Doping in Bodybuilding and Fitness competitions

Doping in Bodybuilding and Fitness Competitions

Doping is defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as the use of a substance or method that is dangerous for the athlete’s health and/or improves the athlete’s performance. Many federations prohibit doping, but most federations are not serious about doping control, because they want to attract athletes and to raise the quality of their contests. In the fitness industry, there is a big contest about dominant and business even politics can be involved in. Let’s discuss a known federation called IFBB. International Federation of Body Builders to which many famous competitions in the United States are affiliated to.


IFBB, founded in 1946, is registered under Spanish law as an ideal legal entity. The federation is international and is involved in bodybuilding and fitness. IFBB has performed doping control since 1986, at IFBB Continental and World Championships. There the check took place in random selection. Several athletes selected randomly throughout the event were e.g. at weighing or at the final before the selection. In 2003 in Mumbai, India, IFBB accepted the World Anti-Doping Code. Many famous competitions are affiliated with this federation, for example, to participate in the Arnold Amateur or Olympia Amateur the competitor must contact IFBB in the country were the competitor live in and only those who are affiliated to IFBB who can participate in those competitions. (IFBB, 2015).


If we make a comparison between competitions in Sweden and the United States. In the United States and Sweden, athletes compete in the categories: Men’s Bodybuilding, Men’s Physique, Women’s Physique, Women’s Body Fitness, Women’s Bikini Fitness, Women’s Fitness. By looking at a competition in Sweden such as Luciapokalen, we will notice a big difference in muscle mass between individuals participating in the luciapokalen and individuals participating in the Arnold Classic or IFBB World / IFBB Continual Championships or Olympia Amateur or the Ben Weider Legacy Cup / IFBB Diamond Cup.


What can it depend on? Is it eating habits or exercise programs or genetics that make such a big difference in muscle mass. Both the IFBB and the Luciapokalen have the same list of the prohibited substances, but can they manipulate this? I think there is a Leniency in doping control, which means that those who go to the Arnold Classic take a lot of doping preparations before the contests and then they wait for the body to clean it self’s off those substances, and then they compete because control is only done at weighing or at the final.


While in the luciapokalen the control is more serious because according to RF (2013) The controls are conducted by doping control officers, doping tests are conducted in conjunction with a competition and also taken on other occasions, for example through home visits. The test is taken in the form of urine and blood tests, in doping control, then the athlete has to give a urine and / or blood test. Therefore, I think the athlete in Sweden does not dare to do that because the control does not only take place at the final but still during almost the whole session.


There is a theory that Americans know that athletes use preparations and they do not want to change the time of control because they want to give athletes a chance to be on steroids. Americans federations don’t want to reveal about the athletes, because this can keep the contests maintaining high levels of attention, as the unique giant bodybuilder can attract the whole world’s focus to the fitness industry in the United States because that contributes to a good economy, as well as the media and politics are always featured in this pit. But what’s the risk of doping on sport and society? Many points are open for dissection. The consequences of abuse of doping rules are high. usually, there is something called Disqualification. Disqualification is a risk and that means results in a contest or event are invalid, there is a risk of forfeiting of medals, points, or prizes. Besides, the athlete may have barred from participating in any competition or other activities.


In bodybuilding and fitness, athletes usually use Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors and Androgenic Anabolic Steroids (AAS), Growth Hormone (GH), Testosterone, insulin, and Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) All of these preparations are on the list but who cares? Almost all who step on stage have used such preparations, but how can they manipulate the tests? And how well can the controller detect the abuse? the answer difficult, because when athletes taking GH and (IGF-1), initially it is difficult to detect but in the meanwhile, you see the effects of those substances on the body such as the intestines are enlarged, which makes you look like a pregnant woman. and the stomachs are split apart, and a large gap occurs. GH allows all body organs to grow including the heart, brain, testicle depending on how many receptors the athlete has.

The bad side of doping

Steroids can damage the liver and heart, liver damage from anabolic steroids comes mainly from the use of oral alkylated anabolic steroids. The most common alkylated steroids are Dianabol, Anadrol, Oxandrolone (Anavar), and Winstrol. For a long time of use, scar tissue can be formed in the liver which is later difficult to heal. The other non-alkylated steroids have less effect, such as testosterone, Trenbolon, Masteron, boldenon (EQ), nandrolone (Deca), and Primobolan. Abuse with anabolic occurrence sometimes causes cardiomyopathy, which thickens the heart walls, which makes the heart weaker. There is less opportunity to pump blood through the body and maintain a normal electrical rhythm. This can lead to heart failure during physical activity.


Ethical and moral aspects

However, there are exceptions, for example, to use such preparators, athletes with chronic illnesses or other complications may seek to written permission to take doping classified drugs from a doctor as medication. This may apply from amphetamine to growth hormone. But how ethically or morally correct is this? According to IFBB (2016), Lauren Harken was caught doping Anastrozole (hormone supplements) Oxandrolone (anabolic substance), metabolite 17- Epioxandrolone (ergogenic substance), clenbuterol (Performance-enhancing substance).


In Amateur Olympia 2015 in Australia. She is off until 2020. All these substances you can apply for exemption (dispensation) on the RF website or WADA if you have medication in a medical certificate signed by a licensed physician. Doping methods which may be a future problem is gene doping, which is the transfer of polymers of nucleic acids and the use of normal or genetically modified cells. Right now, that method is expensive but if it becomes cheap in the future then it will make a big change in sport.


Requirements Analysis

All athletes are responsible for knowing what constitutes an anti-doping rule violation and the topics and methods that have been included in the prohibited list. Athletes must have reached the age of 18 and have accepted the rules. The contests have different requirements, and the requirements differ from bodybuilding to Men’s Physique, for example, bodybuilding, big muscles are needed throughout the body with symmetry and separation between muscles, while Men’s Physique does not require so many muscles especially in the legs, the entire focus is on the upper body, fitness, and personality.


Our philosophy

Sport is about a long-term plan that comes with a high quality of physical and mental health. Astrakos philosophy was always “a real hero is not who reaches the top, a real hero is who stays on the top” Astrakos. So, does it deserves to use anabolic to win one day and then disappear the rest of life from the arena, but in some cases when the solution is limited, for example in practice abdominal fat can cause brain diseases and testosterone therapy can counteract abdominal fat, which means that testosterone therapy may be good for those who have abdominal fat in short term. The biggest question is about the consequences of using these therapies.

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Diseases and injuries at the Gyms

Ligament Injuries

Diseases and injuries in the sports industry are a crucial issue that affects performance in general. Many practitioners suffer from diseases and injuries due to lack of proper instructions or the bad environment in the gym such as cleanliness or bad ventilation. Administration in the gym must always consider this by identifying the risks to prevent the occurrence of injuries and diseases of athletes.


In gyms, there are free weights stations, aerobic training machines, and jumping stations. Such a gym must not forget Instructions, technique, proper execution, and saving resources, as well as the cleanliness and ventilation of the gym, are crucial factors for preventing infections and diseases. Administration in the gym must always take this into account. Here are some examples of injuries and diseases that may affect practitioners and how to take security measures: Adequate space to prevent injury, for example, exercise with free weights requires a certain area to be carried out and especially when it comes to exercises like jerk lift and squat. Always make sure that there is enough space to carry out the exercise safely without coming into contact with objects or other visitors.


Ligament Injuries

According to a study, 20-25% of all sports-related injuries are on the ligament on the outside of the ankle. The injury mechanism often occurs when the foot is inverted and in the plantar flexion position. This can happen, for example, when athletes jump or make roller jump. The damage can be avoided by fixing a special place for jumping with an applied surface. Besides, there must always be a “gym box” containing, for example, elastic bandages and patches.


Fraction on the radius-lower beam end

Usually, fractures on the Radius lower beam end happen with a ballplayer or when athletes try to make a jump where he or she is landing in a wrong position. The injury mechanism occurs when the arm is extended and may occur before the growth zone is fused. In case it can cause pain and swelling, as well as the lower part of the radius, can angle backward. Weightlifters usually try to jump high to get explosives in the legs and often fall and end up in a wrong position where the arm is extended. Therefore, it is important to fix a special place for jumping with an applied surface to avoid the damage.

Fraction on the radius-lower beam end

Fraction on the radius-lower beam end

Cramp injury (spasms)

Cramp is a painful, involuntary muscle contraction typically caused by fatigue or strain, usually happen due to deficiencies of oxygen, salt or fluid in the skeletal muscle, even cooling, disease and poisoning or toxin can cause muscle spasms. Cramps occur most in the legs and the calves as well as the stomach muscles.


Seizures may happen due to overstrain the muscles and stress. It can be treated by directly stretching the affected muscles and then absorbing minerals such as magnesium and salt. Massage can also help. In the gym Cramp often occurs with great physical exertion. when athletes try to do set up exercise then gastrointestinal cramps may occur and, in this case, stretching should be applied. Put in your mind that in the case of uncontrolled stretching, cramps may occur in the muscles. It’s important with the instruction board that shows the right stretching exercises or through inspiration during group training, their members can be inspired about the exercises and how to perform them.


Infections and Diseases

Infections are caused by viruses or bacteria, for example, colds are caused by a virus. In addition, there are many different types of viruses that can affect different parts of the body, for example when bacteria take over the body it causes complications such as myocardial infarction, Myocarditis, inflammation of the pericardium, or cardiac inflammation, thus reducing the performance of the athletes. Myocarditis can cause sudden death at the gym because it “relates to the fact that when the infection is located in an organ that is heavily stressed during exercise, especially during endurance training then can cause failure to the organ.


Everybody at the gym is at risk to get infected, because of different causes, but one of them is because viruses and bacteria live in moisture, for example, sweat can stand on machines and tools and bacteria benefit there. They can be transmitted to others through physical contact with the machines and make infections, but cleaning can reduce the risk of these diseases. Skin infections are also common, that’s why Astrakos doesn’t recommend to train with uncovered skin. Even viruses can be transmitted through the air that’s why it is important to have good ventilation at the gym. Instructions for cleaning with the detergent should be highlighted.


Everybody after using the machine must always mop the machines. The carpets are as dirty as the floor. bacteria from the bare feet, sweaty bodies, and dirty clothes easily end up on the floors and exercise mats, the rugs must be washed frequently, showers and changing rooms must be cleaned frequently because foot warts and warts can thrive and spread between different feet. Sometimes, during physical activities sudden death occurs with underlying heart disease and malignant fainting. Vascular cramp /effort (effort angina) is provoked by physical or mental exertion.


Abuse with anabolic substances sometimes causes cardiomyopathy, which thickens the heart walls, which makes the heart weaker through the limited area for the heart to contract. There is less opportunity to pump blood through the body and maintain a normal electrical rhythm. This can lead to heart failure during physical activity, so it is important to have a heart start in the gym and instructions on how it is used.

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Should Children and Adolescents Train Resistance Training

Health, Health Guide, Physiology Topics, Should Children And Adolescents Train Resistance Training

Most people are driven by misconceptions and myths about pediatric resistance training. Some of the myth are:

  1. Children are more susceptible to injury due to the un-fused growth plates.

  2. Resistance training would be harmful to the developing skeleton.

  3. Children cannot gain strength from resistance training due to a lack of testosterone.

  4. Weights training will stunt children and adolescent’s growth.


In this article, we aim to give athletes, coaches, and parents a better understanding of the health benefit from resistant training and the manual to understand the case such as:

  1. What age is appropriate to start strength training?

  2. What is the frequency of strength training?

  3. What is the intensity of strength training?

  4. What are the rest periods?

  5. What is the recommended volume?

  6. What is the risk of training at childhood age?

All these questions and more questions related to this subject we answer it with high quality of references from the newest articles in the research industry.


What age is appropriate to start strength training?

A study conducted in Australia by Duhig with 18 prepubescent under <12 years of age. Children were strength-trained three times per week for 9 weeks and the result ended with a 42.9% increase in strength. The increase was in adaptations in muscle excitation-contraction coupling, increasing motor unit activation, and improving motor skill coordination. On the contrast of the myth that says “weights training will stunt children and adolescent’s growth” a large study from the UK conducted by Lloyd, confirmed that resistant training gives positive alterations in overall body composition and metabolic health in children and adolescents.


 The befit of strength training for children

  1. For children strength training can enhance cardiac function.

  2. Enhance bone-mineral density and improve skeletal health.

  3. Muscular strength increases due to the maturation of the central nervous system such as improvements in motor unit recruitment.

  4. Improvement in firing frequency.

  5. Improvement in synchronisation.

  6. Improvement in neural myelination.


A study has shown that children 5–6 years of age made noticeable improvements in muscular fitness with resistance training exercises using free weights, elastic resistance bands and machine weights.


The benefits of strength training for Adolescents

  1. For adolescents, resistance training can increase muscular strength due to the structural changes that resulting from the increase of hormonal concentrations, for males more due testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin-like growth factor, which lead to increases in muscle cross-sectional area due increasing in muscle fiber size.

  2. The increase in the number of muscle fibers determined as a result of prenatal myogenesis which means the formation of muscular tissue, particularly during embryonic development.

  3. Increasing activation in the motor unit and improving the neural development, in additional resistance training can even reduce body fat, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce injury risk.

On the contrast to the traditional fears and misinformed concerns that says, “resistance training would be harmful to the developing skeleton” The fears that resistance training would injure the growth plates of youths or reduce eventual height in adulthood are not supported by scientific reports or clinical observations, furthermore it will increase bone-mineral density. For female resistance training programmes have been shown to reduce abnormal biomechanics, induce the neuromuscular spurt and decrease injury rates.


Elsewhere, another study by Micheli estimated on the contrast of the myth that says “Children are more susceptible to injury due to the un-fused growth plates” suggests that chance to have injury is less in a child (<13 years of age) than of an adolescent (13-19 years of age) because the epiphyseal plate of a child is stronger and more resistant to shearing forces.


What is the epiphyseal plate?

The epiphyseal plate is an area where the formation of new bone is possible. It is located at each end of long bones. In this area remodeling and development of new bone occur enabling the long bone to grow in length and girth until the closure of the growth plate at skeletal maturity. The plate is found in children and adolescents and after that age the entire cartilage becomes replaced by bone, leaving only a thin epiphyseal scar which later disappears.

The epiphyseal plate consists of three principal layers with immature cells in the resting zone. “Stem-like cells in the resting zone have a finite proliferative capacity that is gradually exhausted, which consequently results in the fusion of the growth plate at the end of puberty” (EMONS et al. 2009, P. 654).



The recommended training program for children and adolescents

The recommended training program should include exercises that target the balance, coordination, and strength at the same movement with complex movement with the right technique.


What is the minimum age for training?

The minimal age for a child to start weight training is 6 years of age.


How many times should the youth train?

According to two studies the athlete should weight train 2-3 days per week.


In which intensity should youth train?

The intensity should be 6-15RM or 50-85% 1RM the studies mention that intensity should be moderate to high. For those who are overweight and has obese low intensity is recommended. The rest period is at least 3 minutes between sets and exercises while another study says one minute should suffice for most children.


How much volume should the youth train?

A study mentions that an overall volume of 1-3 sets per muscle group while a long duration for those who are overweight and has obese.


Adolescents and youth should not train strength training without supervision

According to Jonasson et al. (2014) overloading the hips in growing individuals can disrupt the epiphyseal plate. Even Faigenbaum et al. (2009, P. 62) mention that growth cartilage can be easily damaged by repetitive microtrauma, improper lifting techniques, or maximal lift. That’s why We in think that strength training should be followed by the supervision of a qualified trainer because if youth hurt themselves in the epiphyseal plate in a sport especially by accident injury, that can lead sometimes to deleterious or dysfunction in that area and may growth not occur partially or completely. We want to mention also that most of the studies have investigated muscles related issues, bone density, neural issues, fat issues, but there are limited studies that investigate bone volume and length. That’s why new studies should be conducted with a focus not only on bone density but also on the bone volume and length.




Duhig. S. (2013). strength training for the young athlete. Journal of Australian strength and conditioning. Journal of Australian strength and conditioning. 21(4), pp. 53-58. (02-01-2018)

Emons, J., Chagin, A, S., Hultenby, K., Zhivotovsky, B., Wit, J, m., Karperien, M. & Sävendahl, L. (2009). Epiphyseal Fusion in the Human Growth Plate Does not Involve Classical Apoptosis. International pediatric research foundation. 66(6), pp. 654-659.  DOI:0031-3998/09/6606-0654.

Faigenbaum, D., Kraemer, W, J., Blimkie, C., Jeffreys, I., Micheli, L, J., Nitka, M & Rowland, T, W. (2009). Youth resistance training: updated position statement paper from the national strength and conditioning association. National strength and conditioning Association. (23), pp. 60-79. Doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31819df407.

Jonasson, P, S., Ekström, L., Swärd, A., Sansone, M., Ahlden, M. & Karlsson, J. (2014). Strength of the porcine proximal femoral epiphyseal plate: the effect of different loading directions and the role of the perichondrial fibrocartilaginous complex and epiphyseal tubercle – an experimental biomechanical study. journal of experimental orthopaedics. 1 (4), p.1.

Lloyd, S,R., Faigenbaum, A, D., Stone, M, H ., Oliver, J, L., Jeffreys, I., Moody, J, A.,   Brewer, C.,  Pierce, C, K., McCambridge M, T.,  Howard, R., Herrington, L., Hainline,H., Micheli, J, L., Jaques,R., Kraemer, W, J., McBride, G, M., Best, T, M.,  Chu,D, A., Alvar,B, A. & Myer, G, D. (2013). Position statement on youth resistance training. International consensus. pp. 1-12. doi:10.1136/bjsports2013-092952.

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