Steroid use in India's Bollywood.

They are Bollywood’s Greek Gods, with a seeming advantage even the Gods never had — steroids. As news of a leading actor being advised by doctors to stop gymming to counter acute muscle fatigue does the rounds, HT City spoke to celebrity fitness trainers and experts — and found some shocking truths about the shortcut men in the film industry use to get that perfect physique.

A renowned fitness trainer, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed, “A male star, known for his macho physique, approached me before he made it big and asked if he should take steroids to bulk up. I told him the pros and cons. I saw him after a month; he was a completely different person. Now that I see him in ads, I can bet my life that he’s on steroids. Recently, I read about him being unwell. He must be suffering from side effects.

"You don’t get big by training hard — you have hundreds of guys training in the gym... why don’t they get such bodies and only a handful of actors do? A male star who started the trend of taking his shirt off in films and a younger star who flaunted his rippling muscles in a double role in a recent hit film also rely heavily on steroids, he adds.

There’s a group of personal trainers who guarantee you a perfect body and put you on a steroid cycle,” he adds. He further says that a top actor who gave several interviews about how he acquired six-pack abs for one of Bollywood’s biggest hits and then lost all the bulk for a role of a college goer in his next film, is a “classic case”. “He might say he worked out hard for months but there are hundreds of guys who work out that much and drink protein shakes. They don’t get the kind of muscles he managed.”

Model-actor and former Mr India Aryan Vaid says, “I know of ‘trainers’ of mega stars who don’t know a thing about fitness. All they know is which steroids are legal so they can pump them into their clients. Most of the knowledge they have is off the Internet. But, they do good business because they have big names as their clients, some of whom pay these trainers as much as Rs 1 lakh a month for getting them perfect bodies. I’ve seen actors and models take injections to bulk up even before photo shoots… they don’t realise what it’s doing to their body.”

Actor Rahul Dev, who also co-owns a gym, adds, “The pressure is a lot, especially for newcomers, so some are left with no choice but to resort to shortcuts like steroids and liposuction.”

The editor of a popular health magazine, who did not wish to be named, told HT City, “When a super star, earlier known for his romantic roles suddenly got six pack abs for a movie, he relied heavily on medications burn fat. During the last two weeks before his shoot for a famous song, he had trouble even going to the loo because it would burn so much.”

We spoke to Satya Chaurasia, the fitness trainer whose clients include Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan, and he clarified that none of his clients have ever used steroids. “It’s a common practice in Bollywood to take anabolic steroids to bulk up fast for photo sessions or shoots. I don’t recommend them because I know the consequences.”

Medical experts warn of severe consequences. Delhi based sports medicine specialist, Dr Jatin Chaudhary, who has clients such as sports stars Sania Mirza and Yuvraj Singh, explains, “Some known Bollywood stars take steroids under guidance. They first rely on steroids to bulk up their bodies and then go to the US for detoxification treatment. Steroids can be risky if not taken under proper guidance. They can lead to cancer, hair fall, liver cirrhosis, liver failure and impotency.”

“Steroids produce results but have side-effects. Muscle mass and strength gained by using them is lost once usage is stopped,” says Deckline Leitao, who’s working with the Indian swimming and diving teams for the CWG as Performance Enhancement Specialist.

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