Episode 64: STEROIDS & The Ugly Truth About The Fitness Industry

“No motherfuckers, this is what you have to do to change your body from a drug free level” – Cory

“That shit is all fucked up, and everyone is clueless. Its not reality. Its just a bunch of smoke and mirrors” – Cory

“When you fuck with our youth in this country, I got a problem with you. I don’t give a fuck who you are.” – John

“You’re better than me but I beat guys like you all the time because I work harder” – Cory

“We all can outwork everybody but we all can not move freaky weights” – John

“I don’t care how much bigger you are than me, I’m gonna come after your fuckin ass.” – John


  • An Entertaining Intro: 00:30
  • Behind The Scenes Of The Fitness Industry (Steroid Use and Credibility): 5:30
  • Drugs for Recovery/Drugs in Athletics: 30:15
  • What It Looks Like When Its Natural: 34:30
  • Giving Up The Facade: 44:30
  • Why Didn’t Cory or John Take Steroids?: 51:45
  • The Overarching Business Takeaway: 59:10
  • Should Steroids Be Legal In Professional Sports?: 1:02:30
  • Closing Remarks 1:06:00


There is an unfortunate disconnect between many people who are the icons in the fitness industry and the average gym goer. The industry is supposed to be about health and fitness but for many the health part falls by the wayside. A problem with the current state of the fitness industry is that people who are clean and try to teach from a place of knowledge and understanding often get overlooked because they are not as big or strong as some guys. Even though these bigger guys may not know half as much.

Early in everyone’s fitness journey it is common to look at the professional bodybuilder and aspire to look like that or be as strong as the champion powerlifters. The question often comes up, can you do that without taking steroids? No. The guys you see on stage at the Mr. Olympia are 100% on steroids and could not have gotten there without the use of steroids. Steroid use is much more prevalent than the average person thinks. Just because someone uses drugs does not mean you cannot aspire to learn from them and look to them for motivation. It simply means that when evaluating your own natural progress, don’t compare it to what you see these people doing. Fitness icons have the ability to influence. This influence is a privilege and it is a responsibility to the youth to be honest and upfront about whether they use steroids or not. By not being honest, these individuals are causing young people to believe they can do the same workouts and see the same results. Then when the young kid follows the same workout and doesn’t see the astronomical gains he expected, he becomes discouraged. Literally the opposite result of what anyone in the industry wants.  The seriously freaky results are the product of anabolic steroids. The most important thing is that these icons in the fitness industry are HONEST about what they are taking.

In 2012 John tore his bicep tendon off the bone and the muscle off the tendon. The doctor told him it would take 6 months to recover and then he could begin to lightly train. Someone at the gym told him HGH (Human Growth Hormone) could help him recover more quickly. He began taking it one week post surgery and within 6 WEEKS he was back in the gym and stronger than ever. This goes to show just how powerful these drugs can be. Once recovered, he got off the drugs and has not taken them since.

In athletics everyone claims to be against steroids and PEDs in sports but at the same time, everyone wants to see freaks. Everyone wants to watch the games and see people do seemingly inhuman things. That is the dichotomy we are forced to deal with in the world today. As far as the leagues and companies are concerned, freaky athletes are really good for business but at the same time they want their consumers to know or believe that their athletes are clean.

Know that there is a boundary to what you can attain naturally compared to what you see on Instagram or YouTube. You have a genetic limit and the insane stuff you see on social media is guys going beyond their genetic limits through the use of anabolic steroids. So do not be discouraged when your numbers in the gym are not climbing as fast as you would like or are not the same as some guy in the industry that you look up to. Living the lifestyle and truly extracting the best out of you is the most important thing. Work your ass off to achieve your genetic potential. The baseline for what strong or ripped looks like is skewed because of the steroids in the industry. Health and fitness is supposed to be about challenging yourself, to make yourself healthy.

There are so many people lying  or at least giving a false perception about what they do in order to achieve the physical success they have. Finding out that you will never look like some of your idols because they are on drugs and worse than that, they lied to their supporters about it can be a demoralizing moment. If Cory were to take steroids, weigh a lean 220 lb. and have a 2000+ lb. powerlifting total he would quadruple his following easily. That is not what is most important though. The most important thing is providing young people with someone real to look up to. To give people an idea of what it looks like and what it takes to do things naturally and honestly.

For a lot of young strong kids there can be some serious pressure to take steroids so they can do some really crazy stuff in the gym. There may be a group of guys at your gym wanting you to train with them and offering you drugs so that you can really be elite on stage or on the platform. You need to know where your values are and what you stand for when it comes to this sort of thing. Do not be peer pressured.

The fact that Cory did not take steroids made him a better businessman because it forced him to do the extra research to figure out a better way to do it naturally. By doing this extra research he gained a knowledge base that he never would have had or needed for that matter had he taken steroids. The Max Effort Muscle formulas would not be as good and neither would the content that Cory puts out on a regular basis. The fact that he did not take steroids and instead found a way to succeed naturally put him on another level as a creator and as a health and fitness professional.

The greatest business takeaway form this conversation is to be genuine and honest with the people you are speaking to. Pick your spot, pick it right and pick it with integrity. Recognize that a large part of the industry is BS and choose not to align yourself with companies that propagate the facade.

Both Cory and John believe steroids should be legal in professional sports, largely because the vast majority do it anyway. It would actually level the playing field more and allow the players to be honest with the fans. In addition the culture around steroids would likely change leading to people in the fitness industry no longer feeling like they have to mislead their supporters. Lets just stop lying to everyone so our youth can understand what it takes!

No matter what level you reach, you are never the best. You can always find someone who is better than you at some facet of your craft. This is why you can’t compare yourself to anyone else. Constantly comparing yourself to others will ultimately lead to unhappiness. Every day you are working to better you. As long as you are progressing and moving forward, take it as a victory. You can look to others for motivation but it is always you versus you.



  • Bigger, Stronger, Faster: Documentary By Chris Bell


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