The world of bodybuilding has long associated bulging muscles, strict diets, and intense training regimens with its image. It’s a sport that requires immense dedication, discipline, and hard work. But for women in bodybuilding, the journey to the top is often fraught with challenges, both physical and emotional.
One of the biggest challenges facing female bodybuilders today is the use of steroids.
In recent years, the use of performance-enhancing drugs has become an increasingly pervasive issue in bodybuilding, with many female athletes feeling like they must use these substances to compete at the highest level, although this practice is not unique to the sport.
How Steroids Have Impacted The Women’s Side Of Bodybuilding And Contest Prep
The impact of steroids on the sport of bodybuilding has been significant. In 2023, the Arnold Sports Festival removed figure, women’s physique, and women’s bodybuilding from the pro lineup. They cited financial reasons and low interest from female athletes as the cause.
While the official line from the festival was that these changes were due to finances, many in the bodybuilding community doubted this. In fact, some believe that the real reason was the rampant use of steroids among female athletes.
The reality is that it’s almost impossible to be an IFBB Pro without taking some form of steroids, research peptides, or prohormones. Many competitors have quit competing entirely because they feel like the sport has become too out of control. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for women who don’t want to use steroids to compete at the highest levels, which is a worrying trend for the future of the sport.
Steroid Usage Makes Natural Female Competitors Feel… Inadequate
But the impact of steroids on female bodybuilding is not just limited to the competitive arena. The use of these substances is having a profound impact on the way that women view their bodies and themselves. The standards of beauty and athleticism in the sport are becoming increasingly unrealistic and unattainable for the average woman.
This is particularly true for women who compete in categories like bikini and wellness. The focus here is on a lean, toned physique rather than bulging muscles.
Many women who compete in these categories still feel like they have to use steroids. And they HAVE TO in order to achieve the level of muscularity required to be competitive… Even if they don’t necessarily want to.
Body Dysmporhia And Increased Insecurity
It’s a troubling trend that’s having a ripple effect beyond the world of bodybuilding. Even though they represent a tiny fraction of the female population, the images of these ultra-lean, ultra-muscular women are being held up as the pinnacle of female athleticism and beauty.
This is putting immense pressure on women to look a certain way, even if it’s not realistic or healthy for them to do so.
The impact of steroids on the sport of bodybuilding and on women’s bodies and self-esteem is something that we need to take seriously. We can’t continue to turn a blind eye to the use of these substances in the sport, nor can we continue to hold up these unrealistic standards of beauty and athleticism as the norm.
Can The Cat Be Put BACK Into The Bag With Steroid Usage?
So, what can we do about it? First and foremost, we need to have an honest conversation about the use of steroids in bodybuilding. We need to acknowledge that it’s a problem and work to address it. This means implementing stricter testing protocols and penalties for those who are caught using these substances. It also means educating athletes about the dangers of steroid use and providing them with healthier alternatives to achieve their goals.
Changing The Beauty Standard?
Here’s the truth, the industry needs to change the way we think about female beauty and athleticism when it comes to bodybuilding competitions.
The tendency of the sport is to go for bigger, harder, and extreme. Perhaps, judges need to instead consider penalizing those competitors who bring that look to the stage vs awarding them.
The judges can only go by what’s on stage, so it’s always said that who shows up dictates who wins. However, if the tendency is to reward hormonally enhanced “freaky physiques,” then the mindset needs to change.
Bringing Back The GLORY of Natural Bodybuilding
And finally, we need to support women who choose not to use steroids in their pursuit of athletic excellence. We need to create a culture that values hard work, dedication, and discipline over quick fixes and shortcuts. We need to show women that they can achieve their goals without sacrificing their health or integrity.
What Can We Do Next?
In conclusion, the use of steroids in female bodybuilding is a complex and troubling issue that we can no longer ignore. It’s time to have an honest conversation about the impact that these substances are having on the sport and on women’s bodies and self-esteem.
By working together to address this problem, we can create a healthier and more inclusive culture of bodybuilding that celebrates the diversity of the female body and values hard work and dedication above all else.