With the alcohol pad peeled from its wrapper, a familiar smell of sterile fluid flashed him back to his very first injection. It has been a few years, a few cycles back, a few pounds ago, a lower bench press ago…where deep inside his viscera a heart pumped eager and excited blood throughout the body as it anticipated the poke of a needle.
He remembers how the surgical pin poked the surface of his skin like it would a firm tomato; without pain, without effort. His heart grew louder with every penetrating inch the needle took. Finally, it was completed submerged into his quad muscle. All that was left sticking out of his thigh was a clear plastic barrel and plunger, filled with 1ml of viscous, yellow oil. As instructed, he gently pulled the top of the plunger. I’m aspirating. No blood. Good. Relax it.
He let go of the plunger and wiped a sweaty hand on his t-shirt. His index finger then found the top of the plunger. The flesh around the tip of his finger turned white as he applied pressure to the ridges molded into the plastic plunger head. He took a deep, nourishing breath and pushed with the gentle firmness you would use to cradle a newborn baby. His heart thumped against the walls of his chest. His breathing was slow and deep. The oil slumped into his muscle tissue like molasses creeping into a sink drain. As he maintained constant, smooth pressure, the oil settled into a pocket within his muscle. Almost done. It felt as if a tiny balloon was being filled with air and inserted between the stringy, bloody fibers of his thigh muscle.
This lump is what we juicers call a “depot,” the pocket of fluid from which hormones are released into our bloodstream. Why do we use anabolic steroids, these hormones, these monster producing, swole-motherfucker drugs? Well, that depends on your goal or profession. For the sake of argument, let me speak on behalf of myself…and possibly some amateur bodybuilders and your average Joe-gym-goer:
Maybe it was the first time I saw Jay Cutler’s shoulders, or Flex Wheeler’s back, or Ronnie Coleman’s legs. Maybe I was skinny in high school and wanted a body like that of a Greek statue. Maybe I wanted to fill out my shirts, to impress both women and men alike, to feel superior to average man, to see veins through my muscles, to experience the joy of a pump, to give my life more meaning than one day standing at the office water cooler talking about how terrible my golf game is and why my wife looks at my bag-for-a-belly in disgust. Bleh.
It was all this that prompted my participation in a sport whose rewards you wear: bodybuilding.
I knew the difference between a natural looking physique and an enhanced one. So I started naturally. I did the creatine, whey protein, amino acid, Muscle Milk thing. I lifted hard, ate right, slept tight. I added 20lbs of quality weight to my frame in about a year. But it didn’t look like I wanted it to…I wanted to add that “freak factor.” I wanted to see striations in my shoulders, deep, rippled cuts between my tricep heads, tree-trunk veins in my bicep, teardrops on my thighs, a “V” below my neckline signaling the start of my upper-pec muscles, a back that looked as deep and developed as the Grand Canyon, and 2 bulbous, fat, exaggerated mangos attached to my calves. And I wanted to use steroids to get it all.