Shortcut that could cut lives short
THE Malaysian Body Builder Junkies Club is warning people about the dangers of abusing uncertified muscle-growth drugs.
Its founder, who is popularly known as Kapten Waja, said he had seen the fatal effects of anabolic steroid abuse.
“I’ve had many young friends who died suddenly, leaving behind young kids. The hospitals and doctors weren’t able to diagnose why these people died suddenly. But the reason is obvious to us.
“The authorities should be vigilant and ensure that these products don’t make it into the country.
“It’s not just protein shakes, it’s all sorts of steroids that are coming into our country and being pushed at gyms.”
The 51-year-old bodybuilder, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the sport, said youngsters needed to realise that steroid abuse did not just carry the danger of instant death but also caused long-term side effects that were irreversible.
“High-blood pressure, kidney disease, liver damage and nerve problems are only some of the effects of taking steroids and bodybuilding supplements.
“Those who are serious about bodybuilding, especially youngsters, should remember that exercise is key.
“Having a sculpted body is a bonus for those who are disciplined and consistent. Being overzealous to the point of resorting to steroids and other substances should not be an option.
“I eat healthy and exercise everyday, and I don’t buy steroids and supplements.
“I hope to empower youngsters to know that there is no easy way to get the body that you want. Remember that bodybuilding is about looking young, stylish and being in the best of moods. That is what makes us stand out from the rest.
“Stay away from steroids. No good can come from it. Realise that there are many pushers in the gyms. Don’t fall prey.”
He said those who took drugs and supplements to get quick results often did not even bother to look at the ingredients listed on the bottles.
“Using steroids without a doctor’s advice is extremely dangerous, especially in the long term,” he said.
“The problem lies in the gym locker room where many are pushing these drugs without any knowledge of the side effects and dangers. They are not qualified, yet they assume that a few sessions in the gym give them the expertise to push and teach others to body build.”
Total Wellness Centre founder and medical director Dr Alice Prethima Michael said many in Generation Y were taken with the idea of having a sculpted body and did not know that the dangers of steroid abuse were real and life-threatening.
“They might suffer from abnormal fat deposits around the breast area (male gynecomastia). This causes kidney and liver damage, hair loss, acne and darkening of the skin, as well as diseases like diabetes and extreme weight gain.
“They will also suffer from poor wound healing. They can exhibit extreme behaviour, aggression or anxiety. These symptoms are very common among people who abuse this kind of substance.”
Instead of taking a short cut by taking steroids, Dr Alice said, bodybuilders should have a healthy diet and regular moderate exercise.
“Resistance training by gradually increasing weights is important to build up healthy muscles without causing injury to the joints. The diet can have higher amounts of good grade proteins, and organic is preferred.
“Healthy oils from salmon, mackerel and nuts must be added to the diet. But, excluding carbohydrates completely or dehydrating oneself by not drinking water to look edged is not good practice.
“Of course, to remain at optimal health and in good body shape according to your age might require taking good supplements such as omega oils, branched chain amino acids and antioxidants under a doctor’s guidance.
“This can also be gained through your daily food intake without resorting to extreme measures.”
She said huge muscles did not necessarily translate into great physical fitness.
“I have come across these cases on and off — thin individuals with smaller muscle definition and a little abdominal fat or love handle wanting to remove the extra fat and shift it to their chest area, abdomen or biceps to look more muscled.
“Many are advised to take performance-enhancing and bodybuilding supplements like growth hormones, testosterone and steroids, as well as powders containing creatinine and dangerous anabolic steroids,” Dr Alice said.
“They also lift weights beyond their capabilities, which can put them at a higher risk of muscular skeletal injuries.”
Kapten Waja has been involved in bodybuilding for 30 years.