Most serious athletes will tell you that the competitive drive to win can be all-consuming. Besides the satisfaction of personal accomplishment, athletes often pursue dreams of winning a medal for their country or securing a spot on a professional team. In such an environment, the use of performance-enhancing drugs has become increasingly common.
More than ever in history, the phenomenon of abusing steroids and doping, not only in the professional athletic world but also in amateur and recreational circles has become widespread. The young generation is looking up to unrealistic expectations and instant gratification motivated by the “heroes” they call athletes.
If we simply go back in time 50 years, athletes were our national heroes and a great example to the young generations in terms of moral integrity, hard word, perseverance, discipline, respect and good sportsmanship. In recent history, we have had many negative examples of athletes reckless behavior and their shortcuts using performance enhancing drugs.
If these drugs were not health- damaging, but could still improve their physical capacity, I would be all for it, and they would not be illegal. However, both science and my personal experience as a director of the largest fitness club in America has shown that these drugs have serious side-effects on both physical and mental health.
Now we need to determine whose fault it is- should we blame overpaid athletes or should we blame ourselves, their creators? How innocent are we?! Don’t we want our team to win no matter what? Do we condemn them when they lose? Do we push them beyond human capacity? Are we trying to turn them into Greek Gods? Maybe part of the problem is our perception and glorification of our athletes.
My personal opinion is that athletes and society, together, are responsible for the drastic increase in the use of steroids across the world. And, until we find enhancements that are 100% safe to the human body, we need to focus on our human capacities- which I believe can be tremendous and extraordinary in their natural forms. Yes, we will need to work harder, but we will also level the playing field and serve as better role models to our children.
When I came to America in 2000, I was 190 lbs and all the personal trainers were over 230 lbs of lean muscle mass. I noticed that I was exercising more than they did, yet my physical appearance was smaller. I also noticed that I was less prone to injuries, physically stronger, and more mentally alert and balanced. I saw one of my employees, a 270 lbs, 5% body fat grown man crying like a child for no apparent reason other than abusing steroids on a daily basis. Over the years, several people I met died suddenly due to steroid abuse.
With this being said, I am providing some empirical data about the health risks associated with Steroids and doping in an effort to urge anyone using them to stop and think about their long-term health. I know that champions will succeed no matter what!
Health Risks Associated with Steroid and Doping
- Heart and circulatory problems
- Aggressive behaviors, rage or violence
- Psychiatric disorders, such as depression
- Severe acne
- Increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture
- Liver abnormalities and tumors
- Increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
- Decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
- Increased body hair in women
- Testicular Shrinkage
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Prostate gland enlargement
- Drug dependence
- Joint pain
- Muscle weakness
- Fluid retention
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Impaired glucose regulation
- Infections or diseases such as HIV or hepatitis if you’re injecting the drugs
- Inhibited growth and development, and risk of future health problems in teenagers