1996: A Glorious Year For Eric Irons
When I decided in January to compete again, I decided I would do so drug free. Yeah, I know I took enough drugs, but I decided I was going to try this just using OTC supplements. HMB was all the rage and creatine was just starting to catch fire. My thought was, lets see what this body can do without chemicals. So I picked a natural show to get into and it was 9 weeks away. That wasn’t leaving much time to get ready seeing as my last show was 6 years earlier. 9 weeks is a sprint for contest prep. It usually takes 16 weeks or more to get in that type of shape. Lucky for me, I was in great shape to start. I was weighing 195 lbs at 9% body fat, so it wasn’t impossible to be ready. I started hitting the weights hard and boy did I realize that it sucks not to have been seriously training legs in 6 years. Oh, I ran and did body weight jumps squats, but no squats, hack squats, or leg press with heavy loads. When I left competing I was 273 lbs with 30″ thighs. Now, these guys were skinny enough to fit into 28 waist straight leg jeans. I had my work cut out for me. Everything else was pretty solid, I just needed to lift hard and harden up. I hit the weights like I used to and it made me feel great again, just like before.
Supplements: Eric Irons Saving Grace
Up until this point, the supplement market basically sucked. Other than 2 main companies, NSP and Beverly International, there was really nothing out there. Now that Bill Phillips and EAS came out and Met-Rx was also big name in the market, companies popped up out of nowhere. One of the supplements that was really being pushed was HMB (Hydroxy-Methylbutyrate). This is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine. The supplement was basically an anti-catabolic agent. It showed a lot of promise in athletes who used it in a calorie restricted state. Well, bodybuilding is nothing if not a constant calorie restricted state. I also used creatine and good old fashioned glutamine. It was a pretty smooth 9 weeks. I weighed in for the show at 195 lbs, but at 4% body fat. I put on a whopping 10 lbs of solid muscle in 9 weeks while dieting! That was fucking amazing. Completely drug free as well. My strength also kept going up. I was literally bench pressing 315 for 8 repetitions the week before the show. This was the only show in my career that I got stronger all the way into it. My legs were still behind, but they had caught up massively. I placed 3rd in the light heavyweight division. So I was back again and it felt good.
The New Era: Roids, Here Eric Irons Is Again
So even with the wild success I just had encountered as a natural athlete, I decided to go back to the dark side. It was crazy because now I weighed almost 220 at 9-10% bodyfat and girls kept telling me don’t get bigger, you look perfect. That went out the window, I went back on Test, D-Bal and Deca. I blew up 18 more pounds and the rest is history. Put on some crazy leg size too that year. My legs at the show I did in 1997 were sick. Huge, separated, striated, and any other term you could come up with. I went into the hardest show in the state and placed 3rd in a stacked heavyweight class. I was a little disappointed because I thought I was actually better than the two guys who placed ahead of me. It was okay though; I made great progress from the year before. 1998 was a better year again. I put on another 12 pounds of stage weight. So in two years I put on 30 pounds of stage weight. I really was hitting it hard and going places but then I said “Screw it, I quit!” I just didn’t feel like competing anymore. So off to retirement I went, never to compete again. Was it really the end though…….