Samir Bannout: Bodybuilders Are Rushing To Build Muscle Too Fast

Samir Bannout stresses that bodybuilding is a marathon, not a sprint.

Pro bodybuilding, like any other professional sport, requires a certain level of sacrifice. Everyone knows that football isn’t 100% healthy. The same holds true for bodybuilding. But can pro bodybuilding be healthier than it is today and maintain its prestige? Is it impossible to be Mr. Olympia and still be healthy? In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Samir Bannout explains that a bodybuilder can be 100% healthy and become Mr. Olympia… but too many are rushing to gain muscle.

Samir Bannout agrees that pro bodybuilding can be an extreme sport. But he also thinks that the idea that top level bodybuilders must be unhealthy is overstated. Yes, carrying massive amounts of muscle over long periods of time can put strain on the body – but it doesn’t have to be as unhealthy as it has become today.

Samir Bannout believes that the only truly unavoidable unhealthy part of pro bodybuilding is contest prep. Specifically, the dehydration that is required to have paper thin skin and a conditioned physique. The process of dehydration before a show is unhealthy. There’s no way around it. This same risk is present in other sports that require a weight in – such as MMA or boxing.

Check out our latest GI Exclusive with Samir Bannout above!

That being said, Samir Bannout does observe that the new generation of bodybuilders are taking unnecessary health risks. Most of this has to do with PEDs. The reason for this – is that bodybuilders are looking to get to the top tier level too fast. Some bodybuilders hope to compete in the Olympia and place high all in the same year that they earned their pro card. According to Bannout, that’s a big mistake.


The desire to rush to greatness leads to making risky choices. Far too often bodybuilders abuse steroid use and other PEDs. This is in the hopes of building more muscle faster. Samir Bannout stresses that bodybuilding is meant to be a marathon not a sprint. If you gain eight pounds of muscle in a year – that’s more than enough.

“Several guys told me what they are using. They didn’t really do well with their coaches, but they are still having health issues. And when I found out what they take… oh my god,” Samir Bannout states in our interview. He continues:

“You know this is the difference. For me, I’d rather drive to New York in three days, four days instead of rushing to be there and getting into an accident. This is my idea. Just be patient. Gaining seven or eight pounds of muscle per year is plenty of muscle. Mr. Olympia cannot happen in one to two years.”

Samir Bannout doesn’t outright condemn steroid use. But he thinks the level of which bodybuilders use steroids and other PEDs is too much. He thinks this isn’t because bodybuilders can’t succeed without an increase of drug use. Far from it. He thinks it’s all due to impatience.

Many Mr. Olympia champions where first awarded the title in their late 30s or early 40s. But there are young bodybuilders in their 20s hoping to become Mr. Olympia champion right away. Samir Bannout thinks this leads to drug abuse in the hopes that they can skip ahead of the line.

You can watch Samir Bannout’s full comments on health in pro bodybuilding by watching our latest GI Exclusive interview above!