"It doesn't matter if you're a broker on Wall Street or breaking necks on the 50 yard line. When money is involved people will play dirty and break the rules"
"In early 2000 I qualified for the Olympics in the Shot Put with a throw of 68 feet... Had a baby... Inherited a brand new Ferrari and bought my first house. I was flying high. Life looked and felt good. Then I ate shit. And I mean that figuratively, of course. I got caught up selling a few things I probably, in retrospect, shouldn't have. . .I got popped. . . and then, after my release, I began drinking wine every night to dull the pain. Eventually, a glass a night turned into a bottle, a bottle turned into two, two bottles of wine turned into a quart of vodka a few times a day with a few beers thrown in for good measure. I threw away an opportunity for sure, but life kept on going as it always does."
Those are the words of a man I've had the privilege of sharing a few workouts with. In this piece we'll refer to my friend as Athlete-X, or just AX. Through a few trials and tribulations he managed to survive his personal problems and carry on a happy, healthy and successful life. But something bugs AX.
"Being an ex-Olympic qualifying athlete I've trained with athletes from the Olympic caliber, to professional football players, strength coaches and even a couple bodybuilders. I've made my way through some of the nicest gyms across the U.S.A. and had the chance to give strength seminars to countless numbers of people. Beings that I've been in intimate settings with many of these athletes I've come to understand the current drug trends in all walks of sports. And this perverse belief held by most of the American population that the athletes you see on T.V. are tested and are clean is just wrong. You hear this, especially about Olympic athletes, because the IOC is known to have stringent testing protocols around the time of the Olympics".
RX: Let's just get down to business. What bothers you so much about what the general population thinks about athletes and their drug use?
AX: First off, I get bothered the most when someone thinks because one athlete gets caught using PED'S that he's the black sheep, the rebel of sorts and nobody else is doing it. It's like Barry Bonds, he got crucified when they found out he used PED's, and no attention was given to many others. That ties into athletics as a whole being doped. Wake the fuck up people, Barry is just one of the sheep that got snagged in the fence. There's more in the herd. They just didn't get caught. That's probably the biggest thing that bothers me. And this idea that you can spot a steroid user, or someone who uses performance-enhancing substances is just silly too. I've known tennis players to use growth hormone and take a few drops of clenbuterol before matches. I mean, it's a stimulant right? Just because you're not big doesn't mean some kind of gear isn't flowing through those veins! It's also bothersome when people limit performance enhancement to just steroids. There are so many more PED's than steroids.
RX: With that said then where do you think the current drug trend is headed?
AX: Boy... (Sighs).... That's tough to say really. I think the drug trend is going to keep on progressing the way all things do. The thing is as scientific as everything has gotten the next thing down the line is gene doping. Somehow being able to reduce myostatin or change your genes for strength, speed and size. I would say that's next. As far as the trend goes it's not going to stop. There's no way. Athletes make money in sports. There is a lot at stake for these athletes. Even for the ones not making much money yet. There are thousands out there trying to get to that point. So most in each category are using. The scary thing is that when I first started out in the beginning things were simple. I would use X at X milligrams and take X here or there in X amount. Now there are all these ancillaries added to their arsenals. All these crazy dosing schedules and oddball compounds. I've seen on paper a few of the programs some athletes are on and its just as bad as a bodybuilders program. I was shocked. Where its gone is totally unnecessary.
RX: So what does that mean for sports then if this "Crisis" keeps on at the same speed its going?
AX: HA! A crisis. I like that word. Well the dumbasses heading these organizations like WADA, the MLB, NBA, NFL, PGA, the list goes on are just perpetuating this "Crisis" by trying to get a hold on it! Guess what guys, its never going to happen! Trying to put a hold on performance enhancement will prove to be futile in the end and a big waste of money. Where there is a demand for athletes to be better there will always be performance enhancement. And that's the nature of sports. No champion is ever satisfied. So the need for drugs will always remain. Just like the government trying to wage war on these drugs. Even on pot and other recreational drugs. There is never going to a point where they can say to themselves "We're satisfied. We have the drug crisis under control". Nobody can get it under control ever! Where there is a demand there will always be labs and other drug operations popping up here and there. There's too much money in it for everyone involved.
RX: What would your solution be then?
AX: For our government to get their head out of their asses, legalize steroids, growth hormone, a slew of other performance enhancers, and even pot! Where is there a performance enhancement problem in Mexico? There isn't! You don't see any nasty crime over steroids there, or even here. Making your own gear isn't killing you or harming your neighbors. Come on. The shit is legal down south and there are absolutely ZERO problems because of it. This hype and hysteria that is sensationalized and perpetuated by the media is just doing worse things for the situation major league sports are in.
RX: Let's get into your drug history for a minute and get into your athletic background. How did you end up an Olympic caliber athlete?
AX: I started lifting weights actually when I was 11. I worked out with welded weights and sand bags my step dad made for me. I worked out two days a week with weights I and I did weight workouts on Mondays and Thursdays. In between then I had more fun with functional training. At least I guess you could call it that. I just liked to have fun and move heavy objects. More along the lines of what Strongmen do. I remember putting our old lawn tractor in neutral and rigging old towing straps up to it as a harness and pulling it up our gravel road and resisting its push on the way back down. Flipping tires, picking up and seeing how far I could throw water troughs, finding out how many 4x4's I could carry over my head in one arm, those were all things I did to keep myself busy and as a source of physical activity when I was younger.
RX: Nowadays parents would have their kids institutionalized for engaging in any kind of physical activity. So you trained like that for some time but how did you end up as an athlete?
AX: I trained like that actually just for fun and because I liked the feeling of being powerful. I never intended on playing sports as a young man. But as fate had it my mom wanted me to do something else besides hauling tractors and lifting farm equipment and enrolled me in little league football one year without even talking with me first. I'm actually kind of glad she did now. Things grew from there.
RX: How much of an advantage did that kind of training have on you in your early days of sports?
AX: I had no clue at the time of what it looked like when I was on the field. I had a tremendous head start when I look back at my pictures of videos. My mom is a stump with tree trunk legs and a wide shoulder frame. My dad is taller and naturally muscular so I had genetics for being big and strong but when I see my old video's I just laugh. I could bowl over 5 or 6 other kids my age with ease. I was about 250 at age 14 and fairly solid. I remember the helmets weren't cut low so I had to have a specially ordered helmet so the bottom wouldn't irritate my neck every time I shrugged my shoulders. My physical potential was realized fast and I ended up going to school out of district under an assumed address just so I could play on a better team and have better athletic opportunities. By the end of high school I was 6'6 and about 280 and threw a high school shot put 76 ft. I went to college on a full ride for track and field.
RX: What was the motivation behind starting to use Performance Enhancing Drugs?
AX: As soon as school got out I remember going to a camp for Track and Field and immediately I was shown a great deal of respect because of my strength and size. By the end of that summer I had made good friends with a few coaches and by that fall I had been introduced to several pro athletes. I fell into using after watching them and after hearing their recommendations. The first person to give me that big push into it was (Famous left tackle for Tampa Bay Buccaneers). I remember showing up one day for a workout in Tampa and meeting him. We hit it off immediately and he sent me packing later that day with 3 bottles of prop. (Testosterone Propionate for those who aren't medicinally inclined). We became friends and I started buying from him quite a bit. He got traded to the (Dallas) Cowboys that following season but we kept in touch and he would send goodies to get me through the seasons in college. After awhile I was asked to stay with he and his wife in the summer time and I did.
RX: I know this is where it gets interesting. Tell us what kind of experiences you would have out there and what transpired from there.
AX: Through staying out there I realized one thing. This guy had a penchant for green-backs. Anything he could do to make money he did. And we both ended up selling for a larger dealer. Mostly steroids, some GHB, a little bit of pot and some growth. In the offseason we sold to everyone in the Dallas area including movie stars, bodybuilders, baseball players, football players, even a few politicians on the local level. We shut that down soon after he had his first child but it was a good time while it lasted and that was what really made me comfortable around the drugs. By Junior year in college I was bench pressing close to 600 and I was doing overhead presses with 405 from the floor. But I was also athletic. I could do hurdles at 310 lbs and run a 5 minute mile. From dealing with all these athletes I witnessed some crazy drug practices. Some laughable; some downright scary.
RX: So after college you took a few years, kept training and then wanted to qualify for the Olympics. Let's hear some of your using stories as an Olympic hopeful. What were you taking and how much. And was that a reflection of what others would use as well?
AX: Actually I trained for a few years with a lot of different athletes. The funny thing is we didn't use a ton but we did use and used the same things at around the same doses. My base every cycle would be a length of 12 weeks maximum. So three months and I would go no higher than 800 milligrams of testosterone. I usually used enanthate because I felt it was a little less harsh than other esters. Then I would take clenbuterol. I was a big fan of clenbuterol especially during periods of endurance and explosivity training. Equipoise was another favorite because I felt it made my appetite skyrocket. Every other cycle I liked to switch trenbolone for equipoise. I could usually take both at 600 milligrams and still feel it. Growth Hormone was and still is huge in Olympic circles. What people need to understand is the type of training we do doesn't just tax our muscles, it taxes our central nervous system, our tendons, cartilege, and ligaments and steroids don't repair all of that. So GH was and still is big for that reason. Not to mention its very hard to detect. I would usually use the serostim variety at 6-8 iu's a day and I felt so much better on GH.
RX: It's funny reading this because its along the lines of what most bodybuilders would use. That is a very bodybuilder-esque cycle. I'm sure some internet expert is going to call bullshit and say 8 iu's would be a pointless dose.
AX: (Laughs) of course. You have those in every bunch. The truth is that athletes at the top of their game don't need drugs in high amounts. Some don't need but a shot or two here and there. At the highest level, the Michael Jordans, Michael Phelps, Deion Sanders and Ronnie Colemans are genetic elite. Drugs are just the icing on the cake for them. Without the right parents and having the right genes in place no drug will ever take you from bottom to the top of your sport.
RX: The audience here at RX Muscle is all about no-holds barred down and dirty, real talk. Everyone wants to hear the shocking stuff. What are some things you would like the audience to know, or even the general population that wants to know the truth on performance enhancement in sports.
AX: Drugs go so deep in sports. That's the first thing. People don't realize the depth at which drugs are involved. Trainers for teams are commissioned by pharmacies to dole out goodies to the teams. And at very high prices. Team owners know about a lot of use. Athletes will never admit this in fear of tarnishing their name and their sports reputation but it's the truth. The dealer selling to you in one largely populated area could be selling to your favorite quarterback. I've worked with small time gear operations that would contract out with athletic trainers, physical therapists and whoever else interested. The operation would give a wholesale deal to the buyer in hopes of them consistently promoting the brand. People truly would be shocked if they found out what was put in the bodies of their favorite athletes. But it shouldn't be shocking. Just like over 70% of our population has tried marijuana the same goes for sports. 70% of the guys you see on TV are enhanced.
A quick run down here of shit I've seen.
A 12 yr old gymnast given an amphetamine prior to a performance on the rings. She was given this by her FATHER who got the idea from her COACH!
I once overheard a distance runner trying to justify insulin use before going out onto the track and running. Thinking it would somehow help him utilize carbohydrates better for energy he took 12 iu's prior to a workout. The last thing I heard about the guy was that he use to train on an old airport tarmac by himself. After not carbing up sufficiently and taking 12 iu's of novalog (which of all types of insulin was a terrible choice) he passed out running and layed there for a few minutes. Luckily some kids driving nearby saw him collapse and called the police.
A weightlifter on campus use to by A bombs from me and he took 6 a bombs a day. He's still alive after years of that, luckily. My liver hurts for him!
I knew a woman shot putter who got caught using anavar and winstrol. She would chew winstrol tablets like pez during class and walk around campus with her fanny pack full of them.
The dumbest thing I've ever seen is a sprinter who ran the 100 meter. He was scary fast but he would buy straight caffeine powder, make a mixture of inositol, cocaine and caffeine and snort it before workouts and meets. How he never died still puzzles me.
All of those instances are very real and all very stupid. But they're all examples of performance enhancement.
RX: Can you tell the readers here what you got popped for and any last final rants before I cut you off?
AX: I'll say what I got arrested for and that was for moving a large amount of steroids and cocaine. I was a first time offender so I got two years in jail and served 11 months. While I was in jail I couldn't make the payments on my house so it foreclosed and my child had died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The rest of it's irrelevant. The bottom line here and I want people to know this is does it really matter if Mark McGuire used steroids? Why does this matter to you so much? Does it matter Serena and Venus Williams obviously use drugs? Or that Pete Sampras used meth? No it doesn't. Why are people so heavily invested in this subject? People are people and athletes are athletes. And athletes are also businessmen. And any time money is involved people will do anything to succeed. It doesn't matter if you're a broker on Wall Street or breaking necks on the 50 yard line. When money is involved people will play dirty and break the rules. I would say to people they should get their head out of their asses and look around. Athletes use steroids and other performance enhancers. That's a fact. Stop bitching about it and deal with it. It will never change regardless of what rules or laws that are put in place. So let's just make it legal and it will be easier on everyone involved!
"It doesn't matter if you're a broker on Wall Street or breaking necks on the 50 yard line. When money is involved, people will play dirty and break the rules". Athlete X speaks the truth. Today there could be countless hours of debate on what constitutes cheating and performance enhancement. To distinguish between "this or that" product is pointless because a case could be made for caffeine or protein powder being an enhancement if another athlete isn't using the same things. Athlete X is right, the war on drugs in sports will never stop until minds change and progress is made. Will the legalization of performance enhancing drugs ever happen in our lifetime? I would say no! But as most of us know, life is full of surprises.
Addendum: With the help of his wife and the guidance of an addiction specialist AX was able to annihilate his demons and now runs a very successful strength and speed school along with a physical therapy practice. He also manages to find time to throw around water troughs and carry 4x4 wood blocks along with his three day a week weight training program.