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

| by Truth Seeker |

Whenever you ask an old-timer about the past, the 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 have evolved since the Golden Era of Bodybuilding, but the main principle still holds strong – size at all costs.


During the 70s, the professional bodybuilders were taking a lot of steroids. The dosages may look somewhat smaller compared to what we see today, but they were no joke. The lifters were just as reckless as the modern muscle behemoths.

Back In The Day When Steroids Were Legal

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

At the time, the most popular gyms had a guy acting as a steroid provider. It was not uncommon to find used needles and pills on the floor of the locker room. Of course, this still happens in some underground gyms, but nowadays most people prefer to keep their steroid usage private due to legal issues.

Technically, steroids have never been truly legal. They were simply easier to get until the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990 tightened the control.

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

At the time, people had an easier access to high-quality steroids produced by big pharmaceutical companies. Today, many gym rats don’t even know what they are buying. The chances of purchasing underdosed and/or 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 to fight “the bad Russians”, who were doping. I personally refuse to believe this story due to the never-ending Cold War between Russia and the USA. I don’t think that the mainstream books are giving us all the information. It’s been documented that steroids under the form of testosterone were already available earlier.

In an article entitled “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. It was one of Arnold’s favorite drugs. During the Golden Era, all professional bodybuilders, powerlifters and many average muscle worshipers believed that Dbol was a gift from a higher power.

Back then, people were putting Dbol tablets in candy bowls on the kitchen table. Some bodybuilders did not even count how much they were taking. Little did they know that steroids can have a negative impact on one’s health. Many users suffered serious side effects later.


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 during the 70s was, of course, Deca Durabolin. According to some, it was an indispensable drug. Mike Mentzer took a ton of it to build his thick physique.

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

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


However, Casey Viator, another gifted and popular bodybuilder, revealed 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 many side effects. It’s particularly known for causing the so-called “deca dick” (loss of libido and sexual desire).

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

On many shady websites selling steroids, Deca is presented as something 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.

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 due to its effects on the skin.

The drug was known to create the so-called paper thin skin that looks and feels like silk. As a result, the user mutates into 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 a drug responsible for many 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 scared to lift heavy when taking this drug. Moreover, Winstrol dries the joints and makes them more susceptible to injury.

Primobolan – the European Connection

European bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbo and Serge Nubret had access to 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 taken during the so-called “cutting phases” when the bodybuilder is trying to get shredded for a show. It’s also a drug used by females because of its milder side effects. However, nowadays primo is often faked due to its expensive price.

Human Growth Hormone – Initial Stages

Scientists have known about growth hormone since the 1920s but only began using Human Growth Hormone (HGH) on kids who were unusually short in 1963.

One of the reasons for HGH’s lack of fame was, of course, its price and the fact that the supply was incredibly low since the only sources were the pituitary glands of cadavers.

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

During the 70s, very few bodybuilders used HGH, unlike today when people from all walks of life rely on it to remain 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 why they had smaller waists compared to the GH guts carried by the modern pros.

In conclusion

The bodybuilders from the Golden Era took almost every anabolic drug available to them in order to build muscle mass surpassing the natural potential. Everything that had a chance to produce growth and leanness was approved as a reasonable choice.

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

In a way, the process is similar to 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 currency has lost its value due to the global economy designed this way for a reason – to keep you poor forever.

Disclaimer: does NOT support the use 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 damages that may be caused by the uploaded articles. Be wise – love yourself and your body.

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  1. joe santus

    I’m 61 and have been bodybuilding since 1972 when I began at age sixteen. Most of my favorite bodybuilders are from the 1970s. However, I have no illusions that, as a group, their drug dosings and cyclings were smaller and fewer due to any less of an “get-bigger-at-any-cost” mindset.

    Besides less knowledge about, and a narrower range of, AAS, if anything braked the amounts they used, it was the their relative unfamiliarity with and the relative unavailability of anti-estrogenics. Without anti-estrogenics, they were more limited in the amounts of anabolics they could take without too severe of aromatizing side-effects; if they’d had the estrogenics, they’d have upped their steroid dosages.

  2. Johnny

    Oliva is full of crap. He said he did not know how dangerous steroids were. Well, Arthur Jones told him personally and often how dangerous they were. He took them anyway. And, please prove that Reeves took steroids.

  3. Karim

    Since bodybuilding was created bobybuilders have been taking medicines to boost their performance and gain muscle mass. There have never been a clean era without steroid in bodybuilding. Never. Perhaps the compounds were different as well as the dosages which cannot be compared with nowadays dosages. However, bodybuilders in the golden years were working harder and relying more on their diet than steroids. Unlike today.

    1. Steve

      funny how Arthur Jones said no steroids were used in the colorado experiment and forgot to mention Casey wqas sick before starting. but anyway Arthur gave BillPeral Nilevar from Searle in 1958 or 1959 i believe and sure it was only 30mg but he did it for 12 weeks as everyone ran orals longer then but did lower doses. also some guys 100% back then were doing 100mg of CIBA orginal dbol and in an interview you sjhould be able to find Sergio said he got sick of needles so did 7 dbol 3 times a day and Rick Wayne said in his book Arnold had 8 for breakfast. imagine how much that would equal in modern dbol? Freddy ortiz and Pete Grymkowski took the whole 500mg bottle daily for a post show rebound pete admits it and has been seen by many and Jerry Brainum saw Freddy do that himself and on top of that drank whiskey and smoked. but they weaned off of everything, we dont do that today.

      1. siril

        Hello Steve I found your feed back really interesting but where did you get all this informations ?

  4. David Anderson

    Still questionable the “ Actual dosages used “. Probably never know the real truth but it’s obvious they all took FAR less than you see used today. Today’s underdosed gear explains the vastly increased doses.

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