In 1982, a new type of food supplement was introduced. The supplement began as a mysterious orange-flavored powder that was distributed in unmarked bags to members of Gold's Gym in Venice, California. The developers of the product were Dan Duchaine, later to gain notoriety as the "Steroid Guru," and Mike Zumpano. Both men around the same time had published the first guide to using anabolic drugs, The Underground Steroid Handbook, which served as a virtual bible to many bodybuilders back then who chose to embark on anabolic drug programs. I knew both men well. While Duchaine had a degree in theater arts, he was largely self-taught with much of his technical information coming from his partner, Mike Zumpano. Zumpano was likewise self-taught, and he had educated himself about biochemistry by hanging out at the medical library at the University of California at Berkeley. Mike and Dan provided their newly developed product freely to Gold's Gym members who were adventurous enough to consume a product that contained no label. Instead, Zumpano and Duchaine told them that the product would allow them to train harder than ever before. That was enough to convince many members of the gym to try the product, and to their delight, it seemed to work as advertised. Zumpano referred to the product as a "pre-workout" energizer. Eventually, they came up with a name for it: Ultimate Orange based on its orange flavor.
Ultimate Orange didn't taste that bad, although it did leave a bitter aftertaste. This was likely due to its content of Ma Huang, an herb that contains ephedra, a natural stimulant. The original Ultimate Orange contained a respectable 415 milligrams of Ma Huang, certainly enough to cause a good degree of stimulation along with a feeling of intense energy. Indeed, users of the product were warned not to ingest it at night prior to sleep since it would produce a massive degree of insomnia. Although carbohydrates are considered the premier energy nutrient, Ultimate Orange (UO) only contained 16 grams of carb per scoop. Along with this conservative dose of carbs, the product also provided small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids including branched-chain amino acids. By about 1990, the product had become so popular that it began to be formerly manufactured and sold by Next Nutrition. This version of UO came in a can that did have a label. The product proved popular despite the advertising hype made about it. The commercial version of UO was said to help burn vast amounts of body fat while helping you to gain muscle mass simultaneously. This loss of excess fat and gain of muscle has long been the Holy Grail of bodybuilders, explaining the popularity of the new UO. Duchaine had entered into a partnership with Next Nutrition since the owner of the company was a former confederate of Duchaine in a defunct steroid ring that operated out of Mexico . . .