Lies, Lies, and Damned Lies

I think most of us have heard the story of the drunk searching for his dropped keys under the streetlamp at night. When asked why he is looking there, when they could be anywhere on the street, most of which isn’t close to the street lamp, he replies, "Because that's where the light is." It's the same logic that advertisers hope can capture customers. By showing them where the light is, no matter how contorted and false the information, they're hoping to help them find their missing keys.


And, even though it's not ethical and in fact downright wrong for many reasons, it works. Over the past few years, I’ve seen fly by night companies advertising everywhere and promising cures for whatever ails you. One of the most notorious are companies that offer to cure pain, no matter what the cause, in seven days if you use their relatively worthless products.


For example, one of the most fraudulent TV ads I’ve ever seen promised you that their product, which basically contained glucosamine, would cure your arthritis and rid you of pain, no matter what the cause. This fly by night company cashed in big time and then cashed out before the slow moving FDA could descend on them. They made their quick millions, left thousands of people who wanted to believe the phony doctors and outrageous testimonials in the commercials, in the lurch, and moved on to their next scam.


The victims of the scam we’re looking for their cures in the light of the scandalous advertisers who made promises that they couldn’t resist, even though deep down they must have known to some extent that their outlandish claims were too good to be true.


It's obvious that advertisers think their potential customers, and they cast a wide net, are rather brainless and if they push hard enough, lie enough, have people lie for them, then the needy won’t be able to think past what's being presented to them.


Now let’s look at a rather small but very lucrative segment of the nutritional supplement business, those that target bodybuilders - not just any bodybuilder but mostly the wannabes.


I'm writing this on August 12th, 2011 and only yesterday I bought and looked through a half dozen of the most popular bodybuilding magazines, and this morning searched the internet for a dozen or so of the most popular supplement companies catering to bodybuilders.


What did I find? The same old lies and deceptions that have been around for decades, only worse. I guess it’s been a few years since I looked at any bodybuilding magazines and should have expected that the ads wouldn’t have gotten better, should have expected that the lies and innuendos would only get worse in a worsening economy. But I was still somewhat surprised, and definitely disappointed.


Catering to the Wannabes


without insulting your intelligence, I assume that you know that competitive bodybuilders, especially at the professional levels, have several advantages over the other 99.9 percent of the population.


First of all, the elite bodybuilder is genetically gifted when it comes to increasing muscle mass and maximizing body composition. Examples of the massive type of builds that are possible can be seen in the pre-drug era, including Sandow, George Jowett, Arthur Saxon, and more recently Steve Reeves and  John Grimek, although it’s possible that any bodybuilder of exceptional size could have been using testosterone or methyltestosterone from the late 1930s on.


These natural athletes are not like the rest of us as they have polymorphisms and mutations that naturally allow them to increase their muscle mass, improve their body composition, and increase their strength with a minimum of efforts. And if they also possess the mental will to train hard and smart, they can reach levels that can’t be touched by those less genetically endowed.


Secondly, to give them even more of an advantage, they use drugs, lots and lots of drugs, which in most cases work better on them than someone who’s not as genetically gifted.


In fact, at the Olympia level they use more androgenic-anabolic steroids in a month than the amount of testosterone equivalent a normal male produces in a lifetime. Besides anabolic steroids (including testosterone) these bodybuilders use dozens of other drugs, including insulin, growth hormone, IGF-1, mechano growth factor (MGF), other growth factors/cytokines/prostaglandins, clenbuterol, thyroid hormone, myostatin inhibitors, follistatin, human chorionic gonadotropins, estrogen receptor modulators, aromatase inhibitors, erythropoietin, diuretics, etc.


And it’s the same bodybuilders who are using this massive amount of drugs that are featured in many of the ridiculous ads extolling the anabolic, body composition and performance effects of their nutritional supplements. The idea of course it to make you believe that first of all the drug monsters are a product solely of the nutritional supplements they use, and more importantly, that you can get the same results if you use their products.


What a sham, and a scam. And why are so many wannabes, who will never even get close to having the muscle density and body composition that they’re shown in the ads, taken in by all these lies and deceptions? Because they’re being led down the garden path, and they are really, really, needy for one reason or another. Their aspiration to become one of the muscle elite overcomes the reality of their limitations.


So they fall prey to the vultures promising them all they could ever ask for if only they take their supplements. And what do they get? Since the prohormone craze was crushed by the new laws labeling any of the effective ones as controlled drugs, in most cases no real results and a case of frustration that keeps them longing to find just the right mix of supplements that will allow them to reach their lofty dreams.


But don’t get me wrong. That’s not to say that the right mix of supplements won’t allow them to improve, at least to help maximize their genetic potential, especially if their diet and training are in synch. Just that they won’t get anywhere close to what the ads are promising them, and that’s the travesty of it all.


They’ll never find their keys because the one light that they’re looking under is a sham, a false designer environment orchestrated by the companies, just for you and mostly for your dollar. The keys are somewhere else and you won’t find them if you don’t have the genetics and the drugs.

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