Rich Piana, now 45, was introduced to bodybuilding age 11 by his mother
He began competing at 15 and by the age of 18 he was taking steroids
Piana is open about usage, even posting drug-taking schedules online
While he cautions followers about use, he insists he couldn't be happier
While Piana no longer competes at bodybuilding, he still continues to push his body to the extreme, sharing his lifestyle with his legions of followers via social media
Rich Piana's world is one of complete excess - from his sprawling houses, to his ten gut-busting meals per day and of course his utterly insane body.
But that excess comes with a price-tag in the form of decades of steroid use in doses so extreme other bodybuilders have filmed hours of YouTube footage to begging him to stop.
While the risks of steroid use are not lost on Piana, who frequently discusses them on his own YouTube channel, he insists he's happy with his life and the path he chose.
His ethos can perhaps be best summed up by the slogan for his supplement company, which is simply: 'Whatever it takes.'
Born the son of a body-building mother in Los Angeles, California, Piana got introduced to the world of weightlifting aged just 11 after going to the gym to watch her train pre-competition.
Piana began weightlifting shortly afterwards, competing for the first time aged 15, where he failed to place in the competition.
After several more unsuccessful attempts Piana turned to steroids, which he's used on an off for 27 years, even posting Instagram images of the drug-taking schedules he compiled for himself.
In one video, Piana explains his choice, saying: 'If you have the choice to do steroids or stay natural, stay natural. There's no reason to do steroids, you're only hurting your body and hurting yourself.
'But if you want to become a professional bodybuilder, guess what? You're probably going to have to f***ing do them, you're not going to have a choice. That's the boat I was in.
'I was competing on stage and I was getting to the point where I was getting blown off stage if I wasn't going to do steroids, so I took that step.
'But you know what? I'm happy with everything I chose and happy with the way that everything went in my life and I would not have done anything different.
'I'm completely happy with the choice that I made to start taking steroids at an early age of 18.'
Since then Piana has placed 7th and 11th in national bodybuilding championships, and has collected several interstate titles, including being named Mr California.
At his peak, Piana estimates that he was spending $2,500 on growth hormone per month, without even taking steroids into account.
While Piana no longer competes at bodybuilding, he continues to drive himself and his body to greater and greater feats, making money along the way via endorsements, merchandise, supplements, and his popular social media channels.
He is was recently engaged on a four-month 'bigger by the day' challenge in which he has promised viewers they would be able to gain 30lbs of pure muscle - provided they followed his insane workout and eating regime.
Piana's tell-all YouTube confessionals, in which he discusses everything from nutrition to exercise and drug use, have gathered him an impressive following online.
In the videos, which are often more than an hour long, Piana complained about how exhausting it was weighing as much as he does, and suffering while downing protein shakes 'you could drown a toddler in.'
And yet he completed the challenge anyway, just to prove a point. His next mission is now to lose 70lbs because he has gained 'too much muscle.'
But it is precisely that kind of no-holds-barred exposure when it comes to his lifestyle, whether he is discussing nutrition, exercise or drugs, that has seen Piana become such a big deal in the bodybuilding world.
Speaking about the key to his success, he said: 'Coming out, talking about steroids, just being straight up with people. I think people trust me.'