HomebodybuildingWhat If You Believed You Were Taking Steroids- The Placebo Effect

What If You Believed You Were Taking Steroids- The Placebo Effect

What If You Believed You Were Taking Steroids- Understanding The Placebo Effect

The following is the transcript of the video below:

So what would happen if you believed wholeheartedly
that you were using performance enhancing drugs,
to help increase your muscle mass,
decrease your body fat,
increase your strengths,
and here’s the catch,
what would happen if you thought you were using it
and you weren’t using anything at all,
you were being given a placebo.
Now when I was younger,
I would have said that absolutely nothing would happen,
but my first hand experiences over the years,
point to a different outcome,
and in this video
I’m going to talk about a story
about someone who actually did think
that they were using steroids
and how remarkable their transformation was as a result,
all because of the power of suggestion.
doctors routinely give placebo instead of real medication

The Widespread Use of Placebo by Physicians & Pharmaceutical Companies

So we all know about the placebo effect.
We know that pharmaceutical companies
use it to their advantage
and we also know that in many cases,
when physicians prescribed something,
when someone comes into their office
and they can’t really figure out how to help them,
that prescription isn’t necessarily,
supposed to do anything
but create a strong placebo effect
to make the person feel better
and in a lot of cases, it does work.
The question is,
how powerful is the placebo effect.
Now, a lot of my ideas and philosophies
regarding not using supplements at all,
come from some of my first hand experiences
with the placebo effect
and really seeing how powerful suggestion can be.

Real Life Steroid Placebo Example Of Someone Who Believed They Were Using Steroids

One example, and perhaps
an example that is critical to my understanding
of how the human mind really works
happened back in Trinidad when I was a teenager.
Now in Trinidad practical jokes are a staple.
The guys in the gym would play practical jokes on each other
all the time.
It was just something that people did
and sometimes those practical jokes were,
I would probably say in retrospect a little bit out of hand.
One such practical joke
was played on this one particular guy
who shall we say for lack of a better word,
wasn’t the most popular person in the gym,
but who constantly talked about
wanting to use anabolic steroids.
Now back then unlike how things are now,
anabolic steroids were only available
to a close number of bodybuilders
who were kind of in the know,
and in order to use steroids,
you had to be on good terms with them
in order to get access to those drugs
and as a teenager growing up,
I had already made the decision
I wasn’t going to use drugs,
but you kind of knew who,
the ones who had the drugs
and the ones who were giving out the drugs
as it wasn’t something that was kept a secret,
but if you weren’t on good terms with them,
there was no way whatsoever
that you were going to have access to those drugs
and there was also some degree of responsibility
on their part as well
in terms of,
they didn’t want to just sell it to anybody.
They really were a little bit conscientious
of the fact that what they were selling
was something that could have catastrophic side effects
if used improperly and even if used properly,
to be very honest.
So this one particular guy in the gym,
they didn’t like him very much,
but he was persistent.
He would constantly talk about
what he would do if only he could get access to drugs,
and I was in the locker room when some of the bigger guys
were talking about playing this horrible joke on him.
Now the joke was
that they were going to give him an injection of water
with some alcohol in it,
tell him it was steroids,
and then have a great laugh afterwards.
Now overhearing this,
I felt really badly about what was going to happen
and I would have liked to have stood up there and said,
“You all, can’t do this,
this is horrible, this is terrible.”
but at the time they outnumbered me significantly
and I was nowhere near as large as I am today
and they looked at me
because they saw that I had heard what was going on.
And it was a bit of a look to say
“You better not say anything
about what’s going on over here.”
and so I elected
to not have anything to do with it whatsoever,
but I did see the conversation
that he had with some of them,
and I saw how enthusiastic he was
about the prospect of being able
to finally use anabolic steroids.
and since he was,
shall we say again,
not the most discreet of individuals
when he started the injections,
he was very vocal about the fact that he had started
and very vocal about the fact that he was on steroids
and very happy that he was on steroids.
So this was all, you know,
supposed to be this big practical joke and laugh,
but then something very strange happened.
He started getting a little stronger,
just a little stronger.
Then he started to get a little stronger
and as the weeks went by
and these guys were horrible enough
to literally have this guy and meet them in the locker room
once a week,
to give him an injection with nothing in it
which right there,
the idea of injecting someone in the first place
with anything is kind of
you know makes me cringe
but the fact that they were injecting him with,
you know, water and some alcohol so it would burn
’cause their idea was if it burned
it would make him feel like it was more potent
and real, absolutely terrible
but as the weeks went on,
he didn’t get a little stronger
he kept on getting stronger
to the point where it became noticeable.
body transformation from steroid placebo effect

Body Transformation from The Steroid Placebo

He was squatting maybe around 225 pounds
when you first started.
He wasn’t that big of a guy
he must’ve been about 155 pounds or so,
but by six,
then he started to put weight on,
and he put on maybe about 10 to 15 pounds
of what looked like muscle.
His squat went from 225 to about 350 or so,
his bench press where he was barely bench pressing
more than a plate and a little plate and some tens,
he was bench pressing easily,
245 on each side for repetitions.
So he was getting bigger
and he was getting stronger,
the same way that someone who would be on steroids would.
Now I was training as hard as I could.
I was eating perfectly
and my gains were nowhere near
what he was experiencing, nowhere near.
So there was no point where we could say
that he was just experiencing a growth spurts ,
a natural growth spurt.
He had been training for a couple of years,
longer than I had been training,
and yet he was really going
through this radical transformation,
both physically and in terms of his performance,
and then I saw him in the locker room
while he was posing and showing off his new build muscle,
and he had acne all over his back.
His upper back was covered with acne.
The same way it would be
for someone who was using anabolic steroids.
He was exhibiting all the outward signs
of an anabolic steroid user.
So of course, I thought to myself,
well, maybe he did put something into his injections
and thought nothing of it,
until there was a big confrontation at the gym.
The guy who was giving him the injections,
came up to him on the gym floor
and demanded to find out who he was getting steroids from.
Now this guy wasn’t too bright,
So he looked at him and said,
“I’m only getting the injections from you.
I’m not using anything from anybody else.”
and he didn’t believe him.
He said, “You must be getting something
from somebody else
because how is it possible that you are so much bigger,
so much stronger,
you have acne all over your back
and we’re not giving you anything.”
So that was a big reveal.
That was a big moment where they finally came up and said
that they were not giving him actual steroids,
and if his reaction was really odd,
he said that that was impossible,
that there was no way
that what he was being given wasn’t steroids
because of his increased performance
and the transformations in his body.
The guys in the locker room were completely puzzled.
They had no idea what the hell was going on,
and even when I left Trinidad several years later,
he maintained that it wasn’t a joke,
that they had given him anabolic steroids
whereas those guys for certain did not.
It was all based on the power of his belief.
He believed so completely and whole heartedly,
that he was using anabolic steroids
to the point where his body changed,
in an almost unnatural way
as if he was using anabolic steroids.

How Social Cues And Advertising Increases The Placebo Effect in Supplements

Now I must’ve been 15 years old
when I witnessed this back in Trinidad,
and it made a really sizable impression on me
in terms of my own training
and my own supplement use.
Back then in the 1980s, early 90s
bodybuilders didn’t really talk about
their steroid use openly the way they do today,
and a lot of them would attribute
their fantastic professional level of bodybuilding physiques
to the supplements that they were using,
and I remember there was one that came out
that was called vanadyl sulfate,
and the vanadyl sulfate
was supposed to be this next big thing
and back then there was no internet,
there was no bodybuilding.com,
there was no YouTube,
there was no Instagram, nothing like that.
The only real connection that the world had
with bodybuilding and bodybuilding information
were at the magazines.
Flex magazine, Muscle and Fitness magazine.
were the main ones
and there was this unfortunate partnership
in that the publisher of Flex magazine
and Muscle and Fitness magazine was the guy,
brothers actually Joe Weider and Ben Weider
and Joe Weider was also in charge of and owned the company
that made supplements
and he was also the one who was in charge of
and owned the rights to the bodybuilding competitions.
So it was a bit of a mixed bag
in terms of vested interests and promotion.
So all the top bodybuilders would always be
praising the merits of the various supplements
that the Weiders were producing
and this one supplement, vanadyl sulfate
was really over the top
in terms of how much they were saying
that it was going to be a game changer.
Now for someone like myself, young impressionable,
but also resolved to not use anabolic steroids,
I was looking for whatever there was out there
that I could take that would not affect my hormones
in any way, shape or form
but help me achieve my goal of becoming a bodybuilder
and back in those days,
all we had to rely on was that information
and then what we saw from our friends and colleagues
in the gym.
placebo effect with supplements
Real Life Examples Of The Placebo Effect In Supplements
There were guys in the gym who started using vanadyl sulfate
and they started making some real changes in their bodies,
and they started talking about it saying,
“Hey, you know, I use vanadyl sulfate
and my pumps are much more than they were before,
biceps a little bit bigger than they were,
I’m a little stronger.”
and to the point where it was a little noticeable,
you could see that there was something going on.
These were people who I knew for a fact were natural.
They were like me.
They were not people
who were interested in using anabolic steroids
and I trusted their judgment
and so my training partner at the time,
and I decided we were going to get some vanadyl sulfate too,
and we used it
and it was fantastic,
it was amazing.
We had better pumps,
we got stronger,
we felt fuller,
our lifts went up,
everything they said would happen happened,
until over time,
the results kind of petered out
and over time as well,
talk of vanadyl sulfate kind of faded away.
Eventually, when I became obsessed
with understanding everything
there was to know about supplements,
I saw that vanadyl sulfate was pretty much debunked
as not having any anabolic properties whatsoever
and that it was completely a placebo effect.
It was because our friends had used it
and claimed to have had some really good results from it
and because we were bombarded by all these articles
of some of the top bodybuilders at the time
talking about how fantastic it was
and how well it worked for them,
it was that that made us see a change when we used it,
but it was all really coming down to the power of our minds
and the power of suggestion.
Now as a very science-based person,
I’m not a very big believer in placebos,
from a personal level,
but there’s something,
a bit of pride that gets in the way sometimes
because the reality is
that it has nothing to do with what I believe
on a personal level or not.
It’s simply is some things that exist outside of ourselves
and it was important for me to kind of be humbled
and realize that this is a real phenomenon.
This isn’t a trick being played,
this isn’t some form of weakness on my part
or anyone’s part
if they find themselves affected by a placebo effect.
It’s something that requires more investigation
and it’s something that we need to keep in mind
especially as a natural athlete
or anyone who’s trying to improve their body.
We need to keep it in mind because what it means is,
that we need to be very careful
when it comes to supplementations
and any kind of supplements that come out on the market
because if the power of suggestion
especially today when we have so much more media influence
and so much more information
and so much more suggestion
from people who are fitness, celebrities,
influencers, fitness influencers,
and bodybuilders, bikini competitors,
and the whole slew of them
that people are exposed to on a regular basis
it’s really easy when they’re the ones hawking
some of these supplements
to have the perception that they’re working
when they really aren’t doing much of anything.
Now, after the vanadyl sulfate incident I’ll call it,
I decided that I was going to start a path
where my natural body building
would get to a place where
I was not only not using regular supplements
like protein powders and such
and just eating regular food
and that’s where I am today.
I don’t believe in supplements,
I don’t use them,
I don’t need them.
and one of the things that was responsible
for that particular shift was the realization
that there had been so many more supplements over the years
that came and went that people just didn’t talk about.
Boron back in the 80s
was supposed to increase testosterone by 500%.
Anybody who knows anything about organic chemistry
might know that boron is a mineral
and that it obviously doesn’t
radically increase testosterone,
but back in the 80s
those people who were using it
and bombarded by all that information saying it did,
many of them had positive things to say about it for awhile,
and then when it stops working,
it’s not so much people stop and say,
“Hey, I got scammed.”
“Hey, that didn’t work.”
They just move onto the next thing
and it always is a next thing,
you know, it was boron
and then it was vanadyl sulfate,
then it was chromium picolinate,
then it was ZMA,
all these things purporting all these fantastic properties,
that science and time show to be a bit of an exaggeration
of their capabilities
and that most of these substances
actually didn’t really do much of anything,
but because people believed so much in them
that they actually saw a positive effect.
The Importance of Not Looking To External Factors For Your Fitness Success
Now, the reason why
I started thinking about stopping, using supplements
was something even deeper than that,
in that my realization was
if I could take something
and because of the belief that
it’s going to do something for me,
that I could actually physically
make my body change as a result,
that there’s a lot of power there,
but if I was taking my focus
and putting it on something outside of myself,
I was losing something.
You see, my philosophy is that,
if it is that a sugar pill
or some water with alcohol
or some mineral
it has absolutely no antibiotic properties whatsoever
can change our bodies so radically
if we believed that they can do these things,
that we are underestimating our own potential,
we are underestimating how much we can change ourselves
with the power of our minds
and that we need to not look outside of ourselves
to make that happen.
My focus became on believing that I could get bigger,
that I can get stronger,
that I could with every single workout
somehow or the other,
affect a change in my body
by sheer force of will
combined with my training,
combined with my diet.
My belief to this day
in my ability to improve is unshakeable,
it’s unshakeable because it’s undiluted.
It’s not diluted by belief in any supplement,
any pill, any drug,
it’s complete belief in myself,
and it’s worked.
I’ve done a lot,
I’ve come really far.
I’ve been blessed to do so
and what I want to pass on to you
is the fact that,
we all need to stop looking outside of ourselves
for the inspiration to perform,
to be better, to transform,
to achieve excellence.
We don’t need to look outside of ourselves.
Too much in our society is based on taking a pill,
looking for something,
looking for a solution
that is without as opposed to within.
Energy cannot be created
nor can it be destroyed.
That is a fundamental reality of our universe
and our existence in general,
and if energy cannot be created or destroyed,
it’s a precious commodity we need to conserve
and we need to conserve and put all of our energy
not into whatever new supplement comes out,
whatever new testosterone booster, fat burner,
or even into anabolic steroids.
We need to put that energy into ourselves.
We need to believe in ourselves.
We need to use that placebo effect
and make ourselves believe.
We need to tell ourselves, convince ourselves,
that what we are doing to change our bodies
will make our bodies change.
I do think that having an attitude and a mindset
where you’re truly resolute
that you are going to have some major changes
in conjunction to proper diet,
in conjunction with proper training
makes more of a change than simply training alone.
I do believe that, it has to be,
but only if you are able to have
that real belief in yourself
and so what I want you to come away with from this
is the idea of believing in yourself.
Don’t take that energy and put it into anyone’s supplement,
anyone’s product,
put it into yourself.
You can achieve a lot more.
Than you think you can.
If that guy could do so much
because he believed he was on steroids,
what can we do if we believe in ourselves?
Thanks so much for listening, and Excelsior!

High Intensity Lever Arm Chest Presses 595lbs and 325lb for Reps!

Arguably one of my favorite pieces of home gym equipment has to be hands down the Lever Arms.

It feels just like a Hammer Strength Machine Press and it seriously hits your pecs!

My training partner, @egcitrin and I went all out on our last sets, with an isometric hold thrown in to up the intensity!!!

Still training and hope you are too!!!

Thanks for tuning in and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #betitanfit #ryourogue #hometraining #homeworkout #roguerack #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtraining #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #leverarms #chestday #chestworkout

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My back today, no pump and nothing fancy!

They used to call me "Back Man" back in the day and it goes without saying that it's my strong point.

It's a muscle group that's a bit like legs, in that many people don't put that much emphasis on it as it's not a Hollywood muscle like chest, shoulders, abs and arms.

It also, like legs, requires a lot of work and a hard back workout can feel like a leg workout as you should be almost on the floor if you did it right.

I train my back and all muscle groups just once a week with Naturally Intense High Intensity training, so we are talking about a workout that can last about 10 minutes.

But it's 10 minutes of pure and utter hell, and look out for some more videos coming soon from me on back training.

Thanks for tuning in and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#highintensitytraining #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #fitover40 #backworkout #naturalbodybuildingtips #backtraining #highintensitytrainingtips #drugfreebodybuilding

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High Intensity Training For Natural Athletes.

For the past thirty plus years I have been training with a system I named Naturally Intense High Intensity Training.

And it helped me go from a 125lb skinny teenager into a successful natural bodybuilder training only THREE TIMES A WEEK with workouts lasting 10, 15 to 20 MINUTES at the most!

It sounds too good to be true but it's not only the cornerstone of my success but also has helped the hundreds of men and women I have trained with it as well over the past three decades.

Most of the popular high intensity training protocols out there were designed for and popularized by enhanced athletes, and they miss by a large mark some important factors that come into play for those who don't use drugs.

I hope it can help you as much as it's helped me and you can see the full video on YouTube by clicking on my bio link- or just look me up there (Kevin Richardson- Naturally Intense)

Thanks for taking the time to look at my work and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#highintensitytraining #hit #highintensityworkout #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtips #highintensitytrainingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #personaltrainer

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High Intensity Training: Pull Ups & Heavy Dumbbell Rows!

Compound sets are tough!

Going from one exercise to the next for the same muscle group without rest can really tax you!

One of the basic principles of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training is that every workout is different and this is an example of doing just one set going all out.

This was the last exercise for shoulders and back and the pull ups started off easy enough, but started to bite towards the end.

Next it was straight to the 100lb dumbbells for 8 grueling reps of rows.

(I was going to go with the 120lb dumbbells, but @egcitrin in her infinite wisdom suggested that the 100lb ones should be more than enough!)

Still training hard and I hope you are too!!!

Thanks for watching and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#hometraining #homeworkout #homeworkout #roguerack #highintensitytraining #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuilding #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #backworkout #pullups #naturalbodybuildingtips #backtraining #highintensitytrainingtips #drugfreebodybuilding

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I Still Get Sore Even After 30+ Years of High Intensity Training!

So the answer to the question as to whether or not I still get sore from my training is:


A resounding yes!

I still get really sore, in fact as I am in pain as I write this as there isn't really a way for my body to adapt to the type of workouts that I do because with Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, every workout is different, so there's never a point where it gets easy!

Thing is, as bad as it gets, it's still something I look forward to as it hurts, but in a good way!

And if you've ever really pushed it and felt the aftermath a day or two after training, you know exactly what I mean!

So keep training hard, know I believe in you and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#musclesoreness #legday #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideo #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #naturalbodybuildingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #bodybuilding #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #gymlife #workout

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Change the Focus: Looking Good Comes From Feeling Good!

Want to know why I train as hard as I do and never miss a workout even though I haven't stepped on stage in a bodybuilding competition in 19 years?

Want to know how I stay on diet 100% without flinching?

The answer is simple.

I do what I do because it FEELS GOOD.

I couldn't care less that my body fat percentage is under 10%.

It's nice, don't get me wrong, but I don't eat thinking I need to stay lean.

Nor do I train thinking that I need to be muscular.

I eat the way I eat because I feel good when I eat that way.

I train the way I train because I feel great when I train that way.

And if I could leave you with just one gem of wisdom towards helping you realize your goals, it would be to stop focusing on the result and instead focus on enjoying the process.

As a natural athlete, realizing your potential often takes years. Not months, years.

And so you have to find a path that sets you up for the long game, and one that also makes you FEEL BETTER in the process.

Forget about the six pack, forget about losing weight, forget about building muscle, and instead focus on what you need to do in order to accomplish those goals.

Because if you do, everything in life just gets better!

That's the "secret" if there ever was one and so focus on the Path, enjoy the Path, know that I believe in you and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideo #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #naturalbodybuildingtips #highintensitytraining #drugfreebodybuilding #nodrugs #fitover40 #fitoverforty #naturalbodybuildingforlife #abs #sixpack

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High Intensity T-Bar Rows (Home Gym Style)

Rows are one of the cornerstones of my back development and with variety being an important part of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, being able to do a variety of rows training at home is critical.

Which is why I love landmine T-Bar Rows.

Back in the day at 5th Avenue gym we would stick a barbell in a corner and do T-Bar rows with an Olympic bar and a triangle grip attachment, and I wish we had landmines back then as this set up is much easier (and you don't destroy the wall!, which we often did back at 5th)

This was my last set and I ended at 225lbs which is fairly conservative, but this exercise has a way of sneaking up on you and the weight feeling a thousand pounds heavier towards the end!!!

For the equipment-minded, t's a @repfitnessequipment landmine attachment on my heavily modified @roguefitness Monster Lite Rack with a Rogue Fitness T-Bar.

Still training, and I hope you are too!!!!

Thanks for watching and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#tbarrows #backtraining #backworkout #roguefitness #repfitness #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #hometraining #homeworkout #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtraining #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #ryourogue

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Do You Outgrow Muscle Soreness Over Time?

I have trained with Naturally Intense High Intensity Training for the past 33 years and the question I am often asked is do I still get sore after all these years?

It's a great question, and one my clients always raise and in this video I go over my experience over the years with delayed onset muscle soreness and the answer might surprise you!!!

Click on my bio link to find out and see the full video on my YouTube Channel. (If you ever have any issues finding it, send me a DM and I will happily send you a link.

Keep training hard and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#musclesoreness #doms #delayedonsetmusclesoreness #legday #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideo #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #naturalbodybuildingtips #drugfreebodybuilding #bodybuilding #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #gymlife #workout

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Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardsonhttps://www.naturallyintense.net
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, celebrity Personal Trainer NYC and with over 2.6 million readers of his blog, Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, one of the top lifetime drug free bodybuilders of his time, the first International Fitness & Nutrition Consultant for UNICEF, 2020 and 8 Time Winner of the Best of Manhattan Awards for Personal Training and a world recognized authority on high intensity training. Kevin has helped thousands, from celebrities to CEO's over the past 30 years achieve their fitness goals with his 10 minute high-intensity workouts done just three times a week in conjunction with his holistic nutrition approach. You can learn more about about his diet and training services at www.naturallyintense.net

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