With 2023 Olympia fast approaching, it’s not just heavy weights bodybuilders are using to get themselves ready. Steroids were once taboo but are now all the rage…no pun intended. Some bodybuilding veterans are speaking out on the dangers, including Samir Bannout who just ranted in the recent The Muscle Maturity podcast about the heavy use of performance-enhancing drugs and how it is literally killing them.
During the golden age of bodybuilding, athletes were focused on clean-cut striations and achieving that perfect aesthetic look. As the sport has evolved, the mass monster slowly became more appealing and soon judges were favoring those with sheer size over smaller more chiseled bodybuilders.
Nowadays, many of these bodybuilders are obtaining this monstrous size with the help of PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) and though they have existed for decades and been a part of the sport, the use has been accelerated to an alarming rate which has had disastrous repercussions.
Over the last few years, there has been a spike in bodybuilder deaths, with the belief that they are related to the abuse of steroids. This includes the beloved Shawn Rhoden who passed away in 2021 at just 46 years old. Bodybuilders are suffering heart attacks younger and younger, raising the eyebrows of the older generations of the sport who didn’t see these types of deaths as frequently while they were competing.
“Your Athlete Is Going to Die” Samir Bannout Stresses The Dangers Of The Amount Of Steroids Athletes Use Today
Following the staggering amount of lives lost, many legends have been trying to raise awareness of the harm being caused. This includes the bodybuilding veteran and 1983 Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout, who just recently expressed on The Muscle Maturity podcast how “stupid” the new protocols are.
“Twelve weeks prior to a show we did a reasonable amount. We made sure our bodies were healthy. We did the blood test and made sure everything is okay. We didn’t cross the line the way they are doing today. The amount of drugs they are using today is deadly. It is deadly! And it’s been happening over and over and over. We try to tell some of those coaches but some of those coaches ‘Oh I want my athlete to win’, but your athlete is going to die if you keep going with that stupid protocol. I call these protocols stupid” Samir Bannout said.
“Look, I am 66 years old and if I want to go on the gear the way they are going, I’d probably be the biggest man in the graveyard soon too. I don’t need to be more than, today I weigh exactly 199 today. I weigh 199 pounds and not 199 and I don’t need to brag about it, I got abs at 199 okay? But the thing is my liver, my kidney everything functioning well. I don’t need to be the biggest guy in the world. But if you put me on the right gear, we could have been competing at 230 for sure, we didn’t need to be that big. We didn’t need to be. And they are getting big the wrong way. When you take 600mg of Trenbolone you are looking for trouble. When you take over two Anadrol for more than six weeks you are looking for trouble. You can damage your liver and kidney. They are bigger but not bigger. They are bigger not better. That is what you need to know.”
Samir Bannout emphasizes that size has nothing to do with quality and the sport needs to get back to prioritizing the distinction between the two.
“Phil we just saw the video of you, just minutes ago, and I saw separations between you biceps and you triceps. I saw detail in the shoulder. Its etch muscularity, clear. I mean you had no subcutaneous fluid. 205 pounds of onion skin 24k quality to me is a zillion times better than 240 watery, hazy look. It doesn’t mean crap to me. So we go back to the Porsche versus Cadillac. Come on John, don’t tell me that Cadillac is better than a 9/11. It’s quality. We’ve gotta go back to quality in bodybuilding.”
“This is what I am saying. They are creating more volume, Phil. More volume. But I still don’t see separation from the delts all the way to the elbow, which we had. You had that onion skin Phil and I don’t see anybody, hardly see anybody with etch, etch quality nowadays.”
Samir Bannout went toe-to-toe with some of bodybuilding’s biggest legends such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane. His dedication and shredded back saw him through decades of success in the sport and now in retirement, Bannout is an important voice for the bodybuilding community.
Bannout isn’t the only one to speak out on the dangers of ramped-up steroid abuse. His former competitor and seven-time Mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger has brought attention to the fact that bodybuilding is becoming ‘really dangerous.’
Schwarzenegger believes that athletes were never meant to use quantities of drugs to put on such mass and believes it is leading to more deaths. This, in his opinion, has made bodybuilding “the most dangerous sport in the world.”
Rich Gaspari, another big name in the sport, has brought up the issue of PED abuse numerous times. He contends that younger athletes using PEDs could risk a plethora of health problems which could have an even worse impact on still-developing bodies.
Anyway, you spin it, the use of PEDs has become unchecked and dangerous which has led to many losing their lives way too soon. While it’s often a challenging topic to navigate for Pros, most agree that safety should take top priority.