Last night on the UK’s Channel 4 there was a documentary about a group of athletes being given steroids to scientifically monitor its effects. There were 24 men, eighteen being given either a placebo or testosterone booster, while the other six were given legal performance enhancers such as Creatine. As luck would have it I missed the end of the show (and the results of the test) but New Scientist has an article here about the study, and Channel 4 has a run down here.
What’s really surprising is that the doses they were given were very low and that they made really big improvements in only three weeks. For the placebo group the increase in bench press was 1.8%. For the steroid group it was 8.2%!
Unfortunately neither website lists the improvements made by the legal supplement group- which is what I was most interested in. The downside of the steroid use was a decrease in immune system function and a decrease in empathy. I’m guessing that a lot of people will see this and think, “hey maybe steroids aren’t so bad after all”. At the end of the day though, for sports use, cheating is cheating. For those who train just for the sake of it and who never take drugs tests, I suspect some will be more inclined to use steroids.
Hopefully there will be some follow up articles on this and if I get any info about the legal supplement group I’ll post it here. I’ve used Creatine in the past and while I felt that I was doing better on it, I’m not able to say how much it improved my performance.