It is a bit arcane not to discuss bodybuilders of the late 50s, moreso Olympia bodybuilders, and ask if they were taking steroids. I believe that they were steroids’ early adopters. For those competing in those days, steroids dictate the advantage. For such a wonder drug, could Frank Zane, The Chemist and three-time Mr. Olympia, fight the urge not to make a brew for himself?
In all absolute, I dig how Frank Zane achieved his sculpted amazingly-defined physique. Getting to that bearing without any help from steroids could mean intensely insane and strict training with Vince Gironda. Given that he attributed his bone structure and ability to hold muscle mass to his genes, it would still be, for me, impossible to attain that kind of built without steroids. Forgive my skepticism that Frank Zane was all-natural during his competitive years, but I am not against him if he ever truly did take steroids.
The question will always be, how was his steroid dosage, and how did he cycle? Was he able to talk to Gironda as to how much he would take based on his own calculations as a bodybuilding science and chemistry teacher? Wasn’t it Gironda who looked at bodybuilding scientifically, too? Also, in those days, there were no growth hormones or insulin. Only steroids. So, did master and student really made it their resolve to completely do away with any steroids? Or did they keep a bit to themselves?
With respect to Gironda, who I respect, to compete naturally in Mr. Olympia during those days, Frank Zane could have had the best genetics any man could have gotten. This reminds me of Clark Kent when he was thrown to the earth. His genes were literally building him up to go, grow, and glow in superhuman form even without any supplements (except solar). It’s all in his genes. All Clark Kent had to do was optimize, control, and train his abilities which were all thanks to his Kryptonian genetic makeup.
I suppose in creating that analogy, I would be comparing almost all of the bodybuilders today to Superman. At one point, everyone praised their genetics and training, which is, of course, befitting, however, to say that steroids have little, if nothing, to do with how they hulked or gone so massive is totally bordering to deceit.
I’ve read some of Frank Zane’s interviews and in most of them, he never acknowledged the way Gironda trained him. It could be that he also had his own gym and he wanted to have his own personal methods running it. Or, he does not want to ride on his late trainer’s popularity when he decided to put up his own gym. Or, maybe Frank Zane did use steroids but Gironda did not consent. Zane did fail to get a 4-peat losing to Schwarzenegger who seemed to have really up his game with steroids, of course.
Frank Zane, the man who pioneered muscular aesthetics rather than size, in my honest opinion can truly teach us a thing or two about steroids and how to properly use them. But he, too, is endorsing his own brand of supplements and selling some vitamins and power boosters, too, and he has a right to his convictions.
If it were true that those days of his life when he seemingly was on steroids are because he really was on steroids, Frank Zane won’t confirm it any longer. He lived in his prime, and he would be remembered as the man who brought muscle definition to bodybuilding. Not his chemistry kit.