Gym Culture, Identity and Performance-Enhancing Drugs
Tracing a Typology of Steroid Use
This book is about gym culture, the pursuit of fit, muscular bodies and the use of drugs as a means to get there.
Building on the international research literature and in-depth interviews with men who have experience of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs), the book explores the fascination with muscles, motivations for using drugs to enhance them, assessments of risks, and experience of side effects. The book examines what the altered body does to the men’s identity, self-image and relationships with peers and partners. Taking an evolutionary psychological approach, it also investigates the biological and psychological foundations of the fascination with the muscular body and discusses the notion of precarious manhood. Building on these analyses the book considers the political and regulatory initiatives in place to prevent the use of IPEDs and assesses those strategies’ potential to reach their aims.
This is essential reading for anybody with an interest in the issue of drugs in sport, the ethics of sport, sociology of sport, sociology of the body, masculinity or public health.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction, 2. IPEDs as a cultural phenomenon, 3. Effects and side effects of anabolic steroids, 4. Identity and recognition, 5. The allure of muscles, size and strength, 6. Up close and personal with four IPED users, 7. Ideal types in IPED use, 8. Side effects as perceived by IPED users, 9. Diet and lifestyle choices, 10. Manhood – powerful and precarious, 11. IPED policy and regulation ― the Danish experience, 12. Anti-doping efforts as perceived by IPED users, 13. Harm reduction as an alternative strategy, 14. By way of conclusion
Ask Vest Christiansen is Associate Professor of Sport Science in the Department of Public Health at Aarhus University in Denmark. He is also Co-Director of the International Network of Doping Research (INDR). Dr Christiansen’s research has followed two main branches: doping in elite sport and recreational athletes’ use of drugs in gyms, fitness and strength training environments.