This post correlates with my earlier posts: “Undesirable Side Effects of Steroid Use” and “7 Reasons Why I Don’t Compete.” The video below is of strength athlete Gracie Davis. She is a voice of caution for women who use or are considering using steroids. Her deepened voice and the other masculine changes she has experienced are permanent — her gains in strength were not.
Anyone who has created a decent body through athletics is likely to at some point be compared to someone who has taken steroids. This is sad, but true, and has happened to me multiple times. Why? Because many “users” reach the top of their sport and often have extremely impressive physiques. In bodybuilding, an activity I recently quit after eight years of loving it, this reality is a given. I’ve dealt with pressure from non-athletes and athletes regarding the use of steroids for aesthetic and performance enhancement. And it’s not too unlikely among CrossFit and other strength or weekend-warrior sports. Being compared to a steroid user can be something “clean” athletes are confronted with every time they enter the gym. People who train “clean” are often treated as lesser to those who use: less visually impressive, less “fit,” less strong.
A woman at my gym once equated muscularity to fitness. She interrupted my workout to complement my pull-ups, and then moments later slapped me with an insult by implying I was not as athletic or strong as another woman at the gym who was more muscular than me. The woman equated muscle size to greater athletic ability and strength and likely greater dedication. (I guess she’s never seen Cirque du Soleil or professional competitive sports.) The woman she so admired was on steroids, something anyone with no concern for long-term health can take and get quick attention and admiration. That is, of course, until the plethora of negative side effects catch up to them.
The woman at the gym who placed me as lesser to the steroid user was clearly not an experienced athlete. She did not know that muscularity is not an accurate measure of fitness. And any gains made visually or performance-wise from the aid of steroids are not permanent. Further, users lack the mental strength to push through personal challenges without the use of steroids or performance-enhancing drugs and without the need for outside approval based on their appearance. As a person who has been training for fifteen years (at the time of this post), often around users, I know simply ignoring the desire to want to look like a person with the impressive body steroids can create can be difficult. But I educated myself long ago about the side effects, and I’ve seen many users go from heyday to mayday, mayday, mayday, over the years. The perks of steroid use are short-lived. In the below video, the still-young Gracie Davis speaks of her athletic feats as if she has passed her prime now that she has given up steroid use.
Gracie admits to taking Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) as a way to not have to train as hard, and says PED users “have a hard time with commitment and doing things the right way.”
Mayday, Mayday, Mayday – Another Woman’s Story
The below quote is from Nick Miller of Nick Strength and Power, from his 2017 video “The downfall of Denise Rutkowski,” in which he also talks about the reality of drug addiction in bodybuilding. Although, Gracie is and was not a bodybuilder (that I know of), drug using in weekend-warrior or adult sports that don’t fall in the realm of government-regulated, organized sports (like the NBA, NCAA, NFL, etc.) is common, as the consequences of using will not likely get users kicked out of their sport, as in professional leagues. Instead, the consequences are all personal – and long-lasting.
“. . . Unfortunately [Denise] obviously had a very bad downward spiral over the past couple of years and just kind of ended up like this, so it’s sad to see stories like this, but this is the reality of bodybuilding. Man, you go from being at the top of the mountain: second-place finish at the Olympia, to just being a drug addict . . . . I think this video needed to be made because drug addiction and bodybuilding seem to go hand-in-hand for a lot of people with that type of personality.”
The above quotes from Gracie and Nick offer information to reflect on. Notice how Nick makes a connection between drug use and personality types like Gracie does? Their revelations are realities I’ve always known about people who choose to use. This knowledge has enabled me to always stay away from steroids or other PEDs and never admire someone who resorts to taking them – no matter how awesome they look.
References about Steroids:
“Anabolic steroids and craniofacial growth in the rat,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8297054?dopt=Abstract
“Side Effects of Anabolic Steroid Abuse (long term and short term),” https://www.steroidabuse.com/side-effects-of-steroids.html
“Steroids: Anabolic.Androgenic,” anonymous, Focus Adolescent Services, 2005 “Dr. Delgado’s Gynecomastia FAQ,” Dr. A. Delgado, Gynecomastia.org, January 2007
“What Causes Prostate Cancer?,” anonymous, eHealthMD, October 2004
More Reading on Athletics vs Bodybuilding or Weekend-Warrior Training
“All Muscle, No Iron – An Interview with Coach Christopher Sommer,” https://www.t-nation.com/training/all-muscle-no-iron
“Episode 217 – Why do Bodybuilders Look so Different from Athletes?” https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/you-are-not-a-bodybuilder-so-dont-train-like-one
As an athlete for over 18 years and a broke single mom for most of that time, I created this site to aid not only broke single parents to a life of fitness, but anyone who believes the road to fitness requires a lot of cash or time. In reality, the way to fitness is paved with knowledge and firm principles; teaching readers how to master both is the goal of this site.