Muscle Sport Magazine

Samir Bannout Correct in His Criticism of Bodybuilding Gurus

Courtesy of Samir Bannout

The truth hurts sometimes and when it comes in the form of potential life-saving advice from someone who is not only a veteran, but also a champion in his respective industry, folks should heed the warning. Such is the case with the recent social media posts by Samir Bannout, who has been involved in bodybuilding for decades and won the 1983 Mr. Olympia.

“The Lion of Lebanon” criticized the bodybuilding ‘gurus,’ who really have become more like a pharmacist than a trainer or nutritionist, allegedly cutting together steroid/HGH/insulin protocols for their clients – men and women – that is clearly not geared for long term health. The ‘bigger is better’ strategy has been popular since the Dorian Yates era and has been taken to disastrous levels – for the bodybuilders themselves and the sport as a whole.

Illnesses and in rare cases, death (such as with Dallas McCarver) has become part of the industry due to the high use of drugs to out-mass one another. While years ago it was rare to have a Yates, Ronnie Coleman or Jay Cutler on stage, the majority of the line-up at a show includes humongous individuals who have no aesthetics. And the other common denominator is the guru, who was not in the picture years ago.

While Bannout freely admits that bodybuilders in his era used steroids, he also points out that it was in moderation and “not even two percent of what’s being used today.” Growth hormone and insulin were not being used, either, and even when they first came on the scene, bodybuilders weren’t using the amounts they are nowadays.

It’s hard to argue with Bannout, as the only basis of evaluating the long term usage of these drugs is by looking at people such as himself and those who also won the Olympia since it began in 1965. There are three prior title holders who have since passed away – Larry Scott at age 75 of Alzheimer’s disease, Sergio Oliva at 71 from kidney failure and Franco Columbu, who died at 78 from heart failure while swimming. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 72, Frank Zane, 77, and Chris Dickerson, 80, are the other Olympia winners from its first two decades.

Will Coleman or even Phil Heath live into their 70s? We cannot answer that question right now, obviously, but the amount of drugs that not even the top tier, but rather even the weekend warrior types, as well, put into their bodies.


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