Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Fitness Industry - Extremes and addictions - Part 2

In part 1 of this, I covered the fitness industry from a high level overview in regards to what you're getting into when you decide to compete.

This is part, I'm going to go into a bit more detail about what some of those things look like.

I've been meaning to finish this part but it got put on the backburner for a while due to other work.  However last night I made a post on Facebook about women and androgen use, and for women to take some time out to understand androgens, and what they ultimately could end up doing to their body.

Shortly after I posted it, a received a message from someone, who will remain anonymous, that sent me this....

Hey, so I read your post bout women and androgens...and I can tell you first hand, it's a trade off I sometimes wish I had never made.

In an effort to preserve my anonymity, I'm gonna keep this kind of vague in regards to my sports and such...

All I knew in my twenties was that I wanted to be a champion athlete. My coaches started shooting me twice a week with deca when I was still young in the sport. Seemed harmless enough right. I was a competitive athlete...I needed to recover, my body was literally getting pushed to places it didn't always wanna the time I was 28 I had become quite successful in my chosen was the best time of my life. At that time, everything I used were mostly cutting agents and things to lube my joints. I retired in the shortly after my 28th bday due to injury, it was at that time my focus changed to heavy lifting.

So I found my way into the strength sports...long story short, I started hitting the weights and the heavier androgens...again I seemed to do quite well. However now I deal with things that other women do not and I'm terribly insecure about it.

My hair is all paid for, my natural hair is no longer pretty. My hips are the width of my waist like a mans. I have hair in places that are not desirable for a woman...these are all things I deal with on a regular basis and I'm so insecure about it. My cycle stopped over a decade ago. Fortunately my female regions are still a lil beasted up down there, but no one ever complained.

I'm glad to see you notice that there does seem to be a very unhealthy upswing in women's use of anabolics. I knew that there was a trade off...I just never fully understood the magnitude of my every man that I'm physical with, I always wonder If when he sees me naked, does he see a beautiful woman or a woman who is masculine...

But hey, I was champion right...

Whatever it takes - Coaches, drugs, diets, sex, and porn

The above woman's story is not unusual for women who set out with the mindset of "whatever it takes."  

Women that are driven to become champions are no different than men in that regard.  They are willing to take the drugs, do the extreme diets, abuse their bodies, and accept the consequences that come with all of that.

The problem in doing so, is that very few have the foresight to see what those consequences ultimately are.  

This concept applies to both genders, as men often adapt the attitude of "well, it can't happen to me" when there are bodybuilders in their 30's and 40's dropping dead every year due to decades of steroid abuse, and pushing the limits of what the body can handle.  

For women, it often means they physically transform, and lose who they were before.  It's like chemical plastic surgery for your entire body, but not in a way that is going to enhance your beauty.  That is unless of course you consider having to wake up to shave your face every morning like men do, and think that a male modelesque jawline enhances your beauty. 

The industry is full of these stories, and it's not just the highest level of competitors that have them.  From powerlifting to women's bodybuilding even to bikini (yes, bikini) drug abuse and the lasting side effects of them are everywhere.  .

For a lot of these women unfortunately, they end up with the wrong people in their life, guiding them in all the wrong directions.  Coaches are a huge part of the problem.  Let me restate that, bad coaches are a huge part of the problem.  

A lot of these women end up getting pushed or influenced to move in these directions because the men they are guided by either don't care about the lasting side effects that the "whatever it takes" attitude to win entails, or just aren't smart enough to know any better.

For example, anavar is a safe and mild drug for women to use but winstrol is not.  Because those two drugs often have similar looking results when men take them, it is often assumed it's the same for women.  Not to mention that because of that factor, winstrol is often passed off as anavar and some female competitor that thinks she's taking var, is often taking winny.  And for her, there is a massive difference in these two drugs.

First off, let's get this part out of the way.  Women that think they know what they are doing, or even men, will often say "I use winstrol as a cutting drug."

Ok, read what I am about to write and understand it, digest it, grok it, get it tattooed on your forehead backwards so that every morning you wake up, you see it, and don't forget.


You know what the best "agent" for your fat loss is?  It's this thing called diet and cardio.  

Winstrol does not burn fat.  It does not make you leaner.  It does make you look leaner via the fact that it will make you drier, but it does not burn bodyfat.  It is a favorite in "cutting" cycles because near contest time, it can and will make a competitor look harder.  But this is not due to fat loss.

Virilization, which is developing of male characteristics due to a surplus of androgens in the body, is much much higher with winstrol than anavar.  And yet coaches will sometimes even knowingly recommend winstrol to their female clients, assuring them it's perfectly fine by saying "I have tons of women using this.  Do they look like men?"  

And while it is true that you can run winstrol in a lower dose for a short length of time without any permanent side effects, what often happens is that those low doses increase over time.  And that "short length of time" becomes months.  And then without realizing it, said competitor has fallen into the realm of abuse, and may not notice the massive changes that has happened to her until it's too late.

But drugs aren't the only problem with so many "coaches" now.

Regardless of how "swell" you think your coach is, it's in their best interest for you to win because that's how they make money.  So depending on the coach, they may or may not give a flying fuck about your well being or health.  I've seen over and over and over again where coaches have competitors on severe starvation diets, all the while having them do hours and hours of cardio a day along with their weight training.  

800 calories a day with two hours of cardio and then two hours of lifting a day is NOT conducive to a great look on stage, physical, mental, and emotional health.   Add in them throwing a bunch of diuretics at you come competition time and this really looks like a recipe for disaster.  Any coach prescribing you such a protocol doesn't know his head from his ass and doesn't give a flying shit about you, regardless of what a great guy you think he is.  

Does he want you to win?  

Of course he does!  But he's perfectly fine with putting you on the brink of death to do so.  It's not his life he's playing with; it's yours.  So who cares?  

It used to be that diet and training and cardio were the cornerstones of creating a great physique, with drugs sort of being the icing on the cake.  Now it's this chemical cocktail of clen, T3, T4, excessive androgens, saran wrapping with Auschwitz style contest dieting that make up the bulk of "success" with intelligent training and diet being more of an afterthought.  

Oh and what about post contest?  

That chick that's been starving for 12 to 14 weeks now often goes on a binge that would make any professional competitive eater proud.  And then there is the post show weight gain, oh yes.  I've seen women that did photoshoots that looked amazing get so bloated and fat that only a few weeks later won't even get in a pool without their shirt on.  

Is that what this "lifestyle" is to you?  Because these same women often post memes and write quotes about how they "live this" and how it's "just for me" and every other ridiculous notion that is wrapped up in faux self bravado.  It's nothing more than a facade for them to hide behind because they absolutely must force themselves to believe this nonsense.  

What's that saying about if you have to constantly tell someone how great you are at something?  Something, something, you're really not that great.  If you are constantly having to tell someone how you're all about something, you're probably not all about it.

Are there some great coaches out there?  Yes, undoubtedly so.  But the industry is so saturated with people who have some weekend certification and a few before and after pics of a few clients that come cheap, so women and men will often go with them as their "coach". 

Let me be clear on this; if you're going to compete and be serious, seek out a great coach with a stellar reputation, and pay them what they are worth.  This isn't fucking bargain shopping down at the flea market.  You're talking about your endocrine system, mental and emotional well being here.  If you can't afford a great coach, and you feel like you need one, don't compete.  It's that simple.  There are coaches out there who have literally put multiple competitors in the hospital.  

You get what you pay for.  And being cheap with your body could cost you more than money.

The other dark side that is often joked about is the gay for pay stuff that many competitors do in order to pay for their drugs, food, and the lifestyle they "need" to live in order to be highly competitive.  

However what isn't talked about so much, is that women often do sleep with judges in order to get higher placings.  

This isn't conjecture on my part, it's reality.  I've heard first hand.

It's not exactly hidden in the industry, as plenty of competitors know what judges have a reputation for this, but it's not exactly talked about as openly as other topics.  So you take a woman who has dieted for months on end, taken drugs that have fucked her hormonal system up, who has invested a tremendous amount of time and money into doing well, and she's now in a vulnerable position to cave to such propositions. 

Before you stand up on your soapbox about how "that's her choice" or "it's no ones fault but her own", I hope in every emotionally charged situation in your life, you made all the right decisions.  

Thank you, Jesus of the fitness industry, for showing up to bestow your devout wisdom and displaying how infallible you are.  Surely it must be hard to stay so humble when you're perfect in every way.

I'm not excusing this behavior.  I'm saying anytime you put someone in an incredibly vulnerable state, they will often make decisions and choices that are out of character for them.  I also blame the judges who partake in this, as it is preying on these insecurities and vulnerabilities in order to essentially extort sex out of them.  You're an asshole.

And all of these things can indeed lead down slippery slopes.

Photo shoots turn into nude photo shoots turns into stripping which turns into softcore porn, which turns into hardcore porn.  And this has happened to MANY women whose path began with, "I want to get in shape and do a show."

It's funny how each little and seemingly insignificant decision in our lives lays each brick for the temple of personal self destruction.  I bet you never thought that doing some glute thrusts in the gym would lead to some glute thrusts out of the gym for money did you?  

I apologize for making light of choices that may have left you with poor memories, but that was a joke I just couldn't pass up on.

Obviously all of these things do not happen to everyone.  But they do happen.  And it's not even terribly uncommon for women who compete long enough to experience each one of them in some form or fashion.

These things are also not limited to fitness, figure, physique women either.  I've watched plenty of women in powerlifting absolutely destroy their femininity chasing a $20 plastic trophy.  And all I can ask myself is, "why?"

If it's that important to you to boast of a big squat, that you're willing to accept all of the consequences that come with abusing androgens, then it is your life.  Have at it.  But there are too many women who have stories like the one at the beginning of this article that regret it later.

Very few people think about the future when they are caught up in the obsession of attaining goals related around a hobby.  You may say you're willing to accept those consequences now, but after competing is gone, all of those consequences are still going to be there with you every single day of your life.

So you better be certain that you're really ok with them, when you decide that "being the best" is really what you're after.  

Conclusion - 

I don't write any of this to dissuade people from competing, or even from using drugs.  I write it to at least educate them that these are some of the things that can happen if you are not aware of all the dark shadows that loom in the corners of the fitness industry.  

Please educate yourself, and surround yourself with people who have your health and personal best interests in mind.  Remember that a lot of people in the industry don't care about you, and will use you for their own personal gain.  There are lots and lots of awesome people in the industry, that live their life with integrity and honor.  And there are lots and lots that don't.  

If you plan on competing, and don't want to ruin your health and your life, ask yourself what you are losing and gain in every difficult and critical decision you are faced with.  At the end of the day no one will have to carry the ramifications of your choices but you.  And even the broadest of shoulders will eventually slump if those ramifications become too much to bear.

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  1. Great books and blog Paul. Quick question, how do you prefer to estimate bodyfat percentage?

    1. Dexa is best but if you get someone really good with calipers it can give you a decent idea. Just have them do the fattest areas of your body. No need to worry about the leanest areas.

  2. This seems to contradict from your article The blurry line between use and abuse, cheating, and a level playing field talk about confusing.

    1. ACtually it compliments it in every way.

      1. If anabolics were legal, women who decided to use wouldn't feel in the dark about getting real help. I've received tons of messages from women saying that they were led in poor directions by men in regards to use. And women, unlike men, don't like about use as openly.

      2. Both articles state that you are the one free to do what you want with your life, just understand the ramifications.

      3. The fact is, society demands the pro athletes be as freaky as possible, yet condemn anabolics as "cheating", often times even if the competitor isn't even competing in a tested fed.

      4. Both articles address the issue of "use" vs "abuse" and the hazards of venturing into "abuse".

      Read more carefully next time.

  3. lol if I ever meet a woman that has all the problems that the woman in your article has from drinking to much coffee i'll bow down to you but until then.......reading between the lines what your saying is choose your drug dealer/ coach carefully which I suppose is common sense if you intend to take that route.

  4. Check out Bertil Fox, Death and the Bodybuilder on YouTube. Very interesting and echoes all of this

  5. On a side note Paul I really enjoy your articles keep up the great work :-)

  6. It’s good to check this kind of website. I think I would so much from you.
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