Many people consider Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the greatest bodybuilder of all time, not only due to his physique but also due to his overall impact on the sport. Arnie’s charisma is in many ways responsible not only for the popularity of bodybuilding today but arguably the success of the fitness industry. And even now, aged 68, he continues to be one of the most important figureheads for the sport (not to mention the fact that he’s still in incredible shape!).
Then vs Now
But there is a definite difference between bodybuilders today and Arnie. If you look back at Arnold’s physique, you’ll find that it’s considerably ‘smaller’ than bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman or Phil Heath. Conversely though, you can also argue that Arnie’s physique was much more proportioned, closer to the ‘Roman statue’ ideal that many consider to be the perfect physique.
Arnie has even spoken up about the difference in today’s bodybuilders himself and expressed dissatisfaction in the juice-fuelled direction of the sport:
“We have to make sure we are rewarding the right guys because if you reward the right guys then everyone will start training to have a beautiful body again.
“Because that’s how you create the change, by calling out and getting involved and saying ‘this is unacceptable the way bodybuilding is going. We want to see the most beautiful and most athletic bodies up there on stage.
“Look at the old days when Steve Reeves won, if you saw him at the beach you’d say to yourself, ‘I would love to have this guy’s body, look how beautiful this man looks.’ But that’s not what we can say today about these guys who win the competitions
“You’ve got to look at everything, for instance, so many of those guys have their stomachs sticking out….it used to be that you should have a V-shaped body, now it’s like, I dunno, a bottle shaped body or something like that.”
Did Arnie Use Steroids?
Was Arnie the pinnacle of ‘classic bodybuilding’ then?
And was he himself natural?
As it happens, Arnie did indeed use steroids and has admitted as much. As far back as in 1977, Arnie talked about using steroids.
But there was definitely a marked difference in the way that Arnie used steroids and the way that someone like Ronnie used steroids.
When Arnie used steroids, they were much lesser known. The side effects were less understood for starters, which meant there was less reason for athletes at that time not to use them – they weren’t even banned!
On the other hand though, there were also fewer steroids to take and it was less well-known how to make the most out of them. This was the ‘early days’ for juicing and thus they were just experimenting.
Specifically, Arnie is thought to have used Dianabol and Deca-Durabolin and in rather large quantities. These would have been very small quantities compared to bodybuilders today – who generally take much more complex stacks and cycles – but it would be foolish to think he was only using a small amount.
What do we take from all this? Whatever you want to really! Some might see this as a sign that steroids are safe when taken in small doses – but of course you can’t draw conclusions from a sample of one and Arnie has had significant heart problems.
Ultimately, it’s still up to you to make your mind up – but know that there are better and safer alternatives out there. We know better today!