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Does he or doesn't he?
Wilmer Ames
December 05, 1977
Only his pharmacist and doctor know for sure whether a builder uses steroids, but these days the odds are that he does
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December 05, 1977

Does He Or Doesn't He?

Only his pharmacist and doctor know for sure whether a builder uses steroids, but these days the odds are that he does

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One builder, who, typically, refuses to be identified, is a 20-year-old student who has been training for a little more than a year. According to the owner of the gym where he trains, "The kid has the potential to become one of the top builders, if he wants."

Since he started building, he has put on about 35 pounds, increased his biceps from 15 to 17½ inches and his chest from 42 to 47 inches, and decreased his waist from 34 to 31 inches. "What I wanted when I first started body building," he says, "was a really dynamite-looking body, something that, when I walked down the street, people would turn and look at. I always wondered what it would be like to look like a Lou Ferrigno or an Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"What I found out when I got into it was that you have to have the drugs in order to look like a Schwarzenegger or a Ferrigno. The assumption that you can go to the gym, work out and, even after years, have some success, isn't true.

"I used the drug once for about four weeks, but I stopped. I could see myself getting a little bigger, but I learned from an older professional builder that I should start later in the game—when I can't get any more out of myself. 'Then bring the drug in,' he told me.

"Right now I don't know when I'm going to compete. I guess it depends on how good I can get with just good workouts, the right nutrition and diet. I know I could be good enough if I wanted to."

Perhaps by 1980, if not sooner, artificial methods of achieving success will have become as commonplace in a number of other sports as they have in body building—society and athletes may have decided that whatever is available to facilitate success should be used. But questions remain: Should athletes be permitted to gain an advantage over their competitors by artificial means, and, further, should they be permitted to take drugs that have demonstrably harmful side effects?

Without steroids, success in body building depends on the food the builder eats, the vitamin supplements he takes and the exercises he does. This is the way it used to be, and the way most builders would like it to be. But until the drug problem is faced openly by their entire community, body builders believe competition will continue as it has during the past decade—enhanced by steroids.

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