By Chris Wilson
As an athlete, you can never be too big, too strong or too fast. Every bodybuilder is looking to get bigger and stronger (although not necessarily faster), the only question is how far they are willing to go to achieve this goal.
If you look in any bodybuilding or fitness magazine they are loaded with ads for supplement that will make you pack on muscle. While some supplements will give you a little help getting bigger, many of them are garbage. Of course there is one thing that is almost guaranteed to make you pack on muscle - steroids. Who among us isn't looking for that magic pill, powder or shot that will give us the body that we have always dreamed of.
At this point in my life (35 years old and no hope of becoming a professional athlete) I would never consider taking steroids (and never tried them), but I would be lying to you if I said I was not tempted to try them in my younger days.
Like any controversial subject it is impossible to get a straight answer about the dangers of steroids. If you listen to what the government and the mainstream medical community has to say about steroids then you know all of the dangerous side effects - roid rage, liver damage, testicular shrinkage, hair loss in man, hair growth in women. And on the other side you have steroid users that will tell you that the side effects are way over stated and the benefits far out way the risks.
This documentary was written by and starring Christopher Bell, a Gold's Gym employee and power lifter. Bell created an excellent movie that is both informative and very entertaining.
Bell uses the movie to examine not only the laws and health effects for steroids but he also looks at steroids in sports and shows how steroids affect the people who use steroids and the people who are close to the users.
In addition he looks at how steroids play into American culture. When he is interviewing experts for either side of the steroid issue, you can see he has a genuine interest in hearing their side of the issue. He lets both sides present their case and then lets the viewers make up their mind themselves.
Chris grew up with 2 brothers in Poughkeepsie, NY, idolizing Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I am around the similar age as Bell so I have many of the same memories. He reminds us of Hulk Hogan telling all the Hulkamanics that "you have to train, say your prayers and take your vitamins." And Arnold Schwarzenegger telling people at a political rally that "If you work hard and play by the rules, this country is truly open to you. You can achieve anything."
A few years later we cheered when Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds hit home runs at a record pace. Of course it turns out that Hulk was doing more than just training, Arnold wasn't playing by the rules and more than the ball was juiced in baseball. Not only was all of Bell's childhood heroes taking steroid both of his brothers also started taking steroids to try and make it in pro wrestling. And although neither made a career out of pro wrestling they are both still taking steroids.
Bell talks to medical experts about the effects of steroids and we hear all the usual side effect of their use and users who argue that they have not had any effects. Much more surprising are the CDC statistics for deaths related to steroids. In 2007 tobacco accounted for 435,000 deaths, alcohol for 75,000 and steroids for 3. That number floored me only 3 deaths from steroids. Surely something as dangerous as steroids accounted for more than 3 deaths. It must rank high on the cause of ER visits, the #1 cause of ER visits in alcohol, #2 cocaine, #3 marijuana and steroids they rank 142nd as a cause for ER visits.
Bell provides a wealth of information on the subject that I will not go into here. I found the movie to be both very informative and entertaining as well. I would recommend the movie to anyone interested in sports and bodybuilding.
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