Friday, 21 December 2012

A Far Cry From Being One Of The Best Muscle Building Supplements Of All Time

By Brandi Little

Many bodybuilders and weightlifters have sought to improve their physiques by using the best muscle building supplements on the market. Given this demand, many such products have been pushed on the market, though some of these are far from being the best. One infamous example was ICOPRO in the early to mid 1990s.

ICOPRO (or Integrated Conditioning Program), while well known to the bodybuilding community, is probably best remembered by those in the professional wrestling community. The reason for this is that Vince McMahon, the kingpin of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE) had invested heavily in the supplement. As a result, McMahon's wrestling programming heavily advertised ICOPRO for much of the early 1990s period.

Though McMahon himself is a bodybuilding aficionado, his own obsession was not a sufficient explanation for his investment. During this time, McMahon was founding his own bodybuilding organization. This was to be known as the WBF, or World Bodybuilding Federation.

McMahon planned to go into competition with the Joe Wieder run IFBB (or International Federation of Bodybuilding). Wieder's stranglehold over the bodybuilding industry was akin to the one McMahon wields on the pro wrestling industry today, so McMahon's fledgling group generated much controversy upon its founding. By marketing "bodybuilding the way it was meant to be", McMahon believed that his ICOPRO investment would yield substantial dividends.

However, there were setbacks from the very beginning, chiefly that the McMahon business operation became embroiled between 1991 and 1992 in a huge steroid abuse scandal that prompted a federal investigation. Though it was McMahon's wrestling operation that was targeted, his bodybuilding operation inevitably got dragged into it as well. "Bodybuilding the way it was meant to be" took on a cynical meaning, being interpreted as an open invite for steroid abusers who did not want to be tested to participate in the WBF.

The ICOPRO supplement could never escape the context of the scandal that its primary investor and marketer had found himself mired in. When the WBF closed operations in 1992, and Vince McMahon was indicted by the Federal Government of the United States for conspiracy to distribute steroids, his entire operation became synonymous in the media with steroids. Many assumed ICOPRO to be a steroid variant, and consequently the supplement suffered on the market.

Although McMahon was acquitted in 1994 of all charges and subsequently rebuilt his wrestling operation to become the most powerful and profitable such promotion operating worldwide, he never attempted to get involved in the bodybuilding business again. And though he did keep marketing ICOPRO, by that point too much damage had been done to its image, to the extent that McMahon had to acknowledge it as an unprofitable failure. In 1995 ICOPRO was discontinued.

In summary, ICOPRO was not one of the best muscle building supplements ever made. Even if it were a good one, it could never have succeeded with the quagmire of scandal and perception such as that which engulfed Vince McMahon in the early 1990s. While the market has likely seen other dodgy products, few have had as colorful a story as ICOPRO, or been as directly linked in the public eye with steroid abuse as it was.

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