The Steroids Workout, Day 1: “It Got Me Shoved Into The Party”
Paul Solotaroff is a Contributing Editor at Men's Journal and Rolling Stone, but before that, he was a major steroid user. Paul's book, "The Body Shop," details a year in his life, when he came home from college "completely transformed" from "a healthy, skinny, horny kid," into a Deca-guzzling juicehead.
I met Paul at a reading for "Body Shop," and was curious. First of all, how was he still alive? I knew about all of the stuff he'd injected into his body that summer (and about the pills and the coke, too) because of the book, so the fact that he was standing in front of me, looking healthy no less, was a bit of a shock.
I was also interested about the steroid culture, and what exactly his feelings were about his personal use, now over 20 years removed from it (Paul stopped the 'roids, mostly due to the heart attack he suffered in his early twenties).
So we hatched a brilliant idea, wherein I would go to his gym in Brooklyn, work out with him, and ask him some questions. Here's me babbling on the street, on my way to work out with Paul, former steroid user.
Once we got to Harbor Fitness in Park Slope (lovely!), I immediately noticed the tanning bed. Paul would inform me later that this was now standard-issue for most gyms, as people like to get, in his words, a "pre-cancerous glow" after their reps. I also noticed that there were some big dudes in his gym - like, NFL big. Paul confirmed that some of these guys were currently on 'roids, with one in particular working on "an early death." More on that later.
After changing up and taking off my nerd glasses, we met Paul, who is still a pretty big guy, despite no longer getting extra help from chemicals with names like Dianabo and test cypionate. After a short game of "guess which Hollywood actors are on hormones," he clued us in on the current health problems he has as a result of the years of injections (transcript below).
The panic disorder was the one that, according to Paul, had the biggest impact on his life. As he notes, 10 years went up in smoke because of his borderline-unbearable levels of anxiety - it was so bad that if someone passed him a joint at a party, he told me, he would pretend to hit it, then pass it along, since the ensuing paranoia would be too much to handle.
Over the next two hours, we discussed a number of things, including: the Jersey Shore's effect on gym culture, the different types of steroid users, and the most salacious thing a woman ever said to him while he was still on the juice (hint: the term "in the oven" is used). So stay tuned, part 2 comes tomorrow.
Here's a transcript of the second video:
Dan Fogarty: We're with Paul Solotaroff, author of the Body Shop. I was telling you a little bit about his story on the way here. We're over here in Harbor Fitness - South Slope, Brooklyn. This is the man. He's going to show us - what was it today?
Paul Solotaroff: Shoulders, delts, and triceps.
DF: Shoulders, delts, and tri's. We're gonna see how far I get, I don't know if I can keep up with him.
PS: My triceps are down to about 2 1/2.
DF: I don't know what that means, but I have tiny triceps. So, I hope that's what it means. We're gonna stretch out a little bit, then we're gonna hit the weights.
[GRATUITOUS WORKOUT MONTAGE]
PS: So, I paid a price. But I got a hell of a mo- hell of a lot more out of it than it took away. Or, I got more out of steroids than steroids got out of me. That's a better way of saying it. I mean, you know, they certainly carved a pound of flesh out of me. You know, my immune system is fucked for life. You know, I eat about four or five different foods every day. And that's about it, anything else makes me weak.
I've got a ridiculous amount of stuff going on with my bones. Bursitis here. Arthritis here. Tendinitis and arthritis here. A shoulder that pops in and out of place here. Um, so, to say it's...it's always opening a box of Cracker Jacks when I get here every day. I have no idea what's working and what's not.
So, you know, aside from the neurological stuff I developed Panic Disorder. I developed Generalized Anxiety Disorder after the panic was treated, um... and that wasn't nothing, that took ten years of my life. I mean, a whole decade just went up in smoke. So those are the two... steep prices I paid. I mean, I'd love to go out and get pizza, just sit in front of the TV for one night, with, you know, with, you know, a quart of Breyers. Does Breyers still exist? That's how long it's been since I've had ice cream. But it's hospital time, I'd be in the hospital, with acute respiratory.
I was a healthy, skinny, horny dude, who completely transformed in eight months. Completely and utterly transformed in eight months. And, I mean if I regret anything of that.. It's difficult to have remorse for anything, because it got me shoved into the party. You can't imagine a guy who was further away from the velvet rope than me in the winter of '76, and by the middle of that summer, wherever the party was I was.
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