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It’s no secret that steroids have become increasingly common in the world of elite sports. From baseball players to mixed martial artists and Olympians, there have been countless cases of athletes using steroids to gain an edge on the competition.
Bodybuilding, as the general public loves to point out, is no exception, and at last weekend’s Arnold Classic Africa, seven-time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger discussed the use of performance-enhancing drugs in modern bodybuilding at a seminar in a snippet that was reported by Evolution of Bodybuilding.
Part of the problem, Schwarzenegger noted, is that these days, the amateur competitors look like the professionals of his era. And while he admitted that the sport’s progress over the years has been “extraordinary,” he expressed concern about the drug use some athletes feel pressured to supplement with.
“A lot of people then get the feeling that if they did drugs, then that would enhance their performance,” Schwarzenegger said. “But what happens is if you think that two pills will help you, then there are guys that say, ‘ok, if I take 10, it will be five times as good.’ Then they go and overdose.”
It’s difficult to get statistics on steroid abuse, because it’s not something that most national surveys track, but the majority of people who go overboard with anabolic steroids are men in their 20s and 30s who lift, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Whether taken orally, injected into muscles, or used in gel or cream form, steroids to enhance performance are generally taken in doses 10 to 100 times higher than a doctor would prescribe to treat medical conditions. People often see abusing steroids as the “easy” way to get bigger, but that’s not the case, according to the Austrian Oak.
“You see people just overdosing and thinking that the answer is a quick shortcut to success, but there is no shortcut to success—it doesn’t exist,” Schwarzenegger said. “There’s only one way to be successful, and that is to work your ass off.”
The legendary bodybuilder added that getting drugs out of sports is no easy task, but that it’s for the benefit of athletes’ health. He said that there was random drug testing by the World Anti-Doping Agency over the weekend at the Arnold Classic Africa, but another issue he brought up is that many of the people who are doing steroids for bodybuilding purposes don’t even compete.
“There are guys in the gymnasium that you can tell are pumped up with drugs, and they’re not even competing,” Schwarzenegger said. “How do you get rid of that?” The answer, he suggested, may be to start spreading the word about health issues that can be associated with abusing steroids.
“It’s getting the message out to tell people that it’s called ‘bodybuilding,’ not ‘body destroying.’ We don’t want to destroy the body, we want to build the body,” he said. “You want to build health, fitness, agility, and all those things.”
Schwarzenegger, now 71, isn’t kidding about the destruction part. Steroids may help your muscles grow, but there can be serious side effects, like aggression, low sex drive, heart issues, kidney issues, and the list goes on. Check out the entire video below for Schwarzenegger’s full take on the issue.