The use of dietary supplements and steroids to ‘beautify’ the shape of a muscular body has become so rampant in Vietnam that bodybuilding clubs have begun to display and sell them.
Many young people simply think that these supplements are a miracle that can give them a muscular body without sweating while training and without caring about the harmful side effects.
A bodybuilding coach at a club in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District said he has dietary supplements and steroids available at his club to sell to trainees. On average, he sells them to ten customers a day, most of whom are around 20 years old.
He said the most popular dietary supplement at bodybuilding clubs is powdered milk which is rich in protein. A 2.2kg can costs VND1.5 million (US$69) and is enough to use for a month.
There are numerous other kinds of dietary supplements which are rich in protein.
Young trainees at bodybuilding clubs do not clearly understand the dietary supplements they use, and they can have ill effects on their health.
The coach added, “For many years, I have been asked questions by young trainees if there is any way to get beautiful stomach muscles after training for one or two months, or if there is a way to quickly develop muscles.”
They think that they can make strides even with their impatience or laziness in training with dietary supplements, but this is unscientific and unsportsmanlike, he added.
It is impossible to have a muscular body by just eating and drinking medicine, he concluded.
Dietary supplements that are rich in protein can merely provide ‘material’ or ‘fuel’ for the body to promote muscle growth, but the amount of protein a body can absorb depends on the level of physical activities and training.
The sale of steroids is more limited than dietary supplements because they are banned in sports competition.
However, those who do not have prescriptions can also get them through personal contacts with friends and pharmacies.
The misuse of steroids can create numerous functional disorders. For men, the effects could include a reduction in sperm count, malfunction of testicles, sterility, and overgrowth of the chest.
For women, they include an overgrowth of hair, reduction in breast size, enlargement of the vagina, rough skin and a change in voice.