Samir Bannout: Insulin Works… But Is Ruining Modern Bodybuilding

Samir Bannout talks on how insulin works in bodybuilding short term but ruins physiques (and health) long term.

One of the newer controversial substances to enter bodybuilding is insulin. A drug that offers benefits to those in need has been transformed into another tool for building muscle fast in the sport. Bodybuilding guru Milos Sarcev claims to have introduced the drug into bodybuilding and stands by its safety when used correctly. Others fear that it leads to major health issues and early deaths in the sport. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Samir Bannout goes in-depth about insulin, how it works, and why he thinks it is ruining modern bodybuilding.

Samir Bannout is seeing a trend in modern bodybuilding over the past few decades. To be fair, it’s a trend we’ve all been noticing for quite some time now. Competitive bodybuilding is becoming more and more about excessive muscle mass. Starting from Dorian Yates, to Ronnie Coleman, and jumping ahead to the current Olympia champion Big Ramy – a clear through line is seen. Pushing the limit on muscle mass is the goal of modern bodybuilding.

With such emphasis put on building mass as much and as fast as possible, new protocols with drugs have been concocted to optimize this goal. Insulin is one such drug that has grown in popularity. Insulin can provide faster muscle growth – but it can also have much more dire consequences when abused.

We asked Samir Bannout about his opinion on the direction of modern bodybuilding. What started as a conversation about excessive muscle mass turned into a deep dive into the abuse of insulin. Perhaps the two are connected. In Bannout’s mind, they are both tied together and have put a negative impact onto professional bodybuilding.

Samir Bannout argues that the focus on massive muscle above all else can lead to an impressive physique. But that physique will only last in the short term. He uses legendary champions like Dorian Yates and Ronnie Coleman as examples. Yes, they did both win multiple Mr. Olympia titles in the long term. Bannout isn’t arguing that. But what he does believe is that both of these athletes looked phenomenal the first two to three years as champion… then starts to look worse.

Ronnie Coleman, for example, eventually became an eight time Mr. Olympia champion. That’s the most ever recorded in the history of the sport (only tied with Lee Haney). That being said, most people find Coleman’s physique peak to be around 2001. After that, while he did continue to win – it was clear his physique never hit the same level again.


Now fast forward to today. Modern bodybuilders are still chasing that legendary massive physique of Ronnie Coleman. But now there are new drugs that promise to bring muscle growth even fast. Insulin has become, to some, a necessary element in becoming a larger than life bodybuilder. Much like the overall obsession with excessive muscle – this has Samir Bannout worried.

Samir Bannout doesn’t argue that the drug isn’t effective. It does indeed help build muscle as bodybuilders have been using it. But at what cost? Samir Bannout believes that even when used correctly, consistent use of insulin leads to short term success and long term failures. At worst, it can lead to serious health issues or even death. At it’s best, it will give you two or three years of an incredible physique… and then the quality starts to go down.

“It’s [insulin] a ruin for modern bodybuilding. It’s a ruin for bodybuilding,” Samir Bannout states in our interview. He continues:

“I mean look, now you look at guys like Chris Bumstead. He comes out and stay waisted, sharp, and tight. But those bigger guys who are using insulin on a regular basis. What happens? They may get lean in this area but… you are growing the visceral fat in the inner intestine. It’s imminent that you will have the bulgy fat stomach after a year or two. It may work the first year but as it goes on it will get worse and worse.”

Samir Bannout is no doctor. His statements here seem to be solely based on what he’s observing. He doesn’t know exactly who is and who isn’t using insulin. But he fears that it’s creating a shorter shelf life for bodybuilders. Both in terms of health and the longevity of an amazing physique.

You can watch Samir Bannout go into complete detail about mass muscle and insulin in bodybuilding by watching our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.