BodybuildingPro.com Articles Database Articles by Writer Articles By Will Brink "Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk"
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"Walking The Walk and
Talking The Talk"
By Will Brink, author of:
Muscle Building Nutrition
Muscle Gaining Diet, Training Routines by Charles Poliquin & Bodybuilding
Diet Supplements Revealed
Real World Fat Loss Diet & Weight Loss Supplement Review
"Walking The Walk and
Talking The Talk"
Readers Note: This article is not for the
easily offended or "PC" minded. It is an in-your-face, and hopefully humorous,
look at the topic of steroids and how out of touch the medical/scientific
community and the general public can be in regards to the facts about steroids.
I don't use steroids (I think my pic on the web page will confirm that!) nor do
I recommend them to most people these days. Why? Because they are too expensive,
illegal, and fake 90% of the time, moral and ethical issues not withstanding.
If you have an uncle who will write you scripts
and you want to use steroids than that's your business. What ever price there is
to pay for using them, it will be you and you alone who pays it. I just call em
like I see em. Emotions can never alter facts, but facts can alter emotions.
Never let your perceptions or your emotions alter your view of the facts. The
article is intended as 80% humor and 20% education as it relates to steroids. If
you lack a sense of humor, this article is not for you.
We have all heard the expression "walking the
walk and talking the talk" as it applies to various situations where there is an
appreciable gap between theory and reality. There are many places we can find
disagreement between the people who "walk the walk" and those who "talk the talk."
If you were to ask me, I would tell you that bodybuilding is the quintessential
place to find such individuals. Those who "walk the walk" constantly bickering
with those who "talk the talk." Now the best we can hope for, of course, is a
person who is capable of both walking the walk and talking the talk! That is, a
person who has plenty of hands-on real-life experience, half a brain, and an
applicable educational background. However, these people are rare as you (the
reader) well know.
Given a choice between the two however, I would
rather be able to walk the walk, than talk the talk. In this article I want to
discuss a few examples of how this concept plays itself out in bodybuilding,
science, nutrition, or what ever suits our purpose to get the idea across that,
yes, there is a difference between "walking the walk" and "talking the talk!"
This difference is one of several reasons we have so much confusion regarding
anything to do with bodybuilding (e.g., nutrition, drugs, training, etc.) . It
is certainly not the only reason, but is a major contributor to the plethora of
different opinions we find in the world of bodybuilding, sports nutrition, or
other fields relating to performance and health.
Ground Breaking Steroid Studies......Not!
Now what ultimately set me off to write this
article, besides the fact that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, was a
study published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). NEJM is
considered one of the most prestigious medical and scientific journals in the
world. People tend to hold this journal up as the holy scripture of medical
journals. The study was called "The Effects Of Supraphysiologic Doses Of
Testosterone On Muscle Size And Strength In Normal Men (vol.336, July, 96)."
This was a fairly strait forward study, so we don't need to go into great depths
about it and bore you to sleep with all the details. In a nut shell, there were
four groups of men studied. One group received 600 milligrams of testosterone
enanthate and trained with weight three days per week. The other three groups
were just combinations of training with weights and getting no testosterone
(placebo), getting the testosterone and not training with weights (couch potato
on test!), and so on. So what was so wrong with this study that prompted me to
write this article? Well it was not so much the conclusion of the study-which we
will get to in a minute-but some of the statements within the study that caught
my attention. For example, the researchers state:
- "Athletes often take androgenic steroids
in an attempt to increase their strength. The efficacy of these substances for
this purpose is unsubstantiated, (emphasis mine) however."
Unsubstantiated? Are they for real? Here is
another statement from the study.
- "...but whether supraphysiological doses
of testosterone or other anabolic-androgenic steroids augment muscle mass and
strength in normal men is unknown."
Unknown? Unknown? Unknown to who? The next time
you sit in the front row of a bodybuilding show or see some 280 pound androgen
freak squatting the equivalent of a small family sedan, feel free to yell "hey
fella(s), did you know that all those steroids you are taking have not been
proven to build muscle!" Gee whiz, guess that forty pounds little Johnny put on
in twelve weeks to make the high school football team was a placebo effect of
the five Anadrol a day he was taking! As far as The Group For The Use Of Common
Sense In Science (GFUCSS) is concerned, regardless of the research, if there is
still a single doctor in the entire world who continues to doubt steroids have
an effect on muscle mass, he should have his license revoked and should be dope
slapped in a public forum! Oh ya, in case your wondering, I am the national
president and only member of GFUCSS. Have any of these researchers ever stepped
outside of the lab to see what is going on out there in the real world? It's
1996 for God sake. How about this statement from the same study:
- "We do not know whether still higher
doses of testosterone or the simultaneous administration of several steroids
would have more pronounced effects."
We don't know? Well I sure as hell do! Hear
that sound? That's the palm of my hand hitting my forehead in disbelief. Could
the scientific community possibly be this clueless when it comes to steroids?
You bet. So where do I sign up for the next study that proves mixing high doses
of steroids build more muscle? Should I bring my own turkey baster or will they
supply it? Is it any wonder why bodybuilders don't listen to a thing doctors
have to say? Now I am not some disgruntled trainer/bodybuilder who is resentful
of science and scientists because he does not have the educational background to
understand scientific materials. I have several years of organic and
biochemistry, molecular physiology, biology, nutrition, yada, yada, yada, and I
still find the average bodybuilder to know more about steroids than 99% of all
the scientists and doctors I speak with! This is a sad state of affairs which
could be rectified by some of these scientists and doctors coming out of the lab
and hanging out at the average gym for a few days. I can just see it now , "here
doc, swallow these little pink things and squat 'till you puke!" Now I love
science, and many of my friends are scientists, but man this type of stuff boils
my blood.......If you couldn't tell.
On the other hand, the study did have some
particularly interesting findings that really blow a hole in the "steroids will
kill you" and "all you need is hard work to look like a pro bodybuilder" brigade.
The study found that the men who got the testosterone but did not workout gained
more muscle than the guys who trained with weights but did not get the
testosterone! That's right, the couch potatoes on steroids gained more muscle
than the natural guys training with weights (poor bastards!). Also, the guys who
trained with weights but did not get the testosterone, had a big drop in HDL
cholesterol (the good cholesterol) while the guys on steroids had no drop in HDL!
Like the song says "how do ya like me nowwwww!"
In conclusion, the study found 600mg of
testosterone enanthate did not change lipid profiles, did not raise prostate-specific
antigens, or increase aggression. So what does this study tell us? It tells us
what even the dumbest bodybuilder has known for years; that moderate doses of
steroids builds muscle and has little if any negative impact on your health. Now
before you people out there who use steroids start dancing in the street
chanting "I told you so, I told you so," don't forget that steroids do have
potential side effects and when abused they do have risks, so use a little
common sense. If you get thrown in jail, don't come whining to me when your cell
mate says "hey Bob, yer lookin mighty fine in them jeans boy." Yikes!
So after all these years of biased-poorly done-goofy-steroid
research, why does this new study pop up in NEJM and show the reality of
moderate steroid use without all the scare tactics? The answer can be found in
the final paragraph, which states:
- "Our findings do, however, raise the
possibility that short term administration of androgens may have beneficial
effects in immobilized patients, during space travel, and in patients with
cancer-related cachexia, disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),
or other chronic wasting disorders."
Space travel? "Space shuttle to mission
control, I can't fit into my space suit anymore, can you send me up an
extra-extra large?" So what's the secret message you ask? The pharmaceutical
industry and political/medical complex have finally realized that anabolic
steroids for use in diseases such as AIDS, cancer, and others, is a huge
untapped market for them. Now that we have a population that's getting older,
there will be a mountain of money to be made from testosterone replacement
therapy and steroids can reverse many of the ailments we associate with aging,
such as loss of muscle, stamina, and sex drive. What? Gramps can't get a stiffy
Give em a shot of Cypionate once a month! "Here
pop's, go shave your nads and put these little patches on." By the time this
article comes out, the above study will already have been plastered all over the
news and in the news papers. Over the next year or two you will start seeing
additional research (funded by large pharmaceutical companies) showing steroids
to have all sorts of medical uses (which they do) and that steroids are not the
evil liver trashing, ax murderer producing, scourge they have been made out to
be. Will the legal status change?
It really depends on how much money there is to
be made and how much pressure the drug companies can bring to bear on law makers
as they wave there shiny new studies showing steroids are not so bad after all.
As usual, bodybuilders and other athletes are left to "walk the walk" while the
medical community, politicians, and researchers "talk the talk, " as the two
sides still can't see eye to eye. Yes, things are improving in this department,
but it will be quite some time before the experience of athletes, trainers, and
pain in the ass wise guy writers like me, converge with the conservative medical
and scientific communities.
More Words of Wisdom........Not!
"Athletes don't need more protein than
sedentary people," "we get all the vitamins we need from our food," "Just eat
more carbohydrates and avoid all fat in your diet if you want to lose weight," "all
steroids in any dosage will make your liver fall out and turn you into a hypo
gonadal ax murderer," and finally, "going below parallel when you squat will
ruin your knees" are typical statements made by researchers and doctors who
continue to ignore research to the contrary and clearly have no real life
experience working with athletes. I am sure you could come up with a few more of
these stupid statements that make us all foam at the mouth with irritation.
Though slowly but surly changing, it is unfortunate that the majority of doctors,
researchers, and nutritionists still believe the above statement(s). Although
there are cutting edge scientists and others in the field who would totally
disagree with the above statements, they are, unfortunately, in the minority.
For example, Dr. Lemon, a leading researcher on
protein requirements for athletes, disagrees with the idea that endurance and
strength athletes don't need more protein than Mr. Potato Head, errr... I mean
Mr. couch potato . Linus Pauling, considered one of the greatest scientific
minds who ever lived, spent most of his career trying to convince the world we
would benefit from far higher intakes of many vitamins (especially vitamin C)
than could ever be found in our food. Dr. Udo Erasmus, the guy who "wrote the
book" on fats, would most definitely disagree with the concept of trying to
avoid fats in our diet for losing weight and improving health. We all know Dr.
Mauro DiPasquale, one of the few doctors with real world knowledge of steroids,
would laugh at the common belief that all steroids lead to health problems.
Finally, Canadian Olympic coach Charles
Poliquin has written several times that squatting far bellow parallel is not
detrimental to your knees, provided your form is good and you are fully warmed
up. However, these people, including yours truly, are still fighting an up-hill
battle and are in the minority. The truth can never be suppressed, it can only
Don't Be Anti-science just 'cause I'm In a
Of course the reader of this mean spirited
sarcastic little piece should not be inclined to become anti-science or anti-research.
Good research done by quality scientists is essential to furthering our
understanding of human physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, or what ever is
relevant to bodybuilding, health, or life itself. However, you have to ask the
right questions to get the right answers, no? Asking the question "does anabolic
steroids increase muscle in humans?" in 1996 is proof positive that the gap
between those that "walk the walk" and those who "talk the talk" is still wider
than the average American's butt!
About the Author - William D. Brink
Will Brink is a columnist, contributing consultant, and writer for various
health/fitness, medical, and bodybuilding publications. His articles relating to
nutrition, supplements, weight loss, exercise and medicine can be found in such
publications as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag International, The Life
Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body
International, Power, Oxygen, Penthouse, Women?s World and The Townsend Letter
He is the author of Priming The Anabolic Environment and Weight
Loss Nutrients Revealed. He is the Consulting Sports Nutrition Editor and a
monthly columnist for Physical magazine and an Editor at Large for Power
magazine. Will graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in the
natural sciences, and is a consultant to major supplement, dairy, and
He has been co author of several studies relating to sports nutrition and health
found in peer reviewed academic journals, as well as having commentary published
in JAMA. He runs the highly popular web site BrinkZone.com which is
strategically positioned to fulfill the needs and interests of people with
diverse backgrounds and knowledge. The BrinkZone site has a following with many
sports nutrition enthusiasts, athletes, fitness professionals, scientists,
medical doctors, nutritionists, and interested lay people. William has been
invited to lecture on the benefits of weight training and nutrition at
conventions and symposiums around the U.S. and Canada, and has appeared on
numerous radio and television programs.
William has worked with athletes ranging from professional bodybuilders,
golfers, fitness contestants, to police and military personnel.
See Will's ebooks online here:
Muscle Building Nutrition
A complete guide bodybuilding supplements and eating to gain lean muscle
Diet Supplements Revealed
A review of diet
supplements and guide to eating for maximum fat loss
He can be contacted at: PO Box 812430
Wellesley MA. 02482.
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