Steroids and cheating are so often used in the same sentence, especially amongst guys in the gym. Many times people associate, cheating, with using anabolic steroids or performance enhancing substances. The reason being because these substances give you such an advantage when it comes to things like gaining muscle quicker and experiencing rapid and large strength gains.
The topic of steroids is a touchy subject and is not talked about all that often, with many people doing what they can to avoid such a matter. This unfortunately leads to many young people and even children experimenting with these drugs, abusing them and ending up with many adverse effects due to false information or lack of knowledge.
The controversial topic, of Steroids, can be debated and talked about for many hours mostly due to the fact that it has many different aspects which can be covered. Features such as:
- What constitutes abuse?
- What are the side effects?
- Is it healthy?
- Should it be legal?
- How do you take them safely?
- Do they work?
And many more can be discussed, but here we will be talking about the point specifically: Can it be considered cheating by using performance enhancing substances aka Anabolic Steroids?
This article is written from more of a philosophical and principled mind-set and there are a number of different scenarios which can be considered. It is looked at from both sides. The purpose of this is not to look down on or attack anyone, it is just merely examining all the options and giving an explanation and discussion from that without making the decision for you. Feel free to leave your own opinions or comments below. At the end of the day it really is an individual decision, one which cannot be made for you.
In competitive sports, there are rules and regulations set by the administering authorities. So if these rules are broken by someone taking part and competing in the sport, then they are deemed to have cheated. So if it’s a competition where in the rules it is stated, no use of banned substances is allowed, and you take those banned substances on their list, whether or not anyone else is taking them, it is cheating, plain and simple. Those are the rules, if you choose not to follow them then you probably should look for a different competition, even if you try to justify it with the age old line “but everyone’s taking them.”
From a religious point of view, some religions state that your body is a gift from god, and as such it should be treated like a temple. This implies keeping it in a good condition and not allowing anything harmful into it as well as taking care of it, in the form of doing some exercise to keep it running at an optimal level for example.
So if it’s harmful to your body and you ingest it, then it is wrong or considered a sin. Thus if we look at smoking, or eating excessively, both can be deemed to be harmful to your body, maybe not immediately, but they both can contribute to long term adverse effects.
Even being obese and not doing anything about it can be harmful to your health, and thus, according to some religions is therefore not right. It has nothing to do with social acceptance or anything like that, but because you can bring upon yourself, adverse health effects like heart attacks, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. Even eating fast “processed” foods with trans fats for example or highly processed foods with preservatives, can be harmful to your body since these ingredients have been shown to have negative effects within ones body.
It can be argued to what degree these are bad for you, but essentially they are all harming your body in some way, just some to more of an extent than others, and more so if they are ingested on a regular basis.
Some can also argue that a few steroids are not harmful or don’t produce any side effects. But the thing is, that if not taken in the right amounts, and abused for example, some effects may only become apparent a few years down the line. It is a difficult point to argue since the effects can vary greatly between people and are may not be immediate. Every person could react differently.
From a moral point of view, Louie Simmons said it perfectly:
“Your morals are your morals. Who am I to judge you, and who are you to judge me?”
If it’s not hurting anyone else then go for it if that’s what you really want to do. The one thing which is often overlooked is, yes it may not be hurting anyone else, but are you hurting yourself? The thing is, every person has his/her own morals and principles. Some of those morals can be interpreted differently and be understood in a totally different way by someone else. It is the beauty of human beings and the human mind. Perception and interpretation can differ to great extents between people.
So basically one person may view it as OK whereas another person may believe it is very wrong. Who is right? There are many acts which are clearly wrong, stealing, murdering for example. But even with those “clear” instances people manage to find a way to make them appear to be fine.
“Cheating” in Life?
The majority of steroid use is amongst regular people in the gym wanting to look good, not for any competitive sport or competition but merely to have a great looking physique. So if one guy, lets name him Mr X decided to use such drugs and you choose not to, in your eyes Mr X is cheating. He’s using something which enables him to build strength and muscle much quicker than you are, thus allowing him to cut out on a lot of time which you have to endure. But how exactly is he “cheating,” is it in life? in training?
Well no doubt, by taking them gives Mr X a huge advantage, and one way many guys defend taking steroids is by saying that it’s not just the steroids, they still have to work hard, very hard.
Without a doubt, one definitely has to still work extremely hard in terms of eating, training, and resting to achieve great results. You cannot just take them and expect to suddenly be big and ripped and proportionate. You still have to put in the time and effort with eating and training otherwise you will never truly make the most of it.
BUT, think about a guy who is not using anything, who is putting in the work just as hard or if not harder than the guy on the “juice”, training consistently, eating right day in and day out; now imagine just how hard and long he has to work to achieve the same results. The answer is, years and years!
So this is just to bring to light that there are guys who are not using anything and are working just as hard day in and day out on a consistent basis. But after all that, it still boils down to personal choice.
What exactly is Mr X “cheating” you out of though? He is just getting to point b quicker than you. What he does has no impact on your progress. When its cheating is when you are in direct competition with someone else, (e.g. in a sporting competition which we have already covered.) that’s when you can say it’s unfair, since that guy is using stuff which is explicitly not allowed. But if it is implicitly allowed and you choose not to use it, where as he chooses to use it, can you really say anything bad about him? Well that’s both of your choices.
Don’t blame or judge him and say he’s cheating when you too have the option and just choose not to.
Unfortunately it is the nature of some untested/unbanned competitions these days, and to make it to the top of them guys will do whatever they can to get there.
The next question is how is this “cheating in life” defined? How do you define cheating then? Are supplements cheating? Is eating large amounts of food cheating? Some people say eating such large amounts of food is not natural, not easy to do, they can’t manage or have the time to eat so much. So the person that can afford it and makes the time to eat a lot to get big, are they cheating? There are guys who have used some pre workout supplements and managed to add as much as 10 kgs to their max bench in one go. This too gives you an advantage just as steroids do. Not to such an extent but you get the point.
It probably can be done safely with little or no harm to your body, but in order to do so, you should be monitored by a doctor and you need to be taking the right amounts and doses for your body. These days guys abuse them, and take so much of the stuff, and in so many different combinations all at once that they have terrible side effects, some which they don’t see till after a few years, and can be irreversible.
There is also no need to start when you are so young, if you are going to go that route, go for it once you have already built a solid foundation, training and eating right and being consistent for few years.
If you want to go far in a sport like body building and make a good career out of it, it is almost inevitable that you will end up having to take something in order to be competitive. You can compete of course, but in order to get to the absolute top could require you to do such, even with the greatest of genetics. I am in no way saying most bodybuilders just take the “juice” and that’s all there is to it. No. These guys work hard to the extreme, it is just an additional tool which they use to get bigger and better.
It’s a tricky situation, but at the end of the day If you choose not to or to use it, that’s your business, that’s your choice, make sure to do plenty of research and know exactly what you are getting into. If you see a big guy who you think, or you ASSUME is most likely taking something, then so be it, appreciate it, complement him, whatever, but how does it honestly affect you?
You should be competing with yourself and improving on yourself instead of comparing yourself to some guy who may or may not be taking stuff which you aren’t.
Basically if some guy wants to take it,he can take it, that’s his choice, it has nothing to do with you. Be aware of it if you are competing against him but that’s all.