Bodybuilding contests need more drug testing regulations

Micheal Simmons, Blue M Editor-In-Chief

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Bodybuilding competitions, like every athletic competition, provide stress on the competitors, some more than others. The International Federation of Bodybuilders holds multiple contests throughout each year to test the physique of both men and women such as Mr. Olympia, the Arnold Classic and Mr. America.

In bodybuilding, it’s very often that the need to succeed has pushed athletes to the abuse of steroids. The IFBB should put heavier drug tests or penalties on athletes to ensure that the competition is fair, not endangering competitor’s health and setting a good example for the following generation.

Whether it be the Olympics or  a high school football game, unfair advantages are heavily restricted in any athletic competition. The use of steroids or any type of performance enhancing drug is unfair due to the high cost of the substances, making the environment of Bodybuilding a “pay to play” environment. According to T-nation, most IFBB pros use cycles of steroids leading up to their competition, in order to control the side effects.

The cost of the substances involved in the cycle alone can cost anywhere from $8,000-20,000. This does not include the payment for a doctor to find the right cycle time for a specific athlete. This gives an unfair advantage to the wealthier bodybuilders, meaning it should be monitored more.

Despite the fact that it is banned in competitions and illegal, athletes are still consistently using them as a way to gain an edge in the competition.

Along with being unfair, it constantly puts the competitor’s life at risk. According to WebMD, side effects of almost all steroids can include an enlarged heart, heart attacks, mood swings, high level of bad cholesterol and suffering delusions. When combined with narcotic pain killers, another dangerous drug used by bodybuilders, it can cause a dangerous and deadly list of side effects.

According to Interesting Facts, Greg Kovacs, who was largely accepted to be the largest professional bodybuilder in the late 1990s, weighed 420 pounds in the off season and measured six-foot four-inches. He openly admitted to using steroids, which directly related to his cause of death in November 2013, which was due to a heart attack.

Although the IFBB does have a ban on steroid use, it isn’t resolving the issue with another professional and famous bodybuilder, Rich Piana, who fell victim to a steroid-induced heart disease on Aug. 25, 2017. According to GreatPyshiques, Piana was  widely known as a YouTube sensation and as an actor. Piana first became interested in bodybuilding at the age of six while watching his mother train for her competitions.

If this cycle is allowed to continue, more children will watch their parents train as well and some children will observe their parents using steroids,which in turn will lead to more deaths such as Rich Piana.

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