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As we all know, bodybuilding is a drug-dominated sport. It allows bodybuilders to become mass monsters and perform incredible displays of strength and condition. But as bodybuilding is getting very popular now, it does not look to be for the same reasons it used to be popular for. Today, we are talking about the controversial subject of the rise of performance-enhancing drugs and how this can affect the fitness industry, mostly beginners and amateurs.
The first issue usually comes from the top. There is certainly a lack of restrictions and awareness. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself had already expressed himself on that matter. More people are using performance-enhancing drugs recreationally and the dangers are minimised in my opinion. The PEDs industry has become a real market.
It makes good business at the expense of people’s health around the world. Beginners and amateurs are today more likely to get into PEDs than they were in the past. Most natural competitions aren’t drug tested which does not make the sport very fair in some aspect. We also hear a lot of champions who complain about not being rewarded much for their work.
2- Social media influence
Social media. We love it and hate it at the same time. We spend a lot of time on social media platforms and marketers are there wherever you turn. Marketers are sometimes more interested in their own income than the value of the products they provide.
In my opinion, influencers and gym brands have a direct influence on the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Just showing the good side of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs on social media influences people to think PEDs are not harmful.
Big influencers using PEDs who have massive audiences can be an issue for beginners and amateurs in the fitness industry. Few people idealising their influencers might be inclined to copy their lifestyles and follow in their footsteps regarding using PEDs.
3- Black market
The Black Market makes money wherever it can. It is no different to any industry. But it’s hard to stop, so it continues to grow! Young audiences are most heavily targeted. It’s easier to target people who usually start going to the gym to change their physique. My facebook profile often receives friend requests from sellers.
Products like SARMS aka “legal steroids” are all over the place. It’s quite crazy in my opinion to see that SARMS are sold in online shops like normal supplements. In the gyms, youngsters are always looking for a quick fix – we often hear stories of needles left in the lockers… This is not uncommon anymore!
4- Short term vision
We can agree the vast majority of young adults will usually be healthier and more resistant than older adults. Most young, fit people, can use PEDs for a while before the negative side effects begin to show. What we should watch out is what the impact PEDS can have in the long term. By the time we see more health complications due to PEDs use, it will be too late!
5- Misinformation in the fitness industry
Gym-drugs are sometimes covering training mistakes. Someone with great genetics will respond better to performance-enhancing drugs. This is an explanation of why we see more and more fitness influencers with great physiques not spreading the right knowledge about training. It’s easy as a beginner today to get lost in a mass of information.
6- Too many pro-bodybuilders and less hard work
In my opinion, the competition world is not as good as it used to be, or not as good as it could be. The amount of IFBB pro cards given in the industry is often questioned. We see a lot more professional bodybuilders than in the past, which decreases the meaning of the term. Old school bodybuilding and modern bodybuilding are often compared. Fitness authorities like to say that modern bodybuilding is not as hard working as old-school bodybuilding used to be and that pros do not bring the same condition on stage as they used to.
7- Unhappy audiences in bodybuilding
This results in audiences which are less likely to like bodybuilding. If less people are happy with the meaning of bodybuilding, less people are going to take interest in the competitive world. We can already see that in natural bodybuilding. Although natural bodybuilding has never been what’s considered the most entertaining part of bodybuilding, it’s hard to deny it has been dying in recent years. For example, natural bodybuilders seem to be more hesitant when it comes to competing as the competitions are not always fair in terms of drug testing.
8- First issues and consequences linked to steroids
We hear a lot more about mental health and physical health issues in the fitness industry. It’s more and more common that we will come across articles in the news talking about these. Bigorexia and body-dysmorphia are one example. This condition is growing at a pretty quick rate. Some fitness brands like generation Iron even made a movie about it.
9- Irreversible consequences from steroids, R.I.P and repeat
Sometimes it goes as far as heart attacks, liver failure, irreversible psychological issues. While it’s not always ,steroids often leaves a lot of subjects with irreversible damage. What’s bothering today is constantly seeing sad news in the articles about another bodybuilder passing away without ever doing anything about it. They get an article in a magazine dedicated to them and then everything goes back to normal. It gives this sad vibe of “r.i.p and repeat”.
10- Steroids too often looked as a personal choice?
Taking PED’s for most high level pro bodybuilders usually comes from a personal choice. Although, since the PEDs industry have become a real business, we can then question whether the will to take performance enhancing drugs for an individual always is a personal choice or a choice which was influenced by the black market, the misinformation, the lack of restriction and awareness that we just talked about!
What’s your opinion?
Let us know in the comments what you think about this!