[ Matt ] Thank you, Anthony for taking some time out of your busy schedule to do this interview for us. It is an honor to be the one giving this interview. Let's start off with some background information. How did you first get into this industry and what made you want to get into it?
[ Anthony ] The honor is mine, Matt.
I was probably inspired to get into writing about steroids because I was a huge fan of Dan Duchaine. From an author's point of view, I just enjoyed his writing style, and I was always intrigued by the idea of being a self-taught expert at something so esoteric. There was something great about his ability to really get under people's skin... it was so iconoclastic and refreshing, and way ahead of it's time.
While you were a skinny kid growing up, I was always a chubby one. And, similarly to you, I was told that I would likely have certain physical difficulties stemming from my reading problems.
In my case, I was told that competitive athletics would probably be something that I'd never be very good at - or even interested in. Anyway, at 19 years old, I tried steroids for the first time.
I started writing about steroids originally because I guess I had the interest and aptitude to do it... and I needed the money. That's really how I got my first book (Anabolic Steroids, Ultimate Research Guide) published... I was writing individual steroid profiles for Anabolic Books, LLC, and then it just snowballed into an entire book. After that came a second and third book, and finally a line of nutritional supplements.
[ Anthony ] Both of those companies provided me with experiences that I wouldn't have otherwise received elsewhere. So, as an author, much of what I did with them was really helpful in the earlier stages of my career.
Writing-wise, I likely became a better researcher writing for Avant, because that's what their crowd is interested in- which is a bit too academic (read: not practical) for my aesthetic taste.
Regarding Biotest, I became a better writer qua writer, because their crowd requires a different writing style. For Biotest, I had to be more conversational in my articles, and less scientific/research oriented.
So I became a much better writer and researcher, by working with very different companies. I think you take away from different experiences, in work or life or anything, whatever you can learn from them.
In retrospect, this is probably a lesson I learned when I was in prison for half a year, not really from working with Avant or Biotest, but the same general rule still applies. Actually, many of the same rules apply now that I think about it...
With regards to developing nutritional supplements, I wasn't involved with either of those companies in that regard, so I didn't learn about that end of things at all. I guess that's unfortunate, in a way, because I'm sure I could have learned something useful from either of them.
[ Matt ] You have written 3 books on steroids already. Do you have any plans on putting out a forth book or even more than that?
[ Anthony ] I plan on coming out with (*currently writing) a book on training/diet/anabolics for women, as a kind of "spin-off" of the Jekyl and Hyde book that I wrote. I don't want to give away too much about it, because there's currently nothing even remotely on the market like it.
"Beauty and the Beast" is the tentative title, and although the anabolics portion of the book will be written entirely by me, while the training/diet portion will be written by a female author, who is also a physique competitor of some note. Honestly, it's her book (my name will be listed second as an author), so I don't want to give away too much about that right now.
There's also a plan for a second edition of my original steroid research book (*which I'm constantly writing, and have written about 200 new pages towards currently), and hopefully, another (totally separate) book mostly on dieting after that.
I've wanted to do something mainstream for awhile now, and I'm toying with the idea of doing something on performance enhancing drugs in sports, as a kind of retrospective from the 50's on through now.
I don't know how much of this will come to fruition, other than the Jekyl/Hyde book for women and the second edition of my original book. I'm optimistic though, and I think I can produce all of them, given enough time.
The real question to me - the only question - is: Can I come out with a relevant book? If the book isn't important, original, and relevant to what people want to know about, then there's no reason to put pen to paper, you know?
I'm also writing for a magazine called Muscle Evolution currently, which is a South African based publication that we're bringing over to the United States. I think I have a cool title like "American Senior Editor" or something like that. I'm really excited about it.
[ Matt ] Do you have any topics that you feel especially strong about that you emphasize in your books that you would also like to mention in this article?
[ Anthony ] I guess the big thing, to me is the issue of side effects. Steroids aren't going to kill you or make you kill someone else, but they're not a free ride. Everyone who I know that has a really decent physique from them has suffered some degree of side effects.
There are tons of guys with great physiques, who aren't suffering side effects right now, but if you talk to them, they usually say "yeah, if I do too much test, [I do have a side effect that comes back], and there was this time I had nosebleeds come back... " or whatever.
Steroids are far from the old media hype of being deadly, dangerous drugs, but honestly, there's a price to be paid when you want to take your body too far from where it can get naturally.
Right now, I have a prescription for everything I use, and it's really just mild doses... but I've been there with the best of 'em, getting huge results- and huge side effects - in my past.
I feel very strongly about that issue... the issue of side effects, on several levels.
[ Matt ] If anyone is interested in reading some of your books, where can they be found?
[ Anthony ] Everything I've written is pretty much all available from all the usual outlets (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, etc... ), but are also available directly from www.anthony-roberts.com. My site also has a ton of free information about steroids on it, likely over a thousand pages that I've written, including steroid profiles, articles, audio interviews, etc...
And of course, there's my infamous blog...
[ Matt ] With much talk about steroids in bodybuilding these days, where do see bodybuilding in 5, 10, even 20 years down the road from now?
[ Anthony ] Well Matt, I know that you follow bodybuilding pretty closely and have interviewed several current and former greats, so this might be somewhat shocking to you...
Would you be surprised to find out that I don't follow bodybuilding at all? Yeah, it's true... I don't really follow it, in the sense of bodybuilding as a competitive endeavor, at all. I can't name the top 5 at the Mr. O, or any top amateurs.
Granted, I work with several bodybuilders, in a variety of capacities (some in the IFBB, others in the NPC, and still others in natural organizations)... but I don't follow it for the most part.
In America, I think it's a grim future for bodybuilding, generally speaking. State level championships are held in high-school auditoriums, and National Level contests aren't held anywhere much better.
They are just... unprofessional... they're always run late, people miss their guest appearances, judges have their own athletes competing in contests they judge, and the politics are simply out of control... it's just a grim scene. There's no money in it for anyone other than the really top level guys... I know cats who placed in the top 10 at major contests who were working the front desk at a gym the following Monday...
The top video-gamer in the world makes slightly more money from competitions than Mr. Olympia, and has endorsements on par with him also.
The average American can't tell you who Mr. Olympia is, nor can they tell you much about bodybuilding at all. High School football games at a big school have more people in the crowd than any professional show. I don't see things like this improving, for the most part.
Again, it's a cult kinda thing... if you're in the crowd at a bodybuilding show, it's because you know a contestant usually. Or you're a schmoe.
The athletes are making some headway with their federations, and we're seeing them treated a bit better, but still, it's light years behind any other competitive federation or sporting organization. The athletes have no health coverage, no 401k, no steady pay check, nothing. It's shameful.
Until the athletes really stand up for themselves in a major way, nothing is going to improve. Again, we're seeing this on a small scale, but not anywhere near where it should be.
Bodybuilding, the competition will continue to grow, but will always be eclipsed by virtually every other competitive endeavor, publicity wise. Every day, there's a kid picking up a weight for the first time, who starts "bodybuilding." That's great, and that will continue to grow as society continues to be more health conscious. But the competition is going nowhere fast. I can't even find it on television (not that I'm looking)...
I can find the "World Series of Poker" or the "Super Bowl of Cliff Diving" or "Rock-Paper-Scissors" or competitive video-gaming or some nonsense almost every day (I have a very decent cable package and a lot of free time)... but I can't ever find bodybuilding on TV. That says something, at least to me.
That's just one man's opinion, but I think it's pretty accurate.
Bodybuilding, the act of "body-building" (building your body) will really continue to grow. Corporations are offering gym memberships in their health care programs, and mainstream magazines (Men's Health, etc... ) in terms of circulation and sales are KILLING the hardcore magazines sales numbers. That's why every hardcore magazine also publishes 1 (or more) mainstream magazine as well now, and often a mainstream women's magazine too.
Bodybuilding is growing in one way, and dying in another - every day.
[ Matt ] Do you think the whole steroid controversy is helping or hurting the sport of bodybuilding?
[ Anthony ] This just in: Bodybuilders use steroids!
You know why we're not going to see that as a headline in Sports Illustrated? Because:
- Everybody already knows it.
- Nobody cares.
The average fan of bodybuilding already knows that bodybuilders use steroids, and so does the non-fan. Nobody is writing about bodybuilding in mainstream media, because nobody in the mainstream public cares about it. It's fun to lift weights, eat healthy, and feel good... but it's not really fun to watch someone pose on a stage.
So the steroid controversy isn't really doing anything pro or con for bodybuilding right now. It's a non-issue thing, I think.
It would be different if bodybuilding were as mainstream as ... well, I know you played tennis at a high level... just imagine if there were a tacit assumption that the top 100 tennis players in the world were all on steroids?
[ Matt ] You currently have your own line of supplements for sale on Bodybuilding.com which is the Anthony Roberts' line from Protein Factory. Can you tell us a little bit about your products and how they are different from the products that are already on the market?
[ Anthony ] My line of products is really just a line that I wanted to come out with and say, "H-ll yes, that's something I would use"- depending on my goals at the time. My test booster (MyoGenX) was really unique because it was the first of its kind... .the first Fadogia supplement ever.
It's one of the only test-boosters on the market which has blood work showing a steady increase in one user. That's very impressive by any standard, though not necessarily typical of all users.
The anti-estrogen was something that I really wanted to produce because I think reducing estrogen too much, in the wrong way especially, is just plain bad. I didn't see any products on the market I was happy with, which reduced estrogen in the right way but kept you healthy... so I came out with CyoGenX.
It's also a great complimentary product to MyoGenX. The difference between CyoGenX and other anti-estrogens on the market is that it's both very strong, and very healthy. Most are one or the other. Actually, in my estimation all of them are typically one or the other.
[ Matt ] You are also the first person to bring a Fadogia Agrestis supplement to the nutritional market (ever). How does that feel and what is it like to have other companies trying to put out a product similar to yours?
[ Anthony ] It's a huge compliment, actually. I dropped an e-mail to one of the guys who runs a company that came out with their own Fadogia product (the one which came out second to mine - about a year later), and he seemed like a decent enough guy.
Coming out with something first is really a great feeling, but you're not really a leader in any industry if nobody follows you. So when people started following my lead, I suppose it gave me that distinction; of being a leader, and not a follower...
Everything you do can't be original, but if you're going to make a worthwhile contribution to any field, at least some of it has to be. Plus... I mean... who lost the Super Bowl last year, or came in second in the 100m dash in the Olympics? Who cares... people remember the first person to do something, not the second.
[ Matt ] What can we expect to see in the future from your product line? Can you give us any secrets?
[ Anthony ] I think there'll be a fat loss product soon to be included in the line, which will likely be called "PyroGenX". It's a mitochondrial uncoupler, which works in a very general way to lose fat similarly to DNP. It's going to be based on Fucoxanthin, and people are pretty excited about it's release.
I don't have any specifics on a release date, because my capacity as a supplement designer is limited to really sending in an idea to the owner of Protein Factory, and then just stepping back and letting him do his thing.
Thus far, I've been happy with the quality and production of the other products in my line, so I feel confidant that this one will be no different.
I've also been retained by another company, to design products for them, of a more niche variety, which gives me an opportunity to put some stuff out there that is really interesting to me on a creative level, without having to make it mainstream enough to sell 500-1000 units a month.
[ Matt ] Is there anyone you would like to thank who you feel helped you get to where you are today?
[ Anthony ] You know, I actually made it a point to not name drop in this interview, then I got to this question!
If I start listing people who I am thankful towards, I'm sure to forget too many. I've had so much help getting to where I am today, that if I started a list, I'd likely never finish it. I've had great, supportive, people around me from the start, and I'd have difficulty even scratching the surface if I tried to name them all.
Even if I just named employers who have helped me (*put up with me), it would turn into a virtual who's who of half the industry- I really have had THAT much help. My success wasn't an individual effort, but rather a collaborative one.
Let me try to do this without overtly name dropping, though...
My first publisher is a really good friend of mine, and I talk to him a couple times a week at least... so some thanks should go his way. My current editor also deserves a ton of thanks, because she puts up with me. My work wouldn't be nearly as high without her tireless efforts on my behalf.
The other Biotest authors who I've met have always been great to me, as have the owners of all of the major (important) steroid websites. The host of SuperHumanRadio has always been a great friend and help to me. Finally everyone who has read something I've written or used one of my products, and took the time out to drop me an e-mail and share a kind word- deserves (and has) my eternal gratitude.
[ Matt ] Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview before we part?
[ Anthony ] I've probably taken up enough of your reader's time already, Matt. But I'm glad that at least some of them like me (or dislike me) enough to get to have actually read it. I guess that's something in itself, right? That people would find me interesting enough, for one reason or another, to read 10 pages of my thoughts!
[ Matt ] If people would like to get a hold of you or ask you questions about your product line or books how would you like them to contact you?
[ Anthony ] They can get a hold of me by e-mailing email@example.com. I'm pretty good at answering 100% of my e-mails, and I'm very rarely available on the internet otherwise, so that's the best way to get in touch with me.
[ Matt ] Thank you again, Anthony for giving up some time in your busy schedule for this interview! Good luck and best wishes to you with your books and product line. Take care and keep in touch!
[ Anthony ] Thanks for your time, Matt.