The history of bodybuilding is replete with outstanding champions of different times, who surprised the world with their physique. One of them is Frank Zane – a 3-time winner of the tournament Mr. Olympia (1977-79). Frank Zane is famous for his phenomenal aesthetics and proportions, similar to ancient Greek sculptures. And, most likely, he achieved success in particular thanks to anabolic steroids.
Biography of the famous bodybuilder
The birth of the future Mr. Olympia happened in Kingston, Pennsylvania, in 1942. The boy was brought up in a family of strict but engaged parents. Frank’s father was an electrical expert and the possessor of a radio/TV repair firm in Philadelphia. His mother was a housewife who trained and instructed the boy during his youth. Zane’s mother lived to a ripe old age of 80, but, unfortunately, his dad died at the age of 57. One of the incentives that pushed the athlete to bodybuilding is the death of his father, who led an unhealthy lifestyle: he used alcohol (we wrote earlier about drinking alcohol while taking steroids), smoked and died relatively early.
The life of the boy was full of primarily quiet conditions. But in the borough, one problem existed: in the middle of the century, Kingston was a residence primarily for Catholic families. However, the Zanes were Protestants. It’s not surprising that the neighborhood children often offended the boy and his younger brother, named Adam. Therefore, the boys had to respond to their offenders by applying force. As a result, the future sportsman, with the purpose to develop the ability to defend himself and his brother, engaged in different types of sports. During his 14-15 years, he was fond of combat types of sports (like wrestling & boxing), and then body-building, which became his favorite pastime. He describes the results of his first exercise with iron as follows: “in two weeks, my muscles seemed to be pushed around from everywhere.” Quick achievements added to the boy’s motivation to train hard in the gym.
The athlete’s amateur exercising during four years gave significant results. Therefore, after he turned 18, he decided to participate in competitions in bodybuilding. However, besides his brother Adam encouraging the future top sportsman in iron training, no one supported Frank. From the others, he heard only criticism and mockery. The future bodybuilder was upset, but that didn’t make him quit his favorite sport. He decided to demonstrate to himself and other people that bodybuilding is able to provide benefit both morally and financially. In addition, Zane has always been interested in personal development. That regards not only to bodybuilding, but also to science. In 1960, he graduated from high school. Then he entered Wilkes University: in 1964 he graduated from this university, specializing in psychology, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. But he did not stop at that. During the time of bodybuilding performances, namely in 1977, Zane entered California University in LA.
The first meaningful victory of the young sportsman happened in 1968. He won the title Mr. Universe. Along with that, he met the love of all his life – a girl named Christina, with whom he has lived happily till now.
For more than 20 years of being an expert body builder, Zane has received multiple awards, among them:
- 1968 IFBB Mister America (Winner);
- 1968 IFBB Mister Universe (Winner);
- 1977 IFBB Mister Olympia (Winner);
- 1978 IFBB Mister Olympia (Winner);
- 1979 IFBB Mister Olympia (Winner);
- 1982 IFBB Mister Olympia (2nd place).
The glory in bodybuilding helped Frank get on the TV screens: he was invited on various TV shows.
Frank Zane is now a coach, works in the gym and helps young athletes prepare for competitions. He is often invited as an honorary guest to cultural events. He also acts as an arbitrator, a function he does not like to perform. In 2017 he celebrated his 75th birthday, but he is still engaged in bodybuilding, which he has been doing for the past 60 years. He started at the age of 14 and still works with iron in the gym. Over the past 3-4 years, his physical form has significantly worsened, because the weight decreases more quickly with age. However, even now he has great physique (possibly due to steroid use). Without any doubt, the training program, and proper diet have significantly contributed to that.
Training routine of Frank Zane
The late 60s and early 70s were the time when the palm of the championship among the training programs had a triple split, i.e. such a training program in which all muscle groups were divided into three parts, each of which was trained on a single day. That kind of program was undertaken by Frank Zane. Here is a classic triple split:
1) spine muscles plus biceps;
3) chest, shoulders, and triceps.
Then you can make a day of rest and then repeat the same thing from the very beginning. In the end, Zane trained each muscle group twice a week.
Nutrition of Frank Zane
According to Zane, he mostly relied on food before training. He consumed protein and carbohydrates before going to the gym. “From the point of view of getting a good muscle training, you really need to have enough fuel in your body in advance to achieve a good pumping,” Zane said. He always worked as much as possible in order to get the best pump in his training.
He never rushed to eat in the 45- or 60-minute window and never had a snack during exercise. After training, he usually just relaxed, and sometimes even waited a couple of hours to eat well. Everything depended on how hard he had been training that day. If the athlete was hungry, then he quickly began to eat. As a rule, he consumed protein-carbohydrate mixtures (gainers).
Frank Zane & his steroids cycles
As you probably know, the sportsmen of the Golden Era of bodybuilding usually did not hide from their fans the fact of using anabolic steroids. It is possible that this was due to the fact that anabolic steroids were not banned, in spite of the prerequisites for that. The reason for the beginning of the fight against steroids & other performance-improving meds was the death of the English cyclist Tommy Simpson in 1967: he died right in front of the camera lenses from an overdose of stimulants. The cause of that lethal case was the use of amphetamines in combination with alcohol and loads when ascending the mountain.
But while Zane was performing, steroids were not strictly prohibited. As you may know, the first Anabolic Steroid Control Act was adopted in 1990. Therefore, many athletes openly used various steroid cycles before its adoption.
The fact that Frank Zane took steroids is known. Smart fans of bodybuilding have almost no doubt about it. But it is for certain unknown what anabolic steroids he used. This is known only by the athlete himself & his close friends. Zane’s approach to steroid anabolics, apparently, was bred-in-the-bone, because “iron” sportsmen of that time called him “The Chemist”.
But these are only assumptions. Nobody can say exactly what Frank used. Most probably, the sportsman used the classic for the 1960s and 1970s and today’s popular doping, such as methandienone and Deca. But we should repeat, this is just an assumption, which is based on the tendencies of iron sport of that time.