Meet Rich Piana, a Bodybuilder Who Has Taken Steroids for 30 Years

May 9, 2016 Updated: June 22, 2017

Rich Piana, a longtime bodybuilder who has a following on YouTube, proudly admits to using steroids—creating a polarizing effect in the world of fitness.

Piana, according to a MailOnline profile on Sunday, started competing at the age of 15, and he said he’s been cycling on steroids for 27 years—since he was 18. He even posts his drug-taking cycles online, the report says.


Also, he eats nine meals per day and massive protein shakes, according to a recent Deadspin profile. He started using steroids when he failed to place in his first bodybuilding competition.

He weighs about 310 pounds.


The 45-year-old recently began to share photos of himself and his workout regimen on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, drawing a following.

Naturally, he’s received a bevvy of criticism for taking steroids.


“If you have the choice to stay natural or do steroids, stay natural. There’s no reason to do steroids, you’re only hurting your body, you’re hurting yourself,” he said in one YouTube video, per News LTD.

“If you want to become a professional bodybuilder, guess what—you’re probably going to have to [expletive] do ’em. You’re not going to have a choice.”

He added: “I was competing on stage and I was at a point where I was getting blown off the stage if I wasn’t going to do steroids so I took that step and that’s the road I chose and here I am.”

“But you know what, I’m happy with everything I chose and happy with the way everything went in my life. I’m completely happy with … deciding to take steroids. My health is fine, everything’s good.”

Aside from the fact that they’re illegal, steroids can cause some pretty extreme side effects, not limited to:

– Infection
– Allergic reactions
– Bleeding into the joints
– Rupture of tendons
– Skin discoloration
– Weakening of bone, ligaments, and tendons (from frequent, repeated injections into the same area)


According to WebMD, the men who take anabolic steroids might:

– Develop breasts
– Have their testicles shrink
– Have decreased sperm count
– Become infertile
– Become impotent

But Piana says that being honest and straightforward has helped his business ventures and has grown his popularity online.

“Coming out, talking about steroids, just being straight up with people,” he said. “I think people trust me.” 


Recently, Piana made waves in the bodybuilding world after he was captured in a video slapping fellow bodybuilder Jason Genova, who reportedly has an intellectual disability. 

While Piana hasn’t addressed the slapping incident, a number of people criticized him on his social media pages.

“Jason didn’t do anything besides a video. The kid is autistic and can’t even clip his toenails by himself,” wrote one person.

(H/T – Independent Journal)