Have you heard or Ricky Garard, Ryan Elrod or female athletes Emily Abbott or Natalie Newhart? These CrossFit Games competitors made the news for testing positive for steroids. But, is the problem widespread or is it an isolated thing? Keep on reading to find out all the details you need to know.
Crossfit is a relative newcomer in the health and fitness world. It is seriously addictive for some. People either love it and cannot get enough of it, or hate it. But what does CrossFit mean? It is a fitness program that combines a wide variety of functional movements into a timed or scored workout. It’s a competitive workout program that combines multiple sports and training.
But there is a darker side that has emerged with CrossFit. The notable use of steroids. Anabolic steroid is a derivative of the male sex hormone, testosterone. It’s a misperception to think that performance-enhancing drugs (PED) are used by professional athletes only.
Amateur CrossFitters use these substances not just to enhance their proficiency at their sport, but to develop body image for cosmetic purposes, like weight loss and muscle gain. It can be a tempting shortcut to take steroids to achieve some great results, but there are certainly some harmful side effects to be aware of.
What You Need to Know About Steroids
There are a number of key things you need to know about steroids and other banned substances, including what exactly they are as well as potential harm that they can cause. Here are some of the highlights.
WHAT ARE THEY?
Why are body-builders so big? Some have a strict regime of diet, weightlifting, fasting, liquid intake, and supplements. Others have gotten big the easier way, through the illegal use of them.
They are man-made chemicals. They are used in medicine to help people with anemia and the temporary relief of muscle and tendon pain due to inflammation. These are not anabolic steroids. They copy the effect of the male hormone, testosterone. These steroids build muscle and increase strength. They can be swallowed as tablets, injected directly into the muscle or through the skin in gels and creams.
ABUSE OF ANABOLIC STEROIDS
These substances are widely abused throughout the world. They increase lean muscle mass in conjunction with weight training. Many males and females use steroids to help them achieve a perfect body.
These drugs are usually illegally obtained on the Black Market. People of all ages have been known to misuse these drugs, especially adolescent boys who suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. They spend their time worrying about their imperfect bodies. They see themselves as physically weak and unmanly.
Often people think by taking anabolic steroids they will become fit and healthy. This is a falsehood: it’s a dangerous drug habit than can result in death and takes years off your life.
Compare this to someone like Rich Froning who says that he never uses drugs. Instead, he just works his butt off to get some great results!
ARE THEY DANGEROUS?
The side effects depend on the sex of the user, their age, the specific product, the quantity, and the length of abuse. These may include:
- changes in libido
- increased red cell count
- acne, particularly on the body, not the face
- low sperm count
- enlarged male breasts
- fluid retention
- hair growth in women and hair loss in men
- low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) and high levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol (HDL)
- pain in urinating
PROBLEMS WITH OVERUSE OF STEROIDS
Overuse of anabolic steroids can be hazardous and lead to:
- cardiovascular problems including heart attack and stroke resulting in death
- liver damage leading to liver cancer
- bone weakness and calcium deficiency
- stunted growth in teenagers
- shrinking testicles and sterility
- shrinking breasts, increased facial and body hair, and deepening voice in women
CHANGES IN BEHAVIOUR WITH PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS
There are also side effects on behaviour, including:
- mood swings
- reckless behavior
CrossFit Women on Steroids?
Emily Abbott is one high-profile female CrossFit athlete who got busted for using steroids. Natalie Newhart is another one who tested positive. Find out more information about CrossFit women and banned substances here:
A common question is whether or not Brooke Ence uses steroids. When you take a look at the before and after pictures, it certainly makes some people wonder. However, she has not tested positive for them to date so we can only assume that she’s clean.
What do you think about female CrossFit athletes and steroids? Is it a big problem, or just a small percentage of the athletes who are using banned substances?
Crossfit and Steroids
There are a number of things to consider when you talk about steroids within the CrossFit community. Here are a few of the highlights.
ACCUSATIONS OF CROSSFIT AND PEDS
After several highly publicized scandals with elite CrossFit athletes, some experts declare that CrossFit is rife with steroids. Indeed the bodies of the CrossFit fanatics look artificially pumped. Taxing their bodies to such a degree is one reason for them taking illegal substances. They help recovery and enhance muscle growth.
CrossFitters were not surprised when the top Australian CrossFit Games athlete, Ricky Garad, was found cheating at the 2017 CrossFit Games and was stripped of his title and prize money, along with receiving a 4-year ban from competition. He responded that all the top athletes were on something, although most obviously deny this.
Again in 2018, the CrossFit Games banned their highest-profile female athlete, Emily Abbott, from America, along with 13 other athletes for drug cheating.
Another athlete in the news was Ryan Elrod who got a 2-year ban after testing positive during a regional competition. Although he was taking fertility drugs to help his wife get pregnant, the ban still stood.
CROSSFIT’S ANTI-DOPING PROGRAMME
CrossFit Inc has announced new and tightened testing procedures prior to the 2019 WorldCross Games, which start in Hong Kong at the end of July. CrossFit has partnered with Drug-Free Sports U.S., which analyzes for the NFL, NBA and 300 other elite sports and athletic organizations, to administer its testing program. It should be an interesting test of their ability to control the persistent use of steroids and other banned substances at their Annual CrossFit event.
We welcome the addition of an independent testing body with lots of experience to this popular athletic competition. The athletes and sponsors likely do too! It’s also worth nothing that testing of the top athletes can happen at any time throughout the year, not just during major competitions.
If caught, athletes usually receive a 2-4 year ban from all official CrossFit competitions around the world. Is it worth it? Likely not for the top athletes who stand to lose a ton of money in way of prize money and sponsorships, not to mention respect from those around them.
NOT JUST THE ELITE ATHLETES USE BANNED SUBSTANCES
There is much-published commentary that it is not just the elite CrossFit games athletes using steroids. It has been noted recently in a U.K. study that approximately 13% of 128 athletes have used anabolics and other performance-enhancing drugs. Participants admitted that they used these substances to develop their body image – 50%, lose weight – 41.6%. And gain weight – 25%.
THE TYPE OF ATHLETES IT PRODUCES
Take a look around at the athletes during the next CrossFit Games. Most of them are built, in a huge way and it wouldn’t be such a stretch for them to make the transition into professional bodybuilding. That’s how buff many of them are. Sure, there are exceptions, but we’re talking about generalities here.
It’s for this reason that many people think that these athletes must be on a banned substance. However, the truth is that CrossFitters are often huge because they train like almost nobody else in the world, especially with regards to dynamic weightlifting. This type of training naturally produces people who are ripped in comparison to most other athletes.
The winner of the CrossFit Games is declared to be the fittest person on Earth. This is quite an accurate description and it’s our belief that they got there through hard work, not illegal drug us.
IT HURTS PEOPLE WHO TRAIN CLEANLY
One of the major problems with those who get stronger and bigger with the use of PEDs without necessarily doing the years of training is that it makes an unfair playing field. What about all those people who did train for years without the use of PEDs? How can these two groups of people compete against each other? It just doesn’t seem fair, right?
The good news is that most major sports organizations take this problem very seriously and have a system in place that requires that their athletes get tested for PEDs on a regular basis every year or two, or at certain times throughout the year. This simple thing could be the answer that most sports fans are looking for as it can even the playing field and ensure a fair level of competition, as well as those within the organizations.
It’s our opinion this thing should not be left up to the individual. When big prize money and sponsorships are at stake, people will certainly cheat and some are willing to do anything to get a leg up. We hope that eventually we might live in a world without this problem, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen!
A robust testing system could also add years to peoples’ lives as it will prevent people from getting started with PEDs in the first place. This simple thing could certainly be an answer to many of the problems in sport, even though it will take some change. Crossfit steroids: hopefully it won’t be as big of problem in the future!
Steroids in CrossFit: Learn More About this Problem
Do you want to find out more about peds, whether or not CrossFit athletes get tested, and more? Then the first order of the day should be to check out this short video:
Looking for Solutions – Health Promotion and CrossFit Doping
We believe the increased use of illegal substances in amateur sport requires a new approach by governments. An approach that emphasizes good health and harm minimization.
New strategies such as school education, testing of drug quality, and medical advice should be considered. There must be a social shift in the differentiation of Crossfit elite athletes and amateur CrossFitter. The emphasis should be on fun and health, not the body beautiful at all cost.
Basically, there is no shortcuts if you want to be a top athlete (or any elite athlete for that matter). This goal should be achieved through hard work, strict diet, coaching and the right equipment. Of course, genetics plays a big role in this as well. It shouldn’t be achieved or helped by illegal drugs, which is actually cheating.
When you consider the side effects of steroids, it just isn’t worth it. This is to mention nothing of the bans from competition and loss on sponsorships if caught.
10 Athletes Banned from the CrossFit Games due to Anabolic Agents
These people tested positive for the use of metabolic substances, including a number of women CrossFit athletes including Emily Abbott:
Have your Say about CrossFit and Steroid Use
What are your thoughts about steroids or other performance enhancing drugs within the CrossFit world? Or, on those athletes who got busted for PEDs and doping? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook. It’ll help other people, like yourself who want to raise awareness about this serious problem.
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