When can fitness influencers have a negative effect on followers?

People may misuse steroids to build body mass rather than attaining a muscular physique through natural methods.

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People may misuse steroids to build body mass rather than attaining a muscular physique through natural methods.

The fitness world is and has been a huge part of today’s society. Whether it be through actors demonstrating the workouts they do to look good on set to the social media influencers on Tik-Tok and Instagram who generate billions of views, fitness posts can have a significant impact on social media viewers.

What can happen when fitness influencers abuse their platform and mislead their followers about how they attain their fitness goals?

Especially for younger people, the honesty of self-proclaimed natural influencers can heavily affect one’s physical and mental health. This makes it crucial for influencers to be honest about performance enhancers with their platform, rather than continuously lie in the pursuit of fame. 

One of the ways in which social media fitness influencers have been found to mislead the public is through the use of steroids.

Use of steroids and the effect on the body

The origin story of steroids started in 1935 when it was synthesized by Adolf Butenandt, a German biochemist. Its original purpose was to treat depression and to boost testosterone for people with hypogonadism. In medicine, it is currently prescribed in regulated amounts and used to reduce redness and swelling for inflammatory conditions such as asthma, allergies and eczema.

In a lot of cases, fitness influencers, bodybuilders and professional athletes alike have misused steroids to give themselves a physical advantage against non-drug using opponents, since one effect of the drug is increased muscle, bone and tendon strength. The end result for most misusing steroids is an increase of  muscle mass–most desirable for bodybuilders–and making oneself faster, quicker and stronger. 

These side-effects have made use of steroids illegal in nearly every professional sports association including the NFL, MLB NCAA, Olympics, USPA and many others.

Although the use of steroids increases strength like no other drug, there are a lot of negative health effects associated with the drug, some of which could be life-threatening.

 According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, there were “19 deaths in published case reports related to anabolic steroid use between 1990 and 2012… [and users of]  anabolic steroids report more anger than nonusers, as well as more fights and verbal aggression.”

There are many different ways of risking one’s health while abusing steroids including instances of acne, cysts, blood clots, liver damage, high blood pressure and heart problems. This can in turn lead to heart attacks, artery damage and strokes.

Steroids effect on social media influencers

Fitness influencers can rack up millions of views and followers on Instagram and TikTok solely based on images of their body physiques. This is how many make their career not only from viewership but by selling their products, workout plans and meal plans to viewers hoping to  achieve a similar physique. 

While most influencers are truthful in how they gain muscle and stay so lean, telling viewers to follow a natural process to stay in shape, many othersare dishonest and mislead their followers. 

A recent example of this comes from Tiktok influencer LiverKing who claimed one  could achieve his fitness goals by following his “nine achestoral tenets” which included eating raw liver. 

He made his money off of his following, generating $10 million  off people buying his liver supplements. 

When his claims turned out to be false, Yahoo News reported thatHis supplement company ended up  being sued for $25 million.

Yahoo News claims that Liverking had no intent of coming clean about his steroid use to his nearly 4 million followers on his Tik Tok. He only came clean after emails were exposed in which he told  a “fitness coach” about his use of illegally prescribed steroids including Decca, Omnitrope and Ibutamuran.

Local takes on social media influence and use of steroids

Members of the Linganore High School (LHS) community had different opinions on fitness influencers and their use of steroids.

Sophomore Devin Doyle shared his thoughts  about fitness influencers. “I think it [fitness influencers] helps a lot in society, especially in such an obese America.”

Doyle was not entirely opposed to the idea of  fitness influencers like LiverKing using Steroids. 

“I partially agree with them using steroids as their whole job is looking good, but not when they use it in an unhealthy way,” said Doyle.

Linganore teacher and assistant swim coachGerald Kirk held a stronger opinion regarding influencers use of steroids.

“Any drug that unnaturally increases your athleticism is not good for you, and influencers who lie about it should be accountable,” said Kirk.

Ultimately,  these influencers do not just take on a personal risk with their steroid use.  They can have an impact on the health of others when their followers choose to use these drugs in attempts to attain the same enviable physique and muscle mass. These choices can have serious health consequences, meaning that fitness influencers really hold the lives of their viewers in the palm of their unnaturally strong palms.