Steroids Used During The Golden Era Of Bodybuilding Exposed: what steroids did the old school bodybuilders take?

Whenever you ask an old-timer about the past the usual answer is something like: “Back in my day men used to be men. We worked harder for a lot less and we did it all for the love…blah blah blah”.

The truth is that the more we change, the more we stay the same. A lot of things evolved since the Golden Era of Bodybuilding but the principles remained the same – size at all costs.


Back in the day bodybuilders used to take a lot of steroids. The dosages may look somewhat smaller to what we see today but they were no joke.

Quite often the bodybuilders were taking Dbol pills like candies without even having a carefully written intake scheme. They were just as reckless as the modern muscle behemoths.

Back In The Day When Steroids Were ‘Legal’

During the Golden Era of Bodybuilding when guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, Mike Mentzer, Sergio Oliva, Serge Nubret and many more to count were in their best years, steroids were widely available. Doctors did not know any better and were giving prescription for steroids to young boys looking to get bigger and play American football.

At that time most popular gyms had a guy who was acting as a steroid provider and similar activity was a lot less regulated. It was not uncommon to find used needles and pills on the floor of the locker room. Of course, this also happens today in some underground gyms but most people prefer to keep steroid usage private due to legal issues.

In order to be truly correct, however, steroids were never actually ‘legal’. They were easy to get and in theory the average person was unable acquire similar substances without prescription.  The Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990 changed all of that and tightened the control, at least on paper.

Currently, it’s much harder to get access to steroids legally. That’s why most people either buy them online or through shady dealers.

Back in the day people were able to get access to high quality steroids made from big pharmaceutical companies more easily. Today, many of the gym rats don’t really know what they’re actually buying and often the label and the actual content are going in different directions. The chances of buying fake products are extremely high.

Taking Dbol Pills Like Candies


Dianabol better known as Dbol was one of the first official steroids in North America. According to the mainstream information it was originally developed in Germany and released in the US in the early 1960s by Ciba Specialty Chemicals.

The main story says that John Bosley Ziegler developed Dianabol in order to fight “the bad Russians, who were doping, and thus help America.However, I personally refuse to believe this story due to the never ending Cold War between Russia and the USA. I don’t think they’re giving us all the information. It’s been documented that steroids under the form of testosterone were available much earlier that the 50s and 60s.

In an article called “The Creation of Dianabol and the Myth of Dr. John Ziegler” Millard Baker revealed that Dbol was first synthesized by organic chemists working for CIBA Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland and later on Ziegler took the credit in the U.S. because everybody loves a good underdog story and the Cold War was as hot as ever.

Dbol played a serious part in the history of bodybuilding. Besides being one of Arnold’s favorite drugs, Dbol pills used to be bodybuilding candies. There is absolutely no doubt that during the Gold Era all professional bodybuilders, powerlifters and even some average muscle worshipers believed that Dbol was a gift from a higher power.

At the time some people were even putting Dbol tablets in candy bowls on the kitchen table. Bodybuilders did not even count how much they were taking. After all, you need a lot of candies to die, don’t you? Little did they know that steroids taken irresponsibly can have tremendous negative impact on one’s health. A lot of people suffered from the side effects but no one is here to tell the stories and besides – we only want the good news and political correctness always reigns supreme.


In a controversial interview taken by Brian D. Johnston a long time ago the popular bodybuilder Sergio Oliva revealed that even Steve Reeves was subject to steroids. Here is the original quote:

“I don’t care who wants to take steroids, because that’s a personal choice… that’s his life. Now, today, everybody has access to them. I even saw in one of the big magazines that Arnold denies having used them, but Arnold was one of the first to bring steroids over to America.

And everybody in the old days used them: Zane, Columbu, myself, Arnold, Larry Scott, Harold Poole, Dave Draper, and even Steve Reeves. There’s no way to deny it. It wasn’t much, nothing like today.

But the development of drugs is much different. I used Deca and Dianabol, and that was something really big at the time; and Deca was not considered that bad.” {link to the whole interview}

Give Me Some Deca, Baby !

Another popular drug at that time was, of course, Deca Durabolin. According to some it was a stable part of most bodybuilders’ stack and Mike Mentzer took a ton of it to build his thick physique.

In an interview published by Iron Magazine, December 2000 Mentzer supposedly revealed his dosages:

“I took 400mg of Deca Durabolin every 10-14 days,….and no more than five Dianabol a day.”

However, later on it was revealed by another gifted and popular bodybuilder, Casey Viator, that:

Mentzer used up to 2.5 grams of deca a week, God knows how much primobolin acetate, along with d-bol and growth, so as I said don’t be fooled about our low doses as we were just as reckless as theses guys are today.

Like every steroid Deca comes with a lot of side effects. It’s particularly known for causing the so called “deca dick” or loss of libido and sexual desire. Deca is also considered very “bloating”.

Regardless of its negative qualities, bodybuilders from the Golden Era used Deca for it’s fast anabolic effect. Deca offered them instant growth and they signed the contract. It is also believed that Deca has positive effect on the joints.

On many shady website selling steroids Deca is presented as more beneficial to the body than Vitamin C. Don’t let them fool you! It’s a trap. Those sites are just trying to take your money and have little to no interest in your health.

Related article: Did Mike Mentzer Use Steroids?

Winstrol, give me that paper thin skin, please!

During the Golden Era of Bodybuilding Winstrol (Stanozolol) was one of the most popular steroids in the USA. It was known for having amazing effects on the skin of the user.

The drug was known to create the so-called paper thin skin that looks and feels like skin. As a result the user starts looking like an alien composed in Photoshop. This is why Winstrol is one of the steroids that fitness models use to ‘tighten up’.

However, as you’re probably already guessing Winstrol comes with a bunch of side effects. It’s known to be a drug responsible for a lot of tendon ruptures. In theory Winstrol gives you bigger tendons by improving collagen synthesis. Unfortunately, the body compensates for this by making them more brittle, stiff, weaker, and more prone to injury. This is one of the reasons why some people are terribly scared to lift heavy when taking this drug.

Primobolan – the European Connection!

The bodybuilders coming from Europe such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo and Serge Nubret were known to have access to some exotic drugs such as Primobolan a.k.a. primo. In an article entitled “Training With Arnold” the wrestler Ric Drasin wrote the following:

“Arnold and Franco would bring their supply from Europe. They had the best. Primobolan and Dianabol was what they used at the time. I got all of that I needed from them. Franco would give me the shot as it was a preloaded needle about 3 in long! Scared the hell out of me. But, the results I got from their stuff was awesome. I blew up and got really hard on it.”

Primobolan is considered a hardening steroid used during the so-called “cutting phases” when bodybuilders are trying to get shredded for a show. It’s also a drug used by females because of its milder side effects.

However, primo is also a drug that’s very often faked due to its expensive price. The drug dealers make better profits, if they sell fake steroids labeled as exotic and generally more pricey material.

Human Growth Hormone – Initial Stages

Back in the Golden Era Of Bodybuilding human growth hormone was not as popular as it is today.

Scientists have known about growth hormones since the 1920s but only began using Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to treat kids who were unusually short because of pituitary disorders in 1963.

One of the reasons HGH was not popular was, of course, it’s price and the fact that the supply was incredibly low since the only source were human cadavers. Gathering the drug meant isolating it from the pituitary glands of cadavers.

This continued for 20 years until the medical community realized that this way is likely to transmit genetic diseases. {more detailed history of HGH usage}

There is no doubt that very few bodybuilders were able to use HGH unlike today when people from all kinds of industries rely on it to keep them young and lean.

It’s also important to note that the bodybuilders from the Golden Era stayed away from insulin. This is one of the reasons they had much smaller waists compared to the GH guts the current IFBB pros present us.

In conclusion

The bodybuilders from the Golden Era took everything they had access to. Everything that had a chance to give growth and leanness was approved as a reasonable choice.

One could argue that the dosages were lower but we also have to keep in mind that most modern steroids taken by recreational bodybuilders are illegal and therefore of lower quality. This is one of the reasons modern steroid cycles look insane to the guys of the past.

In a way it’s like money inflation. If 50 years ago, you were able to buy 10 books with 20 dollars. Today, you may need 200 dollars to acquire the same goods. The dollar currency has lost it’s value due to the inferior global economy which was designed this way for a reason – to keep you poor forever.

Disclaimer: does NOT support the usage of illegal substances. The content above is solely for informational purposes and is NOT written by a medical professional. The website is not responsible for any kind damages that may be caused by the uploaded articles – the very same way a knife seller is not responsible for the actions of his clients. Be wise – love yourself and your body.

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