In 1988, professional bodybuilder Albert Beckles was on a competition roll. Considered the doyen of professional bodybuilders, Beckles seemed to be defying the effects of time, as he often defeated competitors far younger than his 58 years. But on this night in 1988, Beckles revealed that he was human after all as he collapsed back stage at a contest and rolled around the floor with convulsions. It turned out that the cause of Beckles' alarming episode, which he luckily survived, was a reaction to diuretic drugs. It could easily have killed him. In 1992, another pro bodybuilder, Mohammad Benaziza, wasn't so lucky. He was on his way to a contest appearance in Amsterdam when he suddenly became nearly paralyzed. Since he was strongly favored to win the contest that night, he choose not to go to a nearby hospital, and by the time it became mandatory to do so as his symptoms worsened, it was too late for the man who liked to be called "Momo."Although his precise cause of death has never been determined, much of the symptoms that he showed were clearly indicative of extensive diuretic usage. Two years later, at the Arnold professional bodybuilding contest in Columbus, Ohio, massive Paul Dillett was in the middle of his posing routine on stage when he suddenly froze. It was as if he had turned to stone; he couldn't move and had to be carried off the stage by several men. He went to a local hospital, was treated, and survived.
I was familiar with Paul's case because he was a friend of mine, and had consulted me about some nuances of his contest preparation. I knew what drugs he used for the contest, and knew that Paul wanted to be as "ripped" as possible for the contest, second in prestige to the Mr.Olympia contest. He had asked me about taking certain diuretics and I told him what I thought would be the safest way to do that, but still give him the results that he wanted, which was a significant loss of excess body water. What I didn't know was that Paul had also consulted a few other people, including one guy who told him to inject a large dose of a diuretic called Lasix on the day of the contest. I never would have advised that, knowing how potent injected Lasix is and how rapidly it worked. The main use for injected Lasix is often relegated to emergency rooms, where it's used to treat pulmonary edema, or a excessive accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Keep in mind that besides the injected Lasix, Paul had also ingested a few of the common oral diuretics that were popular among bodybuilders. The result of all this diuretic use was a depletion of electrolytes or minerals that could easily result in severe muscle cramps or even worse, heart rhythm disturbances.
Join today and get access to this article and all past and present Newsletters, since September 2014. Each month you’ll get a new issue sent to your inbox. Subscribe today for only $10/month!