Disclaimer “I'm not the greatest writer, I'm more of a numbers man. One thing I've learnt from all the CrossFit is, if you are rubbish at a particular skill you have to work at it. I'll apologise in advance for the grammatical errors.” - Dellus West 2012 - Osteopath London Bridge


Apologies to all those who thought my 'Roids' title was referring to haemorrhoids, I have no useful information to pass on regarding the matter and I'd have probably titled it 'Rhoids'.

A topic I would like to discuss is the use of performance enhancing drugs (PED's). As much as I would like to believe every single athlete is 'clean', history has provided handfuls who have been caught out. Discussing steroid use seems to be a taboo topic and difficult to get people to actually tell you what they know on the subject.
I would like to refer you to an interview with Angel Heredia, chief witness to the U.S Justice Department, who was found to be involved in supplying PED's to athletes.
Here is a transcript of a discussion I had with a professional athlete (A), who very honestly and openly talked about their use of Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
DW- "How long have you been supplementing with HGH?"
A- "For a while now, not sure exactly but I cycle usage when in training. I have sufficient periods off to allow for my natural hormone balance to level out."
DW- "Why did you decide to use PED's, you are clearly a talented individual so I don't understand why you would?"
A- "Ha-Ha thanks! It helps my recovery and allows me to train harder. Obviously I still have to put the training in, but my ability to recover whilst using HGH allows me the required training volume without having to sacrifice days off due to soreness."
DW- "How about implementing standard recovery protocols? For example cleaning up your diet, getting 8 hours sleep a night, stretching, mobility, treatments?"
A- "Yes, I do all of that but it just isn't enough! You have to understand there is money and my career on the line. How I see it is this: You wouldn't use normal petrol from the service station in a formula one car now would you?"
I actually admired this athlete's honesty. I'm not sure on the rules within their sport, but I was under the impression that PED's were rife. I know of strength & conditioning coaches who believe you will never reach your full potential if you don't use PED's.
Make Shift Stand Up Desk. Back Pain Sucks!
Whilst researching the topic I was informed of a book titled Anabolics. It is certainly the bible on PED's. What became clear was that those willing to spend money on a very knowledgable chemist, certainly played a far safer game than what I suspect most steroid users play.


Playing it Safe

A standard cycle should include pre-cycle, on-cycle and post-cycle blood testing. This provides a baseline value which is particularly important for the post cycle and to make sure anabolic agents are not seriously effecting the health of the athlete. A full liver panel should be conducted and lipid screening due to the effects on long term steroid use on the cardiovascular system and liver.
On-cycle testing should be performed generally 3-4 weeks into the cycle, monitoring levels in comparison with the baseline. Again this should check lipid levels and a full liver panel especially if using agents that are toxic to the liver (hepatotoxic).
Post-cycle testing should be used to analyse hormone levels and used to gauge against pre-cycle levels. Most importantly with regards to testosterone (males), also follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinising Hormone (LH) monitoring for hypogonadism (the part where your bollocks shrink).


(Q) Are the worlds top CrossFit athletes (Regional & Games Athletes) using performance enhancing drugs?
The answer I guess is most likely Yes!
I'm positive there are some athletes out there that are natural beasts. However, Reebok providing prize money ($250,000) along with other corporations such as Rogue and Again Faster offering sponsorship deals, I think it is fair to say there is enough temptation for an athlete to consider using PED's.
$250,000 is a life changing sum of money. The drug testing procedure wouldn't be hard to beat, considering CF HQ told everyone when they would be performing the testing. Cycles could easily be planned around regional and games competitions and that's not even the start. We haven't even touched on the topic of designer steroids.
The fatal flaw of the testing is that you actually need to have some idea of what you are testing for, not to mention what the chemical structure of these compounds look like in a urine sample once metabolised by the body. A true designer steroid is chemically unique next to the known anabolic steroid, sharing no common metabolites and thus is undetectable.


My Opinion

I've been accused of using steroids. At first it used to piss me off because people were attributing my hard work and dedication to using PED's. In time I turned this negative spin into a positive because getting wound up about it made me feel like shit. Instead I just laugh now when people ask/accuse. I now think wow I must be doing something right if they can only associate my performance with PED's. All they have to do is come spend a day, week, month with me, then they'll see how hard I train.
The funniest experience was one summer when I was walking to my uncle's house with my shirt off.. As I was crossing the country road, a motorbike with it's passenger came round the corner at speed, slowed down just before me and the driver proceeded to shout to his passenger "Hey Bill, look at this fucking 'roid head!" before speeding off.
How do I feel about fellow competitors using PED's? The issue I have is with an athlete who claims they are 'clean' when actually they are not. If they went into a competition openly stating that they have used PED's to get to where they are I don't think I would mind as much. If it was the difference between a sponsorship deal or not, I would expect the sponsors to work with the 'clean' athlete. In reality would this ever happen, probably not.
In a medical setting steroids have a variety of fantastic uses. These range from treating growth disorders in children to muscle wasting associated in diseases such as HIV. I think this is what steroids should be exclusively used for and not for increasing athletic performance.