How do cheating natural bodybuilders pass drug tests? For, uuuuuh, purely educational purposes, of course. Jokes aside, supposedly natural competitions, from bodybuilding to Olympic sports, face the reality of doping. In a contest of athletic performance, it is paramount that all competitors be on a level playing field; sadly, though, the hunger for an advantage drives many to abandon the principles of sportsmanship and cheat both their opponents and ultimately themselves in order to gain an edge on the competition, abandoning the tenets of natural bodybuilding in the process.
But, aren’t drug tests in place to stop precisely that? How do they get passed them?
An excellent and highly pertinent question. While drug tests have never claimed to be unbeatable, the sheer number of doping cases, let alone those that go undiscovered, prompts the question: Just how are they circumventing them?
It poses a problem for the sport, a stain on the reputation of the community, and an injustice to those who find themselves left in the dust by the metaphorical equivalent of a marathon runner bringing a bicycle to the race. Thankfully, we’ve got our very own Fred Chevry, with his 10+ years of experience as a pro natural bodybuilder, to give us the insider scoop on the inner workings of this world, and relay some of his own first-hand accounts on the matter.
The Reality of Drug Use in the Bodybuilding Scene
Now, bodybuilding and steroids are practically synonymous, even to the layman. Which, whether one wants to accept the fact or not, impacts all under the umbrella of the term. This includes everything from the pressures under which each individual competitor finds themselves subjected, to the image of the industry as a whole, something even (so-called) natural bodybuilding isn’t safe from.
Why “so-called”? Well, because despite its label and often genuine attempt at impeding the use of PEDs by its competitors, this proves impossible( at least not without a significant margin of error). Be it due to corruption, or simple inability, natural bodybuilding is more so “undetectable PED” bodybuilding, a reality which, to those who choose to remain true and push themselves without pulling an Armstrong, proves insanely frustrating, to say the least.
But what’s the point of drug testing if it seems so easily overcome? Yes, it may filter out some more indiscreet compounds, but can bodybuilders really get away with cheating that easily and frequently? How are they doing it?
How Exactly Bodybuilders Pass Drug Tests
Here’s the bread and butter, the meat and potatoes of why you’re here. And unfortunately for the reality of the bodybuilding scene, there’s quite a hefty helping to be had. Bodybuilders looking to cheat the system and deprive anyone, including themselves, of an actual win, can deploy some of the following methods:
- Urine swap-out: Ol’ reliable right there, athletes often carry a clean sample that they’ll submit to testing instead of their own, be it through a demand for privacy before making the switch or the use of a Whizzinator to fool the observer. Some tests are so simple that mere diuretics allow for enough urine dilution to make the metabolites undetectable, coupled with creatine supplementation to throw your levels off.
- Compound timing: Instead of duping the test, some competitors opt to pass it through bad faith compound use, timing their dosages and regimes in such a way that they piss clean come time to be checked. MuscleMania Natural Champion and Profesional Bodybuilder, Fred Chevry, tells us of a fellow competitor who revealed to him how he would go on full-blown cycles in the off-season, only to taper off in time to test clean before the show, and even go so far as to hop back on numerous quick acting compounds between the test and the actual competition. This competitor went on to win the world title, and after returning to his home country, gave an interview on national television claiming natural. One example of who knows how many.
- Bribery & Corruption: I might’ve jumped the gun by calling urine swap-out ol’ faithful, because this method is as old as man himself. As early on as the concept of trade has existed, bribery and corruption have been right there with it. Money isn’t always the object either, with anything from social influence to sexual favors coming into play, which in turn sullies the industry’s image as a whole, significantly diminishing its already dwindling legitimacy. Fred retells another example of a competitor who didn’t even bother cycling off for shows, and how it was not only blatantly obvious in his physique, but in the fact that they didn’t even require him to register, forgoing at least putting on the facade. Absolute, unabashed corruption.
But wait, there’s more! Not only are there these methods when it comes to passing a urine test a competitor would have otherwise failed, but we haven’t even gotten into the amount of PEDs available which simply can’t be screened for when properly used. These include, but are not limited to:
- Testosterone Suspension
- Myostatin Inhibitors
- Human Growth Hormone
- Prescription Drugs (competitors abusing their legitimate medical prescriptions to give them an edge)
And while this covers quite a bit of ground on the matter, it by no means fully encompasses all that these cheaters have at their disposal to dodge regulations. Now that we’ve covered the how, let’s take a look at the why, as well as the aftermath of it all.
How It Affects the Bodybuilding Scene as a Whole
While you’d think the heading of this section would imply that its effects are, well, the effect, while the substance misuse is the cause, in reality, they each lead to one another, creating a vicious, self-sustaining loop in which bodybuilders use PEDs to obtain an edge, prompting others to partake also lest they be left in the dust.
This isn’t the only reason, though, with a number of other instigators existing, often, surprisingly enough, not coming primarily nor directly from the competitor themselves. Oftentimes sponsors push those they support to cheat in order to further guarantee a win and therefore promote the brand more efficiently, or show hosts will invite prominent social media figures and conveniently fumble their drug tests so that, if (or more aptly once) said guest of honor wins, the show receives that much more publicity, bolstering the hosts status as well as bring a little extra money to their pockets, both in the short and long term. All of these factors together work tirelessly to deteriorate the image of bodybuilding as a whole, and to make the scene all the less safe for new and existing competitors, as well as, again, discourage those who stay true to morality.
Fred remarks to us about how dishonesty surrounding the industry was rampant to the point of ironic honesty within, with a foreign competitor once stating in broken English “Yes, me steroids” without a care in the world. Because that’s just how broken the system is, that he didn’t even fear repercussion.
And let’s not forget that the bodybuilding scene stems beyond the shows themselves. Drug abuse amongst those who are the face of the industry promotes a standard unattainable to the unknowing novice, leading them to become discouraged & disillusioned, or to resort to PEDs themselves, merely out of body image issues rather than any inherent “need” for them. Not to mention instilling inherent dishonesty throughout the industry, as it’s come to be reluctantly accepted that they can’t tell the truth lest they lose sponsorship opportunities and therefore in large part their livelihoods.
“A lot of the poster boys of these organizations & supplement companies aren’t even drug users, they’re drug abusers, they’re walking pharmacies, so, that’s a little bit of a problem if you fail to mention that” – Fred Chevry
Many will say that no industry is without its problems, and while yes, that is indeed the case, whataboutism doesn’t change the fact that this specific industry’s problems aren’t inconsequential and have realistically straightforward avenues through which said problems can be addressed.
What Natural Bodybuilding Should be and How to Get it There
So what are these avenues? What can be done to start moving the state of the industry in the right direction?
Well, for starters, natural bodybuilding has a marketing problem.
“Natural Bodybuilding organizations, which should be promoting health and fitness, are doing a terrible job at marketing themselves; they don’t get much attention, despite fighting for a good cause. They’re just not great, and that’s an issue” -Fred Chevry
This is already a blatant flaw in need of address. The organizations in their current state have gotten comfortable pushing the wrong things, for the wrong reasons; if the proper attention were put into reshaping the way in which it’s sold, not a shady bastion of supposed-but-openly-dishonest drug-free bodybuilding, but rather an actual celebration of health and fitness, here to display what can be achieved through a balanced pursuit of physical development and optimal health, then maybe we’d begin to see some change, some momentum moving the scene forward in the right direction. But alas, if only change were so simple as identifying the problem.
Another, more obvious avenue, is more stringent testing, perhaps even to the extent of being regulated by third-party organizations, in order to diminish the bribery issue spoken of earlier in the article. Accountability is needed, as those on top have shown that they can’t be trusted to operate fairly without it.
While somewhat disillusioning to conclude that the path to improvement is long and arduous, it would’ve been insincere to believe that over the course of a single article, a quick and concise method toward change could be found. But the problems are obvious, and the fix, while not easy, is surprisingly simple. It’s just a matter of actually setting things in motion.
In the meantime, though, let’s end things on a tad more of a jovial note. If you click here, you’ll be able to enter our site wide giveaway, setting you up for a chance to win any number of goodies be they electronics, supplements, coaching packages and more! Come on over and win yourself something special.