Disclaimer: Do not take steroids if you want to live a long and happy life
Athletes all over the world are faced with a dilemma. To take performance enhancing drugs or not, to ‘cheat’ or not.
Some would say that it is not cheating at all if everyone is doing it and that these athletes are just doing everything they can to get the best out of their bodies.
In my opinion it really depends why you are using them in the first place. If you are just some meat head trying to reach new heights of large muscularity than you should probably not risk your health for such a vain pursuit. Because there are ramifications, and I’ll address them later.
But say you are a professional body builder and your income depends on obtaining the largest and best physique that you can, than maybe it seems a worthwhile trade.
If we look at the history of sports, competitors have always tried to get that special edge that will put them over the top, in fact, it’s part of their job to always make sure they are doing whatever it takes to do their best.
Currently, we live in a society that has access to hundreds of different compounds and chemicals that can be used to alter the human body for better performance. Whether it’s in a game like baseball, or in bodybuilding, ‘steroids’ have been around for a long time.
The first steroids were synthesized in the 1930’s and from there we’ve taken it very far indeed.
They were initially made for men who could not produce their own testosterone. Then they were used to help World War II veterans regain mass they had lost. Right after that, they hit the sports scene.
The argument has been made that many sports are so technical that steroids just offer improved recovery time during training. But what we’ve seen is performance enhancing drugs do just that in about every facet of an athlete’s achievements.
The East Germans of the 1970’s most famously burst onto the scene as muscular beasts after having been given steroids. During this period they dominated, swimming, shot put, track, and almost everything else they could get their feet into.
But the world caught on, and when people defected to the west they readily admitted to the doping programs they were involved in.
Sprinting is a sport where doping has been quite problematic. Ben Johnson famously was called out for using performance enhancing drugs, and he certainly wasn’t the only one.
And of course everyone knows the fall from grace that Lance Armstrong experienced when he admitted to using drugs to win the Tour de France.
Even the amazing Arnold Schwarzenegger has admitted to using them back in the 70’s when they were a relatively knew concept to body building.
Jose Canseco outed himself and many others in baseball by naming the names of doctors and players who were involved in performance enhancing drug programs.
So if people essentially know they will be caught by WADA (World Anti doping Agency) why do they carry on using? And the answer is that for as long as there have been tests for this kind of thing, there have been ways to get around it.
Better yet, is why do people finally admit to what they were doing. The reasons are two fold. One, they feel guilty and need to come clean. Two, they don’t feel they are doing anything wrong since everyone else was doing them too.
There are many organizations who handle this issue, testing athletes, enforcing bans, and setting the rules about what is okay to put in your body. And of course, the law today says steroids are a controlled substance and possession is plainly illegal.
But there remains sports where essentially it is okay to use steroids. And no its not the NHL, MLB, or NBA. It’s in bodybuilding, and strongman.
There is a distinction between the type of competitions that clean athletes enter and ones that draw the steroid user. The term is non-drug tested. It basically means that if you show up to a competition at 350 pounds with 30 inch biceps no one will bat an eye.
There are a few body building organizations that work this way, but I was devastated to find out that ‘Strongman’ is a non-drug tested event.
Strongman is a competition of brute strength plain and simple. Lift heavy thing, move it over there, summarizes most of the events in this sport.
I must have been really naive to think that men who are around 400 pounds (that’s right, they weight that much) could have gotten that way through their given biology alone.
But then something dawned on me. I want to see freaks!
They have already decided to take the drugs, I’m not pushing them into anything, so might as well pull up a seat and watch.
Then I kinda navigated over to, there should leagues of for non-drug tested athletes who push the boundaries of their sport.
I don’t want to go to the baseball game and watch a 200 pound man hit an infield fly. I want to see a 300 pound man hit a ball a god damn mile. After all, the ramifications are not mine in the end.
But I digress, as the real issue is that these drugs are not okay to take, they are extremely harmful and cause a host of issues that once there will never go away.
- bad acne that causes scarring (mildest side effect)
- hypogonodotropic hypogonadism (you really don’t want this)
- erectile dysfunction
- blood pressure problems
- enlarged heart
- Cancer of the liver
- Growing breasts
- Kidney failure
This list could go on forever. So it’s obvious we cannot simply permit the use of these drugs….but we can certainly turn a blind eye.
Back to the Strongman example. One particular Strongman, named Eddie Hall recently deadlifted the world record.
If you watch the video you can see that it takes everything he has to lift the weight. But if he ever told you he never took anything for performance enhancement, that would clearly be a lie. What kind of a body could lift over a 1000 pounds!
I want to see this kind of thing, but I don’t want people to die. So I’m somewhat stuck at a cross roads.
I want to see freaks, and the things they can achieve but I don’t think I will ever say that it is a good idea to take steroids.
They are bad for your health beyond reason. Some people might say that a small amount of them are fine, and maybe that’s true, but screwing with your body chemistry in this fashion is not something that can be undone.
If you google ‘bodybuilder dead’, the results speak for themselves.
I spent some time talking about steroids in bodybuilding, but what is really alarming is that most of the steroid users out there are just plain Joes. I don’t know what drove them to start taking performance enhancing drugs but they are really in a situation now, since anyone who wants to stop taking them has to be closely monitored by a doctor and will also deal with serious psychological symptoms.
So you should really not take steroids if you can help it. They will adversely effect your health, but on the other hand, if you feel compelled, or are being paid large sums of money, let me know. Because I love watching super freaks.