Alberta's thriving bodybuilding culture fuels demand for steroids
One Alberta gym owner says there’s a big demand for steroids in the province’s thriving bodybuilding culture.
Nearly $1 million worth of illegal steroids were seized in Edmonton last week in the biggest steroid bust in Canadian history.
Cabel McElderry is a bodybuilder and the owner of two Fit Body Bootcamp gyms in Edmonton and Red Deer.
He told the Calgary Eyeopener Friday morning that while he’s surprised at the sheer size of the bust, he’s not surprised the main suspect is a bodybuilder given the perceived interconnection between the sport and steroid use.
“I think it’s an image that unfortunately the sport will never shirk,” said McElderry.
“Every form of athletics you are always going to have an athlete that will have the desire to perform better or achieve more and be willing to put themselves at personal injury to achieve more and win. It just so happens in a sport like bodybuilding where your uniform is your own skin that it’s pretty hard to deny or it’s pretty hard for people not to make those assumptions about what these athletes might do.”
McElderry says steroid use can also be more open in bodybuilding because there’s no threat of losing a sponsor, like in many other professional sports.
Drugs just another ‘tool’ for bodybuilders
As a former bodybuilder, McElderry says the temptation to use the drugs is real.
“When you’re at that level and you’re trying to achieve the next level you look at every angle,’ he said, describing his own decision to use steroids as a “tool in the toolbox.”
He managed to find a doctor who would help him while he used the drugs but says that eventually the negative outweighed the positive.
“You have to live with the consequences and for me that was it. At one point I sat down with my physician and I had some, you know, threatening health news and I thought, ‘Why did enter this sport in the first place?'” he said. “[It] was to look and feel better. So I made that choice to end my career in the sport.”
McElderry believes his past gives him a unique opportunity to help you athletes avoid his mistakes.
He says he wants to be able to provide a perspective on the choice that many people can’t provide.
“I hope in the end it gives me more credibility to say to somebody, ‘What is your real purpose for doing this?'”
McElderry says there are a number of concerns raised by the bust in Edmonton, such as the fact the drugs were being produced illegally.
When that happens, he says there is no way to make sure that what people are buying is free of toxic additives or whether it was produced properly.