Tuesday. Steroids, drugs and James Bond.
I’ve been asked several questions recently about “natural” and what that word means. Normally when the word natural is chucked around in Gym circles it refers to Steroids, which are the massive but ripped elephants in the room, all oiled up and straining. They were first developed and synthesized way back in the 1930s and are used to stimulate bone growth and appetite, induce male puberty, and treat chronic wasting conditions, such as Cancer and Aids. So – they are a drug with over 80 years of clinical trials behind them which is more then any other hormonal pharmaceutical.
Which means that I believe that they are entirely safe and good to use and to continue to use year after year after year. I think they are essential and completely necessary . . .
. . .If you have Aids or Cancer.
If you don’t have some horrific and life-threatening wasting disease and are, in fact, in rude and vigorous health and then you decide to take medicine for a condition you don’t have – then, you are an idiot. It’s insane, it’s worse than having no level of measurable pain or discomfort and swallowing handfuls of paracetamol. It’s no less ridiculous then me taking a regular daily dose of the Female Contraceptive Pill. After all, that is also a synthetic version of a sex hormone. All I’d be doing would be swapping Testosterone with Oestrogen. Cool, huh? Plus I wouldn’t get pregnant. In fact taking steroids when there is nothing the matter with you, except for a burning desire to get jacked, is only slightly less berserk then hooking yourself up to a Chemotherapy drip while not actually having Cancer.
When you take steroids you are messing with your hormones and fucking with your DNA – which is, just in case you’re not quite clear on this subject, very not good.
Unfortunately modern society, and the Gym world in particular, have embraced roids to their collective, bulging, rock-hard bosom and their appeal to certain demographics goes unchecked. The majority of roid users are young men between the ages of 18-30 and the attraction is, largely, understandable. They work. They work very well in packing on the muscle and help in the reduction of body fat. In a few cycles of juice you can go from puny, pencil neck geek boy to a mountain of throbbing, veiny muscle. But trust me and believe me the same results are possible with hard training, a good diet and time. Honest.
Which, rather neatly, brings me to the subject of natural athletes or the lack there of. It’s impossible to not be aware of how Lance Armstrong, victor of umpteen Tour De France championships, has been busted by the media and is being raked across the coals. He has been accused of using and supplying, among other things, the doping agent EPO. EPO improves the oxygen delivery system to the muscles thus improving endurance capacity. It does this by increasing the amount of red blood cells that the athletes body produces.
It is, as you would expect, banned. As is blood doping – in which blood is taken from the athletes body well before the sporting event they are to compete in. The red blood cells are removed and stored in a freezer, meanwhile the athletes body gets busy in replacing the lost red blood cells. Then close to the race/competition they defrost the red blood cells and inject them back in. Hey Presto! More red blood cells. This is also banned. But, curiously, living in La Rinconada, Peru isn’t. And neither is sleeping in a tent.
The tent I talk about is actually called a Hypoxic Altitude Tent. They are available for anyone to buy and fit over their bed. They then mimic the effect of being at altitude by reducing the amount of oxygen in the air you breathe while sleeping. This causes your body to produce more red blood cells. It is legal and almost every Olympic athlete uses them.
La Rinconada is the highest city in the World. Mont Blanc the highest peak in Europe is 1000 feet lower then it. If you lived there your body would have to produce more red blood cells to make up for the lack of oxygen in the air. It is legal to live here but no one, except for a few hardy miners, is mad enough to do so.
Hmm . . .
. . . So, let’s recap.
- EPO makes more red blood cells. Banned.
- Blood doping introduces more red blood cells into your system. Banned.
- Living high in the Andes forces you body to make more red blood cells. Fine.
- Buy a Altitude Tent off Ebay. Sleep in it. Make more red blood cells. Fine.
It’s important to understand that I’m not leaping to the defence of Lance Armstrong here. He also stands accused of taking and supplying Growth Hormone and Steroids as well as being compliant in covering it all up and using pots of other peoples piss in avoiding detection in testing. If all of that is true he’s been a very naughty boy.
I just find it interesting that I can use a tent thingy and be considered natural but if I was to use EPO then I’m a cheat. Discuss.
I’m not sure where that rant came from as it’s been a good day. I expoded out of bed, scooped up the mutt and went for a brilliant 90 minute walk around the island. Beach plunder today; 8ft length of driftwood, lots of sea glass, one brick and a few shells. I then sat down with breakfast (eggs and rye bread) and cup of coffee and finished up Monday’s blog while litening to Monster Magnet until it was time to go to work.
Today’s workout was a cardio day and Rhod and I did a mixture of cycling, running and crosstraining that is way to boring to film and write about at any length. Enough to say that it was hot and sweaty and I was a disgusting mess at the end.
I was resonably busy for the rest of the day as I had a number of people to train and teach. It’s important to me to spend quite a lot of time on the gym floor teaching newbies how to squat. If you want to know how to do something well – practice. If you want to do something amazingly well – teach it to some one else.
On Tuesday evenings I run a class on the gym floor called, wait for it, the Gym Floor Class. I have a natural genius for marketing that top advertising executives would kill their Grannies for. I have a gym. My name is Dave: Dave’s Gym. I have a dog. His name is Jim: Dave’s Jim – Genius. I’m wasted here, I should be in Mad Men drooling over Christina Hendricks. The Gym Floor Class is not a workout as such but more of an hour of lifting technique and thinly veiled innuendo. The purpose of it is to get the bunch of idiots who attend it every week to be able to perform all the main gym exercises with perfect form. Their form is indeed improving and now all I need to get them to do is actually come to the gym in their own time and do a workout. Sigh . . . Baby steps.
After that I had a hot date with a tall and gorgeous redhead who’s way better than that bird from Mad Men, honest. Zoe and I went to go see the new James Bond film – Skyfall. I’ve read all the original Ian Flemming books and thought that they were brilliant but I’m not a fan of the films. Too many gadgets. Too many raised eyebrows to camera. Too many Bond girls that do nothing except respond like cats in heat at middle aged men muttering bad one liners. Bored, bored, bored. The villains are rubbish as well. Unconvincing caricatures with clandestine plans of global domination hatched from secret lairs on the moon, or some other bollocks. Invisible cars. Exploding pens. Lasers from space. Cars that become bikes that become planes that become space hoppers. Spare me please. The best thing to happen to the Bond franchise was the Bourne Identity film. Suddenly spies were dangerous flinty eyed killers that didn’t need anything more sophisticated then a biro and enough elbow room with which to use it to gouge out your spleen. Bourne was everything Bond wasn’t; anonymous, violent, solitary and an outsider. So although I was looking forward to a kid free evening with Zoe I didn’t have high expectations of the film. Which was, by the way, excellent. Bond was grizzled, embittered and hollow. The villain was fantastically unhinged and, instead of trying to cripple the World’s economy by training an army of meer cats to steal everyone’s left shoe, while stroking a white cat in an underwater base fashioned into the shape of a manta ray, all he was trying to do was kill one old woman. The gadgets were minimal and the action was, mercifully, not overly dependent on the horrors of CGI.Good film, I reccomend it.
Thanks for reading,