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"Now [Phil] Heath is a walking muscle chart, as if lifted from the wall of biology class. He competed at the last Mr. Olympia at 248 pounds, a symmetrical knot of bulges on top of bulges in places that most men never dreamed of bulging. The bundle is cinched at a 29-inch waist.

When he flexes he expands, like a rippled blowfish. The front of his thighs are something a balloon artist with too many balloons might create. His arms look like gnarled oak. His relatively narrow shoulders, once a drawback, are broad knots of deltoids and trapeziuses. His back is a relief map of impenetrable terrain.

“I produce a three-dimensional effect that others don’t have,” he said."


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Each of Heath’s thighs is about 32 inches around, bigger than his waist. Credit Igor Kopcek/EastLabs.SK

22-inch biceps 


Wow. Incredible muscle definition!

His thighs are bigger than his waist. Wow.

I wonder if it's actually bad for the human body to be that muscle-y.

congrats to him for all that hard work. 

It's more than hard work. There's a lot of personal sacrifice too. Read below. 

This type of physique is not even remotely possible without massive amounts of steroids, as evidenced by the fact that no one ever looked remotely like this prior to their availability. 

Adam, in answer to your questions, bodybuilders at this "level" die prematurely all the time.

"Heath reached toward a bouquet of round plastic jars filled with powdered supplements. He scooped powder from one into a water bottle, shook it and drank. He compared himself to a racecar, always in need of fuel and delicate tinkering.

It raised the question about performance-enhancing drugs. Their murky role in bodybuilding has long shrouded the sport. A 2013 documentary on Heath and Mr. Olympia called “Generation Iron” (a sort of bookend piece to 1977’s “Pumping Iron,” which launched Schwarzenegger and others to fame) called the topic “taboo.” It then insinuated that, of course, bodybuilders competing in top-level contests like Mr. Olympia use steroids.

“Everybody is going to do what they do,” Heath said, the only time over many hours that he was curt and declined to elaborate. “But we get tested.”

Mr. Olympia is part of the International Federation of Bodybuilding Professional League. The I.F.B.B. says that it operates under the guidelines of the World Anti-Doping Agency and that competitors are subject to drug testing.Chang, who oversees the Mr. Olympia contest, said that I.F.B.B. testing is random, but is not conducted during the Mr. Olympia contest itself.

Fans of Mr. Olympia do not seem caught up in the issue, perhaps because the sport is entirely about aesthetics, not strength or performance."

Sad that many bodybuilders die prematurely.

Makes me wonder if they all truly understand the risks they're taking. 

I don't think there is anything wrong with their choice to use drugs to heavily modify their bodies, but I do find it aesthetically displeasing.

As far as health, while it seems that light/non-continuous steroid use can be healthy there is little question that pro bodybuilding is a culture of extreme personal risk.  There is a difference between health and fitness.

Here is a recent article on T-Nation, a weight lifting oriented site that is known for frankness about steroid use.  It's entitled, "Big Dead Bodybuilders -- The Ultimate Price of Pro Bodybuilding"

Excellent read. Thank you.

Wow that's a great read.

I had no idea of the extreme personal risk these bodybuilders take in pursuit of their art.

Somehow Arnold Schwarzenegger managed to life a full, satisfying life.

Perhaps because he came up in an earlier era.

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