Gregg Valentino: The Interview – Part One

MuscleSport Mag Sits Down with Gregg Valentino

Recently, MuscleSport Mag had the pleasure of doing a one-on-one interview with Gregg Valentino, who is a top staff writer in ‘Muscular Development’ magazine. His ‘Ramblin’ Freak’ column is just one of his contributions each month to the famous publication and is known throughout the industry as the type of writer that pulls no punches and tells it like it is – if it pisses off some people or not.

Here is one part in a continuing series from our session with Gregg.

Being shy about his own steroid use is not a trait for Gregg Valentino. Instead of being like someone who was born again and preaching the clean life, his experiences with the substances were not all bad and he’s been as open about that as the detrimental part of them.

Due to his being brutally frank about the subject, Valentino is sort of like that old television commercial for E.F. Hutton – when he talks, people listen. Picking his brain about the modern world of bodybuilding was as enlightening as it was interesting. With the ‘grand daddy’ of them all, Mr. Olympia, right around the corner, the topic of drug testing at that level is one that has been broached before, but remains cloudy.

“First of all, there is no testing,” Valentino said. “If you tested bodybuilding, the sport would die. Bodybuilding is not like baseball. Steroids are part of the sport. They’re a tool like the baseball bat is. If it weren’t for steroids, bodybuilding wouldn’t be the sport you know now.

“There is such thing as a natural show, but they’re looking for diuretics and stuff like that. Even when they do test, they make it so you have to be stupid to fail the test. They’ll go like, ‘Listen, March 23 you’re going to be tested.’ Long in advance. They give you enough time to clean out.”

Valentino also brought up the fact that many bodybuilders will switch to oral steroids when a test is near, because compared to injectibles – especially oil based – they will be less detectable in time.

“THE POWERS THAT BE”

Many bodybuilders feel that the sport of bodybuilding is being deliberately held down by the people in charge, to keep it as a sub-culture as not to draw attention to the obvious high usage of steroids. Valentino agrees, but does not hold the Weider brothers responsible.

“Joe and Ben Weider are two ambassadors of the sport,” he said. “They want the sport to be clean. Ben has been lobbying for bodybuilding for the Olympics for the longest time.”

Valentino brought up a valid point when he stated that the Weiders are “figureheads” for the sport now and in fact; don’t even own the Weider enterprise anymore. Whoever is guilty of keeping the sport from growing, it isn’t the Weiders.

“The ‘powers that be’ in bodybuilding, they are the ones that I believe are holding the sport down,” said Valentino. “It’s total greed.”

GENETICS, PLUS

When you use more than 4,000 milligrams of testosterone per week, it is safe to say that you are in a position to recognize a high dosage of steroid use. Valentino has never been shy to admit the large amounts that he used at one time in his life, and he wasn’t even competing at the time.

“I don’t know the dosages they took, but I know what I took,” he told us. “And if I took that, you can bet your sweet ass that they were doing the same thing.”

Valentino recognizes that genetics are also a major part of the top bodybuilders’ physiques. “Every Mr. Olympia is born with narrow hips, broad shoulders,” he said. “That’s part of it. As far as what they do…to be at the top of bodybuilding, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes.

“What they’re doing today, obviously they’re doing anabolic steroids, but they’re also doing other things. Insulin and IGF (Insulin-like Growth Factor) is what changed with bodybuilding from when Lee Haney was 255 pounds winning Mr. Olympia, and now the difference is insulin. It has made a major difference.”

In the next segment of our interview session with Gregg Valentino, he speaks openly about the changes a bodybuilder makes once turning pro, how selling steroids is not as uncommon for bodybuilders as you may think, and some of the everyday issues that become difficult to do when all that mass is packed on.  

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