The great body builders of yesteryear like Boyer Coe, Mike Mentzer, Arnold, Frank Zane, Robbie Robinson, Chris Dickerson, etc. were all hardcore weight lifters. But they were also hardcore drug users.
Many suggest that these people were physique icons and the pinnacle of the male physique. I strongly disagree. They certainly were not what one would call "the perfectly developed male." If these juicers were the pinnacle of the male physique back then, what then is Jay Cutler (see below), the current Mr. Olympia (the top award in body building), considered?
All these men were drug takers and dealers more or less:
Has anyone seen the great and powerful Sergio Oliva, once known as The Myth today? Here you go:
Here's what he once looked like:
As far as I can determine, he is not ill in the older picture of him above. He's just aging normally without drug usage.
Many of the steroid taking body builders look terrible today. They relied so heavily on drugs that without them, why bother training at all. The drugs these people used were sort of like women who wear way, way too much makeup. It's not really their face you're looking at.
I used to admire these men. I dreamed of looking like Ken Waller - a fellow red head. I thought I even kind of looked like him. Here is a pic. I desperately wanted his physique:
I don't admire them at all now and the steroid taking body builders today like Jay Cutler are taking even stronger drugs.
In my opinion, drug usage should be removed from the sport of pro body building. All contestants should be tested frequently and randomly if they want to hold a pro card.
Look at Steve Reeves a body builder who competed about 20 years before Arnold and his ilk:
With very good genetics, his physique is achievable without drug usage. By genetics I mean long muscle bellies, wide shoulders, narrow ribs, slim hip bones, etc. He was born with these traits (like his handsome face).
Your genetics are not something you can alter through exercise - of any kind even though the Winsor Pilates empire suggests you can. Winsor Pilates (and Pilates people in general) often suggest that by doing Pilates, you can have the long, lean muscles of a dancer. Don't believe me? Listen to what Daisy Fuentes, the Winsor Pilates spokes model says at :33 seconds into this infomercial:
Pilates can give you the long lean muscles of a dancer? Ba-freaking-loney. No it can't and no it won't. Don't you believe this nonsense for a second. It's terribly misleading. For shame!
Here is the late Charles Atlas of kick sand in your face fame. He did not take drugs:
Here's me. I too do not take drugs:
Now, why do I care about body builders and their drug usage?
Body building drugs continue to make weight lifting appear to the typical person to be something that only gross, muscle-head people do for exercise. The images they portray keeps many people from engaging in weight lifting. Weight lifting is, hands down, the single most effective form of exercise for improving general health and transforming your body. The stigma weight lifting has is, in my opinion, why Pilates and Yoga are so popular today.
I hear these things from new clients ALL THE TIME:
"Fred this training will bulk me up right? I don't want muscles."
"Fred I read that heavy weight lifting will make me tight and slow. Can we use really light weights instead?"
"I know its good to be strong so I'll counter Slow Burn training by taking a Pilates or Yoga class after my Slow Burn class to loosen and tone."
Makes me craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy!
So many people miss out on having a strong, lean body by defaulting to exercise programs that do next to nothing for them - or even hurt them. This is because in their minds eye when they think of weight lifting they see this:
Instead of seeing this:
Here's my plea to all steroid taking lifters - please stop taking the drugs. You do the world of fitness a grave disservice.
Here's my plea to all of you folks who are not yet engaged in a sound and safe weight lifting program - start now!
How? Try this: The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution: The Slow Motion Exercise That Will Change Your Body in 30 Minutes a Week (shameless plug for my book I know but I promise you that you will not be disappointed in your results).
As always, any questions, help, advice is gratis on me. Just shoot me an email at FHahn@seriousstrength.com.
In (drug free) strength for health!