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Arnold & Steroids: Truth Revealed
by Steve Theunissen

SCHWARZENEGGER AND STEROIDS

Look back at some vintage photographs of Arnold at the peak of his bodybuilding career and, before long, a nagging question will surface in your mind: Was the Schwarzenegger physique a product of steroids or did he do it naturally? Today, many iron pumpers tend to scoff at the mere mention of Arnold’s name in relation to bodybuilding with comments like , “Well, that’s what steroids can do for you.” Yet, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of today is an ardent anti drugs campaigner, expending himself to warn our kids away from the dangers of steroid abuse. So, just what is the truth behind the allegations that Arnold in the Seventies was an out of control steroid freak?

FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH

Arnold has never been backward about coming forward. At a time when other pro bodybuilders were running for cover, Arnold openly discussed his use of steroids in a mail order booklet that he sold through Muscle & Fitness Magazine. The booklet is entitled Arnold: Developing a Mr Universe Physique and was released in 1977. Here’s what he said about his use of steroids back then: “I will not speak for my colleagues, but I will write of my experience with tissue-building drugs. Yes, I have used them, but no, they didn’t make me what I am. Anabolic steroids were helpful to me in maintaining muscle size while on a strict diet in preparation for a contest. I did not use them for muscle growth, but rather for muscle maintenance when cutting up.”

Since that time Arnold has made no effort to hide the fact that he was a steroid user in the seventies. In fact, in a recent TALK magazine interview when asked if he had ever taken drugs, including steroids, his reply was “I inhaled, exhaled, everything.” And, of course, Arnold can be seen smoking a joint at the end of PUMPING IRON. Yet, he has always maintained that he didn’t use steroids to bulk up, just to maintain his size when he was preparing for a contest. It should be remembered that, until the Anabolic Steroid Control Act criminalized steroid use for ‘athletic purposes’ in 1990, they were not illegal. And, according to his publicist Pat Kingsley, “Arnold hasn’t done steroids since they were illegal.” However, there is more to this story than that. First hand experiences from some bodybuilders who trained with Arnold in his bodybuilding heyday reveal that his use of steroids was more liberal than he acknowledges in his 1977 booklet. Ric Drasin is a former WWF wrestler who trained with Arnold at Gold’s Gym in Venice, California in the early Seventies. Here’s what he had to say on the issue of steroid use:

ARNOLD AND RICK DRASIN

"Through the years other anabolics came on the scene – more sophisticated drugs from Europe. I tried most of them. Primobolan from Germany was the best. This was injected weekly in conjunction with dianabol. Guess who really loved this combination? Arnold Schwarzenegger! In fact, he gave me the injections! This combo was superb and helped Arnold win Mr. Olympia. In the Seventies, every one at Gold’s Gym was taking this combination. Everything was easy to get and really cheap." So, here we have mention of two specific steroids – primobolon and dianabol. Are these drugs primarily used for pre contest muscle retention? Well, primobolan when taken in dosages of 200mg/week a low water retention stimulating the buildup of strength and muscle occurs. This is a favorite compound for steroid novices. Within 8 weeks, most athletes can gain 10 to 15 solid pounds without having to worry about losing them after discontinuation of the compound. Low water retention can occur. Dianabol Dianabol’s popularity stems from it’s almost immediate and very strong anabolic effects. 4-5 tablets per day is enough to give almost anybody dramatic results. Dianabol converts to estrogen, so gyno and water retention may be a problem. The most popular form of Dianabol in the Seventies was Methandros-tenolene. It is a 17 alpa-alkyl based steroid which produces dramatic strength and size gains. This is also a very toxic drug. This drug is probably the reason for Arnold’s muscles. Notice that in both cases a side effect is that water retention can occur. This is, of course, the absolute last thing that a bodybuilder wants to happen pre-contest. It seems unlikely, then, that the steroid sessions that Mr Drasin describes were limited to pre contest muscle retention. Rather, it appears more likely that Arnold was using steroids year round to promote muscle growth.

   

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