Bodybuilding veteran Rich Gaspari proved himself as an elite Men’s Open competitor throughout the 1980s and 90s. In a recent Fitness, Fame & Fortune podcast, Gaspari compared modern bodybuilding cycles to what was used during his era of competition. In addition, he touched on the late Mohammed Benaziza dying from a heart attack as a result of excessive dehydration caused by diuretics.
Since stepping away as a competitor, Gaspari has become a fantastic ambassador for the sport of bodybuilding. At 59 years old, his dedication to fitness is one of his primary motivations in life. From intense training routines to strict dieting, Gaspari’s longevity makes him uniquely qualified to tackle even the sport’s most controversial subjects.
The perennial Mr. Olympia contender has been vocal about the changes he’s observed in the Open class since retiring. Unlike his era of bodybuilding, Gaspari noted that athletes today are pushing a considerable amount of gear to achieve their physiques. In fact, Gaspari recently said that some of these athletes are depending on drugs more than quality training.
In his latest interview, Rich Gaspari joined John Romano to examine how drugs and training have changed since the 1990s. He also explained how the late Benaziza lost his life after injecting the diuretic medication, Lasix.
Rich Gaspari Says ‘Old School Training’ Making Comeback and Competitors Are Using 4X More Testosterone Than In 1990s
Gaspari mentioned that ‘old school training’ might make a comeback soon. He acknowledged that Milos Sarcev’s pupil Samson Dauda has been utilizing ‘high intensity’ workouts in preparation for the 2023 Arnold Classic.
“I’ve witnessed the newer bodybuilders, watching their videos and how they train. I’m not watching the entire workout, but I’ve watched Milos train some of the new guys you know, Samson [Dauda]. And he is training them super hard. Like, high intensity workouts that were what I used to do when I used to train. So, there are guys today and I think more of that hard old-school training is coming back.”
Gaspari highlighted that athletes are taking higher dosages of drugs nowadays. Specifically, he stressed that competitors are using four times more testosterone than athletes in the 90s.
“I think it has a lot to do with guys like us, John. Milos is our age. The gurus now are the guys that are from our era that are now passing on that information to the new generation of bodybuilders and it’s showing them how to train. Like I said, I can’t’ tell you what the drugs are but we have reliable sources from these people that are prescribing them to the athletes to know the doses.
Do we know the exact doses, maybe not exact doses but we know there’s a combination of testosterone that are in doses four times higher than what I used to take. Then, on top of it, GH is added to the mix along with Insulin. I’m not saying every bodybuilder uses Insulin but a lot of them do, Gaspari shared.
Looking back on his career, Gaspari said bodybuilders were adding more size by the mid-90s.
“I never said that I was the best – I started the trend of becoming ultra-ripped, the straited glutes. Now, my size did not compare to where it went into the 90s, into the late and mid 90s where the guys were 20, 30 pounds heavier than me.”
Gaspari Touches on ‘Momo’ Benaziza’s Death and Diuretics in Bodybuilding
According to Rich Gaspari, injecting the diuretic medication Lasix, caused Benaziza to die from a heart attack at just 33 years old.
“Momo Benaziza was always kind of puffy and then one year, he took extreme diuretics to get himself ripped. Well, it killed him. He was another guy that could get himself like paper-thin, but it took a lot to get him in that condition. He would take injectable Lasix to get in that condition. And John, I’ve never used — I’ve used Lasix, which I’d never use again because the cramps were unbelievable, I couldn’t even imagine using an injectable Lasix.”
During his career, Gaspari shared that he only used diuretics for guest posing appearances when he was out of shape.
“I don’t know, I wasn’t a big on diuretics. What happened was, the only reason I took diuretics was usually during the off-season to look good for a guest posing. I never did them for a show,” Gaspari said.
Gaspari isn’t the only high-caliber bodybuilding veteran taking issue with diuretics and excessive gear use. Former Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout has continually warned competitors against pushing large amounts of steroids. In addition, he’s condemned the use of Insulin, suggesting those who take this drug won’t make it to 60.
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Some of the league’s best competitors have been open about their use of steroids. Gaspari hopes bringing these issues to light will inspire safer practices for the future, especially when diuretics are involved.