Santi Aragon opens up about his retirement – claiming that the risks started to outweigh the rewards of bodybuilding.

Last month, bodybuilder Santi Aragon announced that he would be retiring from the sport. At only 33 years old, this was a very surprising statement. Many bodybuilders compete well into their 40s, and in some cases, 50s. More shocking was the reason. He did not suffer a major injury or have health issues. He wanted to leave at the top of his prime before long term damages rear their head. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Santi Aragon opens up about how the risks of steroid use and contest prep led to his retirement from bodybuilding.

Santi Aragon has been completely open and honest about steroids and other drug use in bodybuilding for quite some time now. Having built his own businesses and no longer sponsored by other brands – he felt free to speak openly without reflecting poorly on any of his obligations. So it comes as no surprise that Santi was very open and detailed while speaking with us about his reasons for retiring.

First things first, Santi Aragon doesn’t want anyone to think that he was against PEDs in the sport. He knew the risks going in and was willing to take them. He wasn’t naive to the reality that top level bodybuilding requires. That being said, as he got older, he felt the risks started outweighing the rewards.

On top of this, he was witnessing many deaths in the sport during the 2021. While he acknowledges that these deaths have no real link – he also understands that drug use in the sport can lead to long term health damages and even death. His very own trainer suffered through heart issues last year (good news: he recovered), which “really hit home” for Santi just how painful those kind of health situations can be.

While he didn’t confirm or state if the heart problems were in relation to steroids, the reality became clear. This is a risk of what can happen down the road from consistent steroid use. Santi Aragon has been on top of his health in recent years, with blood tests every three months, his heart and his blood pressure are all healthy. He wants to keep it that way for as long as possible. So he decided to retire.

But for Santi Aragon, it’s more than just the drugs that pose a risk. Santi believes the entire lifestyle required for top level pro bodybuilding is dangerous – especially rising to meet the higher weight requirements for the biggest divisions.

“It’s very difficult for a guy thats 5’5″ to carry over 200 pounds. At least for me,” Santi Aragon states in our interview. He continues:

“I’m not built to be 200 pounds. I’m a 175-180 max. But when I’m starting to push that 212, when I was trying to be 212, I had to force everything. I had to force training, I had to force food, I had to force drugs at such a high level that I could not see myself sustaining that for over a year… that reality sets in really fast. The drugs, the food, and you know – when you force yourself to do things like that and push your body to that extreme, there’s no light on the other side.”

Santi Aragon goes on to say that most bodybuilders don’t realize the reality of this until it’s too late. They are only aware just how far their health can be at risk once the long term effects start appearing. Santi didn’t want to be one of those people. That’s why he changed course.

And Santi Aragon also wants to point out that nothing is set in stone across the board. Much like cigarettes, some people can smoke their whole lives with no issues. Others can smoke for one year and get lung cancer. Genetics and random luck play a big part. It’s to each their own in how far an individual wants to push that risk.

You can watch Santi Aragon’s full comments on his retirement and health in bodybuilding by watching our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!

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.