But after last night I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider it.
You see, last night I finally watched the documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster which is all about steroids. I’d heard about it for sometime but I didn’t get around to watching it until now.
If you haven’t seen it here is a brief synopsis from Wikipedia:
The documentary examines the steroid use of the director Christopher Bell and his two brothers, Mark and Mike Bell, who all grew up idolizing Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hulk Hogan, and Sylvester Stallone, and also features professional athletes, medical experts, fitness center members, and US Congressmen talking about the issue of anabolic steroids.
Beyond the basic issue of anabolic steroid use, Bigger, Stronger, Faster examines the lack of consistency in how America views drugs, cheating, and the lengths people go to achieve success.
The film looks beyond the steroid issue to such topics as Tiger Woods’ laser eye correction to 20/15 vision, professional musicians use of anxiety reducing drugs, or athletes’ dependence on cortisone shots, which are a legal steroid. It takes a skeptical view of the health risks of steroids and is critical of the legal health supplement industry.
Some very interesting points were viewed in the film.
The Dangers of Drug Use
Steroids aren’t as dangerous as they’re made out to be and with them being mostly illegal no long term studies will be conducted. ‘Roid rage is pretty much just a myth. Not that there isn’t any side effects. As with all drugs, pharmaceutical, recreational, and otherwise, too much, too often is always dangerous.
As the one fitness model said there are no side effects. Except, wait a sec, he got a case of bitch tits and had to have his nipple removed and put back on! To him a minor surgery (as if any surgery is minor) and no big deal. To me that alone makes me hands down never want to do them.
In our pill popping culture why wouldn’t someone who wants to get bigger take drugs to do it. After all, they take drugs to sleep better, when they get a headache, for heart troubles and to get an erection. But because steroids are illegal many won’t do it.
The Healthful Side of Steroids
Except they’re not completely illegal. You can get hormone replacement therapy done with doctor. Much of anti-aging medicine is about restoring the hormones to regular if not optimal levels. Sometimes this is done more naturally, sometimes not so much.
Where is the line between someone who is taking testosterone for their health and someone who is taking it to get the edge?
For me personally I’ve gotten big into natural Chinese tonic herbs. Many of these are used to get the hormones running right. One of the precepts for the superior class of herbs is that they can do no harm even if you are one them long term. That they have an overall healthful effects not harmful even taken all the time and in large doses.
Contrast this to drugs with their list of side effects. And as was pointed out to me by George Lamoureux of Jing Herbs all those potential side effects aren’t side effects. They are effects. They simply manifest themselves in some people but stay on an unnoticeable level in others, still wreaking havoc inside the body, yet not making symptoms occur.
By doing the proper training and eating correctly you’ll naturally optimize your hormones, get lean muscle mass and the youthful effects that brings. However no matter how well you do it, it won’t give you the same effects as injecting testosterone into yourself. It simply can’t be done.
The Drive to Win
So if you need to become bigger, stronger and more injury resistant what do you do? In order to be the best you have to beat the best. If all the others are on performance enhancing drugs what chance will you have unless you join them?
As is commonly known about bodybuilders all the guys at the top are on steroids. But so are the majority of powerlifters, strongmen, and Olympic athletes in just about every field. Louie Simmons makes it pretty clear in his gym Westside Barbell it’s almost a prerequisite to train there.
And you know what? It’s understandable.
I suppose it’s not fair if you pit a “natural” athlete against one on steroids. But what about when you pit a bunch of juiced athletes against each other? Doesn’t the win and title go to the person who still worked the hardest, has the commitment and does the best?
In a drive to get to the top it’s no wonder its so prevalent. While steroids may be a shortcut there is no real shortcut when you spend every single day and years of effort to become the best. For many sports you cannot go as far as you could if you don’t take steroids.
Why I Still Say No
Yet, I’m still not going to do them. Ever. Should I give up on my plans to become one of the strongest people out there? Not at all.
Look at the oldtime strongmen. Many had the greatest physiques ever. And certainly I believe most men would rather look like John Grimek than Jay Cutler. While most records have fallen time and time again some of the oldtime strongmen still hold world records not likely to be broken.
Even with all the pharmaceutical enhancement I haven’t seen anyone come close to Arthur Saxon’s bent press.
While I may not be able to compete with powerlifters I can do the things I do and become the best in them. Would steroids help? I’m sure they would in that I could train harder and recover faster. But do I need them? No.
Just look at my friend and business partner Bud Jeffries. Drug free his whole life. Squatted 1000 lbs. without a squats suit and even from the bottom of the rack. Many steroid users couldn’t even come close to that.
(By the way Bud is having a 25% off sale on everything at his site. It’s only for a few days longer so sprint on over there and check it out.)
I’m still looking for the edge in my training. Whether that comes from the best method of training, taking natural supplements, and using mental tactics.
For me I draw the line on steroid use.
Yet that line is hazy. As is shown in the film the Tour de France winner Floyd Landis and his atmospheric chamber. By sleeping in it he is able to produce more red blood cells which aid in endurance. The same thing goes on at the Olympic training center in Colorado with the high altitude. These are legal to do.
But blood doping (which is drawing out your own blood then reinjecting it the day before the event) or taking a drug which causes you to produce more red blood cells are not legal.
To me that makes sense. But I suppose each person will have to decide for themselves where that line is at. For some the legality is the only issue. For others their own morals don’t necessarily coincide with the law. The fact that steroids are illegal or not doesn’t effect my decision.
For me the funniest part of the film was the performance enhancing drugs used by musicians to calm themselves down. Legal and generally excepted by the whole group.
Each person will have to draw their own line on what is acceptable.
If you haven’t seen it I encourage you to check out the documentary. It’ll open your eyes to the brainwashing that most people have regarding the issue. From there you can make up your own mind.
If you have seen it I’d love to get your input below.