Bodybuilding and Steroids: An Ongoing Controversy
Throughout many generations as well as the present day, bodybuilding has been a much favored sport in the fitness industry. The question first begins with what a sport is determined to be. The definition seems to be: “a human activity capable of achieving a result requiring physical exertion and skill, which by nature, is competitive” (Kennedy 121). Conceivably, bodybuilding fits the definition; However, the primary problem that bodybuilders, the industry, and just the name, bodybuilding, in general face are the numerous controversial issues about the usage of anabolic drugs commonly referred to as steroids. The FDA has banned any and all steroids, causing them to be illegal; Yet, in the sport of bodybuilding, in order to manipulate one’s body, one must consume hormones that are beyond a days dosage of organic foods and minerals. The sport of bodybuilding, is without a doubt, one of the most respected sports due to its extreme discipline of the body and mind. Thus the controversy remains as this: why would the FDA continue to ban anabolic drugs from an industry that, for a portion of its influencers, need these hormones to continue to live up to the bodybuilding legacies? Why is the FDA banning these substances? Also, another controversy that is frequently brought up is: why cant fitness experts, such as master trainers and nutritionists, etc... come up with substitutes that correspond to the drugs, yet remain legal?
As a fitness model and competitor in the fitness industry, it is understandable that other competitors, most men and few women, do take supplements which increase both strength and muscle mass of the individual. It is also a known fact in the fitness industry that most supplements taken, whether it be anabolic steroids which are stated to be, “synthetic steroid hormones that resembles testosterone in promoting the growth of the muscle and enhancement of physical performance” (Kennedy 125), to phentermine which is an, “anti-suppressant drug which binds to the receptors on the hypothalamus, affecting the part of the brain that controls appetite” (Kennedy 88), are illegal by the FDA as well as the fitness federations and industry itself. Although these supplements are illegal in the industry, it is obvious that they play a significant role in manipulating the body to rise to the standards by which these competitions, magazines, and industry judge. The questions that persist are why the FDA opposes steroids when it is up to the individual’s right to take them? Likewise, how do nutritionists and body builders interpret these supplements to be affective in the industry and why take them? Both perspectives have been brought forth through researching the FDA’s perspective and interviews with master trainer and ranked bodybuilder, Tina Chandler, and one of America’s top nutritionist’s, Johnnie West.
The FDA, also known as the Food and Drug Administration, has banned and made illegal numerous products marketed as steroids or steroid-like substances, many of which are labeled as dietary products. They aim their efforts towards the sports associations, namely bodybuilding and its competitors because of the high percentage of users in the fitness industry. Why does the FDA say that these products are considered illegal? The answer, “The products provided are unapproved drugs because they are not generally recognized as safe or effective. They are potentially harmful and misleading” (FDA Food and Drug... par.6). The FDA works alongside with the Anti-Doping Agency to drug test bodybuilders and other competitors in the industry. If caught with positive results in the fitness industry, the person may be banned from the federation. The FDA and Anti-Doping Agency immensely push to instill the negative effects of supplements and the serious long-term adverse health consequences that men and women may obtain. They list problems associated with anabolic...
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