The Man Whose Arms Exploded
The Perils of Anabolic Steroids
Super-Fit or Super-Freak?
Gregg Valentino is in the Guinness Book of Records as the man with the biggest biceps in the World. His arms have a circumference of 28 inches. Gregg followed a 28 year body-building regime without relying on performance enhancing drugs, but this didn't set the record. This came after a further 2 years of intensive training and anabolic steroids to pump his muscles to these extremes. Steroids would be his road to fame, and ultimately to infamy.
In the UK, Dave Talbot is in the gym at five o'clock every morning. He will train for two and a half hours before returning home for breakfast. He will take the kids to school before returning to the gym for another two and a half hour workout. He will do this seven days a week for months on end.
Dave consumes some 12,000 calories a day to fuel his workouts and build his muscles to a toned perfection. This training routine will last for 15 months and it is all for a single body-building competition.
On the day of the competition, after all of his gruelling fitness sessions, he achieves fourth place. Is it enough? Was all that work worth it?
Gregg Valentino became a minor celebrity in America a curiosity who has crossed over from extreme body-building to the outer fringes. Considered by many, including those in body-building circles, to be a freak.
Pumped-up Muscle - Just Over-Inflated
Gregg made a fortune from his training videos demonstrating the power in his drugged-up arms, but he was about to pay the price for his drug abuse.
Dr. Harrison Pope, the author of The Adonis Complex uses the term Bigorexia to describe what he considers to be an obsessive compulsive condition that steroid-fuelled body-building is becoming. Bigorexia was coined by the fitness community as an opposite to anorexia.
After years of steroid injections, Gregg Valentino's arms were like pin-cushions and he became careless reusing needles and failing to ensure they were sterile. He got an infection in the arm. This caused a bad fever and the arm blew up like a balloon filled with pus, like a giant zit.
But Gregg was about to make a bad situation much worse. He decided to drain the haematoma by himself. He set about stabbing the arm with a syringe to draw the pus out.
After 20 minutes of self-mutilation and two tumblers of coagulated blood and gore, Gregg ended up in emergency surgery, and all his body-building efforts disappeared under the surgeon's knife. Steroids had destroyed his body, and he thought things couldn't get any worse.
Steroids are illegal in the USA and Gregg was going to discover this to his cost. Over the years Gregg had not only been using steroids himself, he had been supplying them to others. He was arrested and jailed. He lost everything, his house, his cars, his money, and his gym.
Steve Michalik a former Mr Universe, knows only too well the dangers of steroid misuse. He had won 22 titles including Mr USA, Muscleman USA, and Mr America without resorting to steroids. But following a trip to Europe he succumbed to the attraction of bigger muscles and started anabolic steroids. By the time he was in his mid 40s, Steve had suffered liver failure, had a heart attack and a stroke. He spent time in a mental institution trying to come to terms with what he had done. Now he promotes steroid-free body-building.
As a legacy to his dalliance with steroids, Steve Michalik has been left with a testosterone level of a 12 year old girl and testicles the size of peanuts.