This 140kg bodybuilder has been taking steroids for over 25 years – and swears he's 'totally healthy'

By Kirstin Buick
17 May 2016

The 45-year-old has been taking steroids since he was a teenager.The 45-year-old's motto is "whatever it takes".

He looks like a cartoon strongman in his signature gym vest, with eye-popping muscles and veins threatening to burst from his body at any moment.

A photo posted by Rich Piana (@1dayumay) on

But that's exactly how Rich Piana wants to look. The 45-year-old, from California in America, has been working on his body for almost 30 years and you’d be right if you suspected that he didn’t get that way by lifting a few heavy weights.
Rich, who now weights 140kg, has been taking steroids since he was 18 and he isn’t ashamed of it.

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“If you have the choice to do steroids or stay natural, stay natural,” he says sagely in a video on his YouTube channel. “There’s no reason to do steroids; you’re only hurting your body and hurting yourself.

A photo posted by Rich Piana (@1dayumay) on

“But if you want to become a professional bodybuilder guess what? You’re probably going to have to do them; you’re not going to have a choice. That’s the boat I was in.” Rich started weight training at the age of 11, MailOnline reports. He would train at a gym with his mother, who was a bodybuilder herself. He took part in his first competition when he was 15. But after a series of disappointing losses, he decided to get a little help -- with some anabolic steroids.

A photo posted by Rich Piana (@1dayumay) on

Today Rich, who is married to Icelandic body-builder Sara, is so open about it that he doesn’t hesitate to place his steroid-use schedule on the internet.

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He has come seventh and eleventh in national bodybuilding competitions and has won many other titles, including Mr California.

A photo posted by Rich Piana (@1dayumay) on

While Rich no longer competes, he's made himself a fortune in the industry through endorsements, merchandise, supplements, and his popular social media channels.

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“If you get involved in this world it’s important to do so responsibly,” he says in another video. “Take care of the liver, take care of the kidneys, take care of the skin and take care of the prostate.”

He insists he knows what he’s doing and is 100 percent healthy. “This is about longevity; we want to be doing this [bodybuilding] in our 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.” But according to Khalid Galant, head of the Institute for Drug-free Sport South Africa, the dangers of steriod use can't be glossed over in five-minute YouTube videos.

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“People usually have to take other drugs to counteract the harmful side-effects, such as insomnia, aggression and the development of masculine or feminine characteristics, depending on your steroid intake and how your body is put together.”

A photo posted by Rich Piana (@1dayumay) on

Steroids obtained legally by means of a doctor’s prescription have a valid place in treating medical conditions, Khalid says. “They can be prescribed – but not for cosmetic purposes in healthy people.”

He says steroids are obtainable legally in South Africa and are also freely available on the black market.

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“Protein shakes have been fingered in a few doping cases in sport. The best-known examples are those of rugby players Chiliboy Ralepelle and Bjorn Basson, who tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine.

"Steroids in doping cases have tended to come from the supplements advertising 'ripped', 'burn' and 'anabolic' effects."


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