If anyone should know about the up or downside of steroids, it's Zumpano. A former steroid user who wrote the best-selling Underground Steroid Handbook back in the early ‘80's, Zumpano shunned steroids to start Champion Nutrition, a company that has worked with elite athletes like cyclist Lance Armstrong and baseball pitcher Randy Johnson, among many other college and pro athletes for over a decade.
Now his company is working with Student Sports, America's leading high school sports media and event-production company, to bring his educational message to teenage athletes, many of whom have used or will be tempted to use steroids.
What Zumpano and his Champion associates suggested as a steroid alternative to those hearing their message, was a surprisingly down-to-earth approach.
"It starts with a solid foundation of basic nutrition," said Steve Ward, Champion's national sales manager and director of their college team programs, "unfortunately most people can't get it from their normal diets, due to fast food consumption, less nutritious processed foods and inconsistent meals."
Ward stated that for high performance athletes, whose energy and strength requirements far exceed normal people's, the problem is even worse. "It's almost impossible to get the appropriate protein and other nutrients necessary to build size and strength without using supplements. Food quality is down, while physical demands are up."
The good news, according to Zumpano, Ward and their Champion Nutrition program, is that significant, steroid-like gains of size and strength are available through smart basic nutrition and supplements that provide natural body building nutrients like protein and creatine in amounts difficult to acquire from regular foods.
On the subject of creatine and its safety, Zumpano asserts, "The most comprehensive studies in recent medical journals indicate no negative side effects from even long-term usage of creatine…although we continue to recommend only moderate use. Creatine is naturally produced in the body, and naturally produces strength by speeding muscle recovery."
While even these nutritional ‘basics' might sound confusing to some, the Champion Nutrition gameplan is simple, according to director of operations, Paul Klinger. "We are committed to reaching and teaching high school athletes, coaches and parents about sports nutrition, period. Sure we want to sell more of our products. But we sincerely believe, and have found over the years with college and pro teams and athletes alike, that education is the key. We want to help young athletes reach their full potential, and that's why we're committed to this program."
Champion Nutrition will work with Student Sports to educate student-athletes via on-site clinics, distribution of ‘how to' nutrition booklets, advertisements and sponsored content. They will also offer a specially discounted purchasing program online at www.champion-nutrition.com.
After the Area Code presentation, many players gathered around the Champion Nutrition staff members, eager to learn more. "For a variety of reasons," Michael Zumpano was overheard telling the young men, "steroids are a dumb way to go. Play it smart. Understand how your body works. Train hard. Eat wisely. Supplement your diet, and you will do well."