Ryan Reeves, formerly known as “Ryback” and “The Human Wrecking Ball”, recently admitted using anabolic steroids early in his career. Many pro wrestling fans may have assumed Ryback used steroids based on his hypermuscular bodybuilder-type physique but this appears to be the first time that Ryback has publicly admitted to using steroids.
In the sixth episode of the “Feed Me More Nutrition Podcast: Conversation with The Big Guy” published on October 2, 2016, Ryback discussed one persistent side effect that has effected him for several years since then – anabolic steroid induced hypogonadism (ASIH). Ryback experienced a significant drop in his natural production of testosterone and was presumably unable to restore his testosterone levels back to normal.
“I had a very negative reaction to testosterone and different steroids where it shut me down tremendously,” Ryback said according to a transcript provided by Wrestling Inc. “And when I say, ‘shut me down’, my natural testosterone did not come back or it was not back to what was perceived to be the normal limits, which is not uncommon, but everyone reacts differently.”
Ryback denied using anabolic steroids during his tenure with WWE. He insisted that he last used anabolic steroids five years prior to signing his WWE developmental contract in 2005. According to this timeline, it would have meant that Ryback last used steroids back in the 1990s when he was a teenager.
In the five year period between the time Ryback reported to have last used steroids and the beginning of his career with WWE, Ryback claimed to have been frequently and unusually fatigued. Ryback said that blood tests showed that his natural testosterone levels never returned to normal.
While ASIH is a normal and predictable consequence of steroid use, the body usually completely recovers within a few months after the end of a steroid cycle. This process of natural testosterone recovery is often expedited by the use of post cycle therapy (PCT). Proper PCT is highly effective at restoring natural testosterone levels.
In cases where testosterone levels remain below normal and PCT is unsuccessful, many individuals commence testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) as a method of restoring testosterone levels to healthy physiologic levels.
To tell the truth, TRT is unnecessary in most cases. However, too many bodybuilders do not know how to use proper PCT and/or are too impatient to wait for their bodies to recover. Sometimes, bodybuilders use the “low testosterone” excuse merely as a means to obtain legal, pharmaceutical-quality steroids from a legitimate pharmacy or compounding pharmacy. In other cases, TRT is just a euphemism for low-dose steroid cycles involving supraphysiologic dosages of testosterone up to as much as 400 milligrams or more of testosterone esters per week.
Ryback admitted using TRT to restore his low testosterone levels. Ryback may have denied using steroids since he was a teenager but this is technically not true since the “testosterone” component of TRT is one of the most popular anabolic steroids historically used by athletes and bodybuilders.
When Ryback denied using steroids, he may have been referring to the patterns of steroid use, the use of steroids in supraphysiologic levels and/or the use of various synthetic steroids – like Anadrol, Dianabol, Equipoise, Masteron, Primobolan, Trenbolone or Winstrol – that are used in steroid cycles by bodybuilders and athletes.
Ryback warned readers and fans that his persistent ASIH was not the result of “steroid abuse”. He reported that he only used modest levels of steroids when compared to the steroid stacks that he’s seen other pro wrestlers used. The take home lesson according to Ryback is that everyone reacts differently to steroids. Most people may use steroids and experience a complete recovery of the natural testosterone production after they stop. But some unfortunate people might have persistent problem like he did.
Could proper PCT have prevented Ryback’s need for TRT? We may never know.
“I never abused them as far as, when I say ‘abused’, compared to what other people were doing. It was always very mild, but everybody reacts differently to them. But for me, my body, it shut me down, so for the five years before WWE, and I was tired at times, but you just kind of get used to it, I guess.”
Reeves currently fights under the ring name “The Big Guy” but he will likely always be better known by the ring name “Ryback” that made him famous when he was under contract with WWE.