Muscle Magazines = Misleading

WARNING: Anabolic Steroids are not legal in all countries and may cause serious side effects and health risks.

Today is a controversial topic. It has to do with “role models” in professional sports, entertainment, and magazines. If you’ve seen the movie, “Bigger Stronger Faster*” then none if this is news to you. The fact is that many of these “idols” are, or have been, on drugs.

For the record, I don’t use drugs to enhance my physique but I am not passing moral judgement on those who choose to. In fact, I’m a fan of professional bodybuilding, simply for the spectacle that they are. My intent with this post is to address the false belief that you can emulate your physical heroes without powerful drugs.

I’ll focus on bodybuilding and “fitness” magazines since that’s what inspired me in my early days of training (but don’t be naive to think your “heroes” in the NFL, MLB, WWE, or MMA are not on drugs). I won’t even touch on the shadiness of “before and after photos”. The idols that you see in the magazines are on a ton of very potent drugs. Even so-called “natural” bodybuilders can be drug-users, because the term “natural” is open for interpretation. Does it just mean they are recently clean? Or they were able to pass a drug test? Or they don’t use steroids, but use other powerful, growth-promoting/fat-reducing chemicals?

It’s not even an issue of cheating: it’s selling an ideal that is impossible to obtain without potentially dangerous (and most of the time illegal) drugs. Just to give you an idea of how potent these drugs are, Testosterone (the basis of what most people recognize as anabolic steroids) will produce more and faster muscle growth in a sedentary person than in a highly-trained person who is not on steroids. And the level of growth possible with steroids is magnitudes above what is physiologically possible clean. That’s how potent these drugs are. And for bodybuilders, Testosterone is just the beginning. Here is a laundry list of other chemicals:

– Growth Hormone

– Insulin

– Thyroid Hormones

– Stimulants

– Pain killers

– Diuretics

– Appetite suppressants

….and many more, in high doses.

I once did what the magazines said, which was to eat a lot of good food (which made me fat), train to super fatigue in excessive volumes (which made me weaker), and meticulously take supplements (which was a pain in the arse). The part that was left out were the injections, needles, “purple pills”, black oils, and timing your day around your next shot! My point is that the young and impressionable should not be fooled by these ads. And “fitness” magazines have really just turned into giant supplement ads, in my opinion.

The cost of obtaining quality drugs is an even darker rabbit hole. The big physiques you recognize in the industry either have very good contracts, deal drugs themselves, or sell themselves for [drug] money. This is not meant to judge or depress anyone, it’s just the truth. A yearly supply of Human Growth Hormone alone would almost cost what a fresh-out-of-college graduate would earn in a year!

Focus on your health – most people think a good-looking, well-built, lean, natural body looks good. But If you want a “freakish” physique like what you see in the magazines – just realize what is required to get that look, and ask yourself if that’s something you would do. Chances are you didn’t get into working out and staying in shape to be a mutant.

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One response to “Muscle Magazines = Misleading

  1. Thanks for this article. It’s sad but true that the “ideal” physique portrayed in muscle magazine, and especially bodybuilding magazines is unattainable for the natural athlete. Like you, I come across training programs with too much volume or advanced muscle building techniques that lead to over-training for someone who trains naturally. In my experience, unless someone has not trained before, gaining muscle is extremely difficult, usually around the pace of 5-10lbs per year.

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