The history of bodybuilding is replete with unforgettable champions of different times, who surprised the world with their constitution. One of them is Frank Zane — a 3-time conqueror of the tournament Mr. Olympia (1977-1979). He is famous for his unexampled aesthetics and proportions, similar to ancient Greek sculptures and Roman deities. Apparently, he achieved success in particular thanks to anabolic steroids.
Biography of the Bodybuilding Legend
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 taught and instructed the boy during his youth. Zane’s mom lived to a ripe old age of 80, but his dad died at 57. The key incentive that pushed the athlete to weightlifting was the death of his father, who led an unhealthy lifestyle: he was an alcoholic (we wrote earlier about drinking alcohol while taking steroids), smoked and snuffed it relatively early.
The life of the boy was full of primarily quiet conditions. But in the borough, one problem existed: in the century’s middle, Kingston was a residence predominantly for Catholic families. However, the Zanes were Protestants. It may seem sensational but the neighborhood children often offended the boy who was a weakling and his younger brother Adam. Therefore, the boys had to respond to their offenders by applying force. As a result, the future sportsman, willing to develop the ability to defend himself and his brother, engaged in different types of sports. In his juvenility, he was fond of combat activities (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 bodybuilding competitions. 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 bulking but also to sciences. In 1960, he graduated from high school. Then he entered Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre: in 1964 he graduated from there, specializing in psychology and obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. But he didn’t stop at that. During the time of contest performances, namely in 1977, Zane entered California State University.
The first meaningful victory of the junior happened in 1968. He won the title Mr. Universe. Along with that, he met the lifelong sweetheart — a girl named Christina, with whom he has lived happily in perfect harmony.
For over 20 years of being an expert body builder, Zane has received multiple awards, among them:
- 1962 Mr. Keystone (Winner)
- 1968 IFBB Mister America (Winner);
- 1968 IFBB Mister Universe (Winner);
- 1977 International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Mr. Olympia (Victor);
- 1978 Mr. Olympia (Champion);
- 1979 Mister Olympia (Winner);
- 1982 Mister Olympia (2nd place).
The glory in bodybuilding helped Frank get on the TV screens: he was invited on various TV shows and series, including ShawnRay.Tv, Hart to Hart, Superset Me, The Mike Douglas Show, Reg Park: The Legend, The Infinite Power Workout, Challenging Impossibility.
Frank Zane is now a coach and one of the leading specialists in active aging. He also helps young jocks prepare for competitions. He is often invited as an honorific guest to cultural events. He also acts as a moderator, a function he doesn’t like to perform. In 2017 he celebrated his 75th birthday, but he is still engaged in exercising, which he has been doing for the past 60 years. He started at 14 and still lifts iron in the gym. Over the past 3-4 years, his musculature has markedly worsened, because the weight decreases quicker with age. However, even now “the healthiest bodybuilder” has great physique (possibly due to steroid use). Assuredly, the training program, and proper diet have significantly contributed to that.
His Instagram: @officialfrankzane.
Official website: FrankZane.com.
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 trained on a single day. Frank Zane practiced such a schedule. Here is an exemplary triple split:
- spine muscles plus biceps;
- chest, shoulders, and triceps.
Then he made a recuperation day and repeat the routine from the beginning. Hence Zane trained each muscle group twice a week.
Nutrition of Frank Zane
According to Zane, he mostly relied on peri-workout nutrition. 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 to the fullest extent 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 relaxed, and sometimes even made a 2-hour pause to eat well. Everything depended on how hard he had been training that day. If “the Chemist” was hungry, then he quickly ate. He also consumed protein-carbohydrate blends (gainers).
Frank Zane & his steroids cycles
Sportspersons of the Golden Era of bodybuilding usually didn’t hide the fact of using “juice” from their fans. It’s possible that this was because anabolics 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 demise of the English cyclist Tommy Simpson in 1967: he died right in front of the camera lenses of an overdose of stimulants. According to the post-mortem examination (necropsy), the cause was the use of amphetamines in lethal combination with alcohol and loads when ascending the mountain.
But while Zane was performing, steroids were not strictly prohibited. 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’s unknown what AAS he used. Only the athlete & his close friends know that. Zane’s approach to anabolics, apparently, was bred-in-the-bone, because Golden Era “iron sportsmen” called him “The Chemist”.
- testosterone (in the form of cypionate) & nandrolone steroids;
- methandienone & methenolone steroids; or
- trenbolone & stanozolol.
There is also assummptions that he took Levothyroxine (L-thyroxine, now marketed as Synthroid). But these are only conjectures. Nobody can say exactly what Frank used. Most probably, he used the classic for the 1960s and 1970s and today’s popular AAS, such as methandienone (methandienone or methandrostenolone) and Deca (nandrolone or 19-nortestosterone). But we should repeat, this is just an assumption based on the tendencies of musclebuilding industry of that time.