Tag Archives: gym

Image is everything? The growing problem of steroid abuse

Steroid abuse in gyms around the United Kingdom is at an all-time high, according to personal trainer George Trott.

The 20-year-old began his journey in the fitness industry at the age of 16, eventually becoming a personal trainer at AbSalute Gym in Brentwood, Essex.

Since the rise of reality TV shows such as Geordie Shore and The Only Way is Essex (from which a number of the cast train at AbSalute),  the obsession with fitness and individuals looking to emulate ‘ripped’ body types has risen dramatically.

Unfortunately, with an increase in people training comes an increase in people doing whatever it takes to look their best.

‘Roids on the rise

The official crime survey of England & Wales by the Office for National Statistics indicates that over 60,000 men in the UK are using steroids.

Possible side effects of steroid abuse include severe mood swings, depression, acne, paranoia and impaired judgement, just to name a few.

‘These young people are playing about with their body chemistry just for an image’ – George Trott

“Steroids are a massive problem in the fitness industry at the moment, and 90 percent of people doing them don’t actually know the effects they have on the human body,” explained Trott, who has been a qualified personal trainer for over at AbSalute for over a year.

“Bodybuilders inject testosterone as this is meant to help promote muscle growth, bone strength and develop muscle tissue. What they don’t realise is that it shuts down your body’s natural way to produce testosterone after you stop taking this supplement.

“For the 10 percent of people that know how to take these, they would know they have to do a PCT (post cycle therapy) which means they have to take another supplement that promotes their body’s natural testosterone, so they start producing this naturally again,” he said.

“I’ve had 16-year-olds asking me about steroids which shows there is a real problem. These young people are playing about with their body chemistry just for an image.”

Crackdown

Even more worryingly, UK Border Force figures in 2016-17 showed a 35 percent spike in seizures of steroids across the country.

But why are more and more people turning to steroids?

In the UK, they are a class C drug, meaning it is not illegal to possess them for personal use, but it is illegal to sell them.

According to Trott, there needs to be a crackdown on steroids and a higher drug reclassification for there to be a decrease in users.

“I’m sure if they were a class A, they would not be so easy to get hold of and not as many people would be on them,” he said.

“I know teenagers that actually sell steroids and I’ve asked them why they sell them. They’ve said because the risk is minimal as they are class C and they can make a lot of money out of it.

“The country has never been so into its fitness, and this means more than ever we are seeing people on steroids. People are thinking that they’ll automatically look good when it doesn’t work like that and they are just damaging their health.”

So, are we seeing a new generation of males that are more concerned about the image they project both in person and via social media? Is there more pressure on men to get their bodies to a certain standard?

Growing pressure on the male image?

“Men naturally tend to have more of an ego than women, and I think this is a problem – men are always trying to compete with each other to see who’s bigger, who looks better,” Trott, 20, claimed.

“Who’s stronger and who can lift more is what men concern themselves about. I fully believe this is why more people are turning to steroids, because of the competition they face.”

The world fitness industry is constantly growing, and for many people, training becomes an addiction.

‘I have been asked by clients about taking steroids and what ones to take, but I have advised against it each time’ – George Trott

“I have seen cases of the gym becoming an obsession for people, and I’ve actually seen this obsession ruin marriages it’s got that far. What people need to understand is that gym is a lifestyle,” he explained.

Walking hand-in-hand with reality TV stars comes social media. Millions of people use apps such as Instagram to engage with various parts of the fitness world, ranging from diet, to gym clothing, to training routines.

Trott believes social media is the biggest factor as to why a pressure on image has been created for men.

“Social media is something we use every day, so men are seeing an unrealistic standard every day. You have a lot of people that edit their photos to make them look better than they really are. Again men are going to look at this and try to achieve that,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I know trainers that advise their clients to get on steroids as they get great results in a short space of time, so it looks really good on the trainer, but there is little thought for the client’s health which is put at risk.

“I have been asked by clients about taking steroids and what ones to take, but I have advised against it each time and thankfully none of my clients have gone down that route. I think every personal trainer should take note of that.”

The future Of UK training

With the number of Brits that are going down the steroid route, what does Trott think the future holds for the UK fitness industry?

“I feel that the future of training is only going to expand, with more and more people getting in good shape, and it’s going to make people follow which is not a bad thing. Unfortunately, steroids are now seen as an inevitability.

“As for myself, I would like to start working with professional athletes and help them achieving their goals. To do this I would have to go and take a strength and conditioning course which would allow me to work with the top athletes.”

You can follow George on Twitter and Instagram @ghttraining to see some of his workouts. To get in touch with the up and coming personal trainer email ghttraining@gmail.com for any personal training enquiries such as training and diet plans.

Addicted to the Ironhouse

Rory Vanhorn trains at the ‘Ironhouse’, otherwise known as the gym, seven days a week in pursuit of a career as a physique model and bodybuilder.

Rory tries never to miss a session – even if the gym is closed on Christmas he has to do an intense workout at home.

He trains each body part once a week but makes it his priority to work on his legs twice as he feels that’s what he needs to focus on.

My gym fanatic friend Rory is 24 years old, stands at 5ft 9ins and weighs 13 stone, with less than 10% body fat.Post Workout

He has been training at the gym for five years, and in that time has developed a heavily muscled physique.

He plans to compete at the 2017 Miami Pro physiques competition and his main goal is to look as ripped as he can, to catch the sponsors’ eye and get signed up for a career as a physique model.

Physique models get signed to advertise gym wear, equipment and supplements.

Rory has previously competed in men’s physique and bodybuilding competitions in the UK and hopes to receive his IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilders) pro card in the long term.

This would allow him access to enter competitions such as Mr Olympia and Arnold Amateur which reward  bigger prizes.

Tips

Arriving at the Bodyworks gym in Tottenham, what first struck me was the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere at the venue where Rory trains to make his ‘gains’ – gym jargon for muscle growth.

The continuous grunts and heavily muscular physiques all around can make a newcomer feel very small and intimidated, but the giants of the gym were more than happy to help out a newbie, and offer tips on how to achieve the physique I was after.

My first day in the gym was ‘international chest day’ which is a gym in-joke as coincidentally in many gyms on a Mondays most people training are seen working out their chests.

Exercises included flat bench chest press, upper chest press and pectoral flies. Each exercise followed the same regime four sets and 10-12 reps on all exercises.

Fortunately I’d done a bit of this before as it’s the sort of activity I like to do whenever I visit any gym, but I didn’t manage to keep up with Rory, as he managed to squeeze 10 reps of 140kg on the flat bench.

Diet

My max was 10 reps on 80kg which is only half of what Rory lifts. I wouldn’t dare put that weight over my chest for one simple reason; I don’t want to be crushed.

We rounded off the session with a whey protein shake and I made sure I gave myself enough rest for the following day.

Rory’s diet includes chicken breasts and Caesar salads, vegetable soup and smoked salmon with boiled eggs which are all part of a plan he has been following over the last six months.No Carbs

I woke up on Day Two with slight pectoral muscle soreness but nothing serious enough to stop me training.

Today’s agenda was working on the back muscles, including exercises such as dead lifts, seated rows and lat pull downs.

Following Monday’s regime of 10-12 reps and four sets, we continued our intense training sessions.

What blew me away was Rory dead-lifting 200kg which is nearly triple his bodyweight as he weighs 82kg. I managed to squeeze a rep out of 110kg which isn’t even close but I guess not too bad.

I actually attempted Rory’s lift but the most I could do is push and roll the bar forwards and backwards as trying to lift it was a complete fail.

Insight

Due to the intensity of the back workout I had woken up with a stiff lower back and slight muscle soreness around my bicep, but I wanted to keep on training so I could have more of an insight into Rory’s regime.

Day Three was leg day – and for me, this was the most difficult one of the three as those are probably my least-trained muscles.

Never failing to impress, Rory managed to rep out three deep squats out of 160kg which is basically double his body weight.

My squat max was two assisted reps out of 90kg, and after the session I struggled to get home due to the muscle fatigue which makes you lose balance.

No need to fear as after a month of continuous exercise the muscle soreness and aches no longer appear as frequent because your muscles start to get use to the pain.

Social media

One of the common things you see in the gym world is people training their upper body at the expense of their legs. They are often labelled as ‘Johnny Bravo’ as they replicate the cartoon character’s top-heavy image.

Making sure every muscle is in proportion is why bodybuilders like Rory have a day for each muscle group, and even after just three days, I could see several muscles starting to bulge slightly on my own physique, and improvements made strength-wise by particular exercises.

Currently Rory looks up to bodybuilders such as Simeon Panda and Ulisses Jr who are very popular on social media with millions of Instagram followers.Back Day

They are known for their low body-fat, defined and bulky physique.

They also post motivational gym videos regularly on YouTube and footage from their training sessions at the gym.

What I learned from my sessions with Rory is that it’s all about consistency and hard work.

I seen more muscle growth over the few days training with him than when I trained by myself in my previous gym, which shows the intensity of the training he does on a day-to-day basis.

My sessions with Rory have been really inspiring especially when he shown me what he looked like when he started his gym work. It was very motivational and shows anything is possible once you put your all into it.