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Why I Don’t Blame Lance Armstrong For Doping

When you start talking about cycling, it’s inevitable that Lance Armstrong will be brought up in the conversation. Sadly, most people view him as a pretty terrible person. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree that what Lance Armstrong did in terms of doping to win races, the way he ruined the lives of many who spoke out against him and generally how he treated people over the years, was absolutely terrible. However, I don’t blame Lance Armstrong for doping. I really don’t. And when I explain why, you just may come away with a different point of view on the topic or at least see some reasoning behind why he did it.

To Be Competitive

Lance and many others have spoken about how when they were young and moving up in the sport, it became very evident to them that if they wanted to progress to the next level, they had to start doping. It was well known among those in the sport that the top cyclists were all doping. So it wasn’t a matter of choice if you wanted to be one of the top cyclists. It was either start doping or quit the sport and do something else with their lives. This doesn’t make what he did right, but if someone told you that to do the thing you loved that you had to do something that was against the rules, you would at least think pretty hard about it. I would bet that even most people would choose to go ahead and do it if it meant they could do the thing that they love.

He Was Just The Best Cheater Amongst Other Cheaters

The hate toward Lance Armstrong is interesting as everyone gets up on their high horse and throws done judgement toward him from a pedestal. You want to know the honest truth? Lance was simply the best at cheating amongst an entire sport full of cheaters. This pretty much means it was a level playing field, given that basically everyone in the sport was cheating. He was the biggest name, of course, and had the most to lose by getting busted for doping. That’s why he so adamantly denied the rumors over the years when they would come up and why he went after people’s livelihoods when they would tell the truth about what he was doing. Don’t think for a second that Lance was the only one in the sport doing it. He was simply the best at not only cycling at the time, but also at doping.

The Lance Machine

Part of the reason I don’t blame Lance for doing what he did was because of the whole Lance Armstrong machine that was in full force by the time he was winning his Tour De France championships. His cancer foundation, legions of fans, and those that had financial reasons to support Lance, stood to make a lot of money as long as he kept winning. This is what helped him be the best cheater in a sport full of cheaters. He had a whole team that knew what was going on that helped him beat drug tests, pay off people, and keep the whole Lance train moving. Lance may be a jerk, but I do believe that he did feel pressure to stay on top and not be labeled a cheater so that his cancer foundation could continue to do a lot of good, which it did do. There is a pretty good argument to be made that by Lance cheating and becoming the icon that he did, that he was able to help many people beat cancer and still be alive to this day.

How Cycling Got Overwhelmed By Doping

If cycling is brought up in a conversation with most people, it’s because they are asking about Lance Armstrong and the rampant doping that the sport suffers from. The sport of cycling has had a dark cloud hovering over it for years now, with an aura of suspicion if anyone wins a race of any kind. Is it fair? Unfortunately, it is fair because there have been so many cyclists who have been busted for doping in the sport, none bigger of course than Lance Armstrong. But how did cycling get so overwhelmed with doping and athletes cutting corners to get an edge on the competition?

Human Nature

It’s no secret that when people are left to their own devices, they will most likely do whatever they can to get ahead. When you’re talking about a hyper competitive sport like cycling, where there is prize money, testosterone, and fame to be had, you can bet there will be those who will do whatever it takes to win. Now, this isn’t anything new to sports, as the same thing happened in major league baseball and steroids in the 90’s. The root cause of that was that there was a lot of money to be made by hitting more home runs, which in turn brought more people to stadiums. So owners and baseball themselves turned a blind eye to the problem. Much of the same thing happened in cycling during the Lance Armstrong era. He was winning, people were paying attention, so those on the inside didn’t address what was really going on.

Lack Of Organizational Control

The main reason that cycling become overwhelmed by doping was simply because the organizations in charge of cycling didn’t really care if there was a problem. Much like major league baseball, they had people paying attention to their sport and many didn’t want to rock the boat. Eventually, there was enough of a push by many to start coming down on athletes who were doping (mainly Lance Armstrong), but much of that was due to the fact that Armstrong was American and most of the sport’s governing body are French. So even the reasons for wanting to clean up the sport weren’t because of integrity, having a fair playing field, or anything like that. Rather, it was because of country pride and jealousy.

Science

Another one of the main reasons that doping became the monster it was is because science has advanced so far and so quickly that many of the athletes were using compounds that weren’t even detectable on drug tests. When the tests would catch up to the new methods, a few riders would fail a test. Yet soon after, they would change up their methods and pass the tests again. Much of the reason that people began to get busted was due to former athletes and those well informed coming forward and spilling the beans on what was happening and how to stop it.

These are just 3 of the main reasons that doping became the issue that it was. Ultimately, it came to a head with Lance Armstrong being stripped of his Tour De France titles. It didn’t start with him and it probably won’t end with him, but there are lessons to be learned and things that hopefully won’t be repeated in the future as well for those of us that love the sport of cycling.

Impact of Phenylethylamine on Exercise Performance and Doping Regulations

More and more individuals are getting active in sports every year; a claim we can support by the proliferation of businesses dealing with sporting goods. While a considerable number of them are engaged in it for its health benefit, some are in it as a sport. If you are an athlete, for an example, winning many competitions as possible is your ultimate goal. As a result, you may think to go an extra mile and take a cocktail of supplements that you know to enhance exercise performance. Unfortunate for you, some of those medication methods or drugs are illegal for sporting activities.

The Word Anti-doping Agency (WADA) rules out certain supplements that may put the health of athlete at risk, enhance performance, or go against the spirit of sport. It may burn a substance only during competition or at all times. This article explores the impact of Phenylethylamine on exercise performance, which is among the in-competition prohibited supplements. It also notes our responsibility to keep updated on what WADA permit, as the world of sports doping keeps on changing.

About Phenylethylamine

Phenylethylamine (PEA) is a trace amine and organic compound that you can find in chocolates, salami, bologna, blue-green algae and all animals. This natural chemical belongs to the family of monoamine alkaloids that are well known to have stimulant effects to the human brain. As a result, users of PEA expect to get the potential benefits of a stimulant such as boosting alertness, energy, focus, and endurance, which in turn enhance exercise performance.

It primarily acts as a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger that pass signals between nerves, and as a neuro regulator. These properties give this stimulant power to affect your life by amplifying the effectiveness of major neurotransmitter in your body. PEA particularly boosts the action of norepinephrine, which keeps your alert and performing; dopamine, which brings pleasure feeling and wellbeing; and serotonin, which uplifts mood emotions and control your impulse. Therefore, the present of PEA in your body can increase your physical drive, motivational, social activity and feeling.

Benefits of Phenylethylamine supplement on your exercise performance

Studies have shown that the levels of PEA in your urine tend to elevate when doing a physical exertion like running. This observation offers an explanation to why runners gain a “high” feeling during the activity.

Now, you may be wondering why you have to take the PEA supplement before starting a running competition or any other exercise when the activity itself can raise PEA levels. Well, here are some of its benefits concerning your exercise performance.

  • It increases your exercise performance by improving norepinephrine levels
  • It improves your focus during exercise by increasing dopamine levels.
  • It improves the mood to start up your workout due to the increased serotonin levels.
  • It may help you to avoid depression or fear of not winning a challenge

Therefore, this pre-exercise fix can be the best solution to set you off in case you are feeling down and unable to begin a routine exercise straight away. The supplement will serve as energy and mood booster to keep you focused and ready for the challenge. Furthermore, it always worthy to invest in exercise especially for a healthy life, and PEA can save you from sinking mood that weigh down your workout performance. These benefits will increase gradually after using the Phenylethylamine for several months by increasing the blood supply to your brain.

Side effects of PEA

Appropriate use Phenylethylamine is likely safe for most people. However, you should avoid this supplement if you are taking hypertension medication or having a heart condition as it can raise blood pressure as well as very stimulating. It can also interfere with the sleep cycle when taken in too high dosage or few hours before sleep time. Besides, it is harmful to those diagnosed to have elevated levels of dopamine.

Doping regulations for Phenylethylamine

WADA’s main objective is facilitating a level playing field for all competitors in the high-performance sport, and optimizing the welfare and safety of athletes. They engage in high-quality research in order to prevent organizations or individuals from using an illegal substance to enhance sporting performance.

In 2015, WADA introduced new Code with ramifications for sporting organisations, athletes, and physicians dealing with high-level athletes. One of these ramifications was the prohibition of the Phenylethylamine family to addressing the increasing number of illegal use of Phenethylamine derivatives.

The Agency banned Phenylethylamine in sports for its stimulant effects. However, it did not outlaw the drug out of competition but only during competitions. As a result, medical practitioners should be aware that it is illegal to use PEA to treat athletes who will be subjected to drug testing despite being legally prescribed to the general community. For an athlete, testing positive for PEA in competition means breaching anti-doping rules and you may end up disqualified from the tournament.

How To Stop PED Use In Every Sport

Many sports have been impacted by the usage of performance boosting medicines, steroids, HGH and also blood doping.

Baseball has actually had lots of issues with this problem over the last 10 years. Several of the game’s top performers have been involved in controversies which are driven by athletes breaking the rules in order to obtain the edge that athletes are always looking for.

Cycling, football, boxing, tennis, track and field, swimming and other Olympic sports have also had their share of issues with athletes, trainers and in some instances teams that have been involved in doping, steroids and more.

Why Athletes Cheat?

The main reason athletes look to performance enhancing drugs is because they want to get an advantage over the competition and there are many reasons doing that can be beneficial for an athlete.

Younger kids in high school are using PED’s now because of the immense pressure to get an athletic scholarship which can mean thousands of dollars for a 4 year degree. There is also the obvious economic benefits for professional athletes to use because if they perform better, they can then make more money. They can also play the sport for a longer period of time which lets them earn even more money.

What’s The Benefit?

There is also the benefit to team owners if they have a player who is using PED’s but performing at a high level because people will pay to go see that athlete perform. This happened in the 90’s with baseball, most owners knew what was going on but there was a lot of money to be made so they let it happen.

There is also the fact that the sport leagues stand to make a lot of money when athletes are performing at higher levels. Especially if multiple teams have players who are very good, more people will go see them play and the money comes in more. This is why unions and some leagues have been hesitant to go after this sort of practice because there is so much money at stake.

Why This Is Important To Stop

Some people don’t think PED use in sports is anything all that important but I would argue that it is more important than they may think. The dangers that arise from using these substances are substantial and there is a trickle down effect that will cause more kids and young adults to use as well.

Some argue that any supplement or even some equipment that players wear in sports today is a performance enhancement, so why not let them take whatever drugs they want. For instance, many in the powerlifting community believe that using things like wrist wraps (click here if you are unsure what these are), knee wraps and back braces provides an unfair advantage, just like steroids. I can tell you there is a big difference in a weight lifter utilizing weightlifting wrist wraps and a weight lifter utilizing anabolic steroids. One provides support to the wrist joint, while the other gives a clear and obvious advantage to anyone else they would compete against. The same goes for any sport where this argument is made by some people.

How To Stop It

However, there now appears to be a climate among players and also the powers that be in sports where there seems a more honest desire to end the rampant use of PED’s and bring the sports back to a level playing field.

Many leagues may have been hesitant to really crackdown on this issue but when the integrity of the sports begins to get questioned, the leagues are forced to basically take action. If the public views the sports as a sham then people will no longer consume it and money will stop coming in.

So since money is the reason these leagues take action, it’s also a solid reasoning that money is also the thing that can clean these sports us as well. Currently the risk of getting caught for some athletes doesn’t outweigh the benefits, to curb the behavior you have to make it where the risk of getting caught greatly outweighs the benefits.

The plan to do this would be:

  • The initial offense brings a one year ban and there is no pay for that period of the ban as well. By having a zero tolerance policy and the risk of losing an entire year’s worth of pay, you would see most athletes not risk using PED’s right off the bat
  • The second offense would bring a 3 year ban and again no salary can be paid during that time period.
  • The 3rd offense would be a lifetime ban.

A straightforward, clear, universal plan like this when applied to all sporting activities might be a step in the right direction towards fixing the steroid and doping issues that have plagued sports for years.

The Side Effects Of Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids are substances that have been abused because of their potential benefits to the human body. The main problem is that the abuse of these drugs can have very severe side effects on both men and women. The abuse of these substances has been linked to liver cancer and heart-related conditions. Some of the side effects of the abuse of these substances can be reversed after the victim stops using the substance. There are those side effects that are irreversible. It is advisable to get a prescription from a medical doctor if you must use these drugs. These drugs affect various systems in the human body.

Hormonal System

Anabolic steroids alter the normal synthesis and release of hormones in the human body. This effect can cause both permanent and temporary changes in the human body. The changes that are temporary in the male body include impaired production of sperms and testicular atrophy. Male-pattern baldness and gynecomastia are conditions in males that cannot be reversed. 50% of body builders who use steroids have testicular atrophy and gynecomastia. In females, these steroids make them develop attributes that are normally found in males. Anabolic steroids cause body fat and breasts to reduce, their voice becomes deep, their skin becomes rough, and their clitoris enlarges. Some effects such as abnormal growth of body hair can have emotional effects.

Musculoskeletal System

High levels of testosterone and the other sexual hormones cause growth to stop. This is what happens during puberty, which is why growth stops at this stage. When anabolic steroids are taken during childhood or at the early stages of puberty, growth may stop. Growth stops because these steroids have high levels of sexual hormones. When growth stops at such an early age, the musculoskeletal system will be affected since it has not been given enough time to grow.

Cardiovascular System

Cardiovascular diseases can be caused by these drugs. Deaths related to heart problems have risen in athletes who abuse anabolic steroids. Steroids increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases by increasing the level of low-density lipoprotein and reducing the level of high-density lipoprotein in the blood. The effect of this imbalance of lipoproteins is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition whereby fats and lipids are deposited in blood vessels. This decreases the diameter of the blood vessels thus increasing the risk of heart attacks.

Liver

Peliosis hepatis, a liver condition, is caused by the abuse of steroids. This is a condition in which cysts form in the liver. Steroid abuse also increases the risk of tumors in the liver. The liver can be heavily damaged if the cysts and the tumors rapture. The tumors affect the normal processes of the liver.

Other Infections

People abuse anabolic steroids using injection. Sharing of injections is very common with substance abusers. This practice causes sharing of contaminated injections. So many diseases spread through the sharing of contaminated needles. Viral infections such as HIV and HPV are spread from one user to another. Steroid abusers are likely to develop a bacterial infection called endocarditis. This infection causes inflammation of the inner lining of the heart.

If you are considering the use of these substances, you may want to look at legal alternatives to steroids such as FlexxLabs.com. They offer a powerful selection of supplements for bulking and cutting that are highly effective.

 

Is The Sport of Cycling Clean Today?

For those that follow cycling, the question that looms over the entire sport is a simple one. Is it clean? It’s one that has been reported on by many in recent years from both The Guardian and The New York Times. The answer to that question is, well, complicated. There are those who claim that cycling is clean after all the panels that were created, money spent, and fans clamoring for it to be clean. Yet, there are those that say the sport is still tainted by those who are doping, that their methods have gotten better since the walls began closing in on them over the years. So what’s the answer?

What Is It?

For those that don’t know what doping is and why it provides such an advantage, let’s lay that out first. It’s not what most people think, as many think of products like the best testosterone booster of 2015, best selling BCAA supplements, anabolic steroids, or other products that increase muscle mass. But cycling is all about endurance and that is where doping helps. Doping is when the amount of red blood cells that are present in the bloodstream are boosted. This helps enhance performance because red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles from the lungs. So more red blood cells in the blood stream means an increase in aerobic capacity, which is what cycling is all about.

Is The Sport Clean?

That’s the million dollar question and one that there isn’t a clear answer to. There was a really good article from The Guardian where they looked into the sport to see if it was clean or not. In it, they said that respected cycling officials say that 90% of riders are still doping. But they do admit that defining what a respected cycling official really is is difficult to do, as the sport has been populated with dirty authoritative figures. They came to the determination that there is definately a credibility issue with cycling still, and much of it is due to the shadiness of the officials in charge.

Now, the New York Times ran an article earlier this year highlighting Andrew Talansky, who is an American cyclist and claims that not only he, but others in his generation are clean. The article goes in depth about how doping almost killed the sport and Talansky and others in his generation feel an obligation to not only the sport, but each other to clean it up. They don’t make any true conclusions about if the sport is indeed clean, but it seems at the very least that there is a new generation of riders who want to clean the sport up.

The truth is that it’s really hard to know if the sport is clean because believing a sport is clean requires faith from the public that what the sport is telling them is true. Baseball went through it in the 90’s and has shown that a sport can recover and be more popular than ever, even after a drug scandal. That’s a pretty tall task for cycling, though, as the sport doesn’t have the advantage of being beloved by an intense fan base like baseball did and many people’s only interaction or experience with cycling is Lance Armstrong and/or doping allegations.

The sport is trying and they are being as transparent as they can to help build trust with the general population and its fanbase. Time will tell if the sport is clean and if people will come back to it. In the meantime, everyone will have a raised eyebrow anytime someone does well in the sport.

Cycling in 2015: How It’s Changed In 10 Years

I love the sport of cycling. While most kids grow up played baseball, basketball, and football, I was more interested in watching Greg Lemond race in the Tour De France. It’s not common to love cycling, but there was a brief time in the early 2000’s when people really cared about it. That was because of Lance Armstrong and him winning 7 Tour De France championships. It was a great time in cycling, or so we thought. In hindsight, it was a time filled with liars, cheaters, and ultimately bans for most of the major riders of the era. Since that time, though, cycling has gone through a cleansing of sorts and has changed quite a bit since the days of Lance. How it’s changed is pretty interesting to me, but probably not something many will hear about unless they follow the sport closely.

Improvements in Drug Testing

One of the reasons that the sport became infiltrated with doping was because there were many in the organization responsible for testing the riders who were involved in letting positive drug tests slip through or covering them up. It was a dirty sport from top to bottom, but since that time, there have been many changes made within the organizing body that have helped clean up the sport. After the exposure of Lance Armstrong, they let it be known that they were cracking down on doping in the sport and there would no longer be any free passes. That alone probably deterred many from either starting doping or to continue the trend.

Times Have Gone Up

One way that it’s been pretty easy to tell if doping is out of the sport or at least less of a practice since the early 2000’s is to look at the race times on courses, especially the day after a grueling course. If you look at recent times at the Tour De France, after very difficult mountain climbing days, the times have gone up considerably, which is a strong indicator that the riders aren’t recovering as quickly from those races as they once were. That is exactly what doping helped the riders do. It’s pretty evident if you look at the times today compared to Lance Armstrong’ era that it’s clear that doping is evidently working its way out of the sport.

The Money Isn’t As Good

Some may think it’s for the better, but since the days of Lance, the prize money for winning races and opportunities for endorsements isn’t what it once was. It makes sense given the fact that cycling is a niche sport to begin with. And especially in the US, there are no household names that companies and sponsors can get behind. Because of this, there isn’t as much money to be had by being the best in the sport. While this may be seen as a negative to the purists of the sport, it may be a good thing because if the money isn’t there, then there isn’t as much of a drive to cheat to make more money.

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