Steroid Use: My opinion
I have received many emails regarding my view on steroid use. Lately, for some reason, that request has multiplied considerably. As you might expect, I do have strong opinions as to the role steroids play in muscle building. I have been reluctant to offer any information about steroid use for a number of reasons. One of the largest is because of the scope of this site it would be impossible to give accurate "across the board" info.
The range of visitors here is everything from 55 year old men and women who have never seen the inside of a gym before, but have been told that "strength training" is the key to feeling younger (it is!), to high school football players who are trying to be "the man", to finally, aspiring pro bodybuilders looking for any info they can find, anywhere, that will help them move into the elite. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize there is no blanket answer to "should I juice?".
Having said that, I will offer up my personal views on the subject and the reasons I feel the way I do.
Like any controversial subject, if it were black and white, well, it won’t be controversial would it? Steroid use is as "grey area" as it gets in the field of muscle building. If anyone tells you there is a right or wrong answer to the question as to their role, they are speaking from a place of ignorance and closed mindedness. As the old saying goes, "until you've walked a mile in my shoes………", and by my shoes I am referring to the person trying to decide.
As a guy that has been interested in being fit for over 30 years I have put more thought into "roid or not to roid" than the average person. Also as a guy who was unsuccessful at building any muscle until I got into my early 40's but hung out in muscle head gyms, I was exposed to all of it, I have seen what it can do for you, good and bad, and have a greater level of knowledge about the subject than the average person.
Weight lifters across America laughed out loud when Mark McGuire responded to having Andro in his locker with some lame "vitamin supplement" mumbo jumbo. Steroids? McGuire? You think? An absolute no brainer, from day 1.
The issue is not whether he was on them or not (he was), nor did they work or not (they did), or even did it give him an advantage or not (it did). The question is was it right or wrong, for him, to use them? My answer? Absolutely right. Why? Well first look at the answer to the 3 issues listed. All "good" results. Secondly did he break the rules of baseball? No. Lastly was he of sufficient age and competence to know what he was risking, long term? Yes. Therefore for HIM it was the right thing, at the time (backlash not withstanding).
Would I have used them if I were him? Yes. Have I ever used them? No. Why? Risk vs. reward and my value system relevant to each particular situation. And there in lies my views on to use or not to.
I have been accused of using them. When you don’t build muscle for 15 years of "trying", then turn 40, ala Barry Bonds, then suddenly develop into a muscle man, people are going to wonder. I would. But that is exactly why I don't, didn't, and never will use them. I KNOW why I developed into a muscle man. I also KNOW why I wasn’t able to at an earlier age. The edge that steroid use would have provided wasn’t the thing that was holding me back. Nor did gaining that edge, considering risking long term health issues, provide amble reason to take that risk.
But I can't make that value judgment for the aspiring pro bodybuilder. That person knows that they need to use them to even be in the game. The "wrestlers" in the WWE know this as well. So for them the choice is much different than for the guy in the gym whose 30-40 years old and wants bigger arms to impress his latest on line blind date. This guys choice is simple. Are you doing everything within your control to be more successful in muscle building other than using HGH? Probably not. No. Without a doubt not. So until you do, it seems to me why would you take any risk, and maybe worse, spend that kind of money? Then again, maybe I need to walk a mile in your shoes.
Back to Bonds. See, he had access to every available training method and had every reason to be training at the highest levels his entire life. He made it into the bigs. This didn’t just happen. He had been fit for his entire life. He didn’t just figure out at 40 that he had really been a slacker all the previous years, and decided to try now. No, he had been "trying" all along. Some other advantage came along and he decided to cash in. Right or wrong? Again, walk a mile in his shoes first. By the way, I very much dislike Barry Bonds, but it has nothing to do with "cheating".
If you are a starting offensive lineman on a SEC Division 1 football team, a junior, and starting to hear that you could be draftable, is steroid use acceptable? In my view no. Why? It is against the rules. Clearly, it is against the NCAA rules. My value system says that’s cheating. Don’t do it. But these are grown men with dollar signs in their eyes and the outcome is often predictable and understandable. But wrong. It's against the rules. But would the use of steroids put that guy over the top? Walk a mile in his shoes.
Finally I mentioned earlier that I have been accused of juicing. In my profession (I work?) there are no rules that say I can't, I am plenty old enough to make my own judgments as to whether the health risks are worth the use or not, the cost is not detrimental, and believe me, I have seen first hand how they can work. So why haven’t or wouldn't I? Really?
I don't lift for anybody but me. I don't do it to impress people, show off, or really even the health benefits. I enjoy the act of working out. Sure I like how it makes me look, and the pump feels great, and the gym time is enjoyable. But the kicker?
I don't have to prove anything to anybody. So imagine the degree of inner personal satisfaction I derive from knowing that you think I look the way I do because I am "cheating", when I KNOW I look the way I do because.................................................................
I am good enough to not have to.