By Bob Gallucci
186 pp. (Memoir)
(Available at Lulu.com)
It’s a bit like Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, 1978, 1993, etc.), the sci-fi classic in which alien “pod people” slowly and surreptitiously replace their victims until there are no normal humans left. Bob Gallucci started bodybuilding as a high-school sophomore in the mid-1960s; within a few years, he had progressed rapidly to winning local and regional competitions, and even the 1969 AAU Teen Mr. America title. But as the 1970s dawned, Bob began noticing that other competitors—just a few at first, but then more and more—were growing faster, and getting bigger, between each contest than would seem possible.
And Bob had to decide whether to join them.
But whether or not the reader agrees with Gallucci’s take on steroids, the book is worthwhile for its vivid first-person account of an important transitional era in bodybuilding history. Beyond the numerous amusing competition anecdotes, Gallucci also explores other aspects of the bodybuilding lifestyle, including his training at a local hole-in-the-wall gym (one of only two commercial gyms in all of Connecticut at the time); his experience eventually opening his own gym with his father; and his encounters and friendships with various bodybuilding luminaries of the era. There may not be a lot of momentum to The Last Drug-Free Bodybuilder—it’s more of a pleasant amble through Gallucci’s bodybuilding career, and, like many self-published memoirs, could use an editor to give the narrative more focus—but even as-is, The Last Drug-Free Bodybuilder is an engaging travelogue to a another time.