By Mario Strong

In the early 1990s, I was dating a model that not only possessed facial beauty but also had a very symmetrical and proportioned physique. At the time, Dawn was in her early thirties and had never before weight trained. She demonstrated a burning interest in what bodybuilding could do for her. After being convinced of her strong desire to body build, I helped Dawn with her muscle-building regimen and designed an exercise and nutrition program for her. She responded quickly to the training and soon began to see new lines in her physique. She was a natural for bodybuilding and after a couple of years of hard-core training, was Leg Pressing in the neighborhood of 700 pounds and performing the Incline Press with 50-pound dumbbells. Her physique transformed into a work of art and she began competing in natural shows. She did quite well. The seeds of health and strength I planted in her had blossomed into championship form. Her physique remained feminine yet looked mighty while on the posing platform.

Eventually I lost touch with Dawn and was disturbed a couple of years later to learn from a mutual acquaintance that said Dawn had been rushed to a local hospital. Our friend said that while Dawn was training at the gym, her entire body went into a massive spasm. This was the result of diuretics Dawn was using in an effort to lose water for an upcoming physique competition. He also stated that when the EMS crew arrived on the scene they had to strap Dawn to an exercise bench and carry her into the ambulance. When I heard what had happened I went into a tirade and yelled at our friend for not keeping me advised of Dawn’s previous actions. Later that evening I visited Dawn in the hospital and saw several intravenous lines attached to her in hopes her electrolytes would return to proper levels. She seemed in pain and when she saw me started to cry and apologized for what she had done to herself. I was both mad and sad for her at the same time. I had spent several years training and coaching her about the benefits of natural bodybuilding and to me this was a form of betrayal. She had been swayed by the advice of some muscle-heads and it nearly destroyed her life. Why had she not known better?

Sadly, this was not the first time I had trained someone into championship form only to watch him or her go the way of the dark side once their egos took over. I have seen many similar occurrences over the years, as bodybuilders would resort to drugs once their biceps became bigger than their brains. How does the saying go?

“You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it.” It is the same story with bodybuilding. As much as I preach to individuals about the benefits of natural bodybuilding and of the dangers of anabolic steroids and sports related pharmaceuticals, my words go in one ear and out the other. If there is one thing that I’ve learned in my life it’s that the individual is going to do what she or he wants, no matter how dire the consequences may potentially be. It is just an unpleasant fact and sometimes lives have to be lost in order for others to smarten up and do the right thing. After Dawn’s incident, she lost all desire to return to a hard-core bodybuilding gym and took up exercising in a women’s health spa. The atmosphere there was a little saner and conducive to her health and longevity.




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