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Young men and the pressure for massive muscles.

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How far is too far in the pursuit of the perfect body?
 
Anecdotal evidence suggests that younger and younger men are walking through the doors of gyms, sometimes using fake ID to get in.
 
Some are spending big dollars on supplements containing protein, caffeine and other substances, which increase their heart rate and can affect their moods.
 
Even the supplement industry itself says there should be more regulation of their products.
 
At the more extreme end, doctors say they are seeing a growing number of men electing to use steroids and performance enhancing drugs in the quest to be bigger.

Obsession with appearance can lead to debilitating disorders, such as body dysmorphic disorder and muscle dysmorphia – also referred to as reverse anorexia or ‘bigorexia’.
 
Insight looks at the male quest for physical perfection, asking when a healthy lifestyle tips over into becoming a pathological obsession.

Senior Producer: Jodie Noyce
Associate Producers: Hannah Meagher and Scott Mitchell

Meet the Guests

  • Anthony Nguyen

    14 year old Anthony Nguyen started training at age 11 because he was tired of being called skinny. He trains five times a week and sticks to a strict diet. Since developing muscles, Anthony says he feels much more confident and gets more attention. He says he’s not considering using steroids now, but hasn’t ruled using them in the future.  

  • Anthony Farah

    Anthony Farah says weight training has saved his life. The 18 year old started doing weights three years ago after being hospitalised for anorexia. He works out six times a week, follows a strict diet and takes a range of supplements. He says steroids are very easy to get and he’ll make a decision about whether to use them once he reaches his natural peak.

  • Nathyn Costello

    34 year old Nathyn Costello started working out at age 13. He’s never been diagnosed with muscle dysmorphia but thinks he’s had many of the symptoms. He used to avoid taking his shirt off unless he was under a certain body fat percentage. In the past he has tried steroids and suffered some side effects. He thinks most people don’t know enough about steroids to use them safely.

  • Rocco Crino

    Dr Rocco Crino is a clinical psychologist who treats people with muscle dysmorphia and related conditions. He believes not enough is known about the disorder as it’s only recently been recognised.

  • Katherine Samaras

    Dr Katherine Samaras is an endocrinologist at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. She treats men with low testosterone, a problem which can be due to past steroid use. Dr Samaras says she’s seeing an increase in men electing to use steroids who are unaware of the consequences.

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