Is This Perfection


Quivering Flesh

I just use my muscles as a conversation piece, like someone walking a cheetah down 42nd Street.

- Arnold Schwarzenegger

by Con Flinkenberg

On stage, the naked flesh strains and quivers; the ferocious music pumps loud. From the darkness, the cries and moans of the audience urge the performers to push to the limit. Those left unaroused by the spectacle slump in their seats or move to the back for a drink.

No, you are quite wrong.  It has been many years since I was allowed to visit Vivian St.  This was a cultural experience of an entirely different order.  The Venue was the School Hall of Wellington High School and the event was the Body Building Championships.

All of the contestants, without exception, looked sensational, from the 16 year old to the 59 year old.  I couldn't decide which impressed me the most.  My heart was certainly with the 59 year old, who looked great and who inspired in me mingled feelings of reproach and inspiration.  The star of the evening was a 6'3" tall Chinese whose body, of an impossible perfection, looked like it had been sculpted from marble.  I like to think that my own body, too, is sculpted.  But mine is more of a margarine sculpture and the recent warm weather seems to have been affecting it.

I went along to support someone in their first competition and found a situation that was not as I had anticipated.  To begin with, the number of women competitors surprised me.  A second, very pleasant, surprise was to find how very attractive these women were, buffed and sleek.  If I had had an image of women bodybuilders in mind, it was probably of muscular grotesques.  Instead, watching them, foxy was the word that kept coming to mind.

Indeed, it came irresistibly to mind on one or two occasions.  It is customary at these events, I discovered, for the spectators to voice noisy approval of their favourites.  The preferred technique is the kind of high-pitched wolf call employed by the audience at Ladies' Nights.  But one group of spectators favoured a series of short yelps of the kind that I have not heard since I last witnessed the field of an English fox hunt giving voice.  A gulping, yapping "Yip-Yip-Yip" used to express high excitement at the pleasure of the chase and the impending thrill of the kill.  One or two of the foxes began to look nervous.

Something else that had not registered with me until I began following the fortunes of one individual was the exceptional degree of commitment and self-denial that is necessary to be really good.  Every sportsman must make sacrifices to fitness and I athleticism but I do think the bodybuilder's commitment is extreme.  Bodybuilders must completely adjust their diets as well as their lifestyles, eating huge quantities of one type of nutrition at one time, minuscule quantities at another, all the while maintaining a very vigorous physical regime of daily exercise - oh, and holding down a job.

Moral strength is required, also.  Bodybuilding is a sport where fast progress can be made with chemical assistance.  No athlete likes being second and the temptation to buy solutions, rather than earn them, is great.  All this effort, this huge commitment of time and energy, is made for a moment in the spotlight nearly as brief as a sprinter's.  There are indeed strong similarities between the preparations for both sports, now that weight training has become an integral part of a sprinter's preparation.

But we admire the sprinter as the epitome of athleticism and the sprinter's body as a statement of human perfection.  Bodybuilders are commonly regarded as vain and insecure, their bodies as objects of ridicule.  Where those bodies are inflated beyond any reasonable human scale, and where the resulting form is as uselessly specialised as a mammoth's tusks, such scorn is justified.  But the expenditure of great effort, the acceptance of hardship, and the forgoing of pleasure in the attempt to find perfection are heroic qualities.

The surroundings of the Wellington High School are soul-deadening.  Heroic concepts seem a long way off in that drab wasteland.  I wished some of the students had been able to see on the stage of their hall, not the results, but the preparations behind those results, and had been inspired to reach themselves for perfection, in any field of their choosing.

Source: from Con Flinkenberg's weekly column "Prose and Con" in Capital Times 3-9 May 2000

Tour de Farce

Drug scandals turned the 1998 Tour de France cycle race into a farce.  But thanks in part to urine specimens taken during that event, one type of drug abuse in sport may become much harder.  The banned substance EPO (erythropoietin) stimulates red blood cell production and has been used to boost the delivery of oxygen to the tissues.  A test developed at the French National Anti-Doping Laboratory, Chatenay-Malabry, and tested during the 1998 Tour, cracks the problem of distinguishing between synthetic and natural EPO.

Source: Nature Volume 405 8 June 2000

Tour de Force

Source: Funny Times October 2000 see

I have a friend who is a prizewinning bodybuilder.  He takes steroids periodically, despite the risk of it being detected and despite the possible long-term effects (some of which can be horrendous).  He is of the opinion that virtually ALL bodybuilders take SOME drugs, at least for a period.  He said there is little chance of winning without it.  Is he correct?

Steroids and drugs such as erythropoietin CAN confer an advantage on those who take them.  It is understandable that those who do not, who have achieved what they have by dint of rigourous training, would resent those who take shortcuts.  It's unfortunate that those shortcuts can't always be detected.

The Adonis Complex

extracted from an article by Diana Dekker

Women are beginning to understand that if Barbie were real, the weight of those impossibly pneumatic boobs on that wraith-thin body would cause her to topple over.

Enter Adonis, or the idealised version of him, namesake of a newly interesting affliction, the Adonis complex.  It applies to men miserably wanting top-heavy chests, pneumatic arm muscles and lean hips.  They're as unhappy with their average bodies - bit too much here, bit too little there - as some women have been for decades.  The complex makes men exercise obsessively, pop pills meant for horses, and gives them eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa usually associated with women.  These men badly want the muscular bodies they see on the covers of magazines and health supplement boxes, to be men with "six pack abs" and "ripped" chests.

Male cover boys are as far from the norm as the stringy figures which have filled ordinary women with insecurity for years.  Now it's the fate of gullible men.  Ex-professional bodybuilder Mark Rainbow, of the Results Nutrition Centre in Auckland, says top professional bodybuilders feed their obsessions with steroids, often using veterinary products because they're cheaper and are available in bigger quantities.  And not just top bodybuilders.  "It's quite common for ordinary guys who want to look good," he says.  "You've got no idea.  There's no such thing as a clean sport and never will be again.  You'd be surprised at the number of people who look to those alternatives, all underground.

"Vet products are no different to human drugs.  Steroid use is a big issue, bigger than most people believe.  It's all about evolution.  Someone, somewhere, took something that made them look better and go faster and it evolved to a point you can't take a step backwards."  Steroid use has exploded among millions of modern American men dissatisfied with their body image, say Harrison Pope and colleagues, authors of the recently published The Adonis Complex: the Secret Crisis of Male Body Obsession.

"Steroids have created athletes, actors and models bigger and stronger than any ordinary man and the media have promulgated their images everywhere.  These images have glorified the steroid-pumped body, portraying it as a model of health, athletic prowess, hard work and dedication - while almost never admitting it was a product of dangerous chemicals."  Pope says eating disorders may affect one man in six in Europe and the US.

Wellington Eating Disorder Services' Tina Barham says men are much less likely to admit to a problem and a lot of their disorders are hidden by extreme sports like long-distance cycling and triathlons.  Cyclers and triathletes eat massive amounts of carbohydrates before competition.  "Exercise is one way of dealing with calories," says Barham.  "Not all bulimics vomit."

Source: The Evening Post Wednesday 22 November 2000

Source: Funny Times July 2000

The Things Your Mom Never Told You About Being Big

by Jason Meuller

So, you wanna be a bodybuilder, huh?  Stand up on stage next to the big boys, get all the ladies, never have that sand kicked in your face again, I hear ya.  There's one little problem though.  Walking around with all that extra steroid-induced muscle isn't all peaches and cream, baby.  Sometimes it can be a downright pain in the ass (literally).  Sit back and pay attention, school is now in session.

Breathing is a Bitch

If you've ever had the chance to hang out with a professional bodybuilder, one thing becomes immediately clear.  Most of these guys suck wind like you wouldn't believe.  Simple tasks, like say, checking the mail, are enough to make a lot of these guys gasp and wheeze for oxygen.  I myself have experienced this on many occasions.  I own a three-story condo with plenty of stairs.  Stairs.  The bane to my existence.  Do you know how many times I've considered installing one of those chairs that helps old people up the stairs?  It's especially lovely after a brutal leg workout, it's 11 at night, and I've got to get some sleep.  Do I climb three flights of stairs so I can get to my bedroom or crash out on the couch?

The human heart was not designed to pump blood through miles of additional vascular networks that are created by steroid-induced hypertrophy.  Quite frankly, many of these athletes are taxing their hearts to very dangerous levels.  The combination of extreme size, steroid-related hypertension, and lack of cardiovascular conditioning makes for danger.

Sweat Like a Gerbil at a Gay Pride Rally

Okay, I admit that's probably in poor taste, but it's damn funny.  Who likes to sweat?  Hey, if you're planning on being one of the big boys, you're going to learn to love it!  You think you sweat profusely now?  Wait until you're about 280 pounds of muscle and see what happens.

My favorite example for this is Nasser El Sombaty.  Don't get me wrong,  I love Nasser, he's got an unbelievable physique and is one of the few pros that can carry on an intelligent conversation.  Talking to most of these guys will put you to sleep faster than a litre of GHB.  Joking aside, Nasser serves as a perfect case study for excessive sweating.  Having seen and talked to him many times at various shows and guest appearances, I can honestly tell you that even doing something as mundane as sitting and signing autographs causes Nasser to pour sweat.  Other athletes share similar fates.  At last year's Olympia Greg Kovacs was constantly towelling off as sweat poured down his face.  At the press conference it was miserable to watch the athletes, all wearing some form of dress attire, pour sweat under hot lights and the strain of many weeks of dieting.

Again, the human body was not designed to carry around the 50 - 100 pounds of steroid-induced muscle these athletes wear.  The incredible caloric intake, hypertension, and artificially heightened metabolisms of these athletes serve to overload the natural cooling system of the body.  Excessive and profuse sweating results.

Pain is Your Constant Companion

Big deal, right?  You've spent hours in the gym, you know what it's like to recover from the most brutal workouts.  Well my friend, have I got a treat for you.  Training naturally and training on gear are whole different animals altogether.  While I have the utmost respect for natural trainers, I can honestly say that 9 out of 10 steroid users are going to train harder and more aggressively than their natural counterparts (and yes, I can see the deluge of hate mail from naturals coming already).

Lord knows I've seen my fair share of mammoth bodybuilders dog it in the gym.  I've also witnessed natural bodybuilders train with an intensity that's inspiring.  However, a smart natural bodybuilder will almost always train his body at a level below what he's capable of.  Why?  Because natural bodybuilders must always deal with the limiting factor of cortisol, which is elevated in response to training.  Anabolic steroids allow bodybuilders to break past this barrier and by their very nature produce a level of aggressiveness that most natural trainers cannot reach.

Anabolic steroids allow you to lift longer, lift heavier, and with more intensity.  While I must admit that some bodybuilders tend to use steroids as a crutch and fail to take advantage of this, most athletes will train harder while "on."  Obviously, the harder you train, the more pain you'll experience as you recover from each session.  Additionally, it's not uncommon for long-term steroid users to suffer from severe joint pain.  The constant stress of accommodating weights that overload connective tissues can lead to a variety of problems.  Why do you think so many top bodybuilders are addicted to Nubain?

While we're on the subject of steroids, let's discuss another painful aspect of achieving massive size.  When you start taking the 2 - 4+ grams per week of steroid required to achieve a professional caliber physique, you start realising something. Taking that many shots really sucks.  Let's say you're an aspiring bodybuilder, you've got some decent size, and now it's time to really up the ante in your quest to pursue greatness.  A typical cycle of injectables for someone like this might consist of 2000 mg of test a week, 600 mg of deca, and 75 mg of trenbolone acetate every day.  At the very minimum, you're going to be injecting 18cc of oil into your body every week.  This assumes you're using a testosterone preparation that is 250 mg/ml and that you were lucky enough to locate deca at 200 mg/ml.  More realistically, you're going to be using a lower strength of testosterone, say 200 mg/ml and a much lower strength of deca, probably around 50 mg/ml.  You're now injecting 30 cc of oil per week!  Question.  Where is all of this oil going to go?  Before, you weren't taking that much juice and managed to put all your shots in the glutes.  Now you're hitting your delts and quads and still trying to figure out where else you can stick yourself.

Something happens after years and years on steroid injections.  You build up a great deal of scar tissue.  This makes injections even more fun as the needle no longer glides swiftly and smoothly through tissue towards its final destination.  There's something quite sickening and unpleasant about actually hearing and feeling the crunching and squeaking that results as a needle makes its way through heavy scar tissue.  Better yet, this scar tissue allows for very little blood circulation.  It's not at all uncommon to have a bolus of oil sit in your ass for a week because you injected directly into scar tissue.  Over time, this will eventually happen to your glutes, legs, and delts, really anywhere you inject repeatedly.  This is not a result of improper or unsterile injection techniques, it's simply the result of years of steroid use.

Last but not least, let's not forget the newest fad to hit the bodybuilding scene, site injections.  Now areas that were previously taboo as injection sites are being poked and prodded on a daily basis in an attempt to artificially swell the muscle with various fats and fatty acids.  Now I know there are many of you who think the use of these substances is limited to a few bad apples in the sport of bodybuilding.  We can easily spot these miscreants at shows, with a rear delt that is wildly overinflated or a bicep that looks like those water balloons you used to throw at your sister when you were a kid.  I hate to break it to you, but site injections are used by damn near everybody now.  Bodybuilding is a sport, much like many others, that will always fail to hear the voice of reason.  As bodybuilders continue their quest for increased size, the risks and chances they take become greater and greater.  You'll not find a bodybuilder in the upper levels of the sport who's going to stand up and martyr himself to correct the evils associated with competition.  You don't want to site inject?  Well Mr Olympia contestant, please take 16th place and shut your hole.  Thanks for playing.

Ah, but I digress.  Back to pain.  If you've taken shots long enough, you know that occasionally, no matter how careful you are with your injection techniques, you're going to get a "bad" shot that hurts for quite some time.  Site injections are all "bad" shots.  You're injecting into areas that are not meant to accommodate large amounts of oil.  Injecting 2 - 3 cc into your biceps for weeks at a time is painful as all hell.  Injecting into your calves can make it difficult to walk.  Suck it up kid, you're a bodybuilder now.

Time to Eat

Now that you've decided to play with the big boys, you've got your program all set.  The workouts are written out, the drugs are in place, and you've got your 5 meals a day of chicken and rice ready to go.  Watch out Mr Olympia, here I come!  Cut to six months later.  You're leaner.  You're meaner.  But you're not a helluva lot bigger.  What happened?  Lack of food is what happened.

I'm not going to go over this again in too much detail, as I've already done so in past issues of Anabolic Extreme.  If you want to read an article that takes a realistic look at the kind of nutritional program it takes to compete at the upper levels of the sport, read "Extreme Eating for Mass" in the back issue section.  Bottom line, chicken and rice don't cut it.

Overfeeding is the name of the game here.  If you want to be brutally huge, you've got to eat brutally huge meals all day long.  I'm talking about eating to the point where you are uncomfortable for most of your waking hours.  I'm talking about eating to the point where just when you finish one meal, it seems like it's time for another.  Obviously this doesn't work for natural athletes, they'll just get fat.  But when you're injecting yourself with 3g of gear a week, along with 6 IUs of growth and 30 IUs of insulin a day, the normal rules of eating are thrown out the window.  Here, have a couple Big Macs while you're waiting for that weight-gain shake to blend.

Christ, Was That You?

If you've spent any time at all around a good-sized bodybuilder, you're quickly going to realise that these guys have serious issues with gas.  Unfortunately, the same dietary practices that allow us to pack on the muscle also cause the wildlife that inhabit intestinal tracts to produce inordinate amounts of methane.  As a result, most bodybuilders spend a significant amount of time trying to fart in public without getting caught.  Anytime you get a large group of bodybuilders together, you'd better have a good ventilation system.  Any of you who've attended the expos at the Mr Olympia or Arnold's Classic will know what I mean.  If it weren't for the massive difference in muscularity, you wouldn't know if you were at a bodybuilding show or an all day chili cook-off.  You're constantly walking through man-sized fart bubbles of varying toxicity.

There's a certain pride associated with a good, sweaty, manly fart, the kind that can immediately clear a room.  One of the important principles you'll need to master as your flatulence grows in direct correlation to your body weight is the subtle art of never being around to take the blame when the general public is hit with the goods.  This requires some planning on your part, as you can't just rip one at the beginning of your drop-set on bench and hope no one is going to point the finger at you.  You'll generally have plenty of warning as one of these monsters goes through its build up phase and know when its time to take appropriate action.  You can employ several techniques here, but all involve moving to an area of the gym you won't soon need to occupy for any reason and releasing your noxious payload.  This can be done discreetly in an unoccupied corner of the gym, although doing so wastes any of the fart's knockout potential.

The best course of action allows you to ease your burden and remain blame-free, while allowing others to share in your fragrant emanations.  My philosophy is that if God didn't want others to smell our farts, he wouldn't have made them stink, right?  Once you feel you're ready to release your cargo, saunter over to a crowded section of the gym.  Maybe you're looking for that damn triceps handle, or maybe you're just making your way through the crowd to say hi to an old friend.  Whatever your ruse may be, it's important that you release while on the move.  Standing in one spot will make identifying you as the culprit a far easier task than if you release the gas piecemeal on your trek through the gym.  Be sure you've thoroughly unloaded every bit of gas before you make your way back to your own workout area, as a really good fart has a tendency to follow you if given a chance.  If done correctly, you'll escape detection and get to enjoy the fruits of your labours as you watch innocent gym members glare at each other as they quickly move to find fresh air.

Well, I'm wrapping this up folks.  Quite frankly, I could probably write another 10 pages, but I'm breathing and sweating so bad I've got to take a break.  Besides, my joints are killing me and it's time to eat.  Hey, can someone crack a window and light a match in here for Christ's sake?  If you liked this article, let me know, I'm sure I could crank out a few more instalments if I get enough positive feedback.  Contact me at

Source:  © 2000 Jason Meuller and Anabolic Extreme April 2000 Issue #9 - visit his site for some interesting articles

I have a few comments.  A 3-story condo would have only 2 flights of stairs, not 3.  Methane has no smell.  According to Dr James L A Roth, author of "Gastrointestinal Gas" (Chapter 17 in Gastroenterology, volume 4 1976) most people (2/3 of adults) pass farts that contain no methane.  If both parents are methane producers, their children have a 95% chance of being producers as well.  The reason for this is apparently unknown.  Some researchers suspect a genetic influence, whereas others think the ability is due to environmental factors.  However, all methane in any farts comes from bacterial action and not from human cells.

What makes farts stink?  The odour of farts comes from small amounts of hydrogen sulfide gas and mercaptans.  These compounds contain sulfur.  Nitrogen-rich compounds such as skatole and indole also add to the stench of farts.  The more sulfur-rich the diet, the more sulfides and mercaptans will be produced by gut bacteria, and the more farts stink.  Foods such as cauliflower, eggs and meat are notorious for producing smelly farts, whereas beans produce large amounts of not-particularly-stinky farts.  Other notorious fart-producing foods include corn, bell peppers, cabbage, milk, and raisins.  (This information is from


Ronnie Coleman

If plastic surgery could give body-builders big muscles like it can give beauty contestants big boobs and a straight, turned up nose, would that be okay?

Are only the winners tested?  If that were to be the case, then contestants who take steroids not to win but just to not look so bad wouldn't be embarrassed at people finding out the lengths they had gone to just to lose respectably.

See also:

bullet Muscle Champion Galleries (an external site) - bodybuilding photos taken from 1880 - 1930 so you can see what natural muscles look like.
bulletA Photo Gallery of Plastic Surgery (in the section on Relationships) - "A third of the 27 finalists at the pageant went under the scalpel after rules were changed in the 1990s allowing plastic surgery, coloured contact lenses, hair extensions and dye..."
bulletEnhancing Human Traits: Ethical and Social Implications (the last page in this section) - Athletes were not taking drugs as glorious declarations of their transcendent freedom.  They took drugs because they believed their competitors were taking them.  They took drugs because they had devoted their lives to achieving excellence in their sport, and they feared they would become also-rans, losing to people they could have bested had the playing field been level.  Those who took performance enhancing drugs often felt they had no option...

This section on enhancing human experience covers bodybuilding, marijuana, caffeine, amphetamines, ecstasy, PMA, alcohol, Ritalin, kava, nicotine, cooked food and more.  Clicking "Up" below will take you to the Index page for this section on Drugs.

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