Houston group out to clear body building image
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The sport of body building has long been plagued by allegations of steroid abuse. Now one group in Houston is looking to end the negative stigma by taking us inside the world of "all natural" body building.
At first glance, these men and women look like any other body builder on the circuit, with bulging biceps and etched abs.
But there's something missing in this contest: no steroids, no growth hormones. Competitors must be "all natural."
Each contestant undergoes a drug test before their event.
"Looking for steroids, growth hormones or prescription diuretics," body builder Dewayne Malone said.
If they fail, they are banned from competing -- for life.
Steroid use has been linked to premature heart attacks, strokes, liver tumors, kidney failure and psychiatric problems. And these athletes say, it's not worth it.
Fifty-eight-year-old Mario Lerma is the oldest man competing.
"There is some self sacrifice, a lot of discipline and focus and refocusing, rededicating -- there is a lot of that," Lerma said.
The youngest is 14-year-old Chris Garza.
"Are you nervous?" we asked the teen.
"Yes, I am very nervous," he replied.
Achieving this kind of physical perfection at any age does not come easy.
"I usually wake up in the morning, start by doing a little pushups and then I go to the gym around 10 o'clock. I work out there for 4 and a half hours and then come back, do school work," Garza said.
And then there's the diet.
"It's a very, very clean and bland and not much salt at all. No sugar other than a little bit of natural sugar," Lerma said.
"All natural" body building is growing in popularity among men and women.
"I usually workout five days a week around three hours," body builder Sharon Pascal-Diaz. "It was hard at first but once I got use to it then it became second nature to me."
"I think it's amazing to see a woman in that kind of shape. You know I train a lot of them so I see the effort that they put forth and actually some of my women are tougher than some of my guys," Malone said.
They're all tough competitors hoping for a new and fair playing field without the dangers of the past.
"They are just extreme fitness people. They want to look the best that they could possibly look," Malone said.
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