Steroids in gyms and in sport - the unspoken advantage
Posted 08-08-2019 | Updated
Steroids (Performance Enhancing Drugs - PEDs) are an unfair advantage, I think we can all agree on that?
I’d like to think that anyone taking them knows this, they are taking PEDs to enhance their performance, muscle mass or recovery capability. So anyone taking it is fully engaged in whether it is right or wrong for them, and thus if they shouldn’t be taking them then they have full awareness that they are breaking the rules.
This is a point of contention for many in the world of sport, and rightly so. Steroids can dramatically improve performance and recovery, and that’s why so many are tempted to do it. But when a sport has been built on clean use, and people break these rules, we can see why this is unfair for all that are following the rules of clean sport.
But because many people look up to sports stars and we are seeing more incredible feats of strength, endurance and power on social media, more and more are drawn to their use. Recreational gym goers are taking them, and this is due to external influence, internal mental trauma, and ease of access.
Many gyms are now rife with steroid use, you can see it, people aren’t stupid, however much users think their use is going by the way side, we know your results aren’t natural, so stop pretending. There are many tell tail signs of PED use and most people that have been in the gym for a few years training know when someone else is using them, you can often just see it.
If I was to be honest this is my key gripe with the movement of increased steroid use, honesty. People are free to make their own choices, that’s cool, but when someone lies about their results and what they did to achieve it, that’s a big issue for me. People are buying programs and products from online ‘fitness influencers’ on the promise that an individual achieved those advertised results with diet and exercise alone, but the reality is they were using something else as well, steroids.
When it comes to muscle mass, for example, it can make a considerable difference in how you look. Just look at pro bodybuilders compared to physique competitors, the level of muscle mass between the two categories is night and day apart, one category is using steroids, the other isn’t, and it’s obvious.
If someone wants to take steroids that is their personal choice, I’m not going to question that directly, but I am going to challenge them on why. I have to do this as a health and performance coach as they need to know the risks of taking them (it’s very costly to do it right, so many cut corners and this is where health issues arise). I need to know they are taking them for the right reasons, because many aren’t. Many people resorting to steroids are often suffering from some form of body dysmorphia.
Steroids rarely fixes the problem; it often compounds the problem.
This is why education is key and UK active and UKAD are doing something about it, which you can read about here. People need to know the risks and people need to explore their whys fully. I’ve coached many people that have seen using steroids as a short cut or as the only solution to reach their goals, goals that are often beyond their genetics (or their perception of, people look up to bodybuilders and sports stars but they need to know their results are powdered by steroids, not just training and diet alone). It’s my job to sit them down and fully explore the core issue at hand, which in my experience 95% of the time is a mental health issue, not a primary performance or recovery issue.
I am a coach and lifelong clean trainer, I’ve never used steroids in my life and don’t plan to, for me this is my ethical responsibility to show people what can be achieved with the right approach, consistency and patience. In a world where we want results in a few short weeks people need to know that steroids are just another short cut, but a short cut that can lead to many health issues if not done properly. I am a happy and healthy guy, I train regularly, eat well, and it shows, and there isn’t a PED in sight.
I want anyone reading this to know that you can get incredible results with your body without steroids, I have, many others have, but you do have to eat well, train with intensity and look after yourself on a consistent basis.
What do I want to see for the future?
I want to see a few things:
- If you take steroids be honest about it, I’m not judging you, you’re free to make your own choices, but be honest because there are young impressionable people watching what you do and it’s simply unethical to promote ones results as ‘just diet and exercise’ when steroids have been used, this just increases the prevalence of body dysmorphia issues when people can’t achieve what others have because they are missing the ‘secret’ ingredient
- If you compete in a clean sport don’t use it, if you want a fair playing field, play fair, if not suffer the consequences when you’re caught
- We need better education of the downsides, just like the anti-smoking campaigns highlighted the risks of smoking we need to highlight, especially to young people, the dangers of using steroids, both in general but also when not done properly. Running a PED cycle properly is very expensive, people need to have this highlighted to them so people know the health, cost and long term implications of doing it
- Finally I want people to master their body and mind. When you choose to go on a journey of personal betterment, to truly want the best for yourself and your body you don’t look for short cuts, you realise that this is a journey that takes many years but has a huge amount of value. Steroids for many are a short cut, don’t skip steps that teach you so much about yourself, I’ve been mastering my body and mind for 15 years now, and I’m excited about the next 15 years. Every day I look to improve how I move, eat and think, that excites me, I never look for a short cut and I’m not trying to do some inhumane feat of strength, so I have no need or desire to ever use PEDs
As they say, you don’t know until you know, so education is key.
We need influencers to be honest, we need education to improve and we need people to be real with their goals and the journey they are going on with their health and fitness. Once we do this, sport will be cleaner, gyms will be cleaner, and young people will be chasing the right goals for the right reasons.
Either way I’ll continue to do my little bit to help, I hope you will too and support initiatives like the UK Active and UKAD joint awareness campaign.
If you’re into audio learning and want to learn more about Steroids, their use and how to navigate them, I have done several podcasts on steroid use, they are shows; #136 #137 #148 #263 #309 #429 and here is a link to my podcast:
Also available on Android podcasting apps, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud and YouTube.
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