.

IM: Do you think part of the solution is for the judges to start rewarding a more aesthetic physique?
BB: That would be the only way the sport would go into a positive direction. Like Bob Paris.

IM: Right, if Bob Paris came back. I think the problem is you have to have an eye for that type of physique, and the general public and most bodybuilding fans don't have it, so they look at size as the top criterion for victory.
BB: I think there's a certain presence, an aura to a really complete physique like Lee Labrada's, rather than someone who's just grotesque.

IM: Getting back to the whole drug thing, do you have to stay on the drugs year-round?
BB: Yes. I haven't gone off at all for years.

IM: You have to inject, what, three to four times a week?
BB: Every day.

IM: Every day you have to inject something into your body?
BB: Yeah. Every day. Let me go over my stack.[He rattles off a list of injectibles and orals that's so long, my jaw hits the desk.]

IM: This is just off-season?
BB: Yeah. And of course I like to use [blank] that blocks estrogen and also increases testosterone levels. Also [blank] four times a day in the off-season to allow me to eat more calories. I also take half a tablet of [blank], which works better synergistically with growth hormone. Six weeks or so out I start taking some [blank] to stop some of the gyno. I did have to have it removed a few years back, but it kind of flares up now and then.And I use [blank] to take some of the water out. And [every so often] I switch from the heavy androgens to the lighter anabolics, like [blank and blank], 300 milligrams every other day. Let's see, [blank], 200 milligrams a day. That helps you harden up your physique, increase your vascularity. I take some [blank], which helps me harden, and I keep my insulin the same and my growth hormone the same.

IM: Whew! Quite a laundry list!
BB: Well, you know there's also many other things, like [blank], which keeps my gonadal system up and [blank] to boost my testosterone to make sure I don't atrophy down there. Also, anti-estrogens and other compound factors to combat the many side effects that I get.

IM: Have you ever noticed any serious health problems that you think are related to this?
BB: I piss a lot of blood come contest time.

IM: But in the off-season you feel pretty decent, even though you're taking all that stuff?
BB: Well, recently I started getting blood tests every two months.

IM: How about cholesterol count, blood pressure and so forth? All that's pretty normal?
BB: No, everything is high. My blood pressure gets really high, and that must be watched, especially when I take stimulants.

IM: It sounds as if you're on pins and needles a lot of the time.
BB: If you gotta do it, you got no choice. You want to make a living in this sport, that's what you gotta do.

IM: Race cars keep going faster and faster and there are more crashes, but the drivers keep doing it, right? What do you think your total drug bill is for the year?
BB: About $60,000, but it's going to be higher next year. Just this last year I had to add [blank]. Right now it's the number-one bodybuilding "supplement" in the competition ring. All these guys you see getting bigger, it's that. No question. Two years ago...I don't want to take nothing from [blank], really nice guy, nice family man, but physiquewise he was flat as a pancake. Now he's bigger, 20 to 30 pounds heavier. It's all [from this stuff]. [Blank] is heavy on it. Of course, we all are. I'm scared shitless.

IM: Are you guys pretty frank with each other about what you're taking?
BB: Only with friends. I mean, I get questions in the gym all the time, and I tell them I take [a popular protein powder]! Yeah, we talk.

IM: You don't feel you need to keep secrets and maintain an edge?
BB: There are no secrets. There's one guy out there-I won't mention his name-he's a top pro who helps out the other pros with their [blank] 'cause we don't know how to do it, so we go to him. He helps us out.

IM: I know the old-timers say there's no camaraderie in the sport anymore.
BB: Oh, there's some. But the only thing we talk about is-

IM: Drugs and training.
BB: We don't talk about training, because most of the guys-

IM: All train alike?
BB: Well, yeah. We don't train that hard. [Most of the guys] are half asleep when they [work out].
Real champions like Haney, Yates, Swarzeneger, Oliva and all the others, trained brutally hard!

IM: So it's mostly just the drugs. The top guys really don't have an inkling how to train without them. Do you think most of the top 10 guys are taking pretty much the same thing then?
BB: Yeah, they're all jabbing themselves just as much, but I think [winning] has to do with your estrogen levels and your normal testosterone levels, your receptor abilities and things like that. You know, it's a genetic thing. Some people are more susceptible to steroids. Five milligrams might hit me differently than it might hit you.

IM: I asked you this earlier, and I know you said you think that it's just all part of the game, but aren't you afraid that this will catch up with you later in life?
BB: I am. I don't think I'll be able to have children. My doctor told me my sperm count is way too low. And my thyroid [is blown out].
That is most unfortunate.

IM: Do you feel that the sport indirectly promotes the whole drug thing?
BB: Yeah, but then you have people saying that nobody makes us. But this is our childhood dream. This is something we want to do, and for the most part we don't have other jobs.

IM: Do you think this drug test they had at the Olympia was a step in the right direction?
BB: It was a step in the right direction for the sport and probably a step in the wrong direction for people's careers because I know four people who [should have] tested positive. But we can beat the drug tests. Next year if they want to get diuretics, that's fine. We'll use plasmics. It's fairly simple. There's always exotic steroids."Let's change some molecule on the 17th position, and it can't be detected." [Blank] still can't be detected.
I Disagree, drug test is a must. When real drug testing is done ( not the thing they do right now in the Olympia ), things will come upside down. Remember Olympic weightlifting. After the new drug tests, people literally lifted half the weight they used to.

IM: This is the most eye-opening interview I've ever had. I appreciate your opening up to me.
BB: You're welcome. It could be because I'm very low on carbohydrates.

IM: And you're pissed off.
BB: Yeah, you know the diuretic scene is very difficult. I'm back there with my I.V. bag and heart monitor. It's just the situation. You take a person and put him into a lab in a freak science experiment. Then you throw him on stage, and you take him off to pump blood back into him. Is that a sport?The training is pretty much beaten to death. In fact, your magazine for the natural athletes is what I recommend. Professional bodybuilding [is about] drugs. Of course, there's abuse in every professional sport-boxing, basketball, baseball, football.
I sincerely agree.

IM: How long do you think you can keep at it? I mean at this pace?
BB: Well I've been on forÃ?oh God. I'll tell you right now, if anybody's going to die next, it's going to be [blank]. He's too old to be messing with [junk] like that. His pancreas I don't think is too good.There's a look that you get. I can see it. [Blank, a top pro] is very ill. I understand what he wants to do for the sport, and he can do some great things, but he's dying and every contest he loses is a blow to him. He's killing himself literally because he wants to make this sport better. Eventually he's either going to win the contest or he's going to die.

IM: He's really playing Russian roulette?
BB: Yeah, he was using [blank] before any of us. I prefer his look back [a few years]. He wasn't big but aesthetic-a pleasing physique. Something a kid would look at and say, Hey, I would like to look like that. Now he should be concentrating more on certain bodyparts, but instead his body is getting bigger, his stomach, his head, everything.

IM: It's a scary look. Yes, the body's getting bigger, but all the internal organs are getting large, bloated.
BB: They should have a contest for the biggest growth-hormone gut.

IM: Got anything else you want to get off your chest?
BB: Yeah, you know I have a hard time thinking because of all the things I'm on now. But they don't talk about how much drug [abuse] there is. And it's not just the steroids. We've got to use speed and stuff like that. We have to use a lot of diuretics, things that aren't too healthy, and they don't feel good. Lots of guys are using cocaine-not just because they like it, but it helps you get cut up, it helps you not eat.With drugs there's use and abuse. But at our level I feel we're getting exploited, you know? They pump us full of drugs...or we pump ourselves full of drugs to make ourselves look like freaks, and we get on stage and that's our job. But we don't get paid hardly anything. The guy who uses our pictures, the supplement companies, make all the money, and they don't give us nothing. If it wasn't for our picture, they wouldn't have nothing to promote.

IM: Yeah, and you gotta keep risking your life to try to make a few bucks winning a show.
BB: I'll tell you what: [Some] of the guys, like [blank], are gay prostitutes.

IM: Think so?
BB: I know so. That's how they can afford all those drugs. That's definite. Of course [certain people in] the gay community are going to walk up and say, Hey, we'll give you so much to have sex. That's just like a straight guy walking up to Cindy Crawford and saying it. But for us it's a way to make a good $10,000 a month. It helps with our drug bill and sometimes they just give us drugs for the act.

IM: When you think about it, you guys can't make much money.
BB: There's not much money in the contracts. Especially with the drugs, the living, the food. You have to sacrifice your-

IM: Integrity?
BB: Yeah, your integrity, your pride. It's all a sacrifice. The drugs, the prostitution. These guys don't want to do that. They have to look in the mirror. They know they're sacrificing what makes them a man.And all this crap you see about carb loading and sodium. Bunch of mess.

IM: So you don't think they actually do sodium loading? It's all just drugs?
BB: Precontest every once in a while you catch a guy in McDonald's or eating pizza. You can do that kind of thing-of course, in moderation.

IM: But you're a pretty heavy supplement user?
BB: I don't use supplements at all! No vitamins, nothing.

IM: You don't think that vitamins and minerals would help protect you somewhat from all the drugs?
BB: Yeah, but-

IM: You've got put your money where it's going to be the most effective, right? On drugs.
BB: Right. I'd like to see a $1 million prize [for a bodybuilding contest]. That's something else that would help the sport. If there's a decent amount of money in there, it would be something people would watch. Unfortunately, I think people want to see the freaks at this point. Really big mothers up there. It's like you said, you really can't go backwards. I guess you have to let [it] self-destruct and see what happens.

IM: I don't want to see any of you guys die.
BB: We will. I guarantee you. You're going to see lots of guys dying in the next few years.

IM: I hope the drug test is a step in the right direction, and maybe they'll start judging for more aesthetic physiques. If they did backtrack to more of the Bob Paris look, I think it would help.
BB: Is that ever going to happen?

IM: How much longer do you think you're going to go on with it?
BB: Till I reach my goal. Or it beats me.
The second will happen, most likely.

IM: Have you ever experienced any kind of depression or rage?
BB: Oh, yeah. Beaten many peopleÃ?got out of hand. I feel bad about that.

IM: Having all that coursing through your system has to do something to you mentally.
BB: Well, besides that, you feel a lump here, and you feel scared, and you don't know what's going on.

IM: Do you get checked by a doctor regularly?
BB: I get the blood tests, and he reads it. It's foreign to me. I just ask how much longer do I have to live, what am I doing wrong?

IM: But he doesn't do any MRIs on you? It's just basically a blood test?
BB: No. He checks my thyroid, sperm count. Of course, I'm never going to be able to have children.

IM: Perhaps some of this will reverse itself once you-
BB: No, I have irreversible damage.

IM: That's really sad.
BB: I think it happened last year. When I upped everything, I shut my thyroid down. And if I go off the [blank], I'm going to get fat. I'm going to stay on the stuff permanently. If I go off, I'm going to rebound. None of these guys go off. It's just nonstop. These guys do what it takes.Don't you see that they're exploiting us? They're selling us. They're pumping us up, putting us on stage, throwing us off, and they're collecting the money. And we're back there rolling around in death.In the process they will make money. Sell ourselves. Sell our souls, and we don't get much. And even if you take the drugs, it's no guarantee you're going to win. You have to have something going on there. But [the people who run this sport] say, Keep it going, keep it going. And watch their wallets getting bigger. They don't care.
It is a big business today.

IM: But you did say looking like that helps you with women?
BB: That makes it a little worthwhile, but I never had any problem with the bitches. I got plenty before. Now I'm bigger, so I get a lot more. But you also get the bad-that includes harassment from the homos.I want to say for the guys who want to take their physiques to a [higher level], weight training, eating right and exercising will help you achieve your goals. What's big to you may be small compared to a pro, but like I said, Lee Labrada will look huge to a lot of guys. So you can attain your goals, get bigger, get better with the women, look good. You may not win Mr. Olympia, but you can still have something to be proud of [without the drugs].[Competitive bodybuilding, for the most part] is all chemistry. It's chemical warfare. Andreas Munzer had something we never had. All those striations and [blank] drugs, but look what it did to him. He died by the sword. And [blank] pocketed everything Andreas ever did.We have to deal with the rat race and the counterfeit steroids. All these guys saying, Yeah, I fell down and broke my arm. That's not true. That's the dealer breaking their arms because they didn't pay for their shipment of growth hormone.

IM: You say you go to Mexico for a lot of this stuff?
BB: Yeah, I go to Mexico. The European tour is where most of us get our drugs.[Switches subjects again] You don't need drug testing. Just a Lee Labrada. It didn't take a ton [of drugs] to do that. Pick that, and there you go. All the other guys will have to trim down to look like that.

IM: Go for the aesthetic physique. That's one of the big steps they have to take. By the way, isn't there a drug that you can inject directly into the muscle to blow it up?
BB: Oh, yeah, [blank]. Use that for my peak on my biceps. [Blank] uses it everywhere-80 to 100 shots. Tell you right now it hurts like hell. But it's hard to predict. It may look good five days before the show, then it lumps out and you'll get guys with the real lumpy, weird-looking biceps.This whole sport is about being a b****. You gotta be a b**** to pay your bills. You gotta be a b**** to win. That's what it's all about. Total exploitation. I'd like the athletes to make a little more money. All these magazines talk about how much Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson make. They don't talk about how much we make, 'cause it's disgraceful. What am I going to do? Sell pictures of myself?

IM: Do a lot of the guys sell drugs on the side?
BB: Oh, yeah. I've done that myself. Now it's a lot harder.
A drug dealer too.

IM: So what else? Is there's anything you can think of that you're really pissed off about.
BB: Well, I'm pissed off that we have to use this amount of drugs. I was happier with my physique last year. [They want us] in the 270-pound range.

IM: Don't you think the magazines are a little at fault too?
BB: Yeah, they are. They don't print nothing about the drug regimen. They're selling fake dreams to kids: Take this protein powder, and you're going to look like that. And it ain't true. Drugs play a predominant role, and most of the [champions'] training articles lead to overtraining. You know that. And unless you're on steroids, you're going to end up unhappy and lose your dream.
Absolutely true.

IM: I guess it's a vicious cycle.
BB: The insulin's very dangerous. I'm feeling it right now. I'm getting real tired, headaches, weakness. I breathe hard. Not a good drug to take.

IM: What's the danger with the insulin? It's a hormone, so what's the big problem?
BB: You can die right there. I mean, there isn't one of us who hasn't been in shock. You really don't know.

IM: Have you ever had to go to the hospital because of it?
BB: I've been in the hospital a few times, yeah. They had to use half a bag of glucose intravenously to keep me going. I didn't have any glucose in my liver, because I did too much insulin. My brain was starved, and I was beginning to fall asleep, go into a coma. It's the most painful feeling you'll ever feel. During that time your mind's going nuts.What am I getting out of all this? A cover picture? That won't pay the bills. Maybe they should start giving back to the athletes instead of taking. If they're gonna make it where we have to be bigger, we should get something out of it. Golfers make more money than we do. I saw how much they make at these rodeos too. They collect $50,000 for riding some damn bull. They don't have to take drugs to do that.

IM: The danger's there for eight seconds, then they're out of there. You guys have danger all year long.
BB: Yeah it's dangerous.

IM: To say the least.


Nice read. I agree the sport has been pushed too far to the extreme.

Powerlifting is not as bad IMO. Still the vast majority are on, and on a lot of shit, but you are only going to get so strong. At least we don't deal with laundry lists of everything.


I'm taking that with a grain of salt. Obviously, it's not hard to believe the sport is moving away from the aesthetic physiques and moving towards mass monsters, but still, 30k a year for GH?

Even at $2.50 per IU, which I'd imagine would be on the more expensive side for what a pro BB would pay, that's 32.8iu's a day, 365 days per year. Come on.


Well certain things sound reasonable like the drug abuse and the sponsors wanting them to get bigger every year and stuff like that but some stuff don't sound right:

1- the amount of money they pay for drugs (60k)
2- the whole prostitution story.... I mean come on.... We all know bodybuilders are not the most well off people in the world, but if u make it pro and get sponsored and have ur pics all over magazines and go to the major competitions, surely u are gonna have enough money to avoid selling ur body. Unless u really are gay and love being prostitute


I don't find the 'gay for pay' thing that hard to believe, honestly.


The article is 14 years old. I was ten years old at the time so I obviously have no idea what shit cost back then, but I guess its possible.


I remember reading this article when it was first printed! (Damn! I'm getting old!!!) Anyway, you have to remember this was 1997. GH was like $7-10/iu. Maybe $5/iu if you bought in bulk. (there were no UGLs) So if a pro-BB was using 8-12iu/day, it's anywhere from $40-120/day just for GH!!!

Add to that the gear, maybe 2-3 grams/week at that time...an amp of Sustanon was like $12-15, 1 amp of Deca 100mg was about $10, an amp of Winny was $15 (obviously a lttle cheaper when buying in bulk, which most pro's probably did/do) etc etc...add all that stuff up and you're talking a few hundred more each week for the "gear", add in all the ancillaries, insulin, SEO, and rec drugs and your talking more than the average yearly salary of most Americans!!!

There was also another article in MuscleMedia around the same time-period that talked about the average pro's yearly drug bill and the aurthur came up with similar figures (he had polled several pro's for the article)
Also, Duchaine once stated in one of his articles for MM that he personally knew an amateur BB who had no job and was sleeping on a friends sofa, who used an amp of Sus, 5 dbol, 4iu GH, and 10 Clens every day!!! Now how do you think this BB paid for his drugs?! Obviously he either delt drugs and/or did other "unsavory" acts!!!


Yeah, I missed that.

Surely things have changed a lot since then.

My bad.


Pretty much what I expected aside from the cost- which again has surely gone down quite a big since '97. Still don't understand why anyone would want to pursue that as a career. That's even worse than Accounting.


I found none of this surprising, and almost all of it not only believable, but highly likely. I mean, in a sport that favors the "athlete" willing to go to the furthest of the furthest extremes, I cannot really imagine anything other than this being the norm.

I think, though, that it is not the same with every bodybuilder. I am fortunate enough to be privy to a few actual first and second-hand accounts from real top-level bbers and those who work with them, and, as all of these guys are absolute genetic freaks, as mentioned, they respond VERY well to any drugs they take. So some very high level guys are on less drugs than some of the members of this board. On top of that, they far more clueless than most of the members of this board about just what it is they are taking.


I think the guys at the top of most sports are freaks. Like Tate said, theres maybe 1% that is there ONLY because of hard work. The rest are there from genetics.

I know one of the best (in the top 3 overall) raw powerlifters in the world, and he is 100% clueless about what he is taking.


I don't see what's so special about this interview. Pro BBers take tons of hormones etc. and that costs a heap of money... and since the sport pays very little, some have to resort to all kinds of degrading sheet to make the money.

A smart interview on "why the federations should whether officially accept the use of drugs or actually ban their use" would've been 10 times more interesting.

By the way...why on Earth do we have drugged-to-the-gills mass freaks on stage? Sandow, Grimek, Arnold, Draper etc. actually motivated people to get in the sport and the health... not in gay bars or pharmacies.


He answers this in the interview. It's because the spectator is the consumer, and the typical consumer doesn't have any sort of eye for balance, symmetry, posing, grace, aesthetics. Pretty much it's a bunch of 150lb. high school and college kids with beaters and doo-rags curling in the squat rack in between texts saying "Light weight!" and chugging no-xplode that they are catering to.

You aren't going to see too many Frank Zane's or Ed Corney's immaculately conceived from that ilk.


could be that or could be they simply take more and have genetics to handle taking more without nasty effects. Impossible to know since we don't know what everyone takes.

the 'interview' seems really fake to make modern day bodybuilders look bad.


From the very real anecdotal experiences I've had the honor of being privy to, I would say that this is definitely part, but not all the story. There's a bit of a perfect storm going on that involves this, as well as the genetics, as well, for just plain old being freakishly big and strong. Then, on top of that, it is going to take a certain type of mentality (I believe there are more than one) that will drive those few remaining individuals to undertake all of this.


To clarify my last sentence, I mean that, just because someone happens to possess both the genetics for being/becoming freakishly large AND those for tolerating or responding to PEDs, does not necessarily mean that that individual will have the drive or motivation to put himself through what it takes to finally become a top-level bodybuilder. So on top of everything else, these guys are going to have to be a certain kind of guy. Take all of these elements together and the OP starts becoming more and more plausible.