Steroids in Crossfit – More athletes are failing drug tests

A great number of Crossfit athletes are being popped for steroids. To those of us who follow sports we know about the prevalence of steroid use by professional athletes. Crossfit athletes using steroids isn’t surprising to us. In fact the surprising aspect is that failed drug tests are being publicized as much as they are. 

The reason for this heightened transparency can be found in Crossfit’s Drug Testing Policy. Previously, Crossfit would decide whether or not to announce failed drug tests: “CrossFit, at its sole discretion, will publicly announce violations of the CrossFit Games Drug Testing policy once the appeals process is over and a final decision has been reached.”

Now in Section 10 – Reporting Results, Crossfit’s policy is to announce all failed drug tests: “CrossFit, LLC will announce all violations of the CrossFit Games Drug Testing Policy.”

Expect to see more Crossfit athletes failing drug test.

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Ernest Vicente
Impact
July 19, 2022 8:28 am

A funny thing about this whole fiasco is CrossFit officials themselves think CrossFit is clean. I have heard stories of guys & girls who used to work at CrossFit as judges, attendants etc, and when someone would raise the topic of steroids in CrossFit, they’d hear none of it. That’s the ‘Cult of CrossFit’. It reminds me of the general public who are totally clueless to the realities of Hollywood transformations. The same people who think The Rock, Chris Hemsworth and Kumail Nanjiani are natural. The ignorance is truly next level. I remember telling a group of friends that The Rock was juiced up to the hilt for Black Adam. Some replied that he wouldn’t do that. Another said he might have taken steroids in the past but is natural now. It’s impossible to have a proper discussion about the topic when the level of ignorance is so high.

I call this a fiasco because I’ve heard for so long how CrossFit is different. These are the best athletes in the world, they said. They don’t need to take steroids. CrossFit is a clean sport, they shouted. The hypocrisy is what irks me. Lesser known athletes are thrown under the bus. The big names are protected even though they are most certainly juicing as well. All you need to do is take a 1 second look at some of these top tier CrossFit athletes to know they are ‘on’. Top level athletes will be protected because the brand has to maintain its image. Doing what’s right and fair is rarely the course of action.

CrossFit is no different to boxing in this regard. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez failed 2 drug tests in 2018 for the banned substance clenbuterol. Even so, he is the poster child for boxing. A pound-for-pound great whose drug cheating was swept under the rug with the weak excuse of tainted meat. Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller was popped for every drug under the sun before his planned bout with Anthony Joshua. He was vilified for it at the time but now people want him back in the mix. If it’s good for business, who cares about drugs, right?

What about WWE’s Wellness Policy? Look at some of the suspensions. Funaki, William Regal, Gregory Helms. A bunch of mid-card talent. Can you really say with a straight face that HHH and Batista were clean? At different points in their careers they were walking pharmacies. The hypocrisy is mind blowing. Why weren’t they ever suspended for their drug use? The Wellness Policy is a joke when you punish some and not others for the same offense!

And we come full circle to CrossFit. It’s a positive step that CrossFit is committing to publish all failed drug tests. What they say and what they do is another thing. Until I see a Matt Fraser, Tia-Clair Toomey or Annie Thorisdottir being taken down for steroids, I can’t take CrossFit seriously.

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Quinn Ferris
Influence
July 20, 2022 5:57 am

I applaud Crossfit’s transparency. In some sense I sympathize with their plight. They have lost credibility over the years. You can pull the wool over people’s eyes only for so long. It’s quite clear steroids are a problem in Crossfit. You can’t ignore the articles, blogs, social media posts. No multi-billion dollar brand will voluntarily damage its own reputation. Crossfit finds itself at a crossroads. Double down and hope the problem goes away. Newsflash, it won’t! Or try to address it in a way that serves 2 purposes:

1) To appear they’re punishing cheaters.
2) To maintain the image of Crossfit as a clean sport. Here are the cheaters, the rest are clean!

As has already written, Crossfit gets to keep its superstars unscathed, lesser known athletes are sacrificed for the common good (the Crossfit brand) and Crossfit gets to live another day. The hypocrisy of this situation runs second fiddle to maintaining credibility. Make no mistake, the hypocrisy of steroid usage has been around forever. I used to read Muscle & Fitness magazine. I was bowled over at the brass of the magazine to say it took an anti-steroid stance when it had interviews, features, workout plans and supplement ads with clear-as-day steroid users! Around the same time I used to read Muscle & Fitness, The Rock was interviewed on Fortune magazine claiming he lived a steroid-free life. I don’t blame the guy. Just as with Crossfit, The Rock needs to protect his brand first and foremost.

The credibility-brand nexus places Crossfit in an interesting position. Personally I don’t think it will ever happen, but some people are calling for an end to drug testing in Crossfit. This would remove the pressure on Crossfit to maintain its reputation as a clean sport, an uphill battle. It would also be fairer for athletes who compete drug-free against athletes who are using. Crossfit’s brand, however, wouldn’t be accepted for a mainstream audience, making an untested Crossfit a highly unlikely scenario.

Murray Hinton
Influence
July 21, 2022 5:53 am

Thank goodness CrossFit is being more transparent about their drug problem. I have a love-hate relationship with CrossFit. I was a member for a while when trying to lose weight. I loved the camaraderie. The trainers were awesome and I loved the facilities. The community that developed around the gym was something I haven’t experienced elsewhere. It was a place to get a workout and make good friends.

The downsides were the workouts. At first I loved the intensity. There’s a special feeling when you complete a WOD. A feeling of accomplishment and euphoria that’s hard to match. Even as a total beginner I questioned the ‘complete your reps at any cost’ mentality. It didn’t look right that I would contort my body, pressuring my joints to get a weight up that was too heavy for me. I didn’t feel right that I would be congratulated for pushing through.

Although I liked the feeling of completing a workout. I didn’t progress. I didn’t get stronger and I didn’t lose weight. What was I doing wrong? I did WODs with some dudes who were extremely jacked and women who were the epitome of strength and fitness. They were lifting heavier than a n00b like me but I figured if I kept at it, I would get there too… eventually. It didn’t happen. I’d be exhausted after a workout and by the time the next workout came round, I hadn’t fully recovered. What was I doing wrong? Was it my diet? Was I just weaker mentally? I resolved to push myself harder. That’s why others are so fit. They have a stronger attitude. So I went harder.

One afternoon the obvious happened. I injured my left shoulder as I tried to jerk a weight up. This is a big problem with Crossfit. Highly technical movements, high intensity and trying to mix this with endurance-style workouts. The discomfiting part about it was the laid-back reaction to my injury. It was a ‘welcome to the club!’ reaction instead of a ‘what can we do to prevent this happening to you again and to other Crossfitters?’ I didn’t like the way injury was just seen as part of the process, instead of it being an anomaly. I also learned later how ‘normal’ steroid use was in Crossfit, not in major competitions but in regular gyms.

That’s when things started making more sense. How else can Crossfitters recover from pounding their muscles and joints so frequently at such intensity, endurance-style? The secret sauce was making it’s presence felt. That’s why I like Crossfit taking their steroid problem seriously. I loved watching ‘The Redeemed and the Dominant’ and ‘The Fittest’. I loved getting a deeper insight into the personalities of athletes like Matt Fraser and Sara Sigmundsdottir. The problem is the insane performance of Crossfit athletes at the highest level will trickled down to the average Crossfit gym. The performance of the best will be attempted to be replicated by the up-and-comers and n00bs dreaming of becoming the fittest version of themselves. The road will almost always involve injury, and one that will require enhancement to keep up.

I love Crossfit, but I also hate it. I hope greater drug cheat transparency not only helps the sport at the highest levels, but also at the grassroots levels.

Tyler Mendoza
Influence
July 22, 2022 9:11 am

Like other posters have said, I like the stance CrossFit is taking. It is a reflection of wider changes in the fitness industry. Transparency, better awareness, less BS and accountability. Steroids have caused all manner of problems – unfair competitions, skewed perceptions of the ideal body image standards and affecting who you work with. Both guys and girls have skewed perceptions of what fit/toned is supposed to look like. Thank photoshop, filters and steroids for that. Qualified personal trainers get overlooked because they aren’t stacked full of muscles. Instead the juice head who doesn’t know a thing about training gets hired because he’s yoked.

I also agree that some athletes get preferential treatment. Like said the most popular WWE stars get a free pass to abuse steroids while others take the fall. While not specifically a steroid-related incident, the Kliq “Curtain Call” incident where enemies Scott Hall and Kevin Nash hugged Shawn Michaels and Triple H comes to mind. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were leaving for WCW, so they couldn’t be punished. Shawn Michaels was the WWF’s biggest superstar and champion, so the company wouldn’t touch him. Triple H, who wasn’t the superstar he is now, became the scapegoat. He got buried and had a hilarious squash match with the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 12.

Listening to Matt Fraser on the Joe Rogan podcast was a disappointment too. “The USA is one of the very few countries that competes clean, so how do you compete?” This statement is enough to make you burst into laughter. His purported ignorance of steroid use in sports was questionable too. That is from the early playbook of being a steroid cheat. Doesn’t really work these days.

Worryingly, CrossFit is increasingly being associated with exertional rhabdomyolysis or “rhabdo”, which is the breakdown of damaged muscles that release protein and electrolytes into the bloodstream, potentially damaging the heart and kidneys. The fact that people are taking CrossFit classes, are suffering from rhabdo and taking selfies in hospital like it’s some kind of rite of passage is beyond stupid. Steroids are likely a key ingredient in helping CrossFit exercisers to keep up their intense workouts week-in, week-out. Let’s hope a crackdown at the top sets an example for those at the bottom.

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