Bodybuilding is Full of Lies
Gregg Valentino claimed he never used Synthol. Sure Gregg I believe you, not!
My purpose for writing this article is not just to be critical of the current bodybuilding industry, but to clear up false information that can actually cause people to become frustrated with their own progress and give up training. I've seen it happen again and again. Bodybuilding when done right has many more benefits than just big muscles, it can enhance your health, keep you looking and feeling great and even fight the aging process.
When I started bodybuilding years ago, I was an wide eyed, innocent kid, and it took me years to sort out the truth from the lies.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, Mike Mentzer, Frank Zane, Robby Robinson, etc. were the top bodybuilders at that time and they were a great inspiration to me at first, but after a few years of training it was obvious that something was wrong.
The magazines said that Franco was 5'5" tall, 190 pounds and had 19 inch arms. I was 5'5" and 150 pounds (up from the 125 pounds I started at) and 14 inch arms (up 2 inches from when I started) and while all my friends thought I looked great, here I am trying to figure out how I can gain 40 pounds of solid muscle and 5 inches on my arms.
I eventually got up to 175 pounds with 16.5 inch arms, not too bad for a guy with a light bone structure who never took any steroids, but it took me many years of hard work.
I feel really bad for the teens that get into bodybuilding these days when they compare themselves to the top guys of today. Let's say it was me starting, I would look at Dexter Jackson who they say is 5'6", 225 pounds with 21 inch arms, and would be dismayed at how I could gain 75 pounds of solid muscle and 7 inches on my arms.
Around the age of 18 after training for over 2 years, I started to learn some of the truth. I met a bodybuilder who told me about steroids and that all the top guys were taking them. He laughed when I said that magazines say they don't take them, he sat me down and told me the truth and boy was I disappointed.
Over the years since I've investigated bodybuilding and found out the many lies that have been told for decades.
Here is the truth about the most prevalent bodybuilding lies:
Lie: I don't take steroids.
Truth: All top bodybuilders since at least 1960 have taken steroids, over the years the dosages have gotten higher and more drugs have been added such as HGH, Thyroid, Insulin, etc. Also these days I would say all the top bodybuilders use Synthol (oil injected into the muscle belly) at least on some body parts.
Lie: Natural bodybuilders don't use steroids.
Truth: Sadly many "natural bodybuilders" do take steroids, they either take small dosages and consider that being "natural", or they stop a few weeks before the contest to beat the drug test and since they aren't currently taking steroids they say "I'm natural".
This is not to say that all natural bodybuilders take steroids, there are in fact some 100% drug free bodybuilders in the world but the lies by the ones that do take steroids, make the whole thing a confusing mess.
Lie: Steroids are safe when used correctly.
Truth: While anabolic steroids won't kill you right away like a drug overdose, they do take their toll on you heath over time and many pro bodybuilder have died of organ failure at young ages such as in their 40's or 50's.
Lie: I weigh 290 pounds ripped and have 23 inch arms. Or any other measurement, bodyweight or lifting claim.
Truth: All stats are greatly exaggerated and have been for the last 40 years at least, many bodybuilder who claimed 20 inch arms or more were measured and it was found that their arms were 2 to 3 inches smaller then they claimed them to be.
I have met a lot of bodybuilders over the years and many seem to be even shorter than they claimed, for example Franco was said to be 5'5", I am 5'5" and standing next to him he was at least 3 inches shorter than me.
And anyone that meets Arnold in person says he doesn't look 6'2" tall.
Also many of the claimed weights used in the gym are exaggerated, on photo shoots when you see some bodybuilder lifting a tremendous weight, sometimes the weights are not real (hollow, wood or plastic plates) or it is just the weight they could do for one rep and they catch at shot of him doing 1 reps and claim it's what they do for reps in each workout.
Lie: I train for 5 hours a day and do 50 sets per body part.
Truth: Just like the above the magazines and websites like for the top bodybuilders to seem super human. I have talked to and also trained with many top bodybuilders and they don't do anywhere near as much as you hear.
One bodybuilder who was famous for doing crazy workouts (70 sets for each muscle group) when I met him and asked "Do you really do 70 sets for each body part?" told me, "I just work until the muscle is tired", he also confided that he likes to say outrageous things because it gets you more publicity.
Lie: Genetics don't matter, as long as you train hard, eat right and take supplement X.
Truth: This is like saying it doesn't matter how short you are or how little athletic talent, as long as you work hard and wear the right shoes, you can be a good as a pro basketball player.
All the greatest bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva, Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman and Phil Heath had amazing genetics for bodybuilding. It's not because they worked harder or longer, took more drugs or took supplement X that made them the winners. I'm not saying they didn't work hard, I'm saying that most of the top bodybuilder are about even on training, drugs, etc. in the end genetics win out.
This doesn't mean give up if you don't have Mr. Olympia genetics, you should still try to be the best that you can be.
Lie: Supplements are as good as steroids.
Truth: There are some good supplements out there but there is also a lot of garbage supplements being sold. But none of them work like steroids, if they did they would be banned. But the good news is that supplements don't have the bad side effects that steroids have.
Lie: Bodybuilders are huge and ripped all the time.
Truth: Seeing the picture of them in their peak condition in the magazines and on websites make it seem they look like that all the time. The truth is some bodybuilder get fat in the off season, and if they go off their steroid cycle it's amazing how much muscle mass they loss.
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