By Amber Elizabeth Dodzweit


Scandals break out all the time exposing professional athletes and their use of performance enhancing drugs. We all gasp in astonishment that our favorite heroes would ever dare use illegal substances. In an instant, their untarnished façade comes tumbling down into a pile of used steroid needles. We relied on these role models to represent the superhuman, to show us that the impossible is possible and to act as a marker for what the human body is capable of. Then, when we realize they cheated we’re left only with cynicism and disappointment…feeling completely fooled and betrayed.


As the fitness industry continues to infiltrate more and more homes throughout the world and leave an imprint on the mainstream marketplace – I believe that the “wild wild west” antics that go on behind the scenes need to begin to not only become exposed but monitored.


Lets take this from the top. A star struck aspiring fitness model attends the Olympia in Las Vegas this coming September. As they stand in line with sweaty palms waiting to take a picture with their favorite fitness personality they rehearse their opening “hello” and envision their pose for the photo. As they near the front of the line and see in the flesh what they’ve only seen on their vision board at home, they are in awe. Every muscle and every vein is on display as they snap the photo with their larger than life fitness celebrity. Our little “fit-fan” has now bought the entire line of supplements from the company that endorses their fitness hero. They kill themselves in the gym everyday, sometimes twice a day and the mirror never…ever…begins to reflect anything close to what they saw that day. They now have two options…Quit or reach for the substances that they know will give them the results they want. The substances that their dream body has been taking all along.  Steriods, GH, off –the-market fat burners, Testosterone, you name it. Our industry isn’t shy about promoting bodies that are science experiments. I mean look at that pump, CLEARLY it’s the pre-workout….#BS

We’re flat out lying to people. It’s not the pre-workout, it’s not the fat burner, it’s not their workouts. More fitness personalities than I want to admit are dipping into black-market type methods to get them results that they then claim are from their endorsed supplements. Meanwhile, our fit-fans are going broke buying anything and everything they can to achieve even a quarter of what they see.

Imagine if there was a list of every fitness celebrity using illegal substances that was available to the public., including plastic surgery “additions”.  Imagine if these personalities were tested at random in order to be held accountable to the example they’re setting for people all over the world. I think maybe the results you hope to achieve would then make a lot more sense. Listen, to each their own- you want to basically take another form of crack-cocaine to stay lean? Go on with your bad-self, but don’t dress like a wolf in lambs pajamas and claim it’s all natural. Own your methods so those that look to you have full disclosure on what it takes to look the way you do.

When runway models back in the earlier 2000s began showing up to walk fashion shows looking emaciated…guess what happened. PEOPLE SPOKE UP. Diane Von Furstenberg refused to let them walk at NY fashion week with out an acceptable BMI, agencies overseas established guidelines the models had to follow, and at the end of the day when they didn’t adhere to the new set of rules…they weren’t used.

Fitness has existed in it’s own niche for years now. Stringer tanks and roid-induced “backne” will never ever disappear (although I wish they would). But with more eyes than ever looking to fitness for direction, we should all be taking more accountability for our messaging both in and out of the public eye. Next time you take your scissors to your favorite fitness magazine to add to your vision board…ask yourself If they’re playing you as the fool.






  • With all due respect, I appreciate what your brand is trying to do. I like your approach, however, you are still in the business of selling a promise. You can see that with the models/athletes you choose. They fit the cultural ideal – they have the genetics and pre-disposition to look ripped. Which is great – and if they can do this naturally, using only clutch products – fantastic. In a sense – you are saying, take our products – and you will look like our athletes. However, I would like to point out that there are varied types of athletic bodies. Not all athletes are RIPPED with less than 10% body-fat. I consider myself such an athlete – I have dedicated my life to living healthfully – for 15 years – I have followed the clutch workouts and taken the supplements for at least 2 months. I’ve been diagnosed with an especially slow metabolism and I’m doing what I can to help fix that. However, my sports nutritionist isn’t optimistic. She pushed me to make peace with the way my body is at and that I may never be able to lose enough body fat to actually SEE much definition in my muscles – no matter how intelligently I workout and eat right and supplement. Currently I am a size 12, 210 pounds. I work out 6 days per week. I lift heavy. I can bench 250 on the machine. Yet people assume that I don’t work out. In fact I’ve been accused of eating brownies in my spare time by people who don’t know about my dedication to health and fitness. I think it would go a long way if you featured athletes with different body types. People need to check their assumptions about what healthy looks like and what a ‘real’ athlete looks like. It’s about time that bigger athletes are given the respect that they deserve. We aren’t lazy people. I am dedicated.

    Andrea on

  • Amber, thank you for deciding to be up front.
    People don’t realize the amount of crazy regimine, illegal drug use, starvation and dehydration that go into looking like a fitness cover model or stage competitor! Don’t get me wrong, there are people who are all natural and look amazing, I personally know several! It just takes a lot longer to achieve those results and many people don’t have the patience to work as hard as you have to or as long as you have to in order to transform naturally. I am so happy that there is a growing amount of awareness and it is thanks to you and others who have experienced it first hand and share openly. Thank you for being you!

    Jenn Dillon on

  • Well written and an important point to make. Just another reason why I respect you for the real athlete that you are. Thank you~

    Jen Endicott on

  • Fitness industry cultural change. Educational article. Thank you for looking out for the consumers of this stuff.

    Ronie Shackelford on

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