well being

6 months to live

Stardate: 16th January, 2017

“Ask him”, a woman’s voice said.
“Excuse me sir”, I heard a boy say. “Are you a trainer? Can you train us?”

I smiled, angling my head in the direction of those voices. A mother. Her three young boys. It was June of 2016… in a random carpark… at a random mid-morning hour.

“I have cancer”, the mother informed me. “I’ve been given 6 months to live. I’m going to beat it though. So, I’m going to hire you for 12 months.”

On July 7th, I pulled in to her driveway. Off and on for months, we trained hard. 6 months passed. She was still alive.

Last week, during month number 7, she messaged me. “I have bad news. The cancer’s spread to my bones. I am in SO much pain.”

She didn’t respond to any of my follow up messages. Her doctor had basically told her to say her goodbyes. I thought… Christ… that our last conversation, would be our last conversation.

Stage 3 cervical cancer.
Stage 3 lung cancer.
Silently, I stalked her social media… vicariously experiencing the days through her eyes.

This morning… Monday, 16th of January, she showed up at my door in workout gear.

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“I don’t know if this makes sense”, she said.

She’d given up.

I haven’t.

To date, she hasn’t documented her fitness journey.
Today, I’m sharing a snippet… without revealing her name or face.
Hopefully, your kind outpouring will encourage her to do the same.

…to know that she’s supported, loved, and admired.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

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Zen-dom… biceps, business, and bliss.

Stardate: 2nd March, 2016

Hey all!

I often say that my lifelong dedication to fitness has positively affected me in all areas of my life. Training to be a competitive athlete, meant training to be better… period.

A better person.
A better business person.
A better everything really.
Discipline isn’t accidental.

But why the correlation?

Working out is mostly psychology. Yes, it pays to understand human physiology (- this is an understatement really). But when it comes down to understanding and manifesting success or failure… that’s psychology.

Think about it: A guy can lift a rock 100 times each day, and develop a strong lean body without any real understanding of correct movement ( – as long as he does what feels right, and isn’t living in the pie section of the supermarket). But it takes that psychological trigger to initiate that desire to want to get in shape in the first place. Think about it.

You thought about it didn’t you? And that’s my point: higher brain function, emotive responses, rationalisations – that isn’t physiology. Not in its purest sense.

*points to skull*

That’s grey matter.

A lot of trainers and trainees alike don’t understand that. The weakest link in your plan of attack isn’t usually your back, inactive glutes, tight hamstrings, or bum knee.  It’s your spouse. It’s your workmate who comments on your meals and weight daily. It’s your skinny friends who invite you dinner, feed you garbage because they can eat it without getting fat.

It’s you.

It’s your mind.

Luckily, the mind can be trained. Hell, most of the time it NEEDS to be trained. Most of the time, it needs to be trained harder than any muscle.

My clients mostly think that I’m some insane zen master, because I’m always dribbling the above. But they, like me, still practice that thing I like to call “Iso-Perfection” – Isolated Perfection… which, basically, is the process of drilling absolutes in to the subconscious.

Nothing exists outside of that absolutely perfect repetition.

Not music.
Not work drama.
Not your spouse.
Not the cunt who cut you off in traffic and cussed you.
Not the other 8 reps you should be shooting for in that set.

Nothing… outside of the immediate now: You, struggling against you… to manifest a better you.

And, I realise that this sounds like the opposite of everything your muscle and fitness magazine subscription and copious hours of youtube exercise-video-watching  would suggest… but, were you to think about it logically, you’d probably reach the same place as we.

Again… you thought about it… didn’t you? 😉

Studies show that stress increase cognitive decline. Yet so many of us prime the edge (i.e. force the fight or flight response) in an attempt to power through to a desired outcome.

But we fail. Repeatedly. We psyche up, when we should be calming down: immersing ourselves in the moment, experience, and environment.

Think about the number of times you’ve gone to lift something that you know you could lift, psyched yourself up, and failed… stressing about every little thing, except that perfect rep in that intentionally perfect moment.

And it’s the same for every other area of life: work deadlines,sex with a new partner for the first time. You name it. Performance anxiety is no joke.

So, what can we do?

How do we brainwash the brainwashing away?

1. Learn to activate, and deactivate tunnel vision.
Tunnel vision, like bacon, gets a bad rap. The world, and intellectual discussions alike, tends to be all or nothing: something is either the best thing in the world, or pure poison. Tunnel vision is one such thing. Pundits are quick to label it as negative. But successful sportsmen have been (successfully) using this manner of thinking (-did I mention successfully) for centuries. The problem lies in not knowing when to shut it off.

With myself and clients, I use it situationally: If my goal is a perfect set of 500 lb deadlifts, I switch it on just before my first repetition… right before I…

2. Visualise
We get what we focus on. This is true in all areas of life. Successful basketballers focus on the hoop. Successful golfers focus on the hole. Successful cricketers focus on the ball. Nothing else around them matters in that moment. Normal people focus on distractions and can’ts. How many times have you thrown trash at a garbage can and missed?

I thought so.

When I’m in the gym, before the start of my set, before my tunnel vision switches on, before I even touch the bar, I close my eyes and visualise. My hands travel to the muscles that I’m about to fire explosively. I touch, contract them, and imagine them hoisting an ungodly amount of weight in a stupendous manner. I talk to myself. And then I…

3. Quiet the mind – Practice mindfullness: The beginner’s mind
Jeffrey Brantley, and Wendy Millstine, in their book “Daily Meditations for Calming Your Anxious Mind” defined mindfulness as: “… paying attention on purpose in a way that […] does not try to add or subtract anything from whatever is happening.”

They also defined the “Beginner’s mind” as: “paying attention to each moment and to your breathing as though you’re doing it for the first time, so that you’re curious and welcoming.”
Which is a mouthful mind you. The easiest takeaway of which is: “pay attention to your breathing.”

I often use verbal cues with my clients, and self for this purpose.:
  • “breathe”
  • “relax your shoulders”
  • “push your tummy out when you inhale” (-which is an uncomplicated way of getting a person to focus on expanding and contracting their diaphragm muscles… utilising full lung capacity – something that the average person doesn’t do).
  • “breathe”
I know this has been a lot to read.
So, here are footnotes… for those not inclined to read all the way through:
  1. Train your mind for better fitness results… and better life results. Period.
  2. Focus on perfection in the moment. Nothing else matters in that time. Nothing. Trust me. The world will continue to turn in those moments when you act like it doesn’t exist.
  3. Anxiety isn’t our friend. And life isn’t a competition. The only person you have to beat is you.
  4. I really like bacon.

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Vaaya Mudra – The yoga hand gesture for calmness

 

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

Staying Fit, despite depression

Stardate: December 2nd 2012

I tweet on twitter, and post statuses on Facebook.com so as to give subscribers a glimpse into my mind. My hope is that doing so serves to help people who deal with the same issues. Today’s topic is depression. A lot of ppl who’ve known me for years, especially clients, don’t know that I’ve dealt with depression since my teens. They see me laughing and smiling, functional, running multiple businesses…and think I could never relate to their periods of demotivation and lethargy. So, many hide ’em…and suffer in silence.


img src: http://amyjanesmith.blogspot.com/
Caption: “Some refuse counseling/medication/intervention…”

Some refuse counseling/medication/intervention under the misplaced belief that it is a reason to be ashamed… and under the misplaced belief that bravado is the required response as an adult. Oftentimes these same people end up cutting themselves (physically) and act out destructively otherwise rather than admit they have an issue. I know, because I’ve seen your scars.

While I did study psychology, I won’t pretend to be a psychologist. All I can do is illustrate my solution. I call it “functional depression”. It first comes from a realization that depression is a chronic manifestation, and like any other chronic illness, it can be managed…whether by medication, or other avenues.

Personally, I refused medication because I realized that it limits creativity in many creatives. As creativity is both my outlet and the basis for my professions, limiting it via medications was an illogical option in my humble opinion.

Having spoken to peers, I noticed a trend: People with high IQs, creatives and their ilk, tend to be depressed. Many of them turn to substance abuse so as to provide and outlet for expression… as expression is the ultimate form of therapy for these individuals. Having spoken to them, as well as my father (who, people would never have guessed, has dealt with depression his whole life) I decided on functionality.

For it to work, one must have intellectual honesty, and personal honesty. Don’t pretend that you’re ok and functional on days where you are not. Lying to yourself promotes a state of cognitive dissonance. Conflict begets conflict… pushing the downward cycle deeper and deeper.

re: Productivity
On the days that your mood dips into dysfunction, realign your work to suit. When you are in a productive mood, push more work. And, importantly, find a bridge that connects dysfunction to functionality. Whatever your ‘release’ is, embrace it… and let it act as an anchor and line to pull you back to functionality, and hold you there. For me that line is music/poetry, and areas of my work which encourage the mind to be creative. Take liberty and pride in yourself, and the fruits of your labours…and, in turn the product will inject pride into your state of being. i.e. You will preempt a cycle of positivity that feeds itself.

A reader asks: “were u ever suicidal? i mean truly so… there was no reason to exist further, n if so, what pulled u back?”


img src: http://www.tomcorsonknowles.com/

2007, and one period prior as a teen. As a teen, I can’t honestly say what pulled me back. Maybe it was transitional. I was quite arrogant back then, so maybe the though of irritated my sense of self. Actually, that sounds quite logical looking back at my teen years.

2007 however, my business saved me. I was quite broken that year. I had the shitstorm of my life hit me all at once…and it broke me. Apollo Fitness Barbados saved me… Because I, not meaning to be immodest, am brilliant at what I do. I immersed myself in it totally…and ran it on autopilot. I trained clients like a man with a foot in hell, and my mind shut down completely. I didn’t need to be ‘there’ emotionally to do my job. My knowledge base an innate passion for what I do allowed me a cocoon to escape into. And, that quite literally saved my life.

A reader writes: “if I had a body like yours, I’d just punch depression in the face and move on.”

lol… If I had $10 for every time a depressed client said that to me, I’d buy a plane ticket to every major city in the world.

re: Intellectual honesty, and Personal honesty
I was talking to my ex-fiancee the other day, and she said to me: “I’m proud of you babe. You don’t let stuff stop you in your tracks anymore. Before, when shit when really wrong, you’d just throw your hands up and stop right there and then.” – That isn’t totally true. There was a process back then to dealing with depression. i.e. To accept when shit went wrong (as opposed to sugar-coating it), mourn the clusterfuck…and then move on.

re: Intellectual Honesty
Modern Society revolves around lying to oneself. Friends lie. They say ‘everything will be ok’, and a bunch of other coddling bullshit which really does nothing but appease their need to be comforting… like a friend should be (or so society says). This does nothing for the dysfunctional depressed person, cept push them further into depression. On one hand their mind paints the world as it is (albeit through glasses with a magnified lense), and on the other hand the people around feed them tales of other people ‘having it worse than them’, and things being ok.

re: Society Encouraging Self-deception
Sure, there are people in Haiti living in huts… but does that mitigate the reality of the job you just lost? Does it trivialize the significance of such? It doesn’t… but friends are socialized to point out the plight of others, to trivialize and numb your feelings, and to redirect your thought process. This may work in the average person, but it doesn’t in the depressed person. So, as a depressed person, one of your first steps to mediating your condition is to DEMAND that your right to embrace what you are feeling as real and important to you. Stop lying to yourself. Stop pretending. Stop hiding. Only then will you be able to visualize a bridge between dysfunction and functionality.

A reader writes: “my tattoos are a direct result of me needing to “hurt myself”.”

Same here. Actually, it ran deeper. There is a thin line between pain and pleasure… so, honestly, celebration and self-denigration/punishment overlapped. re: punishment. There are few things are liberating as a needle punch you 300 times per minute. It’s like acupuncture and spanking had a baby. That being said, I realized (when I started to run out of skin) that my reason for tattooing was wrong. I mean, I used to get a tatt every birthday to celebrate, but then I started also getting ’em when huge bad things happened in my life… thus tainting the celebratory purpose of tattooing. So, things had to change.

A reader writes: “I try hard to keep those around me encouraged and happy. It depresses me more that when I am in need, the same people either put me on ignore or brush me off.”

Keeping people around me encouraged and happy is one of the biggest mistakes I made over the years, for exactly the same reason you slipped in just now: When I’m depressed and in need, those same people ignore me. I came to multiple realizations some years ago that I’ll share right now: One realization came when a guy I considered a friend for years said to me one day: I don’t even like you, I just keep you around because you make people laugh/smile… you’re good for a laugh. Another came within a relationship where I realized I would constantly be building up said person’s self-esteem, keeping them encouraged etc… while watching my emotional energy being sapped away. When my depression finally kicked in, I didn’t have the person to lean on…and I didn’t even have the energy to stand on my own. Opening yourself to others is fine. Becoming the foundation they stand on, isn’t. May sound selfish, but it isn’t intended to be.

I kicked those people out. I still work with them and assist them via my businesses. I still greet them amicably when I see them… but, I’m honest with myself. I can honestly say every year I get more happy. My body issues (which people/clients/friends can’t believe that I have) bother me less each year. My disappointments (which grow larger each year because I take bigger business risks each year to encourage growth/expansion) hit less hard. I wake up every single morning of every single day looking forward to the day. I literally leap out of bed every morning (and have for almost 5 years now), while normal people get out of bed and groan ‘do i have to go to work today?’ And, all that started with being honest with myself.

A reader wrote: “I used alcohol as a release…but then I found Valium.”

Valium. That’s one drug I never touched. 2007, I remember, I was at my biggest and most muscular… but at the same time my most self-loathing. One night enough alcohol to give two people alcohol poisoning, a couple lines of coke, 2 tabs of ecstasy, and enough weed brownies to put the pope in orbit. I couldn’t get high or drunk…or numb. I think my metabolism was way too high at that point, so my body metabolized that crap like it was nothing. But, it was also in those moments of loathing that I realized that my dysfunction was me trying to kill myself… albeit slowly. People who’d known me for years thought that I was just partying hard… They actually said “I like this guy”, that guy pounding the alkie, smiling, laughing… dancing. It was then that realized that people, as a whole, are clueless and truly disinterested in what others are thinking or feeling. They rationalize and label things so events fit into whatever makes them least uncomfortable.

re: Waking Every Day Happy
Yes, that even includes the days that run to shit. However, functional depression revolves around accepting when days run to shit…and being willing to end a day/conversation/activity (or whatever) at the shit point. Normal people suggestion trudging through. Fuck that. I call it a day… mourn the clusterfuck, and start the next day anew. NB: it doesn’t automatically mean taking an entire day off… It make take only a few minutes. Regardless, it is important for depressed ppl to stop, take the time, breathe, and acknowledge the stimuli before one can move on. Without this, you will get stuck in the downward spiral.

Anyway the footnotes (for anyone now joining the thread): Yes I have dealt with depression for most of my adult life. No I’m not dysfunctional.

Yes, you can be functional too.

/end 🙂

Have a great day all.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

Why YOUR New Year’s Resolutions won’t work.

Stardate: 2nd January 2016

A year ago on this day, and ever optimistic, I wrote a post about optimising one’s new year resolutions.

Today… I sit here inundated by a flood of exactly the same resolutions as last year, by the same people. The facebook memories app compounded the situation, by reminding me further that each of these individuals had posted basically the same thing each year… every year, since I’d befriended them on facebook.

new year

Gung-ho “new year, new me” posts. “It’s all about the money!” “Gonna lose that gut!” “No fake friends this year!”

…followed by failure.

Yes. I’m talking about you. Are you pissed off yet? No? No wonder you’re failing:

  • Neural priming
  • Follow-through/Logical progression
  • Motivation/Commitment

…or, rather, the absence of any of the above.

A quick visit to google shows over 15 million posts about New Year’s Resolutions. Staggering! That’s more posts than those about the Loch Ness Monster and BigFoot sightings combined. Maybe, that’s because New Year’s Resolutions success is equally fictional.

But… it doesn’t need to be.

Let’s talk:

  1. Neural Priming

Priming (psychology): “a process in which the processing of a target stimulus is aided or altered by the presentation of a previously presented stimulus.”

Many of your fail, primarily, because your mind isn’t continually primed for change, via the inclusion and achievement of small goals through-out the year. i.e. Instead of making small changes (- e.g. cutting back on flour one month; cutting back on soda the next month; adding a brisk walk the next month; joining the gym the following month… and so on-), you wake up on January 1st declaring to the world that you’re going to get your teenaged figure back. You expect that a magical switch will flip on, and success will follow suit.

If it worked like that… we’d all have PhDs, 6-figure incomes, and flat stomachs. C’mon man.

2. Follow-through.

My go-to thought? “What did you spend December 31st-January 1st doing? Working on your vision… or where you drinking?”

FYI: the only correct answers are ‘working on my vision’, or ‘the latter… plus drinking.’

I hate using myself as an example, but for the purpose of this post I’ll do so anyway. It’ll piss someone off, but … *shrugs*

My timeline:

  • December 31st – 5 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Trained clients (i.e. maintaining vision continuity into the new year)
  • December 31st – 8:20 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. – Cleaned Studio and planned workouts for January 1st’s clients (i.e. neural priming: preparing to transition)
  • December 31st – 11 p.m. – At church with family (i.e. neural priming)
  • January 1st – 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – trained clients
  • January 1st – 2-3 pm. – Collected items for charity drive
  • January 1st – 6 p.m. – Delivered charity food hampers
  • January 1st – 7 pm.-until – Consumed alcohol (lol)

Now, I’m not saying that you need to follow my truly-anal process. Not at all actually. What I AM suggesting however, is that you’re failing because you’ve squandered those pivotal, transitional points with activities that contribute NOTHING to your goals or passions.

3. Motivation/Commitment

The stats suggests that almost half of the people making resolutions fail… with many who start, not making it past the first two weeks.

And, that’s understandable. No… I’m being serious: I get it. Your well-meaning facebook declarations sound good, and are somewhat expected by society. But therein lies the reason why you can’t commit to them: they’re not coming from within you. You kinda want these things because you believe you kinda should.

As a trainer who’s worked with literally hundreds of clients over the year (and respectfully turned away hundreds more), let me clue you in to something about the “kinda” thought process though: It kinda runs out of steam before you even get started. Nothing happens before it’s supposed to… and, further to the point, nothing happens before you are ready (-read: until you make the conscious choice-) to.

So… when you decide you’re ready, pop off facebook for a minute… and give these year-old-but-still-valid-non-resolution-goal-achieving-tips a try.

…or don’t.
Merry January!

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net

 

Why do Young Men Use Steroids?

“Substance Abuse: Factors that Influence Young Adult Male Athletes’ Use of Ergogenic drugs” – by Corey Springer

University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus

Submission Date: 14th May 2007

steroids

Abstract

The history of Ergogenic Substance use is a very extensive and well-documented one, with the first reported incidences being noted as early as the 8th century. Progression in pharmacology has always outstripped the ability of sports federations to implement rigorous testing procedures but since the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency in 1999 more and more athletes are being caught. The purpose of this study is to determine what factors contribute significantly to the perpetuation of this behaviour by males 18-28. This age-range is specifically targeted because abuse by this age-group is potentially the most physiologically damaging. Implications for this research are with regard to understanding the motivations for ergogenic use in order to develop harm minimization programs.

Introduction

The purpose of this study is to determine the factors which influence adolescent and young adult, males to use, and abuse, Ergogenic Drugs. Silver (2001) defined ‘ergogenic aid’ as: “any means of enhancing energy utilization, including energy production, control, and efficiency.” For the purpose of this study, ‘Ergogenic drugs’ refer to those substances represented on the list of ‘Performance Enhancing’ substances as banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA). The short-list includes: Stimulants, Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids, Steroid Precursors (Prohormones), Peptide Hormones, Beta-Blockers, Beta-2 Antagonistic Agents, Diuretics, Masking Agents, and ‘Street Drugs’. Appendix I contains WADA’s extended list for 2007.

Ergogenic Drug use by athletes to improve athletic output is not ‘new’ by any stretch. As far back as 776 BC, Greek athletes were reported to use substances to ‘perform better’. However, advances in pharmacology have now generated substances that are much more effective in this regard. In 1889 Dr Brown-Sequard announced to the world that he had found a substance that reversed his 72-year-old body’s ailments. He announced having injected himself with the extract of dog and guinea pig testicles under the assumption that these organs had “internal secretions that acted as physiologic regulators.” His claim was reinforced by the discovery of hormones in 1905 and by the isolation of testosterone in 1935.

It has been suggested that Nazi Germany athletes utilised the first rudimentary testosterone preparations in the 1936 Olympics. Shortly after, Russian weightlifters began to outpace American Olympians through performance-enhancing injections. The multiple gold-medal winning and record-breaking stint at the World Weightlifting Championships of 1954 was an example of such.

In attempting to regain equal competitive footing, the then US Olympic physician teamed with chemists to produce an anabolic steroid for the Americans. This testosterone-derivative was known as Dianabol. In the decades which followed, ergogenic drugs spread throughout sports. In 1959, the first reported case of a high school football player’s taking steroids was reported. This pre-empted that 1960s ban of steroid use by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC also began formal drug testing in the ensuing decade.

During the 1980s, the reported positive test results ranged from 2% to 50%, depending on whether the tests were announced or conducted at random. At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the first gold metal in track and field was stripped when the Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson lost his 100-meter race victory after failing drug tests. Then, in 1994, an often-referenced survey was conducted by Goldman when aspiring Olympians were asked two simple questions. The first was, “If you were offered a banned performance-enhancing substance that guaranteed that you would win an Olympic medal and you could not be caught, would you take it?” Remarkably, 195 of 198 athletes said yes. The second was, “Would you take a banned performance-enhancing drug with a guarantee that you will not be caught, you will win every competition for the next 5 years, but will then die from adverse effects of the substance?” Still, >50% of the athletes said yes. This survey made it clear that modern athletes often approach their sports with a “win at all costs” mentality. In 2005, information surfaced to suggest that this mentality is becoming more prevalent even in high school athletics, with several highly publicized deaths in teenagers who were on steroids and a recent scandal with 9 students on 1 high school football team admitting to steroid abuse.

The term ‘abuse’ permeates this report as, medically speaking, ‘use’ and ‘abuse’ have been categorically similar: any use outside the immediately medical application constituting ‘abuse’. It is this report’s purpose however to investigate the extreme of the ‘use spectrum’, focusing on use which is correlated to physiological damage. Although the phenomenon, of Ergogenic drug use, indisputably exists in the Caribbean region, it has never been investigated or documented. Rationale for the conduction of this study stemmed from societal disfavour enacted by the abovementioned lack of investigation of the manifestation of Ergogenic drug use.

The research questions addressed in this study were:

  • What individual issues contribute to ergogenic drug use? : An investigation of individual characteristics, factors and issues that may influence young adult males to use ergogenic drugs.
  •  What situational issues contribute to ergogenic drug use? : An investigation of external stressors which may influence young adult males to use erogenic drugs.
  • Do males’ attitudes toward ergogenic drugs influence their use of such compounds? : An assessment of the roles which attitudes and perceptions play in the instances of ergogenic drug use.

The variables addressed were: Individual issues and Ergogenic drug use; Situational issues and Ergogenic drug use; Males’ attitudes and perceptions, and Ergogenic drug use.

This project’s researchers created an anonymous internet community, which served as discussion area for ergogenic substance users. This community provided an inlet to the discussion of ergogenics: Information normally deemed socially sensitive. Field research, specifically surveys and informal interviews, was the chosen channel for data collection. Purposive, non-random sampling was used in subject selection for the surveys since the study required specific criteria; and the target population was not the average male in society. Due to the sensitive nature of the discussion, subjects were not informed of the true purpose of the surveys and interviews. This was done so their responses would not be avoidant.

Literature Review

The range of Ergogenic research is expansive, but, at the same time limited. There is a wealth of information on the ‘how’ of sports doping, but little to illustrate the ‘why’. The topic of doping itself is shrouded in controversy. This controversy, and consequent sensitivity, is fuelled by: the magnitude of cash invested in sports, and also by the degree to which public support is important with regard to capitalizing on these investments.

Due to the sensitivity of the topic of sports doping, researchers have been relatively limited in their research. Studies conducted over the past two decades have been plagued by various methodological problems: including the uncovering of potential subjects, and the gaining of their trust. Thus the pitfalls of these preceding studies were used to shape a more feasible methodology

It is suggested that athletes’ beliefs and values may influence whether or not an athlete will use banned drugs, little is known about the athletes’ beliefs and attitudes in different sports. Alaranta A et al. (2006) sought to clarify these beliefs and attitudes of elite athletes towards banned substances and methods in sports. Alaranta A et al. (2006) supplied a total of 446 athletes with a explicitly structured questionnaire during a 2002 Olympic training camp. More than 90 % of the athletes reported to believe that banned substances and methods have performance enhancing effects, and 30 % reported that they personally know an athlete who uses banned substances. Of the male athletes 35 % reported that they personally know an athlete using banned substances. A total of 15 % of the athletes reported that they had been offered banned substances: 21 % of the speed and power athletes, 14 % of the team sport athletes and of the athletes in motor skills demanding events, and 10 % of the endurance athletes. Stimulants were the most often offered substance group (to 7 % of all the athletes) followed by anabolic steroids (4 %). Alaranta A et al. (2006) concluded that Subjects who regarded doping as a minor health risk seemed to be more often associated with doping users than those regarding doping as a significant health risk. Also it was noted that Athletes in different sports have different approaches to, and thoughts on, doping. Risk of doping appears to be highest in speed and power sports and lowest in motor skills demanding sports. Alaranta A et al. (2006) noted that males are at higher risk than females. It was suggested that controlling doping only by tests was not sufficient. Alaranta A et al. (2006) suggested that a profound change in the attitudes is needed, and this change should be monitored repeatedly.

It is generally accepted that ‘Negative affect’ can effect an individual’s perception of body image, and thus the manifestation of eating disorders. A general consensus could not be reached however which outlines definitively whether this relationship also applies to excessive exercise and strategies, including ergogenic drug use, to increase muscle in men. Thus Heywood & McCabe (2006) undertook to investigate whether negative and positive affect mediate the relationship between body dissatisfaction, and these body change strategies. The 2006 Heywood & McCabe study concluded that body dissatisfaction was associated with these strategies to lose weight, dietary restraint and bulimia for both genders. It was concluded that Negative affect mediated the relationship between dissatisfaction with muscles and strategies to lose weight, dietary restraint and bulimia for women only. The results confirm previous findings related to the association between negative affect and disordered eating for women. They also demonstrate the need to further investigate the impact of negative affect on body change strategies, particularly among men, and those strategies related to increasing muscles. Heywood & McCabe (2006) did not discount the possible existence of such.

Coaches are held to be among the main social main within doping prevention campaigns. Realizing this, Laure et. al. (2001) sought to document the attitudes of professional coaches faced with doping so as to evaluate how they related to its manifestation. Upon analysis of the responses it was found that 10.3% of coaches believed that an athlete may use doping with no health hazard with the help of a physician, and 30.0% of the coaches believed that an athlete who declined doping had little chance of succeeding. 5.8% of the coaches had used ergogenic drugs on their athletes within the preceding twelve months: 1 to 6 times. 13.5% of coaches mentioned that athletes, 1 to 5 per coach on average, had told them they had been prompted to use doping drugs during the previous 12 months. 80.7% of coaches considered that the current methods of preventing doping in sport were ineffective. 98.1% of them considered that they had a role to play within this context, but 80.3% considered themselves badly trained in the prevention of doping. Only 10.4% of coaches organized a doping prevention action during the preceding 12 months. The 2001 Laure et. al. study concluded professional coaches do not seem to be efficient in the prevention of doping. Further, they may perpetuate its manifestation.

 Methodology

The study being undertaken was mainly qual itative in nature, but research and findings from quantitative studies were included as well. For the purpose of this study, ‘ergogenic’ drugs referred to banned performance enhancing drugs. Attitudes as a variable in this study referred to beliefs, opinions, and ideas that a person holds about the drug use: both isolated to the drugs themselves, and comparatively to socially acceptable drug-consuming activities. Individual issues as a variable in this study referred to self-perception, pre-dispositions, characteristics, and traits, and their possible effect on an individual’s behaviour with regard to ergogenic drug administration. Situational issues as a variable in this study referred to situation-derived stressors which may influence an individual’s behaviour with regard to ergogenic drug administration.

For the purpose of this study, field research was necessary since literature on the study area was limited. Because of the sensitive nature of the topic, and the subversive nature of the subculture, the creation of a virtual community was necessary. This community was deemed most feasible for the unimpeded investigation of the sensitive subject area. The choice to create this community allowed the researcher to conduct research relatively uninhibited since the role of community contributor was used as a cover while collecting data. This role allowed the researcher and subjects to interact frequently. This role also allowed the researcher to build a rapport with potential subjects of the study. This process was relatively uncomplicated as there were pre-existing relationships and the researcher was aware of all the ‘virtual identities’, as well as some of the actual identities, of the potential subjects. The population from which the sample was chosen consisted of 30 people who interacted within this community on a daily basis. Base criteria were that the applicants be: male, ergogenic drug users, and between 18-28 years old at the time. Information was ascertained, via email, through the administration of a survey. This information was supplemented by informal interviews via instant messenger services, and related chat forums. Appendix II contains the survey instrument used.

The survey participants were not informed of the true nature of this study. This decision was made to facilitate the unclouded relay of this sensitive information. Information was collected over two sittings: one survey, and one interview. The interview was informal: a discussion of the subjects’ perceptions on the phenomenon. The interviews occurred via the instant messenger program of the subject’s preference. On completion of the data collection process, the data collected was grouped in relation to its relevance to each variable being addressed, i.e., under each variable, information ascertained and deemed relevant was grouped. The variables were conceptualised through repeated reference to definitions given by researchers in the field of ergogenics, as well as related literature.

Limitations

Interviewing involved self-reporting which relies on the subject’s ability to aptly relay information, representative of their experiences, to the researcher. It has been shown that people have the tendency to try to give favourable impressions of themselves, and may at times exaggerate certain experiences. Thus sometimes it may be difficult to ascertain the actuality of the information gleaned: The interviewee being the only person who knows the full extent of their own behaviours.

The sample chosen isn’t representative of any particular population. While the information is of definite importance, due to the comparative size of the societal subgroup, the sample had to be small.

Participant responses, within the interview, were subject to the interpretation of the researcher and therefore could have incurred researcher bias. Overall the method of data collection was subjective with regard to both the researcher and subject as both: each having to interpret questions and responses.

The virtual community, while allowing a neutral territory for users of ergogenic compounds, was somewhat anonymous and impersonal. The observation of non-verbal situational responses, such as body language, was impossible. While this is arguably of benefit, as it could perceivably reduce situational tension, it also allows the subject the opportunity to mislead the interviewer.

Qualitative studies in this topic area were extremely limited and thus it was difficult to formulate the best methodology in terms of research design and procedure.

 Results

The three research questions being addressed were:

  •  “What individual issues contribute to ergogenic drug use?”: An investigation of individual characteristics, factors and issues that may influence young adult males to use ergogenic drugs.
  •  “What situational issues contribute to ergogenic drug use?” : An investigation of external stressors which may influence young adult males to use ergogenic drugs.
  • “Do males’ attitudes toward ergogenic drugs influence their use of such compounds?” : An assessment of the roles which attitudes and perceptions play in the instances of ergogenic drug use.

Thirty surveys and five informal interviews were conducted in an effort to sufficiently answer these questions. Each of the interviews was broken down into three sections, each of which sought to address each of the research questions. The surveys were broken down into four sections. The First section sought to establish the interviewee’s social-economic standing so as to dismiss this as a factor in the likelihood of Ergogenic drug use, by way of illustrating the similarity between motivating factors across socio-economic brackets. The second and third sections sought to address the research questions, while the fourth section served to address a fourth hypothesis which investigated a genetic link.

The first area investigated explored the Individual Issues which contribute to the manifestation of this behaviour. Information acquired from the interviewees were consistent with the idea that a person’s personality and perception of self have a major effect on their decision making process and thus can be an influence on whether a young male will use Ergogenic drugs. Of the 30 males studied, the majority, while indicating a moderate to high level of self-esteem (see Figure 4), indicated a moderate to high need for others’ approval (See Figure 5). Additionally, while the majority reported a Moderate level of Confidence (See: Figure 7) and an above average self-report of physical attractiveness (see Figure 6), it was denoted that two of the most important purposes of Administration were: to improve physical appearance and attractiveness, and to increase confidence. Figure 10, located in appendix III, represents the Athlete’s reported Purposes of Administration.

Those interviewed were split almost equally with regard to their views on the status of sport: source of stress, or an outlet for the release of stress. The majority did concede however that they had been exposed to stressors in the process of training for, or competing in, an event. Based on the responses of the interviewees, it appeared as though Situational Stressors contributed to the manifestation of Ergogenic Use. ‘Stress’ for this purpose was not denoted as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’, but rather a situational friction which pre-empted a change in behaviour. Interviewees noted that stress namely came in the form of their own personal expectations with regard to their physical performance (see Figure 2). Perceived performance, or rather underperformance, pre-empted a need to change and ‘improve’. The above was the most commonly noted response, with alternative response being with regard to situational stress being transposed into a need to improve and change. Thus it can be said that each of the applicants shared this transposition and stress-response, and that situational stress can be considered a contributing factor to the manifestation of this behaviour.

Based on prior knowledge of various studies on substance use, it was hypothesized that men’s attitudes and perceptions of the behaviour often contribute to the manifestation of Ergogenic Use. The majority of the males studied herein viewed Ergogenic use as potentially dangerous (See figure 11). However the potential risk was deemed acceptable by the majority of the interviewees (see figure 12) as the perceived risk outweighed the perceived benefits (see figure 13). The majority of applicants viewed perceived risks as preventable through the monitoring of blood word: lipid profiles etc., and the administration of additional medications to counteract side-effects as they manifested. Additionally the majority of those interviewed agreed that occasional drug use ‘wasn’t bad’, and that they could take drugs as long as they were responsible and careful. The majority disagreed with the belief that all drugs were harmful, and also on the view that all drugs should be freely accessible. The majority also agreed that Drug use should be left up to individual choice, and that Ergogenic use was acceptable provided that no one other than the user is directly affected.

Section 3 also investigated the interviewee’s comparative views on the exhibition of Ergogenic use Behaviour as compared to drug-consuming behaviours deemed socially acceptable. ‘Socially acceptable drug-consuming activities’ for the this purpose, represented the activities of Drinking alcohol, Smoking Tobacco, and the practise of Self-medicating with Non-Prescription Drugs (Also known as OTC Drugs: Over-the-Counter Drugs). The majority of the applicants agreed that the use of Ergogenic Drugs was ‘safer’, ‘less physiologically damaging’, and ‘better’ than each of the above activities. Those interviewed also highlighted the notably lower mortality rate associated with Ergogenic use as compared to each of the above-mentioned socially acceptable drug-consuming behaviours. Thus perception of the behaviour can be considered a contributing factor.

Summary and Conclusions

In conclusion it was determined that in the case of young-adult males, the manifestation of Ergogenic Drug Use tends to be fueled by self-expectations and self-dissatisfaction. It was noted that the applicants used perceived stress as an internal motivator, and the viewed Ergogenic Use as a stress mediator in its ability to change their individual state of being: i.e. to make them stronger, faster, more confident etc.

Implications for future research include more insight into causation as the catalyst to destructive manifestations of this behaviour. Also, further implications are with regard to the investigation of the actual safety or danger of the athletes’ perceptions and beliefs with regard to this behaviour and their preventative measures. More research needs to be done into the latter especially to discount or accept its feasibility, and thus cement the safety of this region’s athletes.

References

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Appendix:

The World Anti-Doping Association (WADA)

The 2007 Prohibited list

S1. ANABOLIC AGENTS

  1. Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS)
  2. Exogenous* AAS, including:

1-androstendiol (5á-androst-1-ene-3â,17â-diol ); 1-androstendione (5á- androst-1-ene-3,17-dione); bolandiol (19-norandrostenediol); bolasterone; boldenone; boldione (androsta-1,4-diene-3,17-dione); calusterone; clostebol; danazol (17á-ethynyl-17â-hydroxyandrost-4-eno[2,3-d]isoxazole); dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (4-chloro-17â-hydroxy-17á-methylandrosta-

1,4-dien-3-one); desoxymethyltestosterone (17á-methyl-5á-androst-2-en- 17â-ol); drostanolone; ethylestrenol (19-nor-17á-pregn-4-en-17-ol); fluoxymesterone; formebolone; furazabol (17â-hydroxy-17á-methyl-5á- androstano[2,3-c]-furazan); gestrinone; 4-hydroxytestosterone (4,17â- dihydroxyandrost-4-en-3-one); mestanolone; mesterolone; metenolone; methandienone (17â-hydroxy-17á-methylandrosta-1,4-dien-3-one); methandriol; methasterone (2á, 17á-dimethyl-5á-androstane-3-one-17â-ol);

methyldienolone (17â-hydroxy-17á-methylestra-4,9-dien-3-one); methyl-1- testosterone (17â-hydroxy-17á-methyl-5á-androst-1-en-3-one); methylnortestosterone (17â-hydroxy-17á-methylestr-4-en-3-one); methyltrienolone (17â-hydroxy-17á-methylestra-4,9,11-trien-3-one); methyltestosterone; mibolerone; nandrolone; 19-norandrostenedione (estr-4-ene-3,17-dione); norboletone; norclostebol; norethandrolone; oxabolone; oxandrolone; oxymesterone; oxymetholone; prostanozol ([3,2-c]pyrazole-5á-etioallocholane-17â-tetrahydropyranol); quinbolone; stanozolol; stenbolone; 1-testosterone (17â-hydroxy-5á-androst-1-en-3- one); tetrahydrogestrinone (18a-homo-pregna-4,9,11-trien-17â-ol-3-one); trenbolone and other substances with a similar chemical structure or similar

Biological effect(s).

  1. Endogenous** AAS:

Androstenediol (androst-5-ene-3â,17â-diol); androstenedione (androst-4-ene- 3,17-dione); dihydrotestosterone (17â-hydroxy-5á-androstan-3-one); prasterone (dehydroepiandrosterone, DHEA);

Testosterone and the following metabolites and isomers:

5á-androstane-3á,17á-diol; 5á-androstane-3á,17â-diol; 5á-androstane-3â,17á-diol; 5á-androstane-3â,17â-diol; androst-4-ene-3á,17á-diol; androst-4-ene-3á,17â-diol; androst-4-ene-3â,17á-diol; androst-5-ene-3á,17á-diol; androst-5-ene-3á,17â-diol; androst-5-ene-3â,17á-diol; 4-androstenediol (androst-4-ene-3â,17â-diol); 5-androstenedione (androst-5-

ene-3,17-dione); epi-dihydrotestosterone; 3á-hydroxy-5á-androstan-17-one; 3â-hydroxy-5á-androstan-17-one; 19-norandrosterone; 19-noretiocholanolone.

  1. Other Anabolic Agents, including but not limited to:

Clenbuterol, tibolone, zeranol, zilpaterol.

For purposes of this section:

* “exogenous” refers to a substance which is not ordinarily capable of being

produced by the body naturally.

** “endogenous” refers to a substance which is capable of being produced by the

body naturally.

S2. HORMONES AND RELATED SUBSTANCES

The following substances, including other substances with a similar chemical

structure or similar biological effect(s), and their releasing factors, are prohibited:

  1. Erythropoietin (EPO);
  2. Growth Hormone (hGH), Insulin-like Growth Factors (e.g. IGF-1),

Mechano Growth Factors (MGFs);

  1. Gonadotrophins (LH, hCG), prohibited in males only;
  2. Insulin;
  3. Corticotrophins.

S3. BETA-2 AGONISTS

All beta-2 agonists including their D- and L-isomers are prohibited.

As an exception, formoterol, salbutamol, salmeterol and terbutaline when

administered by inhalation, require an abbreviated Therapeutic Use Exemption.

S4. AGENTS WITH ANTI-ESTROGENIC ACTIVITY

The following classes of anti-estrogenic substances are prohibited:

  1. Aromatase inhibitors including, but not limited to, anastrozole, letrozole, aminoglutethimide, exemestane, formestane, testolactone.
  2. Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) including, but not limited to, raloxifene, tamoxifen, toremifene.
  3. Other anti-estrogenic substances including, but not limited to, clomiphene, cyclofenil, fulvestrant.

S5. DIURETICS AND OTHER MASKING AGENTS

Masking agents are prohibited. They include:

Diuretics*, epitestosterone, probenecid, alpha-reductase inhibitors (e.g. finasteride, dutasteride), plasma expanders (e.g. albumin, dextran, hydroxyethyl starch) and other substances with similar biological effect(s).

Diuretics include:

acetazolamide, amiloride, bumetanide, canrenone, chlorthalidone, etacrynic acid, furosemide, indapamide, metolazone, spironolactone, thiazides (e.g. bendroflumethiazide, chlorothiazide, hydrochlorothiazide), triamterene, and other substances with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s) (except for drosperinone, which is not prohibited).

S6. STIMULANTS

All stimulants (including both their (D- & L-) optical isomers where relevant) are

prohibited. Stimulants include:

Adrafinil, adrenaline, amfepramone, amiphenazole, amphetamine, amphetaminil, benzphetamine, benzylpiperazine, bromantan, cathine, clobenzorex, cocaine, cropropamide, crotetamide, cyclazodone, dimethylamphetamine, ephedrine, etamivan, etilamphetamine, etilefrine, famprofazone, fenbutrazate, fencamfamin, fencamine, fenetylline, fenfluramine, fenproporex, furfenorex, heptaminol, isometheptene, levmethamfetamine, meclofenoxate, mefenorex, mephentermine, mesocarb, methamphetamine (D-),

methylenedioxyamphetamine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine, pmethylamphetamine, methylephedrine, methylphenidate, modafinil, nikethamide, norfenefrine, norfenfluramine, octopamine, ortetamine, oxilofrine, parahydroxyamphetamine, pemoline, pentetrazol, phendimetrazine, phenmetrazine, phenpromethamine, phentermine, 4-phenylpiracetam (carphedon), prolintane, propylhexedrine, selegiline, sibutramine, strychnine, tuaminoheptane and other substances with a similar

chemical structure or similar biological effect(s).

S7. NARCOTICS

The following narcotics are prohibited:

buprenorphine, dextromoramide, diamorphine (heroin), fentanyl and its derivatives, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, pentazocine, pethidine.

S8. CANNABINOIDS

Cannabinoids (e.g. hashish, marijuana) are prohibited.

S9. GLUCOCORTICOSTEROIDS

All glucocorticosteroids are prohibited when administered orally, rectally,

intravenously or intramuscularly.

SUBSTANCES PROHIBITED IN PARTICULAR

SPORTS

P1. ALCOHOL

P2. BETA-BLOCKERS

Beta-blockers include, but are not limited to, the following:

acebutolol, alprenolol, atenolol, betaxolol, bisoprolol, bunolol, carteolol, carvedilol, celiprolol, esmolol, labetalol, levobunolol, metipranolol, metoprolol, nadolol, oxprenolol, pindolol, propranolol, sotalol, timolol.

SPECIFIED SUBSTANCES*

“Specified Substances”* are listed below:

  • Probenecid;
  • Cathine, cropropamide, crotetamide, ephedrine, etamivan, famprofazone, heptaminol, isometheptene, levmethamfetamine, meclofenoxate, p-methylamphetamine, methylephedrine, nikethamide, norfenefrine, octopamine, ortetamine, oxilofrine, phenpromethamine, propylhexedrine, selegiline, sibutramine, tuaminoheptane, and any other stimulant not expressly listed under section S6 for which the Athlete establishes that it fulfils the conditions described in section S6;
  • Cannabinoids;
  • All Glucocorticosteroids;
  • Alcohol;
  • All Beta Blockers.

Yours in fitness,
– Corey Springer
Apollo Fitness Barbados

http://www.GetNarked.net