legend of bodybuilding Frank Zane carved out a hugely successful career in the IFBB and witnessed sporting change throughout his life. In a recent interview, the three-time Olympia discussed Mike O’Hearn, the recent spate of bodybuilding-related deaths, and the role of steroids in sports today.
Zane was a three-time Mr. Olympia winner (1977,1978,1979) and had a career in combining symmetry, proportions and balance. His aesthetic physique has led him to success countless times, and he has shared the stage with iconic names such as the seven-time Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrignoand Franco Colombo.
At 80, Zane’s love for bodybuilding is going nowhere. Over the years, he’s passed on his training knowledge to the world and has even been spotted helping Mike O’Hearn with some useful, albeit unconventional, training techniques.
Over the past two years, a frightening number of deaths have shaken the foundations of the sport. Former Mr. Olympia Shawn Rhoden and George Peterson both died before 2021 Mr. Olympia could take place. And since this year, this trend has continued. In March, steroid enthusiast Bostin Loyd died at 29 and Cedric McMillan at 44.
In the wake of so many deaths, notable sports figures like Kali Muscle and Seth Feroce are drawing attention to the lethality of steroids. In fact, they mentioned that any bodybuilder using equipment is risking their life and playing with fire. One of the latest retired pros to weigh in on the matter is Zane, who also discussed Mike O’Hearn’s claim to being a natural in a follow-up segment.
Frank Zane reflects on how steroid use has changed, says implants and Synthol are forms of cheating
‘The Chemist’ says a lot has changed when it comes to steroid use since his bodybuilding days, which were mostly from the 1960-1980.
“I really haven’t done a lot of that [blood work], more towards the end. Yeah they are [bodybuilders today] are on the higher end of the spectrum, it makes sense to do this if you’re going to those extremes,” says Zane. “In my day, there really wasn’t much. There were oral steroids like Dianabol and Anavar. Then there were injectable steroids like Primobolan Deca Dubabolan, or even pure testosterone.
He said hormone replacement clinics existed when he competed.
“There were doctors who specialized in hormone replacement – that’s what it’s called today, hormone replacement.”
In retirement, Zane said he stayed away from testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) because testosterone “feeds cancer.”
“I take drugs to keep my testosterone levels low because cancer feeds on testosterone, so if you take testosterone, you feed cancer. So that’s a concern,” Zane said.
While some contestants have used Synthol and/or implants in the past, Zane thinks this is a form of cheating.
“Basically if they’re on steroids [female competitors] won’t look so feminine after a while. [Synthol] cheated. All implants cheat,” Zane explained. “[Synthol] is not a good idea. How crazy do you have to be to do that. It can’t be good for you.
Zane’s reasons for bodybuilding deaths
Zane encouraged bodybuilders to take their time building physiques instead of rushing the process dangerously.
“I think they are [bodybuilders today] receive bad advice from someone and they overdo it. Their blood pressure shoots up, and something happens. My motto has always been to take your time and do a good job.
Let your bodybuilding career last over time and gradually improve it. Not all at once.
If you take a lot of drugs, you can get fat really fast, but that’s not quality. It’s just building muscle without any plan – bad idea,” Frank Zane said. “I agree, I think it’s stupid but they’re going to do what they’re going to do.
I guess it looks like that [that the sport looks the other way regarding drugs].”
Related: Bodybuilders who died of a heart attack
Zane unsure of Mike O’Hearn’s natural assertion: ‘A lot of people don’t admit it’
Asked about Mike O’Hearn’s lifetime claim to be natural, Zane was skeptical and suggested that if it’s not in someone’s best interest, people generally don’t admit to using drugs. .
“He could probably be the next big thing in bodybuilding if he chooses to. Mike O’Hearn. “Well, he is 53 years old. He is still on top of the world. I think he weighs 275 lbs.
He measures 6″2′, he is huge. He is in top form. I don’t know [if he’s natural]. I don’t ask people that question. It’s their personal business.
“Well, it’s not to their benefit to admit it, so a lot of people don’t admit it. But that’s none of my business. What they do is what they do,” says Frank Zane. “They do what they have to do. If everyone is doing it, they want to level the playing field. It’s a disadvantage if everyone is doing it.
Zane isn’t the only Golden Era veteran to take a closer look at O’Hearn. In late October, former Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout challenged O’Hearn’s assertion that testosterone does not decline in all men as they age. Bannout thinks so and mentioned that he’s also unsure of O’Hearn’s “natty or not” status.
Zane always provides useful information even when he touches on controversial topics. Bodybuilding has changed a lot since its heyday. Instead of rushing to add muscle, Zane advocates that others take their time building a physique.
You can watch the full video below:
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