Every five days Patrick opens the drawer of his bedside cabinet, he takes out an ampoule of testosterone, a syringe, two cannulas: one to pull up, one to inject. He sits down in the living room, in his TV chair. He puts one leg up on the coffee table. Then he puts the syringe on, pricks the outside of his thigh and squeezes. Doesn’t hurt, just pricks a little. He has experience.
Patrick, 24, sits in a steakhouse in Berlin. He wears a grey jacket and a shirt stretching across his chest. 91 kilograms at 1.78 meters, Patrick could be a cover model for the magazine “Men’s Health”.
Without doping, he says, he would never have reached his figure today.
For six years, Patrick has been buying and taking artificially produced hormones to get bigger muscles to be sexy. He has already injected himself with hundreds of injections and swallowed between 3000 and 4000 tablets.
It’s not just low lifes who do that.
Patrick is studying marketing. “I know managers, lawyers and doctors who dope,” he says. “It’s not just proletics who do that. He finds it “wrong and dishonest” to hide something. Everyone knew what he was taking, his friends, his family, his fellow students. Nevertheless, Patrick’s real name is not Patrick. Nobody should know his real name.
In Germany, 9.1 million people train in the gym. According to a nationwide study by the University Hospital of Lübeck, 22 percent of men and 8 percent of women consume performance-enhancing drugs. The Dopingforscher Mischa Kläber of the technical University of Darmstadt assumes that each fifth in the Fitnessstudio swallows something or splashes.
That would be 1.8 million people.
For many recreational athletes, it’s not just about living a healthy life. They want to be beautiful, to look dynamic. For them, the body is an exhibit that they model like an artist models a sculpture. If necessary, with illegal medicines. The doping system in popular sports resembles the drug business. There are producers who cook the substances. There are the users, also called Stoffer, who buy them, inject them and swallow them. And there are doping victims who have ruined their lives.
Patrick was 17 years old when he started strength training, weighing 62 kilograms at the time. In the changing room of his gym he bought his first bottle of testosterone, which came from an underground laboratory, U-Lab for short. It cost 60 euros. In the evening he took his first injection. He sat in his nursery, Patrick still lived with his parents.
He went shopping on the Internet and ordered steroids for 150 euros a month: Turanabol tablets, nandrolone decanoate, trenbolone, masterone and methyltrienolone. With the help of doping substances, he increased his weight to 96 kilograms.
Anabolic steroids, also known as anabolic steroids, are artificially produced active substances that are based on the male sex hormone testosterone. Testosterone causes muscles to grow faster and tire more slowly.
Pharmaceutical companies developed anabolic steroids around 80 years ago as drugs for cancer patients. Meanwhile they are popular as doping agents in sports. Professional athletes have to hand in doping samples, and those who cheat with steroids are banned. In popular sport, everyone sets their own rules, hobby athletes do not have to reckon with doping tests.
In former times it was said: Clothes make people. Today, muscles make people“.
Patrick currently goes to the studio four times a week. His goal is to get a “fitness body”, that’s what he calls it. Defined muscle strands that form stripes on the shoulders, chest and thighs and separate the body parts from each other. “By my definition, this is a beautiful, aesthetic body,” says Patrick, “appreciation plays a big role for me. I like to be addressed, to attract looks. A good body is a status symbol today. In the past it was called: Clothes make people. Today, muscles make people.”
And is that only possible with doping? “No,” says Patrick, “but it makes it easier for me to reach my goal.