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Friday, May 23, 2008

When Bodybuilding and Steroids Go Too Far

Right or more often the case wrong, athletes have been taking anabolic steroids since the early 1960’s. Many competitive bodybuilders go to excess in taking steroids in order to compete citing that ‘extreme sports require extreme measures,’ using a plethora of various forms for different effects — one might increase muscle hardness while another will improve mass, strength or endurance — thus becoming human walking chemistry sets.

Synthetic anabolic steroids are potent medications designed to mimic the function of testosterone which can even perform better at promoting muscle growth than equivalent levels of testosterone.

Often coined as being juiced or juiced up amongst those who use the drugs, some say “steroids are as American as Apple Pie.”

Hazards of Steroids for Men and Women
While it’s not as common to suffer critical or life-threatening effects, steroids are far from safe, causing potentially harmful side-effects with some being irreversible.

Both genders can experience increased acne on the face, chest and back.

Depending on the drug, anabolic steroids can cause a person’s behavior can change with increased aggression and irritability. Some of this aggression has caused people to commit armed robbery, use force to obtain something, and physical fighting. This would not happen to a naturally calm person but someone who is naturally aggressive would become more aggressive by taking steroids.

Body Builder

Anabolic steroids have also been known to cause behavioral effects including euphoria, increased energy, sexual arousal, mood swings, distractibility, forgetfulness, and confusion.

Bad side-effects on blood pressure and the cardiovascular system can cause heart attacks, enlargement of the heart’s left ventricle and people younger than 30 to develop Cardiovascular disease.

Blood chemistry can change causing blood clots in the blood vessels and potentially disrupt the blood flow, damaging the heart muscle so it doesn’t pump blood effectively. Heart disease can develop because it affects the cholesterol levels — over a period of time the cholesterol builds up and clogs the arteries. Steroids affect the heart only if you have a heart disease to begin with, so it’s very wise to stay away from them if you have a heart problem.

Anabolic steroids are especially dangerous for teenagers, interfering with the normal effect of hormones on a growing body, and premature development of the epiphysis — the end of the bone — resulting in stunted growth.

Tom Platz. fitFLEX

Tom Platz. fitFLEX

Officer Ronnie Coleman. Body Building Universe

Steroids can be taken orally, by injection, with gels, patches and nasal sprays. For the squeamish afraid of needles, it’s not possible to get a doctor to inject you since steroids are illegal, so some resort to the oral method which has the greatest number of side effects.

They have to pass through the digestive system and the liver in order to get into the bloodstream, so they’re designed to survive the process, and require large amounts to ensure that there’s enough left afterwards to have an effect.

The liver’s job is to remove such substances from the body which puts a great deal of strain on the liver and can result in significant liver damage and tumors which in turn can cause internal bleeding.

Some oral steroids can cause stomach distention — the lower abdomen becomes irritated and swollen, you can experience chronic constipation, water retention, and intestinal gas — the latter of which is not pretty if you want to keep your friends.

Franco Columbu. IFBB Pro


Nasser El-Sonbaty. Inside Bodybuilding
Nasser El-Sonbaty Photo Grizzly Boots

Taken in high doses, steroids can also develop jaundice, peliosis hepatitis, and cancer.

Injected steroids are put directly into the blood stream, making them far easier on your liver, but there is much concern over safe injection practices.

Depression is further aggravated if and when steroid use stops with rebound causing extreme depression, fatigue, apathy, and the likes.

Dorian Yates. Photo Muscle-Pro

Dorian Yates. Muscle-Pro


Steroid Hazards for Men
Men can experience a short-term increase in the sex drive, followed by a suppression of natural testosterone output and potential shrinkage of the testes.

They can lower sperm count thus making men infertile, as well as develop gynecomastia — deposits of estrogen in the area of the nipple which can also grow breasts.

Steroid Hazards for Women
A very dangerous irreversible side-effect for women is masculinization due to the effects of testosterone and androsterone, including deepening of the voice, menstrual irregularities, development of facial and back hair, clitoral enlargement and even male-pattern baldness.

Kim Chizevsky. Doctissimo.fr

Kim Chizevsky. Doctissimo.fr

Kim Chizevsky. IFBB Pro

As one man reported to BodyBuilding of his former 3-year relationship with a woman who used steroids, “After my girlfriend made her decision to juice it up, with me as an up-close personal witness to all of her transformations during this time, it changed my mind about women on the juice forever. I saw her go from a hot hard body to a bloated, mental mess.” says Josh.

“My girlfriends’ skin became course and dry; a lot of her hair fell out while it grew on her face, her chest, and down her butt; her voice dropped three octaves; her nose grew; her jaw widened; she got spaces between her teeth; she got acne all over her chest, across her shoulders, and down her back, and she stopped having her period.”

Rampant hair growth is an irreversible side-effect, sprouting up on the chin, chest, around the nipples, and the buttocks — particularly the lower inner glutes and around the anus.

Bodybuilder Bev Francis 17

Bev Francis. IFBB Pro


Bodybuilder Bev Francis 25

Bev Francis. IFBB Pro

Bodybuilder Melissa Dettwiller 23

Melissa Dettwiller. BodyBuilder

“The first thing you’ll notice if you take up with a juiced chick is her heightened level of aggression. When a woman’s aggression is initiated by testosterone, the result can sometimes get ugly.”

In another irreversible side effect of clitoral enlargement from androgen use, he saw his girlfriend’s grow to be 2 inches long and as big around as his small finger. When a woman in this condition becomes aroused, her clitoris becomes erect and sticks out just like a man’s penis, complete with a little head and all.

While the condition isn’t harmful, many women get vaginal discharge, but it will cease once the drugs are stopped.

Another bothersome yet temporary condition for the juiced up woman is the increase of body odor. Josh recalls lying in bed nestled in each other’s arms after some particularly torrid sex that made him wonder if he was sharing the bed with an entire soccer team after a world championship.


Bodybuilder Mustafa Mohammed 24

Mustafa Mohammed. Body Builder


Bodybuilder Mohammed Mustafa 22

Mátra Kupa 2003 Mohammed Mustafa. BodyBuilder


Bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman 21

Mr. Olympia 2003 Ronnie Coleman. BodyBuilder

The Wrap-up on Steroids
Unlike training for other sports, the goal in bodybuilding is to achieve a certain appearance. For competitive bodybuilders, strength itself is not as important as size, symmetry and definition.

Steroids do give the advantage over other athletes as it helps to train with a higher intensity and for longer periods, and can speed up recovery time for the stress on the muscles.

A popular way to take steroids is by cycling, starting the dosage at very small amounts and increasing the dosage weekly, then decreasing it over a 6 to12 week period. Bodybuilders then train without the drugs for 4 weeks and repeat the cycle all over again.

Perhaps the worst mistake most steroid users make is to become steroid abusers. It’s very common to overuse steroids which results in a wide range of health problems, some of which you will be living with for life.

It’s critical when considering taking steroids to do as much research as possible.

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EURO 2008: Raul and Trezeguet among the absent stars at Euro 2008

The prelude to just about every major soccer tournament focuses on who was left off a certain team more than who was included.

At next month's tournament in Austria and Switzerland, there will again be several top players missing, including Raul Gonzalez and David Trezeguet.

Although Raul, Spain's all-time leading scorer with 44 goals in 102 appearances, has never won a major international title, Trezeguet scored the Golden Goal that gave France the Euro 2000 title.

"It's an organizational choice," France coach Raymond Domenech said of Trezeguet after announcing his squad.

If club soccer is any gauge, both Raul and Trezeguet would be assured of places in their teams. Raul scored 18 goals and helped Real Madrid win its record 31st Spanish league title, and Trezeguet scored 20 goals for Juventus.

"I look at players, not if their clubs are first, second or third in the standings," Spain coach Luis Aragones said of his selection process. "There are other players who, in terms of the minutes they have played, have scored more goals and they're not going either."

Raul last played for Spain in a 3-2 qualifying loss at Northern Ireland in September 2006. Trezeguet, who has scored 34 goals for France, has been replaced by more athletic players such as Djibril Cisse and Bafetimbi Gomis.

Two years ago in the World Cup final, Trezeguet missed France's opening penalty kick in the shootout loss to Italy.

Other big-name players missing for the tournament include Italy forward Filippo Inzaghi, Czech Republic midfielder Pavel Nedved, Portugal midfielder Maniche, Turkey forward Hakan Sukur and Netherlands midfielder Clarence Seedorf.

The 34-year-old Inzaghi scored 11 goals in the Italian league this season, and has scored 25 in 57 appearances for Italy.

"The choice doesn't have to do with his age," Italy coach Roberto Donadoni said. "It was exclusively a technical choice."

Nedved played on the Czech Republic team that reached the 1996 final, but he refused an offer from coach Karel Bruckner to return for this event. The 35-year-old Nedved retired from the national team after the 2006 World Cup.

Seedorf, who has scored 11 goals in 87 appearances for the Netherlands, ruled himself out of the tournament and criticized coach Marco van Basten for not giving him room to fulfill his potential.

"Since my return to the national team, the right conditions have not been created to let me perform at my best and to effectively excel as the team member I always strive to be," the 32-year-old Seedorf said. "We have seen from the past that some negative issues with the national team and players are recurring."

The 30-year-old Maniche played a central role in Portugal's run to the Euro 2004 final and the 2006 World Cup semifinals. However, he has mostly been on the bench at Italian champion Inter Milan since moving from Spain four months ago.

Sukur is Turkey's all-time leading scorer with 51 goals, but coach Fatih Terim left the 37-year-old midfielder off the team despite helping the country in the qualifying tournament.

But that's just another example that playing well and helping your team doesn't come with any guarantees.

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NASCAR 101: How to Mullet Hunt and Survive

Since May of 2003, I have made the annual Memorial Day weekend trip home from college with my buddies to visit the Coca Cola 600. Admittedly, I am a redneck from the hills of Aquadale, North Carolina, a community with no stoplights, no post office, one store, and a larger population of billy goats than people. My first NASCAR experience was with my Uncle Peewee in 1998 (the same uncle who refused to wear tuxedo pants in my cousin’s wedding, then threatened to ‘haunt our asses’ if we buried him in anything besides Wranglers). Anyways, I currently work in the big city, but I love sharing tips and information to my northern brethren about how to survive in the South. It’s more than learning to love grits, sweet tea, or how to whistle the Andy Griffith theme song . . . trust me.

If you want to put your Southern skills to the test, go to a NASCAR race. To make it more interesting, I am challenging you to a game that is 5 years in the making: NASCAR mullet hunting.

Taking pictures of mullets is more dangerous than you think. Southern folk do not like to have their pictures taken. Don’t ask me why, but every Christmas my Grand Ma “Grady” sits in the kitchen eating a cheese ball to avoid the camera. In the sport of mullet hunting, you will be pointing the camera right in their direction. To make things worse, alcohol will be heavily involved. On top of that the temperature will be a scorching 90 degrees and your prey will be on the verge of 3rd degree sunburns. So if you think that blatantly taking a picture of a drunken, sunburned mullet bearer in your new Gucci wear is a good idea . . . think again my friend. Please join me as I take you through 4 vital steps to practicing and surviving the sport of NASCAR mullet hunting.

DRESS THE PART

The first step to fitting in at a NASCAR event is to actually look like you belong at the race. This is a tricky situation, because you can either look like a dumbass not wearing enough of the right clothing, or like a Yankee that tried too hard. You do not want to be on either end in this situation. Here are a few pointers for both men and women so you do not stick out like a sore thumb during the race.

What Men Should Wear

FOR MEN: There are only two options for your shirt, if you opt to even wear one at all. If you choose to go shirtless, be sure to have your friends mark you with either a) a tribal tattoo intersecting a skull or b) a Dale Earnhardt Jr. tattoo proudly displaying the number 8 (he changed his number to 88 this season). Both will be conversation starters and you will be sure to see many more tattoos just like yours while trolling for the backyard follicle surprise. EXCEPTION: If you have six pack other than beer resting on your stomach, keep the shirt on. The presence of abs will evoke taunting and it will be obvious that a) you are from the city or b) you don’t drink enough beer. If you opt to wear the shirt, your two options are either a driver shirt or a flannel shirt, both sleeveless. While picking your driver shirt you have to be ultra selective. Remember, the driver you choose to sport exceedingly represents your morals and personality. If you sport the Jimmy Johnson or Jeff Gordon in North Carolina, it is assumed you are either from California or don’t know anything about racing. Do your research and choose wisely, but the safe bets are always the Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne, or old schooled driver shirts you can find at your local thrift shop. If you can’t find a driver shirt, the just chop off the sleeves of a flannel and leave it buttoned up half way. For your pants, it’s either jorts or jeans . . . the decision is up to you, but both work.

So Race Hott

FOR WOMEN: Women, NASCAR races are your chance to metaphorically experience the Paris runway. To know you are beautiful and being watched all at the same time is a great feeling. During our initial race in 2003, we noticed a peculiar phenomenon occurring at the time. It made absolutely no sense at all, but at the same time we liked it. Women at the race were wearing outfits that would be deemed illegal in 27 of the 50 states in America. Normal society would turn their heads at the women wearing these outfits . . . because it didn’t matter if they were 105 lbs or 280 lbs, the dress was all the same and it was beautiful. Thus, we coined the term “race hott”. The general definition is: a woman who would be deemed unacceptable in regular society due to her figure or scantily clad clothing is deemed hott while inside the confinements of NASCAR. That’s right, no matter what you wear, if you are showing skin you will always be “race hott” in the eyes of men at the race. So women, you can wear whatever you would like, because at the race the world is yours if a little belly is showing below your tube top.

LIVE THE PART

By living the part, I mean setting up your campgrounds or tailgating area. This is absolutely essential to the sport of mullet hunting, because the slightest error in your pre-race routine can easily blow your true intentions of capturing the best mullets on film. Your camp ground should not contain any of the following: foreign made cars, foreign made beers, a radio blasting the Indy 500 happening earlier that day, tofu, a reference to any college besides a southeastern college, a soccer ball, Frisbee, or any music that sounds like THIS. (Trust me, the music will explain EVERYTHING for you). Instead, try driving a Ford, drinking Bud-heavy, playing the entire 2007 Coca-Cola 600 via cassette on the radio, eating an entire rack of ribs, sporting a UNC or USC college sticker, throwing the football, and listening to Hank Williams Jr. Also, any provocative signs that you can include at your campsite will only heighten your chances of success in fitting into the redneck realm (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the banner in the picture below . . . CLASSY). If you can sit in your site by your cooler with the utmost confidence in your proper clothing, then you’re half way there!

How to Camp

ACT THE PART

Looking and living like a Southerner will get you about as far as a frog in the mud if you don’t know how to properly act. Don’t worry about perfecting a Southern accent because it’s not going to happen overnight and the harder you try, the less you will fit in. Instead, if someone asks you where you are from, simply tell him or her you were raised in (make up a weird name and put ‘Pond’ on the end of it, North Carolina) and that you moved to Raleigh. Through process of reasoning, they will assume your accent disappeared among the city folk, and there’s nothing wrong with that. After your accent has been explained and accepted, attempt to avoid conversations dealing with NASCAR if you have no idea what you are talking about. If you are pulled into one, always say “as long as Gordon doesn’t win” and change topics. For instance:

Man: “The track is recorded at 101 degrees today, they might have some trouble with the tires once the sun sets and it starts to cool off. I hope Martin’s crew members are ready for it”.
You: “As long as Gordon doesn’t win . . .” - It will work every time.

Also, always have a beer in your hand with proper coozie applied. The coozie should be NASCAR relevant, camouflage, or have a reference to beer and no colorful crap. There is no sunshine and rainbows involved in drinking beer; it’s a serious job at the race and your coozie has an essential task. Finally, wave and talk to anyone that acknowledges your existence. This might be hard for people that have experienced the callous nature of the city, but at the race everyone is your friend . . . especially the royalty that boasts backs of necks that have never been blistered by the sun.

THE ART OF MULLET HUNTING

If you have followed the instructions outlined above, then you are well seasoned and ready for the ultimate hunt. There are three rules we always abide by while mullet hunting that you must always keep in mind or your trophy picture will be disqualified.

1. ALWAYS respect the mullet. These men have spent the majority of their lives grooming and tailoring a business in the front, party in the back lifestyle. They are stronger individuals than you, and much more self confident in their appearance. If you can’t sport the hairdo, then respect the men that can.
2. If you are caught taking the picture and can’t lie your way out, then always delete the picture. Save the violence for defending your driver in the grand stands or seeking vengeance for your spilt beer.
3. No taking pictures of kids with mullets. Why? Because dawning a mullet is a life decision and conscious effort that reflects your personality and lifestyle. A mullet isn’t great unless it has been entwined into someone’s life . . . or your skull like Joe Dirt.

The Point System

The mullet hunting point system is rather simple. The location of the picture itself is the first criteria for gaining points.

A mullet from the back acquires one (1) point: There is no skill involved in capturing the mullet from the back. Sure, it shows the style in all its glory, but no guts no glory in this sport.

A mullet from the side acquires two (2) points: I call this style the “Bigfoot” pose. I have found the best way to capture a mullet from the side is by yelling “Boobs” at the top of my lungs. The specimen will begin a prairie dog-like sequence of looking back and forth. The photo opportunities here are endless.

A mullet from the front acquires three (3) points: Only the serious mullet hunters go for this method of photography. There are no secrets or special skills involved in this, you just have to have the guts and ability to capture a mullet from the front.

For each of the following items, add one (1) point: Any woman considered “race hott”, if the man is shirtless, if there is a beer in the picture, if there is a race related tattoo, if there is a tribal tattoo, or if there is a visible “farmers” tan line.

Add two (2) points: If you can include yourself, or another friend in the picture with the mullet.

Add three (3) points: If you are actually touching the mullet in the picture. I have never been able to pull this off, but I am certain there are some natural mullet hunters out there that can.

At the end of the day, view and tally the points for every picture. Your grand total will be the sum of all pictures taken at the race.

CONCLUSION

I love the South, I always have and I always will. For those of you that have never been to a race, or do not think it will fun, this is your answer. For five years I have racked up a total of 1,880 points at a total of five races . . . and I have never placed higher than third. The mullets are there, you just have to go out and find them. There is magic in the air at these races, you just have to ignore the human gases and funnel cake fumes. I look forward to seeing this sport grow as an integral part of the NASCAR pre game ritual.

EDITOR’S NOTE:
Before you call me “spoiled” or “looking down upon these people”, think again. I love my Stanly County home (yes, this is the birthplace of Kellie Pickler . . . she’s even my age) and would like nothing more than to be back there some day. I grew up for the first 8 years of my life with a mullet, before switching to a rat tail for 2 years, then sticking with a bowl cut for three. My baby pictures are even mulletrific. My hair has partied with the best, but fortunately my brain told me it was time to switch to only business. Plus I think it’s against the code of conduct at UNC. Below is a picture that closely resembles the aesthetic beauty my mother instilled at the back of my neck as a youngster:

Here are a few of the mullet pictures taken over the years:



20 Biggest American Football Stadiums


The experience of watching a football game live in a stadium full of fans is completely different from the experience of watching the game on television. Part of the difference is, of course, the fact that you’re watching the game take place in 3D and the sight isn’t altered by the whims of a cameraman. However, the real reason that people love to watch football games at stadiums is because the energy of the crowd completely changes the feeling of watching the game. Crowds of people with their cheering and booing, their excitement and anger, their painted faces and hands filled with stadium food are crowds of people that add another dimension to the game.

If you really want to get the full effect of watching a football game in the midst of a crowd then you should make it a point to visit one of the these theaters of footballing dreams, some of which are among the largest stadiums in the world. It is here where the game will really come to life!

The Biggest American Football Stadiums in America

We start our list with the 15 largest football stadiums in the United States and then move onto the 5 biggest football stadiums outside the US.

15. Kyle Field, Texas


Kyle Field [Capacity 82,000] Here’s a Texas-sized stadium to get some tickets to if you happen to be in the state. It has the distinction of being called the most intimidating football field in the nation in terms of home team advantage.

14. Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Texas


Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium [Capacity 85,000] Texas is a great place to go to watch football in a crowd because these fans get so passionate about the sport. This Austin stadium is currently under renovation to become a little big bigger than it is today.

13. Memorial Stadium, Nebraska


Memorial Stadium [Capacity 85,000] This Lincoln, Nebraska stadium is frequently called ‘The Sea of Red’. Can you guess what the game colors are that are worn by the die-hard fans that attend these stadium events?

12. Jordan Hare Stadium, Alabama


Jordan Hare Stadium [Capacity 87,000] This is the Alabama home to the Auburn Tigers. When it opened in 1939, it had only about 7,000 seats so it’s certainly come a long way!

11. Rose Bowl, California


Rose Bowl [Capacity 91,000] This isn’t the largest football stadium in the Los Angeles area but it is probably the one that most people know about. If you can remember back to your New Years’ Eve hangover, this is the stadium that you watched on TV. It’s much better in person than even HD can reveal.

10. FedEx Field, Maryland


FedEx Field [Capacity 91,000] How’s that for some branding? Located in Landover, Maryland it is the home stadium of the Washington Redskins. It’s only been open since 1997 so it’s a highly modern stadium with five levels of seating.

9. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida


Ben Hill Griffin Stadium [Capacity 92,000] Florida is a state that is serious about its football and you can feel it in the air when this Gainesville stadium fills to capacity. It’s had a bunch of official and unofficial names over the years and continues to most frequently be referred to as The Swamp.

8. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, California


Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum [Capacity 92,000] This Trojans stadium is a National Historic Landmark and a favorite sight for Southern California visitors to see. That’s all fine and dandy but it also limits the extent of renovations that can be done, which has caused many to say that it’s not really good for modern football. Without skyboxes and club seats, many people just don’t want to see the game.

7. Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama


Bryant-Denny Stadium [Capacity 92,000] This Tuscaloosa, Alabama stadium was named in part for one of the favorite coaches who made his career here (Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant). You know these fans are devoted since every single home game here has been sold out for the past twenty years.

6. Tiger Stadium, Louisiana


Tiger Stadium [Capacity 92,000] This may not be the largest of the American football stadiums but you wouldn’t know if it you listened to the amazing rumble of the noise here. In fact, the extent of the cheering here has caused this Louisiana stadium to earn the nickname ‘Death Valley’. It was originally ‘Deaf Valley’ but apparently no one there could hear because the name got changed as the result of being mispronounced too many times.

5. Sanford Stadium, Georgia


Sanford Stadium [Capacity 93,000] Located in Athens, Georgia this is the stadium where the Bulldogs play. It is infamous for being a stadium that has seen frequent renovations designed to enlarge its capacity while maintaining the look of the stadium. You wouldn’t want to upset football fans by drastically changing the place where games are played!

4. Ohio Stadium, Ohio


Ohio Stadium [Capacity 102,000] This home of the Ohio Buckeyes in Columbus has the honor of being on the list of National Register of Historic Places. At its most packed, it’s held over 105,000 people.

3. Neyland Stadium, Tennessee


Neyland Stadium [Capacity 102,000] The Tennessee Volunteers play at this Knoxville stadium where over 100,000 fans cheer and jeer at their efforts. The stadium was actually slightly larger a few years ago but added ‘club level’ seats that reduced its size. Additional club-level seating is planned which will again reduce the size of the stadium by abut 2,000 seats.

2. Beaver Stadium, Pennsylvania


Beaver Stadium [Capacity 107,000] This Pennsylvania Stadium can easily roar with a crowd since it holds nearly as many people as the Michigan Stadium. In fact, it currently considers itself the largest stadium because Michigan Stadium is undergoing two years of renovations that will temporarily reduce its capacity and allow this stadium to take the spotlight for awhile.

1. Michigan Stadium, Michigan


Michigan Stadium [Capacity 107,000] This Ann Arbor football stadium which is home to the Wolverines is officially the largest American football stadium. It has always been a big stadium, opening in 1927 with a capacity of 72,000 and a design that cost nearly one million dollars. Today there are frequently more than 110,000 people crammed in here when you count all of the players and media folks. Now that’s a place to go feel the action!

Check out the 5 biggest non-US football stadiums ->

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