DOPING IN SPORTS: LETHAL EPIDEMIC
Anabolic steroids (aka dope) are artificially produced male hormones known as testosterone, they are illegal now in sports and should remain that way. Steroids are also being banned in production of food nowadays. (Who knew they were doing it to begin with?) Steroids can make women infertile, leave men impotent and cause serious birth defects. Steroids can have a negative impact not only on your body, but your life too and cause premature death.
Here are things that you must know to see a complete picture.
- DRAMATIC INCREASE IN MUSCLE MASS. That's why the bodybuilders are hooked on steroids. Schwarzenegger has admitted to using performance-enhancing anabolic steroids while they were legal, writing in 1967 that "steroids were helpful to me in maintaining muscle size..." He has called the drugs "tissue building." (Wikipedia). Increase in muscle mass doesn't sound all that bad at first but in reality the exaggerated muscle growth throws your body off the vital balance internally and externally. It changes your natural movement pattern - have you noticed that bulkier muscle guys walk and move different from less muscular people? When it comes to women, steroids could literally be called the magic potion - it can make a man out of a woman in a blink of an eye. The unmistakeably manly silhouette with very defined large muscles is a staple look of a steroid female user. There used to be a joke: Don't marry Ana Bolic.
- DRAMATIC INCREASE OF POTENTIAL TO INCUR INJURIES. Talk about a system without a balance. The dramatic increase in muscle mass pushes your body out of balance - now your tendons and ligaments are struggling to work in a system where a part of it no longer fits in with the rest of it. Have you gone the natural way of slowly but steadily strengthening your entire body, you would be a strong athlete. But with over inflated muscles and unprepared rest of the body you're set up to welcome the injuries.
- TEMPORARY SUDDEN INCREASE IN ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE RESULTS. Take out the word "temporary" and you have the number one reason for athletes taking steroids. But see, the word "temporary" is not optional, it comes with the territory, and people prefer to pretend that it is not so. While the level of increase in performance and the period of time that it lasts for vary for each athlete, the unavoidable dead end is there for everyone the same way. For example, Marion Jones, the star of track and field, performed poorly in the 2004 Olympic trials, citing fatigue, and all the while denying the use of steroids. Her usage was always whispered about because the signs of a steroid athlete are rather obvious, but nobody had any proof until she finally admitted to it in 2007.
- SUDDEN AND SOMETIMES PERMANENT CHANGES IN EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL STATE. The above mentioned sudden increase in performance results is partially based on the emotional and mental level changes that also take place when anabolic steroids are introduced into the body. Steroid is an artificially produced testosterone which is a male hormone, which reportedly makes athletes feel different on top of sponsoring all visible physical changes in muscle definition and size. Steroids make an athlete more aggressive and less inhibited. Hesitation disappears and confidence increases. In turn and for a while, that allows athletes to perform without doubt, with more intent and produce the best performances of their careers. But too much testosterone will turn the mildest person into an aggressive bull. With continuous use the aggressiveness increases and eventually the entire system goes haywire. That's besides the fact that athletes become mentally and physically dependent on steroids and eventually are unable to perform without them at all. Some simply go crazy and kill their families and themselves.
- PERMANENT GRADUAL DECREASE IN GENERAL HEALTH AND LOSS OF LIBIDO. Nobody is really talking about it but it really is a more serious of a problem than unfairly earned titles, status and money. Athletes should be brought to justice for committing crimes against themselves. Erich Deuser, a German massagist/coach was among the first to speak out against steroids in the 70s. Check out his 1977 book "Health of an athlete".
- PERMANENT CHANGES ON GENETIC LEVEL. Children of "steroid athletes" will not be as excited about those medals and titles as their parents once were. Children of children of those athletes will be even less excited about their heritage, after all, being born and living with six fingers, or other deformities is not as fun as winning a race or getting the medal. For example, in the 90s it was discovered and publicized that the former members of the Swimming National Women Team of Eastern Germany had children born with various serious genetic problems. There are also, rather known in scientific circles, results of testing steroids on mice. The first generation died prematurely. The second and especially the third generations were born with severe genetic abnormalities. The genetic changes were especially noticeable and more severe if steroids were taken by females.
- PREMATURE AGING AND EARLY "DEPARTURE". Not too many people are aware of these two. There are no scientific studies, there are no records or reports. However, an extensive career in sports spanning over 30 years both as an athlete and coach plus extensive work as sports scientist, have allowed Dr. Romanov to make observations and come to certain conclusions on this matter, conclusions that all colleagues, that this was ever discussed with, tend to agree with: athletes that take steroids for prolonged periods of time experience premature aging. This is especially noticeable with skin, the wrinkles and prune-like appearance are almost like trademarks of extended steroid use. But these are the external signs, it is horrifying to think of what's happening internally. And it is no surprise that steroid users die at a younger age than most people. Florence Griffith-Joyner passed away at only 38, while she was never officially tested for steroids, not at competitions, nor at the coroner's, the dramatic changes in her physique and the record breaking times were suggested by many to be the result of steroid use.
It is inconceivable to imagine a coach saying this out loud to his athlete, but essentially it is what they are saying when they propose steroid use: "here's a magic pill, take it and just go for it and don't worry about anything else or your future. You might be caught and disqualified, your career might be over before it begins. You might not live till 50, you or your children will have children with serious birth defects, that is if you manage to produce any children. But today, you might win this race and granted you're not caught - you will get a gold medal, which could be taken away in the future. Yey!
If you are considering or even thought of taking steroids, always remember that the price that you think you're willing to pay is only the tip of an iceberg. Taking steroids is the ultimate "bait and switch" - you get what you want at the very beginning for a short time but after that it's out of your control and what you get will definitely not be what you signed up for.
While it might not be difficult to stop taking steroids in the very beginning, as with any other drug there is a strong possibility of an addiction that inevitably develops over time, so the longer you've been taking steroids the harder it will be to stop and to recover, and the saddest part is that recovery is not always possible. Permanent damage IS permanent.
Unless you're intentionally looking to seriously screw yourself up on more levels than one - don't take steroids.
Article by Dr. Nicholas Romanov
Composed by L. Romanov
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