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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 07-29-2007, 08:01 PM   #1
Alex Nisetich
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Before the moral police come down on me, a little disclaimer: I am not endorsing the use of steroids, nor do I use them myself; I am just representing one side of an argument that is almost never heard. I still feel very ambivalent about the whole issue, and since I've seen steroids/doping comments popping up a bit in recent threads, I thought they deserved a thread all their own.

It seems that steroids in current media and on these boards are always mentioned, but never questioned. We are quick to denounce steroids users, but we do not debate the fundamental issue: is it wrong for competitive athletes to use steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs?
I'm not sure it is. Many call it cheating, and it is if the governing body of the sport bans the use of those substances. However, there was a time when practice was considered cheating. Indeed, doing CrossFit may have one time been called cheating, because in training the athlete seeks an advantage over his oppenent outside of direct competition. Definitions of right and wrong are relative and protean, especially in competitive sports -they have changed drastically over time.
If taking nandrolone is cheating, why is it okay to take creatine? What about multivitamins? All these things are drugs that are taken to enhance athletic performance. Why then is nandrolone so much worse? Isn't the point of athletics to push our limits and perform feats of strength, power, endurance, skill, and teamwork? Steroids and other supplements help us improve our performance and extend the boundaries of our own capabilities, the very thing we seek to do through sport. Why then are they so abhorrent?
I find it difficult to criticize an athlete who wants to defeat his/her competition. After all, that is a major part of athletics, and a necessary one for professional athletes. Of course, there is the argument that it is not fair to use substances that others cannot necessarily obtain. However, fair competition is not ensured by banning existing implements, but by guaranteeing equal access. In other words, steroid use is not unfair if anyone can do it (and if you think there isn't a professional athlete out there who can't get steroids, you probably haven't left your house or read the news for forty years).
There is also the argument that they are unhealthy and dangerous. That is true, but sports at the professional level are unhealthy and dangerous anyway, and people still choose to compete. Look at the health records of aging athletes -from boxing to football, soccer to endurance running, many athletes suffer immensely as they age because of the stresses put on them when they competed. Even without steroid use, an NFL player takes a huge health risk whenever he steps out on the field, and no one seems to be bothered by it unless he's taking a drug to make him better at his job. Steroids may present a health risk, but so does sport; so does driving a car, drinking wine, riding a bike, and living in general. People choose to do risky things for the rewards of succeeding at them; why are steroids so radically different that they must be illegal?
Ultimately, if there is money, glory, and livelihood at stake, people will do anything to succeed. The drugs are out there, athletes know about them, and they know how to get them. Why should we demonize them for trying to gain an advantage? Would we ridicule ourselves for preparing for our own challenges? Drinking coffee to stay awake and study for a test? Where is the limit to what we can and can't do to improve ourselves, and why do steroids fall outside of it?
Within a few years, athletes everywhere will probably use performance enhancers (if they don't already), because it allows them to be better. We cannot stop the drive to excel, and should we even try? Why?
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Old 07-29-2007, 08:10 PM   #2
Johan Nederhof
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Interesting point, you might be right.
Steriods are suppose to give unfair advantage to those not using, but when all have the free choise to use them or not...
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Old 07-29-2007, 08:31 PM   #3
Matt DeMinico
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Well, Steroids have a scientifically (in laboratory and in real life) verified effect of damaging the user in serious ways. Creatine doesn't, multivitamins don't, and CF doesn't. So it's unfair to give someone a benefit for gambling their health, while penalizing others for not gambling their health.
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Old 07-29-2007, 08:33 PM   #4
Trevor Thompson
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Why are there rules in place? Why do ethics commities have a governing effect over the rules in sports?

MultiVitamins vs. Steroids

MultiVitamins : Uses

By supplementing the diet with additional vitamins and minerals, multivitamins can be a valuable tool for those with dietary imbalances or different nutritional needs. People with dietary imbalances may include those on restrictive diets and those who can't or won't eat a nutritious diet. Pregnant women and elderly adults have different nutritional needs from other adults, and a multivitamin may be indicated by their physician.

Steroids : Anabolic steroids, also known as anabolic-androgenic steroids or AAS, are a class of steroid hormones related to the male hormone testosterone. They increase protein synthesis within cells, which results in anabolism of cellular tissue, especially in muscles. Anabolic steroids also have androgenic and virilizing properties, including the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics such as the growth of the vocal chords and body hair.

Anabolic steroids have been used by men and women in many different kinds of professional sports (cricket, track and field, weightlifting, bodybuilding, shot put, cycling, baseball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, boxing, football, etc.) to attain a competitive edge or to assist in recovery from injury. Steroids used to obtain competitive advantage are prohibited by the rules of the governing bodies of many sports. Anabolic steroid use seems to occur among adolescents especially by those in sports. It has been suggested that the prevalence of use among high school students in the U.S. may be as high as 2.7%.[58] Male students used more than female students and, on average, those who participated sports used more often than those who did not on average.

Why is steroid use something to be frowned upon, even if it semantically lies within the boundries of "becoming more competitive" within sports. How about a definition of 'Sport'


SPORT :

Etymology

"Sport" comes from the Old French desport meaning "leisure".
Sport is an activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.
Sportsmanship is an attitude that strives for fair play, courtesy toward teammates and opponents, ethical behaviour and integrity, and grace in losing.

Steroid use is completely destructive to the idea of sport; why is this so? Wining at all costs is compeltely relevant in one instance LIFE AND DEATH, sport is leisure, and physical art/competition in order to perfect that art and sport. Rules need to be in place, and those that break the rules should be viewed with disdain. Sometimes rules need to be changed, i.e. the AAU in the 70's they were mistreating athletes for their own good and could not see the world as it was changing. Steroid use is like saying it is okay for football players to use armor if they want...oh hell lets let them pick and choose their weapons. That is a bit extreme, but frankly if we do not stem the tide of steroid ABUSE then it will destroy any idea of ''SPORT'' that we have. sport is defined not like this "an activity that you have at at your own discretion in order that you fulfill your selfish needs"

My final point is that the use of steroids and the fact that some say "well they are adults, they can do as they please" is killing the youth of america in a terrible way. Athletes have to be held to a higher standard, they are role models, not just sport playing robots. My views, they are black and white : steroids are not acceptable in competetive sports.
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Old 07-29-2007, 08:33 PM   #5
Steve Liberati
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I can go to my doc tomorrow and get a script for testosterone enthanate injections (HRT). Yet, steroids are bad for you.

Just because steroids are illegal in the US and banned in professional sports doesn't mean they're dangerous. Abusing them (like most things right?) and putting them in the wrong hands is what makes them dangerous. Not the substance.

The only reason they're banned is bc the sports industry is a billion dollar industry fueled by millions and millions of young kids and adults filling the seats and buying all the overpriced merchandise. If MLB, NFL, NBA, etc endorsed the open use of performance enhancing drugs then parents would cause a ruckus forbidding Little Tommy to support the sport in any shape or form.

Its really just all about the money for the greedy, corporate pigs at the top. Otherwise, steroids would be legal.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:46 AM   #6
Corey Duvall
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Even scarier thought... If the major sports leagues supported use of performance enhancers, some parents may not only let their child support the league, but may also see it as OK for Jimmy and Jane to start using them too?

The health of steroids ultimately DOES relate to their abuse. Like most drugs on the (black) market, society has found a way to show that even minimal use will have extreme detrimental effects to the user and all those around them. So while there may be therapeutic effects of steroids, just like all drugs, application to an otherwise healthy body will have changes beyond those which are seen as therapeutic, possibly resulting in lasting detrimental effects.
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:14 AM   #7
Steve Liberati
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Why would legalizing a substance increase the likelihood of abuse? If people/kids want to experiment with it, they'll do it no matter what... whether it is legal or not. Besides, it is much safer under the supervision of a doctor as opposed to buying it on the black market and self-prescribing. Ultimately, its the parents job to teach their children whether a substance is good or bad for them. Not anyone else's.

I would love to see a study showing higher abuse rates in countries where steroids are legal....

Believe its the same case with marijuana in Amsterdam...there is little to no correlation bet/ abuse and legal use.
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Old 07-30-2007, 06:14 AM   #8
Matt DeMinico
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Steve: I wouldn't go around saying something must be safe if a doctor can give you a prescription for it. I mean, they force kids to get immunizations even though a lot of them are not only of questionable benefit, but can have downright scary effects on a large number of people. Not to mention the fact that I wouldn't trust most doctors' opinions as far as I could throw them. Too many docs just parrot what they've been taught and have "always believed".
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Old 07-30-2007, 06:42 AM   #9
Craig Van De Walker
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Matt,
I'll bet I can find scientific research that shows steroid use is good for you (as well as the opposite) and also where creatine and mulit-vitamins cause health problems, BTW crossfit can kill you (read the series on rhabdo).

#1 It is cheating if the rules say so, period. This is true whether steroids, "excessive" caffeine etc. (which is actually the case in some situations). So is cheating on your taxes, saying your kid is 11 so they get in the movie at the kids price ect.

#2 over the counter "legal" drugs cause many times the deaths of "illegal steroids", as do automobiles, which are also legal by the way.

#3 who say vitamins are not dangerous at supra-physiological levels, where have steroids been proven dangerous at normal/reasonable levels. One of the things I remember learning in an early A&P class was almost any substance you put in your body can harm you, it depends on the dose! Acute water intoxication is in the media every once in a while when it kills someone, yes water. I still remember the first aspirin overdose death I coded in the hospital, yes aspirin, and he died!

Heck one the reason high intensity heavy multi-joint moves produce results is that they result in an increase in testosterone. One of the reasons that high intensity anaerobic exercise works is that it releases GH. What if you were not taking exogenous hormones but due your diet and to the incredible amount of proper exercise you were doing you came back positive for excessive levels (yes it is possible) making people think you were supplementing is that cheating?

I will rant on, is steroids cheating, yes, if the rules say so, can they cause damage at huge/abuse doses yes, as can almost anything you stick in or do to your body. Might they damage you at physiological levels, unlikely, but they also probably won't give you any of the effect you wanted so, why use them?

I have issues with dis-proportionately demonizing anything! If such a huge number of people are using and abusing them how come steroids are not in even the top 1,000 causes of death??? How about we jump on the case of all smokers, obese people, drivers, people who don't eat their veggies.

Why are we so irrational about what we concentrate on as evil. Do we hate things because they cause death? If so we should look at what causes lots of death and use our logical BIG BRAINS and willpower to solve the problems. When we get to the point where steroids deaths are one of the big causes of mortality and morbidity jump on it! It just seems there are bigger things for our lawmakers to worry about.

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Old 07-30-2007, 07:47 AM   #10
Tom Rawls
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Based on what I've read, steroids and other performance enhancing drugs like EPO, confer a benefit.

So if steroids and the like were legal, those who used them would have an advantage over those who didn't. Legalizing steroids would have the effect of making them almost essential if you wished to be an elite athlete.

Steroid use can be expensive. One recent report said Jan Ullrich, the German cyclist, spent approx 50,000 euros on his sophisticated drug regimen. Some time back a writer for Outside (I think) undertook a drug regime, and that was less expensive, but still approx $10k, as I recall. Allowing performance-enhancing drugs would give an advantage to those who are wealthy and already successful.




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