The role of steroids in marathon and crossfit
One of the most prominent examples of doping in sports is Lance Armstrong's rise and fall in the biking hemisphere. When egos and PRs are at stake, how far are athletes willing to go ? And for what ? I am personally natural with a few minor exceptions, but I wondered what is out there and how other athletes think about the use of steroids in marathons and crossfit. Here is some of what I found.
What are steroids ?
Steroids are synthetic forms of the naturally occurring male hormone testosterone. The technical term for these is anabolic androgenic steroids or short AAS. It stems from the Greek words anabolic, meaning "to build" and androgenic which translates as "masculinising". Testosterone helps to develop the male body during puberty and stimulates hair growth and the deepening of the voice. In sports it is taken for its effect to keep dietary protein better in the system for enhanced strength and muscle gains.
Further use cases apart from the most debated performance enhancing ones in sports are:
- Inducing puberty in males
- Stimulating appetite
- Stimulate bone marrow growth
- Stimulate growth
- Male contraception
- Hormone replacement for males with inefficient testosterone
- Inducing changes of gender
Steroids are the most commonly found doping substances in the tests of the IOC accredited laboratories and is controversially discussed in society and in sports, because they are banned by most sports associations for competition.
How are steroids taken ?
As with many drugs on the market there are multiple forms of intake, depending on how it is delivered to the system. It can be taken orally with bigger side effects to the liver or injected into the body through the use of a needle. Latter way of delivery seems to be the more commonly used amongst individuals who are taking steroids.This form is especially worrisome as studies show that most intake is for cosmetic purposes in young adults in secrecy without consulting proper sources to know about the risks. Needle sharing and dirty environments lead to higher risk of HIV infection. The users of anabolic substances seem to have a warped perception of the consequences involved with this intake which could also be caused y the use of the drugs themselves. So much for a vicious cycle.
What are the health hazards of steroid intake ?
There are a myriad of dangers involved, but for me personally the most worrisome to highlight are
- Higher potential of Aggression leading to higher suicide risk
- Enlargement and thickening of the left ventricle of the heart which can increase risk of heart attacks
There have been cases in the WWE in America where murder suicides have been linked to abuse of AAS, also known as "Roid Rage". Deaths of young adults and athletes, for example football players dropping dead on the pitch for no apparent reason, are also suspected to be linked to overuse of anabolic substances. The male human body produces 10 milligrams of testosterone a day. This doses is exceeded by far by those who take these supplements.
Further side effects include:
- Lower sperm count
- Development of breasts
- Shrinking of the testicles
- Pain while urinating
What are the benefits for marathoners and crossfitters ?
To put it simple with intake of ASS you will be able to train harder for longer with better effects on your performance. Endurance athletes will experience a boost to their cardiovascular system as the heart will be strengthened faster and pump more blood, while crossfitters most likely will feel less burn during their metcons and can therefore do these workouts in less time.
What do athletes say about doping ?
For those who are not taking the drugs it is being perceived as cheating and according to the rules most sports events are following it is. In the amateur world, where there is nothing but ego at stake the question can be asked if the fairness point really applies and everybody should be allowed to do what they deem best for their own bodies, as their is less at stake. (Who really cares about place 1.253 at the tour de France accept the guy who is in that spot). Those ones who take drugs and openly admit to it are making the argument that biochemnistry is a piece of technology which should be allowed to enhance performance. Here is a video, which i personally think makes very valid and open points about steroids.
First i like the introduction and critical discussion on what is on the internet and that has to be taken with a grain of salt. If you want to use steroids consult your doctor and do it safe. I agree with the points of trying out what works in the gym, however drugs are more risky and should not be subject to try and error in my book. Also every body is different and this is being discussed here. Also taking shortcuts usually leads to trouble, but make up your own mind while watching.
What is my personal take on steroids ?
I use supplements and I do not fool myself into believing I do not:
- Wellman pills
- Cod liver Oil
- Whey Protein
- Casein Protein
- Glucosamin pills
These are all not naturally occurring forms of vitamins & proteins to help me in my diet and achieve better results and are principally not different from taking steroids. The difference lays in the impact which it has on the body and also that all of these substances are legal. For my goals I will not jeopardize my job & my health to reach them as I am not a professional athlete. I can relate to those who are at the top in an environment where competition does everything it takes to win, that the pressure and stakes are a lot higher and steroids can be deemed useful and justified.