When PEDs (Performance Enhancing Dr*gs) are mentioned, more often than not the first thing that comes to mind is – muscle. In other words, both muscle growth (or hypertrophy), as well as increases in strength are something that has become almost synonymous in people’s minds with the use of steroids.
And no wonder! St*roids have become (in)famous first due to the spectacular bodybuilding and then due to the substantial performances of top-ranking athletes in other respective sports, where PEDs have been giving them an edge over athletes that don’t use the substance.
BUT, PEDs = STRENGTH GAINS… RIGHT?
However, what’s the case with PEDs in BJJ – are they of use? This is a great point for discussion, and for good reasons; with the most important counterargument to PEDs adding a competitive advantage in BJJ being that Jiu Jitsu is neither a muscle nor strength-oriented sport.
And that is true! No matter how much of help it can be in one’s weight division, strength is not the most important, most defining factor in BJJ. It is technique that is king, while strength is something that can decide a match in those matches where two competitors are pretty much at the same skill level.
SO, A BODYBUILDER AND A JIUJITEIRO WALK INTO A BAR…
Therefore, an argument against PEDs being „of use“ for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes is that BJJ is not a strength-oriented sport. However… An important point is missed in this argumentation: it’s actually not the strength nor the muscle building which is why PEDs are so effective… But it is because of the ability to recover that PEDs enhance why athletes that use them excel in the first place.
Just think about this example, for starters. Imagine that there’s a bodybuilder in front of you, and let’s call him Jack. Jack is a quite talented bodybuilder and he has a great work ethic. He trains 5 times per week, once per day, and he is making great improvements. However, that’s not enough for him and he wants to progress faster – so he decides that he is going to train 7 times per week, two times per day and that he is going to grind, to sweat, to push himself even harder on those training sessions than he has ever done before.
But, alas! After a month, Jack notices that he is getting increasingly tired, no matter the amounts of sleep and quality nutrition he’s getting. After two months, injuries start creeping up – and after three months, he cannot do it anymore and needs to take a few weeks of rest before he starts training again.
PEDS = QUICKER RECOVERY
Jack exhausted himself, because his body is not capable of taking on such amounts of work and recovering from them… And that is why PEDs are so effective – they speed up the recovery process and, thus, give the athlete an ability to train much harder and much more frequently than other athletes can.
This is exactly why PEDs in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu make such a difference for athletes that use it in comparison to those who don’t. This is why so many professional athletes, that make a living by competing, lead internal dialogues and fight internal battles so as to whether they should use steroids or not… Because they are well aware that there is a big difference between being able to train once per day, 5 times per week – as opposed to training 7 days per week, two or three times each day.
So, PEDs do help with athlete performance… But don’t forget that they also carry numerous, serious and long-lasting health-threatening repercussions with them, often deadly in nature.
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