LEAN Ambassador Sarah Donohue's blog
More and more individuals both male and female of all ages are using drugs to enhance their looks. The muscle bound masses used to call training drugs PEDs (performance enhancing drugs), but now it seems that the name has changed to IPEDs (image and performance enhancing drugs), which in reality is far more apt.
So what’s the difference between PEDs and IPEDs?
There is no difference. IPEDs are the same thing it’s just that at last someone has put an ‘I’ at the beginning which makes sense because it’s all about ‘image’. Yes of course the IPEDs help you go longer, get stronger and recover quicker, because they are PEDs but they are just used for a different reason, but that’s just part and parcel of looking better than everyone else who is also wearing small pants or a bikini.
Sports professionals, uses PEDs. When I say sports professionals I am talking actual sports such as track and field, not lifting weights to stand on stage in small pants. An actual physically exhausting and challenging sport which has been inbred in you since childhood, you have dedicated your life to it, you may have even had a scholarship in it and by late teens you are representing your country in a legitimate sport controlled by WADA (world anti-doping agency). So with that in mind, it is in these sports where the drugs would be known as PEDs because it’s all about performance, getting that edge. So in actuality, it is just what they are used for that is the real difference between IPEDs and PEDs.
IPEDs of course give you the edge by speeding up your metabolic rate and being able to drop fat quicker, build and retain muscle easier. Basically you don’t need to work as hard as your non-drug taking counterpart to look the same. And your non-drug taking counterpart will never be able to achieve the muscle size and development that you can achieve. This is clearly visible when looking at competitors in a drug tested federation compared to non-tested competitors.
Who uses them?
When it comes to IPEDs, men are more likely to buy online from an unreliable source over women who are more careful. It’s also men who are more likely to introduce a woman to IPEDs rather than her go looking for them off her own back. Women are more cautious and initially think that steroids will make them massive when in fact, taken with research and knowledge they can do everything you desire them to do. The numbers of women taking IPEDs in the last few years has almost doubled as the Fitness Model arena has grown. With everyone searching for perfection, the rate of young men taking them is growing all the time. This isn’t difficult to see as you watch younger competitors come through the ranks of the fitness shows with such incredible muscle size and definition. At such a young age, in reality this would be difficult to achieve unless you have played a major sport since being a young child such as rugby or gymnastics.
Most gyms don’t allow early teens entry unless they are with an adult, so when you see boys age 18 with ripped muscle definition and size, if there has been no muscle memory from childhood sport then one has to question where it has come from. We all know how hard it is to build muscle to perfection naturally, even with the perfect diet.
Has the media affected it?
The image of a fitness model has somewhat changed for both men and women over the years, but the images promoted by men for men are much more concerning than the images promoted for women. For example, if you pick up a fitness magazine geared towards the male market, the cover model will be absolutely shredded, a hugely defined 6-pack, impressive delts and a stacked chest. This is what men want to emulate, the cover model on the magazine.
Many years ago, it was incredibly difficult for a man to achieve this look but now it seems everyone looks this way and it’s become the norm. How? It’s not like we workout harder or any differently now than we did years ago. Yes techniques develop all the time but not to that extent. A bench press is still a bench press regardless of it being level, incline or decline, so how do they do it? IPEDs maybe? I mean who is testing? After all, the magazine wants to sell millions of copies so as long as it doesn’t know how their cover model got that stacked then there isn’t a problem is there? People within this industry and those surrounding it are now more likely to turn a blind eye. In the Bodybuilding world it’s rife.
Females are the most curious for it is not the cover model they want to emulate because the female fitness cover model has rarely changed over the years, unlike its male counterpart who has got bigger and more ripped. In the UK the female cover model has never had muscles. She is slim and to be fair rarely has any curves. She has a nice smile, healthy skin and great hair, but definition? No she does not. So why in the competitions do women go for a Fitness Model look that in reality does not exist off stage or in the mainstream world? It is not a marketable look like the men, they cannot earn money for looking that way in print as the men can do, nor can they ever feature in mainstream magazines fitness or otherwise.
Women’s mags are so unlikely to feature a girl with an overly athletic body, a raging 6 pack or belting delts, unless it’s a ‘real life’ story. Why? Because it’s not attainable by the masses and if it’s not attainable then it doesn’t sell. To some women it may be offensive, so the female Fitness Model isn’t a role model to the masses. She is simply nothing once leaving the stage. Albeit she can earn money via social media and followers etc, but she will never be chosen for a women’s health magazine to be a cover model or otherwise. She won’t feature in fitness DVD’s nor will she be able to work on TV as an ‘expert’ because the masses simply cannot relate to her, nor do most want to be her.
Overall, the media has played a big role on the ‘right’‘image and this has arguably affected who uses IPEDs. It is down to this ‘image’ that more women are curious about IPEDs than men and refrain from using them.
Should we drug test/lie detect these individuals?
Some people may agree that these fitness models or competitors should be tested but is there any point? After all, the cover sells the magazine and titles such as ‘the easy way to a six pack’ and ‘get big delts in a month’ next to the cover model with the shredded abs isn’t actually true. There is no quick or easy way to this shredded look because if there was everyone would look like that male cover model. We have to ask ourselves, has the world been taken over by selfies and social media, apps and filters, steroids and diuretics to get that fine tuning with everyone actually denying all of it?
I come from an era where we didn’t have social media and the ability to change pictures with filters and steroids back then I hadn’t even heard of. Was I sheltered or was it simply not ‘the norm’. Whatever it is, it has made the fitness industry boom and regardless of if we agree with any of this, the bottom line is that more and more people are getting into the industry and that can only be a good thing. There are more people wanting to train, eat healthily, feel and look good. So although, I love and respect the days of old, I take my hat off to change and with more and more fast food joints opening up on every street corner, we need a healthier approach to life.
For any questions please email me at Sarah@sarahdonohue.com or Instagram @fastsarah