Found this from the Observer ( 18 May 2008 ): http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/health/story/0,,2280111,00.html
From Mr Average… to Superman
In 16 weeks, Craig Davidson, a Canadian novelist, transformed himself into a hard-as-nails hunk by injecting illegal steroids. He loved his new body – but not the hideous side-effects. In this graphic account of being a ‘roider’, he recounts his hellish journey
I thought this was a pretty good piece because it is pure Morgan Spurlock stuff (Remember the guy who made “Supersize Me”, a story about what goes into fast food and what happened to his body and his health when he went on a self-imposed 30-day McDonald’s diet?).
Same thing with Craig Davidson here – he started pumping himself with steroids to see what sort of effects it would have on his body. And it is riveting stuff – the sort of descriptive writing which makes you go “Oh good God, why would anyone want to do this to themselves?” every few paragraphs.
Just look at his before and after pictures
And check out these paragraphs:
I have a scalp of unruly, bushman-like red hair. While I’ve never been keen on the colour and its tendency to coil into ringlets when grown out, there has always been plenty of it. Then one morning I was showering, I looked down at my shampoo-foamed hands, and saw dozens of red strands between my fingers. Soon they were everywhere: on my pillow, between my teeth, falling into the pages of books while I read...
Then, one sleepless night (the steroids also triggered insomnia) my testicles shrunk. Testicular atrophy is the most well-known side-effect of steroid abuse. It’s an inherent irony: here you are trying to turn yourself into an über-man while part of the most obvious manifestation of your manhood dwindles before your eyes. Female users suffer the opposite reaction: their clitorises become so swollen and hard that, in extreme cases, they resemble a tiny penis.
I felt this rude clenching inside my scrotum, like a pair of tiny hands had grasped the spermatic cords and tightened into fists. It happened that fast – like a door slammed shut…In a few days time they had shrunk to half their normal size: plump ripe grapes.
I also felt that this feature was particularly apt in the light of the latest doping scandal that the Singapore Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (SBBF) is currently mired in.
The scandal has been described by The Straits Times as “the worst doping scandal to hit local sport.” ( 10 May 2008 ). In a nutshell, six bodybuilders who competed in the National Championships in April are now in trouble over doping offences. Four of them tested positive for banned substances while two others flouted rules by skipping urine tests.
Tong has since declared his intention to quit the sport, saying that he is sick of the SBBF’s lack of financial support and attitude all these years ( Straits Times, 9 May 2008 ). He also said that he could not urinate after drinking water and waiting for four hours because he had lowered his fluid intake for five days before the competition to make his body look better.
Two other bodybuilders have been banned for two years after accepting their positive ‘A’ tests and waiving their right to have their ‘B’ samples tested ( Straits Times, 16 May 2008 ).
One question remains: why is steroid abuse so prevalent in a sport like bodybuilding? Why do people . do it despite knowing what the long-term damage that they are doing to their bodies? Craig Davidson has three paragraphs in his essay which probably best explain why:
Once we pass that period of massive physical change – childhood through our teens, puberty and growth spurts – we settle into a sense of our bodies. We understand the parameters and capabilities, what it can and cannot do. And though it’s disheartening to say, at 30, I was already finding evidence of a body on its downslope. While I worked out regularly, I hadn’t made a sizeable gain in years. In gym parlance, I’d ‘hit the plateau’.
Steroids shattered the limitations of my body. I first sensed their effects while bench-pressing dumbbells. I usually peak at 85lb each, or 170lb total. But after 10 repetitions with the 85s I was stunned: it felt like a warm-up! With a degree of trepidation – we’re talking weights that, if mishandled, could break a wrist or some ribs – I picked up the 90-pounders, which I’d never attempted. They went up easily and I ripped out 10 reps. It was an out-of-body sensation: somebody else’s arms were pushing those weights, someone else’s pectorals flexing and contracting…
…The ‘pumps’ I’d get after a workout clouded all judgment. My glances at the gym mirrors were at first baffled: ‘Is that me?’ double-takes that soon mutated into looks of preening narcissism. I noticed how light played differently upon my chest and arms, the pockets of blue shadow filling my new contours…
Bottom line: it’s more than just about looking good. It’s also about savouring the taste of invincibility and enjoying the chance to be the master of one’s physical destiny.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan