‘Revolutionary’ Weight Loss Drug Tempts Bodybuilders, Alarms Eating Disorders

In the days leading up to a competition, bodybuilders deny themselves almost all human pleasures.

Food, water, and sex are routinely restricted to levels that put immense strain on their physical and mental well-being.

“Your body thinks it’s dying,” Mike Israetel, a US master bodybuilder and exercise physiologist, told triple j Hack.

So, when the competition is over and the months-long abstinence is lifted, the reaction can be extreme.

“I was eating so much food that it made me physically sick. I had to sleep sitting up because otherwise the food would go … into my trachea,” Israetel said.

Mike Israetel is an American master bodybuilder as well as an exercise and sports physiologist.(Provided by: Mike Israel)

It was at this point that he first tried semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, and he says all his appetite disappeared.

“It was miraculous,” he said.

“I didn’t take it for a long time just a couple of weeks, after the contest.”

“Then for my next set of contest preparations, months later, I started taking it again and saw the incredible effect it had.”

goodbye hunger

Semaglutide is part of a class of drugs that suppress appetite and are now used to treat diabetes and obesity.

Its popularity has increased in recent years, causing a worldwide shortage.

In Australia, Ozempic is only approved and subsidized for patients with diabetes, but doctors can use their own discretion to prescribe it to patients who want to lose weight at full price.

Mr. Israetel, who is also a former sports physiology professor, says the value of drugs like Ozempic for bodybuilders isn’t about losing more weight than top-performing men, who already reach about 5 percent body fat. body, he says, but rather reduce the profound symptoms of extreme hunger. .

“When you get really skinny, it’s actually really hard to sleep because you’re hungry all the time,” she said.

“Sleep is probably one of the most powerful effects of how much body fat and muscle mass you have.

“It’s a big revolution for people like me who use it to improve their physique.”

Bodybuilders “assume” that Ozempic is being used

Needless to say, bodybuilders are extremely outliers among semaglutide users, and no Australian bodybuilder has publicly admitted to using the drug to enhance their competitive performance.

a bodybuilder holds a medal on the stage of a competition.

Aaron Curtis competes in “natural” events that prohibit the use of drugs.(Provided by: Aaron Curtis)

Melbourne bodybuilder Aaron Curtis says he doesn’t use any drugs to lose weight, but he also told triple j Hack that at least three of his non-bodybuilding clients at his gym do.

“None of the people I was training who were taking semaglutide are obese,” he told Hack.

“They just got it for weight loss, actually one of them was taking it to help lower their blood sugar, but they literally wanted to take it for weight loss.”

Curtis competes in “natural” bodybuilding competitions, meaning he is subject to drug testing.

However, in so-called “enhanced” competitions, he says, drug use is not proven, and the use of performance-enhancing substances is acknowledged to be widespread.

“In the improved formulations, I would say the vast majority of people would use some type of medication that helps with fat loss,” he said.

“The very common ones used are clenbuterol and thyroid hormone, often called thyroxine.

“I would assume so [semaglutide] is being used.”

‘ass ozempic’

More than any other athlete, bodybuilders have the explicit goal of maximizing muscle growth while minimizing body fat.

However, Mr. Israetel says he doubts the results of studies suggesting that semaglutide causes muscle loss.

Close-up of hands drawing red liquid from a vial into a syringe.

A syringe of liquid from a vial of black market semaglutide.(Four Corners: Ryan Sheridan)

“If you don’t go to the gym and you don’t work out while on these drugs, you just eat less crappy food and take your already low muscle mass levels and throw them away even more.”

“There’s a situation that people have described called the ‘Ozempic butt’ and it’s women who only diet their bottoms literally completely flat.”

“It’s an issue you’ve never seen exposed before because most of these people would never have been on a diet to begin with.”

Curtis said that in his experience, even people with personal trainers can retain muscle while using semaglutide.

But he was less convinced by Mr. Israetel of its overwhelming effectiveness for fat loss.

“I would say it’s the same as almost any drug that will help you do something, but if you’re not willing to change your dietary and exercise habits, it’s not going to be very helpful,” he said.

Sydney University pharmacy professor Andrew Bartlett says the long-term effects of semaglutide are poorly known and research is ongoing.

He also adds that rapid weight loss can cause problems.

“If you lose weight quickly, it can potentially have effects like hair loss and problems with your pancreas or gallbladder,” he told Hack.

“This is not so much a consequence of the drug [but] this research is still ongoing and we don’t know all the long-term side effects.”

Composition problems

Earlier this month, a Four Corners investigation exposed Australia’s robust black market for semaglutide and tirzepatide, another GLP-1 agonist sold under the name Mounjaro.

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Image Source : www.abc.net.au

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