David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

On bodybuilding, and freaks

I've always found bodybuilding an interesting sport. Not the sport for me, but interesting. Part of what makes it interesting is that the goal is aesthetic, rather than practical. This idea may seem a little strange to casual onlookers, to whom a serious bodybuilder may scarcely appear human, but there you have it. Bodybuilders work to emphasize muscle size and definition, not to build muscles that are actually useful. They can lift enormous weights for a few reps, but usually don't have much endurance or flexibility, and often aren't as strong as they look. The real key to bodybuilding is found between the ears. The sport is very demanding mentally; it requires a high tolerance for pain and a prodigious will.

So I think bodybuilding is interesting.

There's no question it's also a little scary.

Meet Gregg Valentino.

No Photoshop. Those are his arms.

Well, sort of. They're his arms in the sense that they're attached to his shoulders. What they're not is natural. What they are... is a matter of dispute. Gregg claims he just did a lot of steroids. General consensus in the bodybuilding community is that Gregg is full of Synthol. That's an oil suspension often used for as a medium for steroids. Some bodybuilders skip the steroids and just inject the oil directly into the muscle to create an artificial bloat. Gregg used a lot.

I mean, a lot:

What's interesting about Gregg is that he's hated in the bodybuilding community. Not because of the steroids. Steroid use is rampant in bodybuilding -- but it's done in pursuit of the bodybuilding aesthetic. Size. Definition.

And symmetry.

Gregg is a specialist. All he cares about are his arms. And if you look at pictures of him posing, his arms are all you'll see. He neglects everything else, and refuses to show his chest, his back, his legs. That's anathema to bodybuilders, who see him as a freak.

He's apparently achieved some minor degree of fame; he's been on talk shows, and has been written up as a curiosity in FHM magazine. He also appeared on the Daily Show doing a perp walk after he was busted for selling steroids. (He cheerfully confesses to having sold lots of them.) He now writes a column for a magazine called Muscular Development, which doesn't shirk from articles about steroids and the use thereof. Based on what I've read on his web site, and in interviews online, he seems gregarious, cheerful, dumb, foul-mouthed, duplicitous, and more than a little crazy.

And happy with his lot. It's a big, weird world, folks.

My favorite exchange from one of his interviews with a skeptical journalist:

GV: I've had real jobs. [. . .] Well, for instance, and this is something a lot of people don't know, I used to drive a school bus.

TB: They let you near children?

GV: They were retarded children.

TB: Like that makes it better.
Tags: wtf

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