Victor Martinez discusses thickening blood in bodybuilding and the process of “dumping blood” to remain healthy in the sport

In the latest episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, hosted by Victor Martinez, Ehsan Farahi, Edwin Mejia Jr., and Vlad Yudin, the world of bodybuilding came to life with a plethora of intriguing topics. In this post and episode, Victor details the rigorous workout regimen while on tour with Busta Rhymes and discusses the critical issue of blood health among bodybuilders. They also shared insights into Big Ramy’s surprising decision to take a break from competitive bodybuilding and delved into the evolving nature of bodybuilding in light of the legendary ‘Steve Reeves‘ perspective on steroids.

Victor Martinez has finally returned to the Generation Iron Podcast after some extensive time on tour with Busta Rhymes. The two have been training together while Busta has been on a tour across the country. Luckily, Victor Martinez was able to make some time to return back to the GI gym and record a new episode. He also shared some insight as to how he keeps up with effective training while constantly on the road.

In addition to this, Victor Martinez gets back to answering fan questions. This week, they cover a specific aspect of blood health. Do bodybuilders need to drain blood in order to reduce its thickness caused by using PEDs? Victor dives in with his thoughts on the matter.

He also gives his opinion on Big Ramy’s announcement that he will be skipping the 2023 Mr. Olympia. Will this be the first step in a quiet retirement? Or will Ramy return next year bigger and stronger than ever? Let’s dive into the podcast recap below:

Do Bodybuilders Drain Their Blood? Should You?

A fan posed an intriguing question regarding how bodybuilders manage their blood health, particularly concerning the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Frequent use of testosterone and certain other PEDs can, over time, cause a person’s blood to become thicker. This can pose health risks – so what can be done about it? Can a PED user donate blood to help thin it out?

Victor stepped in to provide invaluable insights. He suggested a simple yet effective method to combat blood thickening when on testosterone – taking a baby aspirin. However, he also clarified that bodybuilders on PEDs face restrictions when it comes to blood donation, as medical facilities do not accept blood containing these substances.

To address this, bodybuilders employ a practice known as “dumping blood,” which involves periodically drawing blood and discarding it. This process helps lower iron levels and facilitates blood cell regeneration, ultimately reducing blood thickness. Victor recommended this practice under the supervision of a healthcare professional, emphasizing that to try and drain your own blood can be extremely dangerous. It can lead to anemia and, if an emergency occurs, could require a blood transfusion.

Victor Martinez also noted that draining your blood once a year is usually sufficient, although a few more times are acceptable if necessary.

Staying Fit on Tour

Victor Martinez kicked off the podcast by recounting his experiences of staying committed to his training routine while touring with renowned rapper Busta Rhymes. He unveiled his unconventional strategy of seeking out gyms with poor online reviews, believing that these hidden gems often house the hardcore equipment and atmosphere he seeks. Victor also shared a glimpse into the perks of life on the road, particularly the convenience of catered food, albeit not as customized as Busta Rhymes’ carefully curated meals.

Victor’s Tried-and-True Arm Workout

Speaking of training, Victor Martinez also shared his favored arm workout routine, replete with an array of exercises including:

He meticulously detailed his arm-training schedule, which involves dedicating one workout session per week to arms, alternating between focusing on chest and biceps, shoulders and triceps, and pure biceps workouts.

Victor underscored the importance of not overloading with sets and recommended a rep range of 8-15 reps depending on the intensity of the workout.

Big Ramy’s Break: A Turning Point

The hosts devoted significant time to discussing the unexpected decision by Big Ramy to skip the 2023 Mr. Olympia competition. Victor Martinez expressed his empathy and support for this choice, considering the discouragement Big Ramy had faced both directly and indirectly. Indirectly from judges – due to the low placings they have given him in his last tw competitions. And directly from fans and even fellow athletes and coaches who have commented directly that Ramy needs to take a break.

Victor Martinez believes that the hiatus would not only safeguard Big Ramy’s health but also provide him with an opportunity to assess his physique, training, and the competitive landscape.

Ehsan Farahi speculated that a return in 2024 or 2025, following this break, could potentially lead to an even more remarkable performance. The ultimate question remained whether this break might unofficially mark the beginning of Big Ramy’s retirement, a matter Victor believed only time could answer.

Hadi Choopan’s Prospects in 2023

The podcast turned its attention to the reigning champion, Hadi Choopan, and his chances in the 2023 Mr. Olympia. Victor Martinez voiced concerns about certain muscle shape “anomalies” that might affect Choopan’s performance, especially as he faced heightened scrutiny as the defending champion.

In contrast, Ehsan Farahi maintained that these supposed shape anomalies were a result of Choopan’s continued muscle growth, asserting that he was poised to be even bigger in the upcoming competition. He pointed out that the physique update was still two months away from the Olympia, suggesting that these perceived issues might not be apparent on the stage.

Steve Reeves and the Steroid Debate

The podcast delved into the legendary Steve Reeves’ perspective on steroids in bodybuilding. Though Reeves has already passed away, an older video has gone viral on social media this past week. In the video, Reeves is seen commenting that steroids have no place in bodybuilding. In fact, he believes that if a competitor thinks they require steroids to succeed, they should seek out another sport.

Victor Martinez highlighted the historical context, noting that Steve Reeves’ era was characterized by the early emergence of steroids in the sport, and therefore, his natural approach seemed more conventional. The implication in Reeves’ statement is that he would hate to see a future where the sport became less about health and more about size at any cost.

Victor also acknowledged that bodybuilding had evolved significantly since Reeves’ time. Today’s bodybuilding landscape, epitomized by the pursuit of “mass monsters,” stands in stark contrast to Reeves’ vision of a more natural and health-focused sport. Perhaps it is even Reeves’ worst fears coming to fruition.

Wrap Up

The Generation Iron Podcast provided an in-depth exploration of various facets of bodybuilding, from the challenges of maintaining fitness on tour to the critical issue of blood health among athletes and the career-defining decision of Big Ramy. The hosts, led by Victor Martinez, offered valuable insights, personal experiences, and a historical perspective on the evolving world of bodybuilding, shedding light on both its past and its future.

You can watch the full podcast episode above. And don’t forget to watch new episodes every Tuesday 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.