Did Arnold Schwarzenegger Use Steroids to Become a Bodybuilding Icon?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is perhaps the most famous bodybuilder of all time. He became even more famous after starring in beloved Hollywood films like Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, and Total Recall. Many bodybuilders aspire to be like him.

However, because steroid use is so prevalent in the bodybuilding community, some fans wonder if Schwarzenegger got his physique with the aid of drugs. Schwarzenegger has been open about what he did to become a bodybuilding legend. He’s also discussed his feelings on current bodybuilding.

Arnold Schwarzenegger | Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger has ‘no regrets’

According to Men’s Health, working out has been a part of Schwarzenegger’s life from an early age. Back in Austria, his father made him bend his knees and do pushups so he could “earn” his breakfast. He also grew up having to walk through snow so he could carry water home from a well. Labor like that could certainly be seen as a prelude to his bodybuilding days!

Schwarzenegger has said he used steroids back in the 1970s. He told ABC News “I have no regrets about it because at that time, it was something new that came on the market, and we went to the doctor and did it under doctors’ supervision. We were experimenting with it. It was a new thing. So you can’t roll the clock back and say, ‘Now I would change my mind on this.’”

Arnold Schwarzenegger | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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He revealed that his use of steroids was actually quite limited. He would use them only in the months leading up to a bodybuilding competition, as he didn’t want to get addicted to using them. Men’s Health reports he used them quite sparingly compared to many modern bodybuilders.

How he feels about steroid use today

Schwarzenegger said he would not have used steroids today if he was aware of the health risks involved in taking them and he would like bodybuilding to remain a respectable sport. “Of course we want to keep the sport clean. It says ‘bodybuilding,’ not ‘body-destroying.’ It’s bodybuilding. Of course we want to go in that direction.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger | PA Images via Getty Images

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, Schwarzenegger realizes that getting bodybuilders and other athletes to stop using steroids is a huge challenge. He believes the sophistication of the modern drug industry makes it particularly difficult to tackle the problem of steroid abuse. However, he doesn’t think the fight against steroid abuse is hopeless.

Schwarzenegger doesn’t want to encourage anyone — bodybuilder or not — to use steroids — particularly children. “Because it is the wrong message..to the children. But people should take food supplements, people should be able to take the vitamins and all of the nutritious stuff that is available, but stay away from drugs.”

Schwarzenegger doesn’t shy from admitting he has a past with steroids. In addition, he acknowledges medical science was different back then. Regardless, he doesn’t want to encourage anyone to abuse steroids today.

Also see: How Arnold Schwarzenegger Overcame His Family’s Dark Past in Austria