Thursday, September 12, 2013

Born Again Hard in 16 Weeks

Craig Davidson is a Canadian novelist who jacked himself up on steroids for 16 weeks. For research purposes.

Once we pass that period of massive physical change - childhood through our teens, puberty and growth spurts - we settle into a sense of our bodies. We understand the parameters and capabilities, what it can and cannot do. And though it's disheartening to say, at 30, I was already finding evidence of a body on its downslope. While I worked out regularly, I hadn't made a sizeable gain in years. In gym parlance, I'd 'hit the plateau'.

Steroids shattered the limitations of my body. I first sensed their effects while bench-pressing dumbbells. I usually peak at 85lb each, or 170lb total. But after 10 repetitions with the 85s I was stunned: it felt like a warm-up! With a degree of trepidation - we're talking weights that, if mishandled, could break a wrist or some ribs - I picked up the 90-pounders, which I'd never attempted. They went up easily and I ripped out 10 reps. It was an out-of-body sensation: somebody else's arms were pushing those weights, someone else's pectorals flexing and contracting...


It was pathetic and I should have known better - actually I did know better, but I didn't let that stop me. The 'pumps' I'd get after a workout clouded all judgment. My glances at the gym mirrors were at first baffled: 'Is that me?' double-takes that soon mutated into looks of preening narcissism. I noticed how light played differently upon my chest and arms, the pockets of blue shadow filling my new contours.

The thing is, I knew it was all fake. I hadn't earned it; it was actually quite freakish. But it's like a woman with giant fake breasts: everyone knows they're fake, but damn it if they don't still draw attention.
Well worth the full read.

But TL;DR...? Basically, "taking steroids" requires taking a series of drugs to counteract the embarrassment of side-effects of steroids, which sounds fairly harrowing. And it's illegal, so you're obtaining the drugs through sketchy means and injecting yourself with shit outside the oversight of medical supervision. Also, once you stop the drugs, you regress FAST -- so it doesn't sound like you can take the drugs to give you a boost and then go cold turkey and just try to maintain.

So, as ever, caveat emptor.


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