• James Heath

Strength without assistance

Updated: May 23, 2019

In the modern world discussing the use of ergogenic aid is as taboo as discussing your bank balance. It's common, but nobody talks about it.

You only have to watch the bodybuilding documentaries on Neflix to understand the use of ergogenic aid, a key component to the sport, is not discussed. Ergogenic supplements and aids have become an integral component to high levels sports whether that sport is complicit or not. In the quest to rise to the top, people do not always discuss every aspect of how they got there.

When new to strength training understanding this phenomenon will help you be more realistic about your goals and satisfied with your progress. It may even help you to avoid the temptation of taking steroids which carry significant risks to your health, which totally defeats the purpose of getting fit and healthy in the first place. This article and future articles aim to encourage you to focus more on learning and adopting correct training methods and principles which can have similar more enduring results naturally. This is the essence of the The Gym Method.

Faster progress

The shortest possible distance between two points is a straight line. I’m sure many people wished they could keep progressing with their fitness and strength at the same consistent rate always. Eliciting muscular growth from the same set of 10kg incline dumbbell press you performed over a year ago! What a crazy thought. Apart from the fact it would be ridiculously easy to become super strong, fit and muscular how boring would training be? Although it would be cool to see someone run 100m in 0.001 seconds.

Genetic ceiling

In reality people will increasingly struggle to make progress close to the asymptotes of their ability. In math an asymptote is a line or curve that approaches another given line closely but never actually touches. In performance one line represents the process of athletic development, and the other line is that individuals complete athletic potential or perfection. Competitors seek any means to transcend their physical and mental limits. It is at this point ergogenic aids and devices can enhance performance.

Ergogenic aids

The best know ergogenic aids are anabolic steroids which are derived from male growth hormone to facilitate muscle growth and bulk. Commercial exploitation and predominantly the male fixation on size and strength has led to drug abuse on epidemic proportions globally.

Sports and fame

This phenomenon has many psycho-social-economic routes. Admittedly steroids accelerate the rate of progress and not all steroids are the same. Some are more dangerous than others with risks associated to certain supplements virtually negligible. For example, birth control pills are steroids and testosterone patches enhance the quality of life for elderly men. It is likely that assistance in sport will only cease when science produces an equally successful and legitimate way of enhancing performance among all competitors. It is far less likely when tests become sensitive enough or affordable enough to catch people out.

The quest to remove steroids from world sport and the fitness industry seems doomed because for top competitors, the use of them makes economic sense.

It’s seems a better option to succeed with performance enhancers and just try and avoid detection. Moreover, big rewards, media attention and huge sums of cash despite the risks means people will never really be deterred. After all athletes today, especially in media dominant sports are regarded as specialist entertainers and not just sports stars.

The fact this epidemic exists highlights the importance of strength, size and athletic performance is in culture today. People will simply resort to any means to achieve it. Regardless of the potentially life-threatening side-effects, which can be read about by clicking the article below:

Anabolic Steroids - Abuse, Side Effects and Safety

The 'NOW' Instagram culture!

Using steroids and other chemicals is clearly an admission that one has run out of training ideas to produce further progress naturally. Not surprising when we see the same selection of bodybuilding or functional exercises and techniques applied in seemingly endless cycles of fashionable exercise programs. Programs usually endorsed by the next body building hero, media celebrity or Instagram athlete. People generally fail to see the person they follow may be using steroids, or do not understand that program is not right from them as an individual.

Sorry folks, but that online training program you just signed up too will not work for you.

In general people are mislead on the complex science behind correct training principles and individual variances. As a result when progress plateaus, it can seem to resort to anabolic supplementation.


With the belief that it is impossible to progress to the top and become big and strong without assistance, recommended doses have become too great. Excessive because they are guided by individual bodybuilders, athletes and competitors rather than evidenced based scientific knowledge (significantly reduced risks). It is certainly not convention to be cycling smaller doses in a clinical setting over a few weeks into a carefully periodised programs, which include methods of restoration and mental training.


Finally, most anabolic steroids are illegal. The associated health risks means worldwide they are against the law. This ensures you will always receive a product from the black market and you don't actually know what you are getting. This again significantly increases the potential risks when putting these powerful chemicals into your body.

What strength is to me

I personally have never taken ergonomic aids and never will. I have trained and coached my whole adult career without ever taking anabolic supplementation. At this stage in my training age I understand all too well the effort and drudgery involved in making the slightest step forward with progression as well as running my own business. It is too common coaches say "here take this", which totally devalues the beauty behind getting most out of our natural bodies. With all this occurring all around me and the obvious advances made, it has simply never appeals to me.

We can't all be stars and it's far more empowering to do things naturally without 'cheating'. You suffer more, it's harder and ironically makes you mentally stronger.

Besides only about five people in about 9 billion will ever look as good as Arnold Schwarzenegger or two that can deadlift 500kgs. Let's be realistic with the process and focusing on what's more important. Taking the time to get to grips with the science and education first and become the strongest natural version of ourselves. Amazing and comparable, more enduring results are possible over a longer time period using more ethical means.

The Gym Method

My training program and future articles aim to highlight the science behind maximising performance in the gym. Your body, good food and a well-constructed training program is all you need to feel and look amazingly strong. Get in touch with me directly if you would like direct support from me.