Steroids- to the average person, the word conjures images of massive, almost inhuman-looking bodybuilders, bulging muscles, and swollen veins. However, unbeknownst to many, the use of performance-enhancing drugs in both the entertainment and athletic industries is a damaging and deceptive secret.
The fact of the matter is, in terms of physicality, not all men are created equal. Body types, genetics, and natural talent are all of immense importance in athletics. Some individuals have bone structures that aren’t well suited for muscle development, others have perfect muscular insertions peaked for growth.
Once a certain point of advancement is reached, hard work doesn’t always pay off.
From a physiological standpoint, hormone production generally peaks for biological males in the late teen years, ages 17 to 19, and remains high until around age 30. After age 30, individuals will see a drop in serum testosterone (the amount of testosterone in the blood) at a rate of one to two percent per year.
With this in mind, suddenly, things don’t add up. Take Dwayne Johnson for example: He’s a huge action star, a WWE wrestler, and a former professional football player. He’s made millions of dollars throughout his career, has thousands of fans internationally, and is in partnership with Under Armor as a ‘global ambassador’ with his own line of apparel. So does he have an incentive to stay in incredible shape? Absolutely. Is it realistic to assume he maintains his physique naturally at age 47? Absolutely not.
The problem doesn’t lie in the use of steroids. People are free to do as they wish with their bodies, as long as they’re not harming others. However, the blatant deception and lack of transparency in the entertainment and fitness industry has repercussions.
The fact of the matter is, people don’t want to be told they can’t achieve. They want to believe that they can be the next Usain Bolt, the next Mike Tyson, or the next Michael Phelps if they work hard enough. So it makes it that much easier for athletes and celebrities to skim over the details behind their incredible bodies.
People always want an ideal to strive towards. That’s why an athlete like Lance Armstrong had such huge public interest. He was the ultimate underdog who overcame cancer and became a champion cyclist. But all that came crashing down when he was exposed for doping.
Now let’s apply the principle of Occam’s Razor, “the simplest answer is often correct”. Of the eleven men in history to run a 9.80 or faster in the 100 meter dash, Usain Bolt is the only one who has never received an infraction for performance enhancing drugs. He was also the fastest of the eleven, with a time of 9.58 seconds. What do we assume? The fastest man in history was simply a ridiculous genetic anomaly that surpassed drug-enhanced runners, or that he was simply never caught? His team is no stranger to PEDs, as one of his teammates in the 4x100m event was caught using a banned substance in the Beijing summer Olympics.
In the end, it’s difficult to tell who is clean and who isn’t. But that makes it even more important for athletes and celebrities to be forward and open with the public and set distinctions between achievement and falsehood.