RBSG, knowing what you know now, would you still sauce? And if so, would you do it differently? And finally, would you want your son/daughter to do so?
I have zero moral qualms with people who do use PEDs, but I do wonder about the hobbyists. With professionals, the money is the difference, but with hobbyists...why? That said, I'm not anyone's judge so don't take this as a criticism.
Both of these assumptions are incomplete.
I'm assuming that the assumptions are: (i) pros do it for the money, and (ii) hobbyists have no such tangible reason. I ask just so I'm not wasting time on a misunderstanding.
Pros do not do it for the money...In these niche sports, they begin as hobbyists that discover a talent or a responsiveness level that puts them on a higher level. These are the great preponderance of folks using PED's.
The narrow band of pros and Olympic hopefuls using PED's are not even in the same category. These are medical interventions meaning...well planned, researched and administered by professional. The doping programs of even the top amateur cycling teams in Europe are well beyond the sophistication of most professional athletes in the NFL.
I admit I was thinking about major league sports: football, soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey where success translates into millions, sometimes hundreds of millions. I would not be surprised at the level of advancement in amateur cycling though I am surprised that you are saying they are ahead of the big leagues. Bicycle people are generally autistic freaks so I guess I believe you.
The second incomplete understanding is one you already know. In BJJ, there is blue belt level understanding and there are deeper levels of understanding to be had. To achieve these requires sacrifice and a willingness to do those things which are neither "normal" nor "healthy"...they require you to do things outside of the scope of what most people will tolerate from a pain standpoint, from a health standpoint, from a philosophical standpoint. When your sports "require" exogenous substances to break above purple belt (for lack of a better analogy) there is a culture of tolerance which develops. It is not outlier activity anymore than drug use among rock stars is outlier activity. It's part of the culture like accepting cauliflower ear is part of the culture of wrestling. You mitigate the risk as best you can, but you do not fuss about it. This is part of the game..Hobbyists...even bad ones want to be part of that game.
I see that, for sure. I might, at least at times, feel like it is better to take a step back from these elective "cultures" rather than sacrifice ones health trying to be part of a community where it is a basic necessity. Not too many professional wrestlers retire to a long life of good health, wealth, and happy memories. But I do see what you are saying, don't get me wrong. I just think that for 99% of those hobbyist wannabe's they would be better off with a more realistic self appraisal and a recalibration of goals.
And frankly, it's fucking fun. It FEELS amazing to change the basic moving parts of your biology in palpable way. Anyone who's lost or gained a great deal of weight, gotten tattoos or piercings, done a diet or lifestyle makeover can attest to the incredibly powerful stimulus that comes from changing the meat suit you're wearing. Sadly, most people will skip the slam dunk changes that come form diet in favor of "magical" PED's but honesty, having done both, user experience is the same. Focus dedication sacrifice..results. PED's are no different in this way.
Reaper always says every program works until it doesn't. My experience is every drug is fun until it isn't. Needle parks aren't full of people having fun.
Honestly, once you've played in deep water, PED's are nor more troubling than downing a Vicodin with a Bourbon...yeah, you're not supposed to do that. But it's not remotely the risk people play it up to be and the effects are probably more subtle and ..it is fun. Part of that fun, is taking control of the moving pieces as best you can. Whether this the result of full on drug piggery which is risky or whether it's deliberate risk assessed small measures like RBSG and I are describing...it feels good and it works.
I believe that last part, and have no basis or desire to argue against it. A life without risks is not at all desirable, but neither is willful disregard for the value of natural good health.
I find it unpleasant to see we are not far apart on this.
A couple thoughts.
Endurance athletes in general are much further ahead in terms of this stuff. ALSO...this is bif and I probably did not make this point well enough at all. Big sports are more talent driven. Single silo sports-pure strength, pure endurance are driven to a greater degree for MOST people, by effort and mental toughness. These can be learned, drugs can help. Baseball requires huge amounts of work...but talent makes a bigger difference I think. Drugs cant do shit about talent. So the relative effect of them is lower (think longevity) and the need for them is lower than say in cycling etc.
see that, for sure. I might, at least at times, feel like it is better to take a step back from these elective "cultures" rather than sacrifice ones health trying to be part of a community where it is a basic necessity. Not too many professional wrestlers retire to a long life of good health, wealth, and happy memories. But I do see what you are saying, don't get me wrong. I just think that for 99% of those hobbyist wannabe's they would be better off with a more realistic self appraisal and a recalibration of goals.
No debate here. What's good v. bad and sacrifice are relative questions. But I refuse to go there when it comes to what "wannabees" should do. Anyone who's dedicated themselves to anything has had to drift that line between reasonable pursuit and morbid self attention. For me, I have more respect for those who may be delusional but will expose themselves to humiliation and defeat than those who would eschew risks for a whole other set of dopamine reward loops based on smugness. I'm not casting you in that lot but I'm keenly aware there are those among us who fall prey to that aspect of physical culture. I look at all of thi as basically just a form of bodymod. and like anyhting else, there is a skill to using the tools. So, for me, it's not a question of should or shouldn't is whether one is using the tools and taking risks mindfully.
For overall health, no doubt, simply poking yourself with a needle has risk (more than a little) and one can choose to live a very fulfilling life in which most risk is mitigated. So the question for each person, what risk? and based on what information? How do we presume to know the risks and what' our process for thinking them through? Most people, even very long time users do not think very deeply on this at all. We tend to think in this all or nothing clean or juiced framework and it's nothing like that. IME, the risks of Steroids are misunderstood possibly worse than the risk of injectable opiates. Having done both, I'd still say, avoid liquor.
I get asked for advice on this subject frequently because I'm very open and deadly honest about what I have done and what I do now. 9:10 I advise people to avoid entirely. If it's really a question of "should" then no..you shouldn't. If it's a question of HOW? then we can talk a bit more. I am also very conservative, the numbers RBSG is looking at might even be a shade high for my risk reward analysis. More troubling, I think there are a great many factors people wont even touch...the mental side effects, how to effectively titrate, how to adjust your expectations, how to talk to your doctor. ..... It's complicated and am far less cavalier than I was even 5 years ago but I think these conversations are really important. As I lead with, I think even folks like yourself who have spent decades in sport and around physical culture have misconceptions that could only really be cured by trying the things..and that's not a viable option. So, open blunt, direct conversations free of judgement, like this one, are important.