November 30, 2020

The Backstory Behind the “Underground Steroid Handbook”

The story of how Dan Duchaine and Michael Zumpano, founder and CEO of Champion Nutrition, co-authored the “Underground Steroid Handbook” is very interesting. An account is included in the book “Steroid Nation“. While “Steroid Nation” has been criticized for its sensationalistic attacks on Duchaine’s personal life, an excerpt that includes the interesting backstory behind the “Underground Steroid Handbook” is worth reading on the T-Nation website.

All the arrows pointed in one direction — to a drug that was almost mystical in its powers, that could turn men into supermen, that could heal the sick, that could make just about anyone feel younger.

And yet, remarkably, steroids didn’t have a true constituency. They cut across age and class lines and were undeniably effective, yet they were still subject to whisper campaigns and unflattering propaganda. Steroids needed a champion, a spokesman, a zealot. Duchaine had used them to reinvent himself. Now he wanted to return the favor and reinvent them for America.

One day, he dropped by Zumpano’s apartment overcome with excitement. “Jump on, I have something I want to show you,” he said.

Zumpano grabbed his knapsack and slid onto the back of the scooter. Once they were underway, Duchaine handed him a page of handwritten notes.

Zumpano started reading.

“We know this will make us a lot of enemies,” the notes began. “But although we’ll antagonize many of you, we thought we should tell the truth about steroids.”

“What’s this?” Zumpano asked.

“It’s the beginning of the book we’re going to write.”

A how-to guide for steroid users struck Zumpano as a good idea. He had started researching them to gain a better understanding of his own physiology and already had egg cartons full of files.

Why not share his knowledge? The reason for Sunday School was to keep guys from taking the wrong things, or the right things in the wrong doses. Granted, he wasn’t a doctor, but he knew as much as any MD he had ever met, especially the ones who preyed on the bodybuilders by trading steroids for sex. Why not put it all in a book? Why not empower guys to make the right decisions?

Duchaine had even bigger ideas. He saw it as a manifesto, a statement of principles regarding life and how to live it. He would be calling on a new generation to drop in and turn on. As they arrived on the pier at Santa Monica, Duchaine turned to Zumpano.

“This is how we’re going to be famous,” he said.

Zumpano climbed off the back of the scooter and looked at his friend. “You’re crazy, you know that, Dan?”

Duchaine wasn’t giving up. He read Zumpano a list of words he had picked out for the title. Bible. Muscle. Underground. Anabolic. Zumpano watched the Ferris wheel on the beach turn and tried to put the puzzle pieces together. “What about the Underground Steroid Handbook?” he asked.

Underground Steroid Handbook by Dan Duchaine


  1. personally i only read the second edition, does anyone still have a copy they could scan of the first one ?

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