When I tell people that steroid use is very common by pro athletes, movie stars, and fitness models, they’re usually shocked and outraged. They prefer to believe that it’s extremely rare.
Let me make one thing clear: I am NOT “anti-steroids”. I just think most people are completely delusional. This is problematic because it creates a false reality that can be damaging to aspiring young athletes who hope to play professionally one day… and even regular dudes who hope to match the results they see on fitness magazine covers.
Another thing: I most definitely do NOT advocate steroid use. The side effects include sabotaging your hormone levels and becoming dependant on external sources of testosterone (and other things) to maintain a healthy body. Unless you’re being monitored and advised by a professional medical specialist, you risk some pretty fucked up health issues like your dick shriveling up and becoming impotent.
Having said that, let’s break this down, one industry at a time…
…and to be clear: there is no way to 100% confirm any specific person is using steroids. I am not making any direct allegations in this article.
Steroid Use in Professional Sports
Obviously things get very controversial when talking about steroid use in pro sports. Most die-hard fans simply won’t admit that their idols are ‘cheating’ and talking illegal substances.
But the truth is that it’s nearly statistically impossible to become a pro athlete: a mere fraction of a percentage of the world’s top performers make it to this level. This gives them ample motivation to do what they can in order to get a leg up on the competition.
And here’s the scary part: based on all the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen and heard, it seems that steroid use starts well before the pro level…
That’s right, it appears to begin right when athletes commence their D1 college careers. I’ve spoken to baseball players who told me their trainers would regularly inject them in the locker rooms… only to watch in amazement as they put on 20-30 pounds of muscle over the next few months. I’ve talked to basketball players whose coaches ordered them to put on 30 pounds of muscle “by any means possible” in a single offseason.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Ok dude, I’m not just going to take your word for it.” So then listen to Don Catlin, an anti-doping pioneer who spent years conducting the NCAA’s laboratory tests. He recently spoke out about the many glaring flaws of college drug testing. Not only are players notified many days in advance of upcoming tests (giving them ample time to dilute their blood and urine), but many schools save money by cutting corners and only testing for basic drugs like marijuana. They often don’t even screen for steroids.
But now I’m getting off topic, let’s get back to pro sports…
From the “horse’s mouth”
If the fact that doping is already quite likely at the college level doesn’t sway your position, consider the sheer number of first-hand accounts of steroid use by pro athletes.
Baseball players like Jose Canseco have stated that over 80% of the MLB uses steroids. Derek Rose of the Chicago Bulls recently said steroid use was a “huge” problem in the NBA. Eddie George, former NFL running back, said that PED use is “very rampant” and “very prevalent” in pro football. Lance Armstrong admitted to doping throughout his entire pro cycling career.
The only real argument against steroids being so common in pro sports is the extremely low percentage of athletes who test positive…
So what about all that testing?
All major sports associations regularly test their players for drug use. This is an indisputable fact.
However, the nature of drug testing is that it must react and respond to the latest developments in steroids and performance enhancing drugs. A lot of time and money goes into developing new drugs, so the drug-testing procedures will inevitably always be trying to catch up. And even then, players can easily dilute their blood and urine if given any notice of the test:
In USADA testimony in the Armstrong case, there was one story of Armstrong, allegedly “glowing” with EPO, passing a test thanks to 5 MINUTES notice. That’s all the time it took to convince the testers to test a teammate first, meanwhile smuggling a bag of saline into Armstrong’s hotel room to administer to the cyclist, diluting his blood and bringing his hematocrit back to acceptable levels.
This is how Lance Armstrong consistently passed drug tests during his 15+ year career. It’s also how so many baseball players passed drug tests, only to be ‘outed’ years later by fellow players trying to secure reduced punishments and save face.
But not all pro athletes are HUGE
Another common argument I hear is that many pro athletes don’t show obvious signs of steroid use. There are numerous scrawny NBA players, for example.
But you have to keep in mind that not all steroids are ANABOLIC steroids. They aren’t all meant to help build muscle… and not all players benefit from having more muscle mass to begin with.
Consider Lance Armstrong, who fully admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. Was he jacked? No, of course not. He was a cyclist. But he definitely could have benefited from drugs that would increase his endurance and enhance his recovery for the long rides and treacherous mountains he had to compete on.
Basketball, football, soccer, and all other sports players also can benefit from these ‘non-anabolic’ benefits of taking steroids and PEDs.
Still the best
I would also like to add that I don’t believe that any of this takes away from the allure or entertainment of pro sports. If anything, it adds to it. These guys are still the best of the best at what they do. The drugs can only serve to complement for their immense talent and work ethic.
Steroid Use by Movie Stars
Movie stars are a 2nd group of people likely to use steroids to surpass these genetic limits.
Think about it this way: they have plenty of money to spend on quality steroids, connected enough to find qualified physicians to monitor their use, and most importantly, sufficiently motivated to do so. After all, they receive an ENORMOUS paycheck if they score a high profile role… and oftentimes transforming their body will help them to accomplish just that.
Not to mention, movie stars are well-known for abusing party drugs like ecstasy and cocaine, so the health risks and illegality of steroids is unlikely to scare them off.
Let’s review a couple case studies by taking a quick look at a couple impressive transformations that actors made for recent movies.
- Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (before and after photo): in the photo, you see a side-by-side comparison of Jackman during his appearance in X-Men (2000) and The Wolverine (2013). He was 32 in 2000 and 45 in 2013. Our testosterone levels are highest in our late 20s and then they steadily decline. This would make it extremely challenging for a 45 year old Jackman to match his 32 year old shape… not to mention completely obliterate it.
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor (before and after photo): in the photo, you see a side-by-side comparison of Hemsworth over a short 1 year period. He’s bigger and leaner… and we’re talking way, way bigger. Anyone who’s been a skinny guy and dedicated himself to bulking up, gaining weight, and getting big knows what 1 year of progress looks like. Hemsworth blows even the very best 1-2 year transformations I’ve ever seen out of the water. He looks like he put on 50 pounds of pure muscle, and experts agree that roughly 20 pounds is the body’s natural limit.
Let’s not even get into how insanely big The Rock looked in Pain and Gain (pictured above). I love the guy, but let’s be realistic.
Again, I’m not saying that drugs were definitely used by these actors, but they are certainly high-probability candidates. And again, I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Having a great actor get extra swole for a blockbuster movie only adds to the movie’s overall experience and entertainment value.
Fitness Models and Closing Thoughts
I didn’t even touch on fitness models and bodybuilders in this article (like the one pictured above), but they’re a third group that’s likely to use steroids.
Their livelihood depends on securing photoshoots, getting supplement sponsorships, and doing other things that depend on them getting huge and staying lean. Most people don’t find it very hard to believe that these guys are on bodybuilding steroids, so I didn’t want to dedicate more than a few closing words on the matter.
If you’re interested in seeing whether a specific fitness model is juicing, this site does some detailed breakdowns.
Anyway, I hope I’ve given you some food for thought.
Pro athletes, movie stars, and fitness models simply have sufficient motivation to use steroids and performance enhancing drugs. Their paycheck depends on it. And most of them love excelling at what they do. It only makes sense for them to take advantage of the increased strength, muscle mass, endurance, and recovery benefits that steroids offer… Especially when current testing procedures are so ineffective at catching anyone.
Does any of this affect your life? Probably not.
But it does pay to be aware of the likelihood of drug use, especially for young guys who are likely to look up to these athletes and actors. Otherwise they may pick up a bodybuilding magazine, follow Thor’s ‘Secret’ Transformation Routine, and expect to match his results in just a few months…
Or just follow their dreams of playing sports professionally only to be disillusioned when they realize that ‘something extra’ might be necessary to compete at the next level.
I remember reading old MuscleMag magazines and doing the training the pros supposedly used and then wondered why my results were so much less. Of course I was pretty young then too lol. If someone wants to use steroids that’s their prerogative but one thing that is annoying is the trainers who then hawk the programs the celebrity/pro/whatever used as if their program was the reason for the 50 lb weight increase. And yeah the steroid use in college is bad. But even worse I remember kids on my high school football and wrestling teams who used steroids and had no idea what they were doing. Sure they got pretty big but they had no concept of how it could screw them up in the long term.
Yeah man, supervised steroid use by top level athletes (and actors) is one thing, but random young kids shooting up haphazardly is a whole different ball game. That’s a quick way to ruin your hormone levels… and your life.
Great article. That before and after of Hemsworth is revealing.
I’m that skinny guy (10 years ago in my mid-20’s) that dedicated a year to bulking. It was protein shakes twice a day, lots of chicken, tons of calories every day, hitting the gym 6 times a week with a focus on bodybuilding, and no cardio. I went from 155 to 167. If I stopped for a week or two or did a run, I would lose a pound or two. If I ever felt hungry, it meant I was losing gains.
It’s not a long term maintainable lifestyle and it was so hard to gain weight. These actors bulk up or get ripped in a few months. Maybe some of them have a good base to start from, but when they go from average joe to swole in that time span it’s not exceptional genes or P90X. Nothing wrong with it, but not realistically achievable without some juice.
Two of my favorite examples are Edward Norton in American History X and Will Smith in Ali. I’m sure those naturally skinny guys put on 25 to 35 pounds of muscle with a high protein diet and strength training in the maybe 6 months before they started filming. Sure.
Thanks Cade. I couldn’t agree more.
Once you’ve put in the hard work trying to bulk up and build mass over years of training, it’s easy to get discouraged when you see these actors and their hilarious transformations. That’s the main danger here, I think.
wow one of the best articles you’ve im into sport for many many yrs but never thought the ;problem’ is soo big as you described it.. also about lazar and so on that they claim its all ‘legit’ ..
anyway thanks for the clearing up keep posts like that in other things too
Chris Hemsworth I believe has been juicing, but not Hugh Jackman.
It was a lot less common to train for movie roles back then, now every actor (almost) does it. Plus, the biggest difference is his body fat. He has been playing Wolverine for years now, and training more for each movie. But yeah, steroids are super common in Hollywood.
Yeah man, it’s impossible to know for sure, but Jackman is old as fuck now so I think he probably is on gear.
In my humble opinion many Hollywood actors that appear to be juicing are in fact juicing. Don’t even get me started on how many female hollywood celebs are (ab)using Clenbuterol to get in shape for summer.
At the end of the day it’s their own responsibility, however I would personaly love if they’d be more open about their choice.
Exactly. Juicing does not bother me. Lying about it does.
Well, just to share my folly that can save recurrence of any such tragedy with any other fellow. Though I never took any steroid and yet was growing strong enough in my 30 something(peak time for muscling up, perhaps). Good arms, could lift pretty heavy but had not-so-flat abdomen(though not at all much bulging as the 34 inch waist trousers was a bit loose and 32 inch tight). I would covet the elusive all massive biceps devoid of any flab at abdomen.I was not naive to not know that they had been doing some supplement thing but had unflinching belief in my own capacity So I rigorously increased the heaviness of the training which eventually took toll on my back and got my L4-L5 disc herniation. Initially, I remained in a denial mode that this could not happen to me. After a long physical therapy and …did I understand that there is a limit to challenge the mortal fabrics and all those whose bodily muscularity I wanted to emulate had been on steroids, and that without steroids if you want enormous strength in arms in natural way then slight bulking up at abdomen is unavoidable.
I learnt it the hard way, lesson from my experience- it is a sad truth that all the non-achievers of today’s let alone accomplished ones would have been a yelping weak-kneed had they not been on synthetically derived juices. It is simple when a person goes to gym would have instant results to feel motivated enough to continue but after a year or so the gain is imperceivably gradual to demotivate the hard core enthusiasts. I know many people would still insist that formidable body can be built the all natural way, but believe me it’s merely a wishful thinking. From all the celebrated sprinters(would not accept but all understandable) to regional level javelin thrower have to be on dope, not even ghost of a chance anything else. Have you spared any thought that why America is faring pale in comparison to Jamaicans, Chinese,et al. No price for guessing…even though in America also doping is rampant but at least are sometimes checked. No grudges just this much that if you take drugs let it be admitted publically so that a regular guy would not aspire of following a wild goose chase and make heroes out of weaker-than-yourself people.People will still contest that see even with steroids being taken it takes the required dedication and blah blah. Just take away those juices and see how impotent and thus demotivated they become to continue. Besides it becomes hugely unfair for a rustic but may be really guys to even make up to final league among the bunch of privileged cheaters. Sports is all hoaxed up but may be has become more presentable. For me I still do work out, however, very cautiously (habits die hard).
The author of the article is, in fact, quite liberal to even consider that some established performers might not be on steroid. It is a ridiculous pipe dream.In my times it was Arnold who eclipsed Frank Jane,currently Arnold has been dwarfed by any pedestrian body builder of today’s standard and you can’t stop laughing when they say actually the better training technique and increased dedication are the determinants for bringing out these evolution! Logic granted, and this is why even some of the fragile movie stars and their pampered kids otherwise given to profligacy and indulgence, would show the muscularity unseen even among some of the best musclemen of the past. Glory to lies!With the likes of Jesse Owens gone, the genuineness in sports is now a lost art. May it rest in peace and in the meanwhile we continue to enjoy that fake spectacular extravaganza we have forged in the name of sports.
Beautifully written reply. It could be a translation, but it almost reads like poetry.
Thank you very much for the content. I wish you success.
To have such a muscular body is indeed not easy.
I am also very poor in identification and application skills are not very good. Hopefully there will be lessons learned here.