Performance Enhancement, is it worth the risk?

In our last blog, we talked about the importance of your mindset in performance when it comes to sport, and life in general. The results of a positive mindset and paying attention to the way you think and feel are pretty clear, and there are no real downsides.

Another way some athletes choose to develop their performance enhancement is through drugs. As much as using a positive mindset has a wholly positive outcome, using drugs has a wholly negative outcome. Yes, performance might improve. Maybe even dramatically. But at what cost? Let’s have a look at the range of performance-enhancing drugs out there, and what they do to the human body.

Since the 1960’s bodybuilders have been using HGH (human growth hormone) Steroids and Insulin, and other performance enhancement drugs, in order to get the ‘perfect’ body. These drugs help in the development of muscle and muscle definition. However, there are some serious side effects.

Palumboism is a very serious disease, thought to be caused by a combination of HGH and a genetic predisposition. The ironic thing about this disease is that it causes a disproportionate widening of the ribcage, bloating of the abdomen and thickening of the oblique muscles, all whilst causing atrophy (shrinking) in the leg and arm muscles. So the perfect bodybuilder’s physique disappears. As the condition develops you will also see changes to the structure of the face, premature aging, abnormal skin discolouration and vascular distension. Whilst discontinuing the HGH may halt the progress of the condition, there is no cure and no way to reverse the negative effects.

Even without the genetic predisposition to Palumboism, HGH Gut (also known as Pregnant Body Builder Gut, caused by continued use of HGH, steroids and insulin ruins the traditional bodybuilder shape of an inverted triangle.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have cyclists and triathletes, who are looking to maximize their cardiovascular function and minimize their body fat ratios and may turn to performance enhancement drugs. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles. If the amount of oxygen in the muscles can be increased their capacity and endurance can be improved. Substances like EPO (erythropoietin) help increase the red blood cell mass in the body, thereby increasing performance. However. This type of drug can dramatically increase the stress on the heart, increase the blood’s ability to clot, and cause strokes. It can also cause convulsions and damage the liver and pancreas. It has even been known to slow the heart rate to such an extent that it can stop beating during sleep.


All in all, it is pretty clear the negatives outweigh the positives. If improving your performance in your chosen sport is important to you there are some healthy ways to go about it:

  • Work with the best advisors you can find in fitness, training and diet
  • Maintain a mind over matter attitude, as we discussed in our blog earlier this week
  • Seek advice from qualified health professionals when it comes to injury prevention, recovery and overall maintenance of your body

If you would like advice about the best way to maximize your performance, without risking your health and well being contact our Baulkham Hill clinic to discuss what our Chiropractor, Remedial Massage Therapists and Dietitians can do for you.

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