Jerry Brainum returns to break down the statistics of bodybuilder deaths in recent years. Do the initial stats showcase a worrying trend?

STRAIGHT FACTS WITH JERRY BRAINUM – is an in depth exploration of the more complicated elements behind bodybuilding training, nutrition, and supplements. Hosted by legendary and longtime industry expert, Jerry Brainum, Straight Facts answers user questions so no one is left in the dark.

Jerry Brainum has long been an extremely knowledgable man working in the bodybuilding industry. His research has been published in bodybuilding publications for decades – and he has held positions of editor-in-chief for such outlets as Muscle And Fitness and Flex Magazine.

Jerry also ran a digital series, Straight Facts, on our network way back in 2016. Now he’s back with more episodes and, in addition, available in podcast! This week, Jerry Brainum breaks down the statistics behind the tragic trend of too-soon bodybuilding deaths that have hit the sport over the past year. Is there a growing health concern in bodybuilding? Or was 2021 simply one full of tragic bad luck? Let’s break it down.

2021 was an extremely tragic year in bodybuilding. There was a large number of bodybuilding deaths that all seemed to come much too soon. Most notable was the passing of Olympia champion Shawn Rhoden at 46 years old and George Peterson dying just days before being set to compete at the Mr. Olympia. He was 37 years old.

There were, sadly, far many more deaths that we would rather not fully recount here. But the string of lost lives in bodybuilding led to many fans and high profile members of the industry to speak out about the state of health in bodybuilding. While health of an organization in sports should always be a major priority – what remains to be seen is if there really is a connection between these recent deaths and something happening directly in bodybuilding.

Jerry Brainum sets to bring some more clarity to the situation. Using some research of the (admittedly limited) data available, Jerry breaks down the actual statistics behind bodybuilding deaths in comparison to the average person in the world at large. He also tries to use the cause of death, where revealed, to speculate what was likely the cause and if it can be drawn to bodybuilding and PED use.

Jerry Brainum Compares Bodybuilding Mortality Rates To The Average Male Mortality Rate

One of the most interesting pieces of information Jerry Brainum reveals – according to one study. Pro bodybuilders actually have a lower mortality rate than the average person by about one percent. On paper, this would seem to indicate that pro bodybuilders actually have a higher chance to live longer than the average man. While this was admittedly one study in a very niche sport – the initial findings seem to indicate that there is not a major health crisis rocking the sport. But that also doesn’t mean that drugs are not a factor to mortality for bodybuilders. Far from it.

In the video, Jerry Brainum breaks down the data and his speculations in great detail. But his ultimate conclusion is that bodybuilders actually have a healthier lifestyle due to their diet, nutrition, and focus on exercise. That being said, those benefits are largely cut short by abuse of PEDs such as steroids, diuretics, and insulin. This ultimately leads, statistically, to an evening out. Which is why bodybuilders might have a slightly lower mortality rate than the average person – but not by much.

Jerry Brainum also draws another conclusion. He believes that modern coaches and trainers are the cause for many of these premature deaths. While he is basing his opinion based on anacdotale evidence. He’s heard that most coaches provide drug protocols for their athletes. The problem with this is that these coaches are not doctors. Just because a drug protocol has worked for one athlete does not mean it will work for another.

Without constant medical monitoring, these very powerful drugs can lead to long term health risks. Some of those risks can lead to an earlier grave. This is why Jerry Brainum urges any competing bodybuilders to have their bloodwork done every four weeks and ensure that as much detailed information can be analyzed as possible. Preventative actions are most important to extend life – and when athletes have a higher chance of using dangerous drugs, this becomes even more necessary.

Have questions you want Jerry Brainum to answer? Send them on over to [email protected] for your chance to have Jerry go into detail about anything in the fitness world that needs clarification.

And if you want even more detailed information every month, be sure to check out Jerry’s very own monthly newsletter – Applied Metabolics. Giving you over 40 pages of expert information in all things bodybuilding.

You can watch the full episode of Straight Facts above and make sure to stick around every Wednesday for new episodes!

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.