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Are Natural Shows Natural
QUESTION: I was at a so-called natural bodybuilding show, and the guy who won the overall was clearly juicing. How do guys like that get away with competing in natural shows? Why do the promoters let them get away with it?
ANSWER: According to industry expert Nathan Hinks this can be a real problem. According to Nathan:
"In some cases the competitor just happens to get lucky. Either the promoter turns a blind eye or “something” happens to the urine sample—such as getting flushed down the toilet or being mysteriously lost in transit on the way to the testing facility. Those little mishaps seem to happen all the time with some so-called natural bodybuilding federations, which can be especially demotivating for the guys who are competing clean. But hey, everybody’s gotta make a buck, right? The hard reality is that bodybuilding shows aren’t charity events. Promoters want to attract as many competitors as they can. Each competitor has to pay an entry fee to compete, as well as a yearly membership fee, which brings in cash. Some natural shows even make the competitors pay for testing. Competitors also bring along friends and family to support them, and they have to purchase tickets to watch the show—both the prejudging and the night show, the promoters hope—chaching! More cash. That’s just competitor cash. Now let’s talk promotional money. As the show picks up popularity, supplement companies start paying sponsorship fees, especially if one of the bodybuilders they sponsor is competing. I’m not saying you can buy a win, but a $100,000 sponsor fee should at least put your boy in the top three. So, in a nutshell, the more competitors the promoter has, the more profitable the show is likely to be. You see why many promoters can’t turn away competitors—it means lost revenue. Also keep in mind that testing can be very expensive, and that’s usually money out of the promoter’s pocket. Most shows test only the top three, and even then you can roll the dice as to whether the testing actually happens. Very few screen competitors before they step onstage. Don’t get me wrong: Many natural bodybuilding shows are legitimate, and not all promoters are crooked. There are quite a few legit shows and honest promoters out there. Too bad crafty competitors have so many resources at their disposal for beating a drug test. Testing usually consists of a lie detector and/or a urinalysis. Numerous books have revealed ways of beating a polygraph, so I won’t regurgitate what’s already been said. The urine test is a little trickier. Most promoters will have someone present when the urine sample is taken, so swapping samples isn’t an option. Accordingly, some competitors go to extreme measures to beat the test. I’ve heard many a story about clever meatheads, someone else’s pee, a dildo and a plastic bag. Some more educated but nonetheless unscrupulous competitors have forgone steroid use altogether and taken only GH and insulin, two highly anabolic hormones. Currently no test can determine whether someone is injecting them, which means anyone doing so would likely pass a drug screen. There are, however, other ways of passing. Rumor has it that a naturopathic doctor has found a way to help juiced bodybuilders compete in natural shows and beat the drug tests. Apparently, the doctor extracts approximately a liter of blood from the competitor six times before and during the bodybuilder’s contest prep, removes some of the androgens—a.k.a. male hormones with a proprietary cleaning agent and stores the blood until a week or two before the show. At that time the doctor gives the competitor a transfusion of the androgen-reduced blood that was stored. The bodybuilder, who at this point refrains from using steroids, can now pass the drug test with no one the wiser. When all is said and done, though, you can always tell who’s juicing. I don’t want to discourage anyone from competing in a natural show. Tested or nontested, bodybuilding needs competitors. Just do your homework and decide what kind of competition meets your goals. Check out the show’s screening process, and take a good look at the competitive field before you go through all the hard work of contest prep. Then enter the show that best fits your bodybuilding principles."