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Arnold & Steroids:
by Steve Theunissen
SCHWARZENEGGER AND STEROIDS
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 Arnolds name in relation to bodybuilding
with comments like , Well, thats 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 HORSES MOUTH
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. Heres
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
didnt 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 didnt 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 hasnt 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
Golds Gym in Venice, California in the early Seventies.
Heres what he had to say on the issue of steroid use:
ARNOLD AND RICK DRASIN
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
Golds 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 Dianabols popularity stems from its
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 Arnolds 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.