How far will you go to get the body you want? l've heard a lot of answers to this question. One aspiring bodybuilder told me he'd do whatever it took and go as far as he had to, How far is that?" I asked. Give me a body like the pros and damn the consequences" he exclaimed, "Really?"
Before 1985 the anabolic drugs used by bodybuilders were relatively clean and were generally not used in the mega doses that are common today. By clean" I mean that the drugs were either obtained by prescription or through the black market, and the black market drugs were legit because no one really cared about the use and abuse of steroids except the people who organized the Olympics.
In the 1960s and 70s anabolic steroids didn't even figure into the evolving drug culture-grass, hash, ISD, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin and other substances were the real illicit drugs. No one except the muscle minded knew or cared about steroids, Consequently, they were easy to get, relatively inexpensive and real. Most important, however, they were safe-or at least as safe as these drugs can be when their use is medically monitored. Not that everyone who used steroids was monitored by physician, but some were, and all of them could have been.
Unfortunately, that's all changed today. To begin with, you won't find a physician who'll prescribe anabolic steroids for bodybuilders, and even more important, it's difficult to find one who'll monitor an athlete who's using them.
Why? There are two reasons: 1) The legal system and licensing bodies feel that prescribing anabolic steroids and other ergogenic drugs contributes to the problem of drug use in sports, and 2) steroids are controlled substances. So what's a bodybuilder-or for that matter any athlete to do?
It's simple. You pay a visit to your local steroid dealer. While you're at it, why don't you ask him how best to use them, which ones to stack and how much to take? After all, he won't charge you for an office visit, the advice is free, and on top of that he'll give you the best deal on his vast array of the latest and greatest anabolic drugs from "European and Russian sources."
The supply of black market drugs coming from legitimate North American and European sources, especially when it comes to anabolic steroids and growth hormone, is practically nonexistent. The vacuum has been filled mostly by counterfeit steroids and bogus designer drugs. Even though most of these substances are inert, you pay as if they were real. Not only are these drugs pricey and give you no value for your dollar, but because they don't contain what they're supposed to, they can also give you some nasty surprises. For example, some injectable anabolic steroids contain female hormones; some are contaminated by toxins, bacteria and viruses; and some even have foreign debris floating around in them.
What's more, you can't depend on the dealers to set you straight. They don't even know what they're peddling. They'll tell you what you want to hear because, now that steroids are in the big leagues in terms of the illicit drug trade, it's a rough world out there. So I ask you again, what's a bodybuilder to do?
It's simple. You just go for one of those anabolic supplements that you see creatively advertised in all the muscle and sports magazines. Some are even marketed as steroid substitutes, and the ads go so far as to compare their products with steroids. These ads often come complete with graphs and charts that show the obvious superiority of their product to even the most anabolic of the anabolic drugs. There's one word for most of these products: bullshit. Come to think of it, that's one of the few substances that hasn't been exploited by the supplement gurus.
Or do I remember someone saying how "anabolic" crocodile dung really is? The bottom line is that bodybuilding supplements are big business, so it pays to bring out something new-a new supplement that fires up the bodybuilder's imagination. Unfortunately it is a business, and the manufacturers expect to make a buck. So in come the buzzwords, like "anticatabolic," "metabolic optimizer," "engineered food" and a dozen others that were invented to create a stir and make you feel that without this supplement you just won't make it.
It makes sense to want to live right, exercise right, eat right and take the few supplements that really work for the body you want. In most cases, however, you lust can't get the straight answers you need from the information that's out there today. There's too much hype, and too much of the stuff that's published is written by people who just don't have the right information or who are biased about certain supplements because they're in on the financial action.
With this scenario it's difficult to find someone you can trust-certainly not among the black market dealers and the majority of supplement manufacturers. That's the purpose of this column. So keep reading for information that's on the cutting edge of nutrition and supplementation.