Here's what you need to know...
- What started with Greg Valentino has become an epidemic in some countries: the use of "site-enhancement oil" to artificially inflate certain muscles.
- Side effects include staph infections, abscesses, necrosis, gangrene and looking like a buffoon. The use of such oils has even resulted in amputation.
- In some countries, this behavior is encouraged by cultural norms and fads.
- Most of these "oil bags" are not bodybuilders, though the judicious use of locatable oil is fairly common in pro bodybuilding.
The Sad, Sad Rise of Valentinioism
While it's human nature to mock what we don't understand, some things, even when understood, are still mocked. This is because they rightly deserve to be mocked.
However, even when something is so deservedly mocked – such as these pathetic examples of gross Valentinioism that are becoming more and more common – it's still interesting to delve into why anyone would do this. Is it a fad? Vanity? Or just unbridled stupidity?
It Started with Greg Valentino
My good friend, Greg Valentino, aka "the most hated man in bodybuilding" and progenitor of the aforementioned "Valentinioism," defended what he did to his arms by saying, "I didn't do it to be symmetrical. I did it to be a freak."
And there you have it. Everyone's got their own reason for their particular brand of taboo and a penchant for the poison that brews it. Tattoos, piercings, gauging, muscles, anorexia... whatever the case may be.
I mention Valentino because he's more or less responsible for what we revile today – the proliferation of the image synonymous with "oil bag" throughout social media. No pantheon of modern day pioneers of the freak movement in bodybuilding would be complete without Valentino seated at the head of the table.
That being the undisputed case, it would only be a matter of time before the rest of the world realized that such folly actually exists. Ferreting out the idiots would come next. And that's exactly what's happened.
Stupidity Run Amuck
Today, there's an ever growing number of posts on social media about these sufferers of malignant stupidity. It begs the question, "Does this moron actually believe that anyone is buying this gag?"
At least Velentino trained, had pretty good arms to begin with, and injected actual steroids into them. When he first did it, they still looked like arms, only cartoonishly large. Then they exploded.
Most of the idiots we see today are geezing pure oil directly into almost nothing. The result being an idiot who looks like he shot a bunch of oil into his arms. That's not to say Valentino doesn't look idiotic, just, by comparison, not as much.
Proud as they can be, these guys load up their arms, delts, pecs, and traps with cc after cc of locatable oil to enhance all the "work" they're doing in the gym, then parade themselves all over social media flexing and posing and attempting to look like bodybuilders.
There was a recent video posted showing a barely five-foot tall guy in baggy jeans and a tank top on a TV news show in Brazil, flexing these ludicrous appendages that made Valentino's arms look like Iggy Pop's. He's being interviewed by this completely clueless host who's buying the whole song and dance this little oil bag is selling him.
Totally convinced, the host was encouraging this little freak to hit poses while extolling all his hard work in the gym. It was one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen. And he's just one of many in the oil business.
Not Made in America (For the Most Part)
Now, it's apparent that such retardation doesn't translate well into all of the Romance languages. As evinced by what I see as an inherent common denominator, there's notably something interesting going on here. I believe it's the root of what makes jacking up your body with a few gallons of oil perfectly cool to those doing it.
At the risk of sounding racist, it's obvious that most of these idiots reside in a Latin country, frequently Brazil, Columbia and Argentina. It's true. You can see for yourself in ten minutes on Google. The majority of oil bags are found in South America. (There's a good reason for it that I'll get to in a minute.)
Even Steroid Users Find Oil Bags Offensive
First, let's address the 800 pound gorilla with real arms in the room: Why are these oil baggers so offensive to us? Why so reviled by our community?
To anyone else they just look like freaks, and I'm sure there's a few fools buying the act as well. The answer is pretty simple.
First and foremost, they represent an affront to legitimate bodybuilders – like a walking parody of guys who built real muscle, the old fashioned way. They mock us. They make a joke out of what we hold dear.
They're clowns who wear their ridiculous costumes on the inside, like it was too much work to do it the right way. We loath these imposters.
Such disregard is the norm among the iron brethren. None of us can take these idiots seriously. Yet more and more oil bags keep showing up on our newsfeeds. They're not stopping!
So, what do we actually end up doing? Cruel as it my be, we end up making fun of retards. However, they, and many inhabitants of the countries in which they live, praise and encourage them. Proof, I'll reckon, that ignorance is bliss.
Pro Bodybuilders Do It Too
Like it or not, there are three ways of making muscles bigger:
- Years of heavy resistance training without steroids.
- Years of heavy resistance training with steroids.
- Injecting "site enhancing oils" such as Synthol, PumpNPose, Liquid Muscle, Syntherol or a combination thereof.
Plenty of competitive bodybuilders – including top pros – use locatable oil to enhance their physique for competition. Most of them do it right and most of you would never know they're using it.
I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the morons who look like they nailed the Michelin Man to their shoulders in the spot where their arms used to hang and intend that everyone believe those things are really his muscles.
Ninety-nine percent of you reading this will agree that the extreme examples of such oil abuse are as abhorrent as they are an affront to guys who legitimately throw down in the gym and work hard for the thickening of every fiber.
However, I always seem to attract the bleeding heart types who contend that we can do whatever we want to our bodies – who am I to judge? Nevertheless, in this case, if anyone is going to be hating on me it's going to be in either Spanish or Portuguese.
Is It a Cultural Thing?
As pointed out earlier, it's easy to see that the proliferation of Valentinioism is predominately a South and Central American phenomenon. Most of the guys you mock on Facebook with the ridiculously inflated arms, shoulders, chest, and traps are from Brazil, Venezuela, Belize, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina... but mostly Brazil.
In investigating this assumption, I've been able to surmise that Latins make up about 80% of the oil baggers we find on social media. The rest seems to be spread out over the US, the UK , Europe and the Middle East. One of the most "popular" idiots is from Egypt.
Why do they do this to themselves? Because I live in a Latin country, I've learned some interesting nuances of Latin culture that speak volumes about why it's so acceptable for a guy to go in and "get his arms done," which is quite literally what they do.
To them, it's really no different for a girl to go in and get her tits done. The only difference being that, in the case of the girl, the place to which she's going "in" is an outpatient surgical clinic – if not a hospital – and she's being attended to by actual doctors and nurses.
The oil fill-up goes on in a decidedly less clinical environment and is administered by a meathead in all the sterility offered by his dirty apartment.
Wet Cottage Cheese
Complications resulting from such folly have lead from draining abscesses of copious amounts of puss the consistency of wet cottage cheese, to excessive scarring (necrosis) that chokes off blood supply to the muscle, leading to tissue death (gangrene) requiring surgical removal of the dead tissue.
This leaves the area even more deformed, or even just a stump.
The coup de grâce however is the staph infection. Left untreated for too long, it can spread throughout the body and eventually kill you. One guy from Argentina had to have both arms amputated and both pecs and front delts removed. He'd ignored a staph infection that had spread from an injection site. It was either that or die.
I'll go into the actual oil loading in a minute. First, you have to understand the accepting attitude the South Americans have that we in North America do not. This is true of any kind of treatment, augmentation, surgical procedure and drug use – steroids, peptides and androgens included – for physical enhancements.
It's all acceptable to them and in some cases expected. There's no personal trainer in Mexico who will not prescribe steroids, clen and GH to his clients – male or female – and none of them bat an eye. It's all just part of the deal to be on a "cycle" and totally acceptable, not to mention legal.
So, there's absolutely no social stigma regarding the use of drugs or any number of surgical procedures to augment one's physical appearance, especially if it means you don't have to workout!
Used Breast Implants: The Female Connection
Believe it or not, the impetus for men to employ this alternative means of increasing muscle size starts in the women's camp.
In their undying quest for beauty – which is pursued in South America more aggressively than Australians pursue Rugby – many Latin women will do almost anything to themselves, administered by just about anyone.
Botox, fillers, skin treatments, lasers, lipo, fat transfers and augmentations from head to butt. They do steroids too. A woman with big plumped-up lips, hair extensions, tattooed eye liner, tricolor manicure with inlaid crystals, Botox, Restalin, breast implants and a big fake ass is probably also doing GH, Primo and Clen.
Breast implants are so popular in Brazil that girls who upgrade to a bigger size – and they all do – advertise their old implants for sale! There's actually a market for used breast implants!
These all-out beauty practices are not only inexpensive and quite common, they're often just a part of the myriad of other things Latin women do to look hot. I've lived and traveled throughout Central and South America for the last 30 years. I've never seen a woman out in public anything less than dressed to the nines.
It doesn't matter if she's walking across the street to the mailbox or out for the night, she's done up in something short, tight, low cut, with heels, the accompanying handbag, full hair and makeup and sunglasses (whether it's sunny or not) and walking with that full hoochy strut that's got a purpose. They don't kid around.
While not all women take such a decidedly provocative course, they are always done up with at least a touch of heat – and it spans all age groups. I've never seen a girl in Latin America out in pubic in baggy sweats, no makeup and her ratty bedhead under a baseball cap like the three you saw on your way to work this morning.
At this point I must address the seething feminists: I'm not interested in hearing how such objectification of Latin women is the fault of the sexist, misogynistic promotion of machismo that relegates women to the level of subservient sex toys. I'm reporting on the way it is. Why it is that way is another discussion in another language. Don't shoot the messenger.
In essence, you have a culture that accepts physical enhancements from mild to radical, invasive to topical – including drugs – with absolutely no whining and crying from activists with agendas petitioning the government to outlaw any part of such activity regardless of the ages of the participants involved.
"Augmentation" is as much a part of Latin culture as shopping.
Oiled-Up Idiots on Facebook
Now, let's take your basic 20-something year-old scrawny gym rat from Brazil looking through a bodybuilding magazine and agonizing over the years of work it's going to take to sport a fair pair of guns.
Then he sees a picture of some oiled-up jackass on Facebook and becomes enlightened of the effect of locatable oil. Suddenly the idea of having guns the "size" of Jay Cutler's dances in his head. "Hmm, by next month I can have them!"
In a land where big fake asses outnumber "normal" booties and women hang more ornaments on themselves than a Christmas tree, the idea of shooting oil into your arms to make them bigger is a decision made with as much alacrity as blowing your nose.
The ideas we harbor about Synthol never even enter their minds. The idea that they efface bodybuilding isn't considered. The absolute ridiculousness of how they look is quite the reverse, not only to them, but to all their countrymen who gaze upon them in awe!
The mentality that goes into gluing a fake AMG badge on a Nissan Tsuru is the same mentality that drives them to a 10cc syringe full of oil. It's perfectly acceptable and they can have it now.
Gross Aberrations of the Human Form
It's really kind of like dressing up as a bodybuilder, only the costume is on the inside, yet no less a mockery of the original. None of these morons look like a legit bodybuilder. They look like gross aberrations of the human form: lumpy, puffy, uneven, discolored and nothing remotely close to aesthetic.
I'm not going to get into the exact mechanics of how these guys inflate their body parts. I'm not going to promote this idiocy. I will, however, say that the application of enough locatable oil to effect a significant and noticeable change in the appearance of a muscle is not a painless or safe process.
One Brazilian was arrested because of a slew of complications that arose after he sold a bunch of guys on the idea that he'd be injecting cooking oil into the desired body parts! Infection and nerve damage followed.
Infections are quite common and can get really out of hand, but there are far worse complications, many not ending well, some ending it completely. But that doesn't seem to be a strong enough deterrent. The instant result is too alluring.
Depending on what you start with, you can gain up to three or four inches on your arms in just one "treatment." But the application doesn't last. Assuming you survive the fill-up, your body absorbs the oil and processes it. The application has to be repeated frequently until enough scar tissue builds up to make the application last.
This leverages the possibility of the aforementioned infection, scarring, necrosis, nerve damage and permanent disfigurement... or worse. There are plenty of videos of guys getting their infected arms drained of at least a liter of puss and blood due to an injection gone wrong.
Usually the guys installing the oil barely know what they're doing except for what they read online. Add to that the fact that sterility in a third world country is decidedly far less than adequate, especially in the back room or apartment where you're going to get your arms done.
Unless of course you do it to yourself. While not impossible it's certainly more difficult and the same concerns and complications still exist. Done the way most guys report to be doing it, blowing up your arms and shoulders is a risk unfathomably high for the return you get.
Will They Regret It?
And exactly what is that return? To us, the guys doing this are complete idiots and deserve every infection and deformity they get.
However, to them and the people who marvel at this crap, they are the badasses with the big arms, and in all likelihood will find their 15 minutes of social media fame.
Then what? Then they fall among the other extremists of taboo: the full body/full face tattoos, the radical piercings, the crazy gauging, scarifications and all the future forms of self-mutilation yet to come. Twenty years after their 15 minutes is up, what will they look like? Will they regret what they did?
Or worse yet, when one of these oil-laden idiots is lying on the table in the OR waiting to have his arm amputated because the necrosis cut off so much blood supply that tissue began dying and gangrene set in, what will he think as they start pushing in the anesthetic?
Will his last thoughts before he goes under be of his poor mother sitting in the waiting room working the varnish off her rosary beads? Or will he think of his once-proud father's shame? Or what his friends will say? Or, will he just be thinking, "Holy fuck, I'm waking up without my arm."
And just wait until they find out on Facebook...