Q: When did you first come across anabolic steroids?
A: I started bodybuilding in 1972 at age 14. I started at home in England, using makeshift equipment. Then the following year I started to work out at a gym, albeit a very simple one—a “dungeon” gym. Steroid use was endemic among the top physiques at that time, although—at least in print—most of them claimed to be drug-free. The general view presented in bodybuilding magazines was that drugs are only a crutch and aren’t needed even for great achievement. At the time I believes whatever I read.
During my first year at college—1978-’79—I worked out at a hardcore bodybuilding gym where a couple of Europe’s top physique athletes of the time trained. The gym owner noticed that I was one of the most serious guys working out there because I trained so hard. One quiet morning while I was training, he came over and told me that if I wanted to compete in physique shows, I would have to take steroids. I didn’t believe him. I was still sufficiently naive to believe that the “drugs are only a crutch and aren’t needed even for great achievement” mantra. I truly believed that I could compete at a high level sans drugs.
Even had I accepted what the gym owner told me, I would have turned down the chance to use steroids. As fanatical as I was about bodybuilding, I wouldn’t consume anything that would jeopardize my health, which was just as well, or otherwise I would likely have suffered the serious health problems—or perhaps even premature death—that some of my peers did.
Editor’s note: Stuart McRobert’s first byline in IRON MAN appeared in 1981. He’s the author of the new BRAWN series, Book 1: How to Build Up to 50 Pounds of Muscle the Natural Way, available from Home Gym Warehouse (800) 447-0008 or www.Home-Gym.com.