Rich Gaspari on modern bodybuilding culture: Today’s Bodybuilders “Always Look Like They Are Two Weeks Out.”

Rich Gaspari has been involved in the world of bodybuilding for majority of his life. Starting as an underdog New Jersey bodybuilder that eventually became the first ever Arnold Classic champion – Gaspari later parlayed his knowledge into a successful supplement company that still exists to this day. His finger is still very much on the pulse of competitive bodybuilding each year. With that – he’s made many statements about modern bodybuilding that have become controversial. In Generation Iron and Barbend’s latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, Rich Gaspari doubles down on his opinion that modern bodybuilders don’t work as hard due to a heavier drug reliance in the sport.

Mike O’Hearn was excited to speak to Rich Gaspari for this week’s episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show. Not only was this episode recorded one week before the 2023 Arnold Classic (which Gaspari was the first ever winner of), O’Hearn has found himself agreeing with many of Gaspari’s recent statements on modern bodybuilding.

Once more, O’Hearn was also surprise that so many bodybuilders and fans in the new generation have pushed back against Rich Gaspari’s statements. What statements are we referring to? Gaspari has not been quiet about criticizing modern bodybuilder physiques. He’s also been very open about his worry that PEDs have become truly abused in doses that far outweigh what past generations used.

Rich Gaspari often follows up this criticisms by saying this has caused younger bodybuilders to work less hard. This seems to be the biggest trigger that fans and athletes push back on. They often call him out of touch and unable to evolve to the way this sport (and any sport) changes.

Mike O’Hearn disagrees and thinks that the advice of older generation of legendary bodybuilders should be listened to most. Bodybuilders like Rich Gaspari are living proof that their tactics work. So why so much pushback? O’Hearn and Gaspari dive into it in their conversation.

“They [today’s bodybuilders] always look like they are two weeks out.”

– Rich Gaspari

Rich Gaspari believes modern bodybuilders’ physiques are consistently off due to over-reliance on drugs

Rich Gaspari thinks that the new generation of bodybuilders are too sensitive to criticism. He doesn’t think this is truly a fault of any individual bodybuilder currently competing. He thinks it’s an impossible to avoid reality due to the way culture at large has changed. This is more than bodybuilding – it’s the way the world has changed.

Gaspari believes that the modern conveniences of everyday life have made younger generations always want the easiest way out. They want to get the most amount of success with the least amount of work.

In bodybuilding, this ends up taking the form of using more and more drugs and PEDs. Not just steroids but also insulin, SARMs, and diuretics to dry out come competition time. He thinks that this reliance promotes less of a work ethic. It’s the reason, in his opinion, that the physiques don’t look as sharp as past generations in the 2000s and earlier.

Mike O’Hearn finds it shocking that the younger generation would be so quick to dismiss Gaspari’s opinions. The proof should be in the pudding. Why not listen to the man who had so much success and still looks incredible today?

“I don’t want to hear from you – is the dumbest thing you can say”

– Mike O’Hearn in relation to fan criticism of older successful bodybuilders

Rich Gaspari worries about the anti-carb movement in health and bodybuilding

Mike O’Hearn and Rich Gaspari also touch upon modern diet habits not only in bodybuilding but in general health. These days, carbs have become the enemy. They are seen as unneeded calories that can be cut out completely.

Gaspari finds this as a sad development. He believes carbs can be a huge factor in successfully building a bodybuilding physique. The key is to eat the right kind of carbs and not just dirty sources of food. In fact, he thinks that many bodybuilders who are trying to bulk eat too few calories all together. During bulking – they need to increase carbs and calories in order to really build a massive physique.

Many bodybuilders see the bulking phase as simply building so much weight that you become a flabby puffy fat guy. Then cutting down to a shredded physique. But Rich Gaspari knows that it is possible to build lean mass during a bulk without getting too fat and flabby. It simply requires more work and more effort into your food sources and diet.

“Hard work you put in won’t always get you to win the Mr. Olympia… but you still win life.”

– Mike O’Hearn

Wrap Up

Mike O’Hearn and Rich Gaspari go into extreme detail about their diets throughout each stage of their careers. They also go into detail about reactionary criticism online between generations – and whether or not modern bodybuilders have a work ethic and drug problem.

You can see the full interview by watching the latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show above. Make sure to check back every Friday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Jacob Ladon
Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.