Burning Out Or When Steroids No Longer Work

Steroids could very well be one of the most powerful drugs the world has ever seen. They can truly turn you into a superhuman and there’s no question that bodybuilding has been built on drugs. If bodybuilding was a religion, its God would be Steroidius. Unfortunately, there comes a time when steroids no longer work regardless of dosages and quality. The body just can’t take it anymore.

Many famous bodybuilders are known for saying that your first steroid cycles are your best steroid cycles, if done correctly. This is the time when you are going to gain the most muscle mass. When a bodybuilder starts using anabolic steroids his body has fresh receptors and the internal organs are still young and healthy. As a result the bodybuilder grows bigger and bigger. However, it all has to end somewhere.


Just a week ago the popular bodybuilder Mike Matarazzo died due to heart problems. He was 47 years old. Matarazzo was also one of the few professional bodybuilders to ever comment on the drug aspect of the beauty contest called bodybuilding. Here’s a famous quote by him:

Worst were the chemicals. I have so many memories of being alone in a hotel room the week, five days or two days before a contest, and doing unspeakable things to my body—steroids, growth hormones, diuretics—anything and everything that we as bodybuilders do to achieve a certain look.

At the same time there are competitors who can abuse anabolic steroids almost their entire life. A good example would be Dexter Jackson who has been competing for over 20 years at the highest level and is currently 44 years old getting ready for Mr. Olympia 2014. There is no doubt that Jackson has been abusing steroids since forever, just like the rest of the Olympia line-up. Very few people would be able to sustain such lifestyle for so long.

There are many bodybuilders such as Serge Nubret, Frank Zane, Dave Draper, Robby Robinson and many other old timers who are/were able to sustain lifetime drug usage and maintain solid physiques beyond their 60s. However, when they were competing bodybuilders were still strangers to insulin and the drugs were made in quality labs. Today, people are not only abusing insulin to the point of no return but the anabolic steroids bodybuilders buy are often made by children in underground labs with poor regulations. It’s not uncommon at all to order one drug and get something completely different. We also have to note that the old timers used to take much smaller dosages with a few months full breaks each year. In modern times most professional bodybuilders are often on gear the whole year. They are rarely 100% drug free unless there’s a serious medical issue.

The Images Below Are Of People Who Are/Were Literally ‘Juicing’ Their Whole Lives 

Serge Nubret at 66 years of age.

Serge Nubret at 66 years of age.


Andreas Cahling at 61 years of age

Dave Draper at 63 years of age.

Dave Draper at 63 years of age.

There is no doubt that in order to maintain similar physique when you’re over 60 years of age you need anabolic steroids. The guys above look better than 20 years old bodybuilding maniacs who train naturally and ‘abuse’ every bodybuilding supplement under the sun.


As human beings we are all living under the rule of the ticking bomb. No matter who you are there’s a ticking bomb attached to you. The period between the ignition of the bomb and the final BOOM is called life. We all aim to do something before the explosion occurs.

The God of this world is Time or whatever rules time. No matter who you’re, time will get to you in the end. There isn’t anything deadlier than a dose of good old time. Sooner or later it wrecks everything.

The same applies to drug users who feel like Gods when they first start out, but after a certain period of time the negative side effects and the damages to the internal organs accumulate, and the organism has harder time accepting all the synthetic material injected in it.

Once that happens, it’s all over for you no matter how good your genetics are. The machine has been broken and there’s no turning back. There are many popular bodybuilders who tried to do some kind of comebacks, but most of the time they failed to receover their previous form.


There are bodybuilders who burn out at the age of 35 while others are competitive until 50 years of age. The main differences between those two are genetics and dosages. Two bodybuilders can do the same and get different results. One may suffer from kidney failure while the other one can win Mr. Olympia 8 times. Obviously, we have absolutely no control over that. What bodybuilders have control over is listening to their bodies and lowering the dose. The fastest way to burn out is to do it all at once when you are too young. This reminds us of the good old Bostin Loyd who is barely 22 years old and yet he has used more steroids and synthol than some old school pros.

Today bodybuilding is way harder on the body than it was during the Golden Era. The drugs are of worse quality and larger quantity. The requirements for size also went up incredibly high which requires the athletes to make even bigger sacrifices with their health. The results ain’t pretty and many of the pros from the 90s such as Nasser El Sonbaty, Mike Matarazzo, Grec Kovacs died due to health issues induced by the bodybuilding lifestyle. It’s obvious that the size game is one of the causes of similar premature deaths and is also the reason why bodybuilders burn out so young. It’s like having a nice car and instead of maintaining it, you drive it through all kinds of terrains without even checking the air pressure of your tires.


When you see that your body can no longer take the beating, it’s time to quit bodybuilding before wrecking yourself completely. There are many bodybuilders, however, who instead of retiring continue to pump up the anabolics. Most of them are delusional and can’t see the damage that’s been done. We often see bodybuilders who looked much better in the past than they do today. The long years of drug abuse have already done the damage. A good example would be Greg Kovacs whose physique was severely affected by the long term effects of the bodybuilding game.

Another popular bodybuilder who looked much better in the past is Branch Warren.


Branch Warren before burning out.

Notice how in the image above Branch Warren has great proportions – tight waist, wide back, balanced arm development…

The modern Branch Warren may be bigger but in all other aspects his physique has regressed tremendously. His waist is huge and his hips are wider than his shoulders.

In Conclusion

As we have always said – you can’t cheat nature. You can have your fun but in the end of the day we all pay the price for our actions. The bodybuilding community needs to finally realize that modern bodybuilding is killing bodybuilding. Women look like ugly men while men look 20 years older, have no hair and their guts seem to be getting closer and closer to baby delivery. The only way to stop this is to go back and stop sacrificing quality for size. Problem is, many egos will be hurt and a lot of money will be lost. Who would like that?


  1. Priyadarshini Gajbhiye

    Bah,a long and healthy life is HIGHLY overrated. Better to have achieved something you really wanted and then burn out rather than never do it at all. After all after a certain point who cares what you look like at an older age when you have already proved everything necessary to be proven in your youth.

  2. The muse

    I agree with the last poster. Live your life as you want. We are all gonna die anyways.

    Long life is only worth it if you have a reason to be alive, that is greater than you.

    I’m not talking about kids here. When they are adult, they generally piss off.

    Think Stephen Hawking. His life is worth living as long as possible for. Ignore his ill health and think about what he can and has achieved.

    Think about Clint Eastwood. The longer he lives the more meaningful movies he makes.

    As an athlete. If that’s all you have, then long life is pretty dire. Even Arnold went into politics.

  3. Jay Schaefer

    I am 68 years of age now and was an active body builder and health club manager for a number of years. I worked out with some impressive title holders and felt the ego boosting lift from the ever coveted “pump” The problem with sacrificing the future for the now is that, eventually the future arrives and often our priorities and values have changed. What was important to me at 25 or 35 no longer applies. If I had killed myself prematurely for the glory of an impressive body back then, I would have short-changed myself for the broader and deeper interests developed in later life. I appreciate my many hobbies and passions now that I didn’t have back then. I enjoy my many children and grandchildren that I would have missed for the shallow glory of big biceps long forgotten. Recently I ran into a once multi world title holding power lifter who had to stop his lifetime steroid use and is now a shadow of his former self with poor health. No one cares anymore how great was then. They only see what he is now. I think young people entering the sport of body building need to consider the risks and costs of temporary glory.

    1. Andrew

      I’m 52 and agree with you entirely. The 2 previous posts obviously came from the young and inexperienced. As the saying goes ‘Youth is wasted on the young’, but what can you say to enlighten such kids. I’ve been natural 99% of the time and am still gaining at my age, no gut issues, still have my hair not to mention my wife of 21yrs and friends. These kids speak as if pro-BB’s are world famous multi-millionaires. Outside of the fans, nobody knows them except for Arnold and very few make big money. Even amongst the fans most of them don’t know the older generation like Pearl, Kono, Parks etc. So wise up kids and don’t sacrifice your whole lives for such an immature desire, it takes a lot more than muscle to make a man.

  4. Dave

    The key here is ABUSE, not use! You can use testosterone and growth hormone safely at prescribed dosages for many many years. I am 44 years old and suffer from low testosterone. I am on 200mg test weekly and 2u hgh daily. I am actually HEALTHIER now than I was without treatment. My cholesterol is better, my A1C is better, my body fat is lower, my organs are in excellent health, and I feel like I’m 20! Taking steroids is not the issue. The issue is long term ABUSE.

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