On this episode of the Project Kuwait podcast, Mahdi, Liam, and Meg discuss the controversial topic of the use of performance enhancing drugs in elite sports. Though professional athletes like Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, and Lance Armstrong have been doping for a long time, it seems like the desire of normal people to be able to compete at higher levels of performance such as CrossFit has brought the issue closer to home. The consensus in the group is that it is not fair for elite athletes who are juicing to compete against normal athletes who are not, but does that mean that everyone who wants to compete at the highest level of competition should be allowed to use performance enhancing drugs like HGH?
Mahdi thinks that it is up to the athlete to decide if they want to use them and talk with a doctor about getting certain preliminary tests done before starting a cycle. It is then up to them to do the right thing for their body by cycling off appropriately. As someone who has used steroids in the past to improve his strength and performance, Mahdi can speak to the psychological implications of cycling off and seeing the drastic differences in your body’s capabilities. At a certain level of competition, he says, athletes should be able to do whatever they want in order to achieve their goals and give the spectators what they want.
Liam takes a bit of a different thought process on the subject, wondering if athletes who have been known to dope can ever be considered “clean” in future competitions. Also, can athletes who use performance enhancing drugs truly say that they accomplished something, or is their success attributed to the drugs?
Another thing to consider is the athlete whose only escape from tough life circumstances is by excelling at their sport. Should they give themselves every advantage to be the best? Is the short-term success and recognition worth the long-term costs of longevity and quality of life? This balance of risk vs. reward is a difficult one to find and navigate.
1:45 – Mahdi says that if you want to take drugs, that is your prerogative.
3:10 – Mahdi mentions that people want to watch athletes excel in elite sports.
3:55 – Liam and Mahdi discuss the MLB suspension policy of 80 games.
5:13 – Liam wonders if after an athlete returns from a suspension due to drugs they can then be considered “clean.”
6:14 – Liam and Mahdi talk about the competition between the Russians and Americans even when it comes to doping.
7:45 – Liam again asks if athletes can be considered “clean” if their levels are currently normal but they have used steroids before.
9:51 – Liam acknowledges that after cycling off, athletes will have lost any gains they had made, but they still might have an advantage.
11:04 – Liam wonders if any muscle built up while juicing can last after the athletes has gone off the drugs.
11:58 – Mahdi talks about his experience taking Winstrol in his 20’s and the negative mental impacts of the reduction in his own power and strength when he cycled off.
13:11 – Mahdi discusses the unrealistic expectations that Instagram has set up for men and women.
13:58 – Liam brings up the point that just because all athletes in a competition pass a drug test doesn’t mean that this is a fair measurement of their strength.
14:40 – Meg talks about how athletes can “game the system” by juicing during training but stopping just in time to pass the drug test for the competition.
14:56 – Mahdi outlines the latest drug policy infractions in elite CrossFit and the punishments the athletes received.
16:37 – Mahdi mentions that spectators want to watch the MLB, NFL, and CrossFit athletes because they are viewed as “superhumans.”