Dangers of Competition - Why Top Physique Competitors Suddenly Pass

Dangers of Competition - Why Top Physique Competitors Suddenly Pass

We've seen it time and time again. A top physique competitor or bodybuilder goes to extremes prepping for a show. All for a trophy.

But what is the cost? Many pay the ultimate cost.

When a bodybuilding or physique competitor dies you see a lot of "Internet experts" expressing opinions about how it happened. I will explore some of the potential reasons why these tragedies occur.

Related: Nspire Physique Championships Global Announced by Lee Thompson

We will use this information to educate everyone about the dangers of extreme physique competitions. What can kill you. What can harm you. And how no matter what you do or don't do, competing is the furthest thing from a health competition as you can get.

And what gives me the right to do this?

I am a father, I am a professional bodybuilder and prep coach. As an EXOS trainer I am also well-versed and trained in long-term health maintenance. And the most important part, I don't want to die.

So what is most likely to have caused the death of a top competitor? What are the main aspects of performance enhancing that you should avoid?

The Real Killers


Taken by mainly bodybuilders, this is the most anabolic substance, period. It drives nutrients and hypersaturates your muscles, leading to unforeseen and amazing growth.

There is one catch? If you mess up you die. The end, period, dead. That's right, if you mistime the dose or lack proper carbohydrate intake to offset the insulin surge throughout your body, you go hypoglycemic, go into a coma, then die.

Sure, many bodybuilders use this and don't die, but it only takes one mistake. Ever stub your toe on the bed? Yeah, it happens despite walking past the bed 556 times prior to the stub, but it happens.

On this end, if you accidentally stub your toe, or mis-measure and mistime your insulin once, you don't just sprain your toe, you die. Pretty messed up, right? All for what, 10 more pounds?


Taken before a contest, this is a primary culprit.

In studies not involving prepping bodybuilders, who are even more at risk for negative health effects, they were more likely to die from hypertension issues. [1] Combine that with the health a prepping bodybuilder is in to begin with, you have the perfect storm.

And the perfect storm is?

Blood pressure

Although steroids and androgens have not directly caused any deaths, they do have deleterious effects on blood lipid profiles, cholesterol profiles, and blood pressure. When you combine this with the dangers of diuretic use, you have a bad combination.

Unhealthy bodyfat levels

Being contest lean isn't healthy, whether on drugs, natural or in any state. Your body is in survival mode and unable to withstand normal stressors, let alone the stress of drugs and diuretics.


The stress of getting onstage is undeniable. This also plays a role in higher blood pressure and an unfavorable survival environment.

Who is to Blame?

Honestly, the only one to blame is the person competing. Sure, the "prep guru" - aka the chemist - is the one who usually instructs this insanity, but it takes the person doing it to listen.

While we can blame judging for rewarding conditioning, in non-tested physique competitions, anything goes. We let dudes put oil, aka synthol, in their muscles, and it isn't even muscle! We allow calf implants? Basically, anything goes and you do whatever it takes to win.

Coaches are the ones doing it, yes. But let's be real, people are usually hiring ass clown fake-scientists with no background in medicine or even a basic certification in a crappy personal training program.

No hate, but what the heck is Hany Rambod's experience? He doesn't even look like he eats anything other than McDonald's yet he is responsible for "protocols" for the top athletes. He gets the job done, yes, but what makes him qualified?

So while he is at the top, has no real certifications after his name to speak of, imagine how crappy tier 2 is in the "guru" market?

Feed the Insanity

As long as we have physique competitions, we will have risks. As long as we have people who want to win and will take it to any level it takes, even diuretic and insulin abuse, we will have deaths.

So is there a cure to this madness?

There isn't, unless the athletes take it upon themselves to be responsible. There is no money in the sport, but the allure of being the best is worth dying for. Get used to it. Each year we see another major tragedy, but it won't be the last. Unfortunately, that's not a game.

1) Diuretics and Risk of Sudden Death in Hypertension? Evidence and Potential Implications, A. W. Hoesab & D. E. Grobbeea, pages 523-535
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