Muscle Sport Magazine

Gregg Valentino: The Interview (Part Three)

When Bodybuilders Turn Pro…

Recently, MuscleSport Mag had the pleasure of doing a one-on-one interview with Gregg Valentino, who is a top staff writer in ‘Muscular Development’ magazine. His ‘Ramblin’ Freak’ column is just one of his contributions each month to the famous publication and is known throughout the industry as the type of writer that pulls no punches and tells it like it is – if it pisses off some people or not. (Part Two of this interview also appears in the October issue of New York Sportscene magazine.)

Being around professional and amateur bodybuilders his entire adult life, Gregg Valentino has noticed one consistency during the progression of their careers. “A guy will win an amateur contest and then turn pro,” he said. “A year later, he’s a totally different bodybuilder.”

The difference, Valentino says, is usually 20 pounds bigger and ripped. “I think it takes a lot of money to be a pro bodybuilder with all the drugs.” While that may sound shocking to some, the obvious is blatant and to have a frank conversation about the subject, denying that there is steroid use in the sport of bodybuilding is detrimental. It is there and has been for a long time.

Valentino continued, “You have to take a lot more drugs and eat a lot more food. He had to train his balls off to become a pro. You’re telling me that he’s training harder now?”

That is a point that has not been brought up too frequently in the industry for obvious reasons. In this day and age of BALCO, the Mitchell Report and all the other anti-steroid clatter, being truthful – even in the most obvious of situations – has taken a back seat to being politically correct.

Taking it a step further, Valentino dismisses the notion that a bodybuilder had to work a regular job before turning pro and now has more time to dedicate to the sport. “What was their job before? Personal trainer? If you’re a bodybuilder and say you’re a personal trainer, you’re a drug dealer.

“I’ve said this before and when I say it, I’m including myself,” Valentino said. “There ain’t a motherfucker out there that hasn’t sold drugs. You have to. When you’re a big guy and you happen to pick up some test and a friend comes up to you and says, ‘Hey, can you get me a few bottles?’ Right there, you’re getting money. You’re capping on $5 a bottle. You’re still moving shit around.”

According to Valentino, the pressures of being a pro bodybuilder make it a necessity to use steroids. “It’s the mindset,” he said. “They’ll say to themselves, ‘I’m a pro now. I have to look better than ever. Before, I was taking only 2,000 milligrams a week. Now I’m up to 4,000.’ “

Even minimal activity can become cumbersome for a person as large as a bodybuilder. The mass that they pack on may be necessary to increase their chances of winning contests and getting into supplement advertisements, but daily activities becomes an issue.

“He can’t even wipe his own ass. His wife has to do it for him.” While Gregg did name the bodybuilder that has this problem, we chose to omit it.

The basics of a contest also become a hardship when you’re carrying all that weight. “They get on stage and hit a couple of double bicep poses and they can’t breathe,” said Valentino. “They’re walking around with their hands on their hips. They get out of breath because they’re so jacked, at that point it’s unhealthy.”

Not just blowing smoke up your skirt, Valentino speaks from personal experience. “When I was really big – when I weighed about 250 pounds (at 5’6″) – I was breathing like Alfred Hitchcock. It may be a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not a healthy sport.” A large specimen like that requires a lot of rest. “You’re like a lion. You just eat and sleep,” Valentino said. “They say Jay Cutler sleeps 18 hours a day.”

How all of this relates to the rest of the world is a lot closer than one may think. Take Hollywood, for instance. Hormone Replacement Therapy is all the rage. Valentino looks at how actors in their forties are still sex symbols and attractive to girls as young as 12 and 13 years of age.

“Johnny Depp is 47. Just because he’s not built doesn’t mean he doesn’t do HRT. They all go to rejuvination clinics. Even the women are doing it. Because that’s what keeps them youthful.

“What young girl today doesn’t like Brad Pitt? He’s 44,” continued Valentino. “Look at him in the movie “Troy.” He was jacked. It’s not because he just lifted weights. It’s from the HRT. When I was young, a 45 year-old actor was already playing the part of grandpa.”

Is there a happy medium here? “In bodybuilding, we overdo everything,” Valentino concluded. “Bodybuilding is an exaggeration. Bodybuilders abuse. Even if it’s supplements, everything is overdone. But the average person doesn’t understand what steroids are all about. They’re told that they’re bad for you, but they don’t know why.”

In excess, anything is bad for you. The key may be to find out what the threshold is and carefully toe the line.


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