Saturday, 11 April 2015

Bigger Stronger Faster Review & Steroid Use in Fitness Gyms

Bigger Stronger Faster

Bigger, Stronger, Faster (UK source) is Chris Bell’s documentary about the use of steroids and performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and what it takes to actually succeed in the fitness, sports and entertainment industry. It looks at how the use of steroids and PEDs has shaped and influenced sport, the fitness industry and peoples body expectations.

In the documentary we are exposed to not only Chris but the rest of his family including his two steroid taking brothers and his clueless parents. The film explores the personal and cultural effects of using PEDs, looking at the point of view of people who have taken the drugs, medical experts, US Congressmen and those who support/oppose their use. It also looks into how unfounded a lot of the claims of steroids are and the lack of consistency in how the public views drugs, cheating and the lengths people go to achieve success.

What I liked about the documentary was that the producer took a relatively balanced approach to the whole subject looking at the actual positives, negatives and impact of these drugs. Overall I did think the film was slightly more pro-steroid but the film was well made, entertaining, and educating. And bringing a personal approach to the movie by examining the impact of these drugs on him and his family was a big plus. All in all the documentary will be an eye opener for a lot of people and is well worth the watch. Because of all these points I personally give Bigger, Stronger, Faster (UK source) 5 stars and give it the title of the Most Informative Fitness Documentary!

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Steroid Use in Fitness Gyms

Believe it or not steroid use is not uncommon among gym goers. According to BMJ about 6.2% of men in the UK (and 1.4% of women in the UK) who go to the average fitness gym are current users of androgenic anabolic steroids, and in some high street fitness centres steroid use runs as high as 13% (1). In dedicated bodybuilding gyms as many as half the members have admitted to taking PEDs (1). 

When I first read these sorts of figures I was rather surprised. However, having now worked in the fitness industry I am not too surprised anymore. A lot of gym goers are too impatient about reaching their goals, they expect faster results and do not know how to train/diet properly (and aren't willing to take the time and effort to learn how to) so resort to PEDs to compensate. For me this is rather sad considering the health risks they are running from taking these PEDs and it still doesn't sort out the problem that they do not know how to train/diet properly, and therefore are reliant on the PEDs to maintain their body. And hence because they are relying on PEDs they don’t grow and develop as a person. And I firmly believe this is the greatest benefit of succeeding in your fitness journey. It isn't reaching your goal or the body of your dreams (even though this is very satisfying as well), the greatest benefit is who you become in the process. It is the maturity, the skills and knowledge you develop in the process and can use in other areas of your life, the pride of knowing you achieved your goal through hard work and dedication, and who you become in the process that is most rewarding.

I haven’t found any studies regarding PED use among personal trainers, but from my interactions with other personal trainers I’d guesstimate that 15-20% of personal trainers use steroids/PEDs. And most of them will not tell their clients that they are taking PEDs. It is this kind of deception I especially do not like in the fitness industry. The client approaches the PT (personal trainer) expecting he/she will be an expert in his/her field not knowing that the PT uses/relies on PEDs to maintain his/her body. And while this doesn't mean the PT doesn't know his/her stuff and cannot help others get results, there is no denying that use of PEDs can to a great extent make up for bad training/nutrition. As this study shows, you can build more muscle using anabolic steroids without training than you can with training but without anabolic steroids. And unfortunately this deception is not limited to PTs but also cover/fitness models, athletes, and movie stars.

As you probably already noticed, my take on the subject is that people should become more mature and take the natural, long term, more sustainable approach to achieving their goals where they develop as a person and learn the skills necessary to succeed. With use of PEDs, competitions and sports become less and less about hard work, dedication, correct training/diet principles and discipline but  more and more on who is willing to risk their health more by taking more and more potent PEDs. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Until next time!


Hi I’m Jim the creator of JimTraining, and I believe that YOU can achieve your fitness goals if you set your mind to it.

If you need any help or guidance, I can help you achieve your goals through custom meal plansconsultations and personal training. And don't forget to check my USA Store and UK Store for useful training equipment.

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