If you’ve been around in the competition scene for a while you may know a bit about drugs and competing but if you’re relatively new to it all, it may come as a shock to you that drug use is rampant in the fitness industry. Most people know that most bodybuilders take certain “supplements” to achieve their look but what many people don’t realise is that some bikini and female fitness competitors do it too.
When I say ‘drugs’, I’m referring to a mixture of illegal and prescription-only (but often illegally obtained) drugs. A few of the substances used by competitors include “physique enhancing drugs” as well as other “street” drugs. I’ve heard of competitors using things like growth hormones, anavar, clenbuterol, triiodothyronine (t3), as well as heroin, cocaine, etc. They all have different effects and uses and many are often used in combination with one another. Although I don’t know too much about what drug does, I do know that many fitness models and competitors use them and I’m trying to raise awareness about this.
It happens in pretty much every category in pretty much every federation. Yes, that includes bikini (you’d be surprised at how prevalent that is) and yes, that includes the natural federations. I love what the natural federations promote but unfortunately they do not have the time or resources to test every competitor, and even if they did there are many ways of ‘cheating’ on a drug test that a simple google search can help you with.
Why am I writing about this?
I did a post a while ago about detox teas and in it I mentioned my belief that people on social media owe their followers a moral and ethical obligation to be honest and open. Of course, this is my personal view and I know that it differs from the next person’s but it’s what I truly believe and that is why I address topics such as these.
If you’re using these drugs and telling your followers that you are only doing something like “eating clean” to achieve your results, then you are flat out lying. And you will be responsible for susceptible individuals beating themselves up about the fact that no matter how hard they try, they can’t look like you do by eating the way they “promote” and training hard. They will feel like a failure simply because they did as you say you do, not as you actually do. And I don’t know about you, but that resting on my conscience would be a heavy burden to carry around.
Why does nobody talk about this?
There are a few reasons for people’s silence when it comes to drug use and competing….
- First and foremost, these drugs are illegal. So there may be legal repercussions in speaking out and admitting the truth.
- Many fitness models make their living off selling workout plans, eating plans and so on. If potential clients know about the drug use or what was needed to achieve the model’s physique, they may second guess working with them.
- Big name models and athletes are often sponsored by supplement companies that make legal supplements like protein powders, BCAAs, preworkouts and so on. The truth about an individual’s drug use would tarnish that company’s reputation and make the company no longer be able to market that athlete as successfully as they did before.
- A lot of these fitness models thrive on the adoration of others. Me saying that may sound harsh but if these fitness models were to no longer be a role model to the hundreds of thousands in their social media communities, they would lose a lot of what they hold dear.
- Fitness models place a lot of strain on their bodies because they often make a living off how they look. Certain drugs can help them achieve a photoshoot-ready body all year round but they can’t be honest about it because of the points mentioned above.
I know of female (and male) competitors who have hundreds of thousands of followers and claim to follow a specific ‘diet’ to attain their physique. But, they are renowned in the industry for the drugs they take and the fact that they are blatantly dishonest. What is even worse is that some are coaches/PTs (and I’ve been lucky enough to never have worked with such people) who put their clients on diets and plans which do include drug use, and some even go so far as to source and recommend specific drugs. Then when they advertise their clients’ results (in order to get more clients), they don’t mention these “additional” supplements that help in their transformations and of course the clients don’t mention them either. Then the coach signs up new clients who want a similar transformation and the cycle starts again (pun intended).
Maybe it’s the way the industry is shaped that leads to people turning to drugs to help achieve their physique. Maybe it’s because everyone wants to be bigger and better than the next person and the fact that the fitness industry is full of people who aren’t really fit but instead just look “fit”. Maybe it’s the popularity of competitions, where people are willing to do whatever it takes to win and turn pro. Or maybe it’s because social media is becoming more and more important in every day life and the way we look can either limit or increase the opportunities presented to us. No matter what the reason behind it is, drug use in the fitness industry exists and people should be aware of it.
Let me end this by saying that I believe in personal choice and individual freedom. I have nothing against drug use if innocent people aren’t being affected by it.
I believe everyone is entitled to do whatever they like UNLESS they being dishonest through their conduct. I don’t mean that everyone taking drugs should tell everyone what they’re taking and I don’t expect the people who are using drugs to come out and tell the truth because they will probably face legal ramifications. I just want them to quit stating that they only “follow this specific diet” or “take these specific supplements by this specific brand” (or whatever they like to say) to achieve their physique and to stop deceiving the people who look up to and worship them.
And finally, I want you to be aware that this does happen, that women do take physique enhancing drugs for competitions (including at the bikini level) and to open your eyes and take everything you see with a grain of salt. Just keep in mind what *may* have been used to sculpt that person’s body and please don’t be disappointed in yourself if you don’t get results like they do without these drugs.
Some interesting links. (I’m not trying to influence how you think about drugs and fitness; I just want you to be aware that this does happen.)
And an interesting video, which isn’t about drugs but about synthol which is another interesting substance!
P.s. If you enjoyed this article, please considering sharing it with your friends and helping to spread the word. Thank you!