The Clean CanadiansOur cover this month boldly states: "The Clean Canadians!" Does that mean that we're now concerned with competitors' hygiene? Hardly. What we're referring to are clean Canadian competitors in the drug-using sense, and more specifically, the Canadians coming to the 2012 Physique Canada Canadian Championships to be held on October 20. We certainly don't care what they smell like when they're there.

The reason for the headline was this: Physique Canada not only implemented the best drug-testing program of any Canada-based physique organization when they came on the scene last December and followed up on their promises with thorough drug testing at their inaugural show on June 16, they have now also gone one step further and implemented out-of-competition testing, which, to the best of our knowledge, is something no other national-level physique organization in this country has ever done.

What is out-of-competition testing? Out-of-competition testing is just as it sounds: drug testing done outside of a competition. The other kind of testing is, of course, the in-competition kind – what usually happens at drug-tested shows. (I say "usually" because some supposed "natural" events have no testing at all!) Physique Canada does do in-competition testing – they did it on June 16 and will do it again on October 20 – but their out-of-competition testing has now begun, which supplements the in-competition testing.

Why is this significant? In short, it's the best way to catch the cheaters. Here's why: It's possible for someone to use steroids or other drugs for a certain amount of time, get off those drugs, and then show up at a drug-tested competition sometime later and pass the in-competition test but still retain some of the benefits of their drug use leading up to that time. (Not everyone will agree with this – some people believe that after a enough time, all benefits of drug use are lost. I'm a little on the fence with this and believe some benefits can be retained, particularly if the drug use happens close enough to the event.) No matter if the drug benefits are retained or lost, the out-of-competition testing works wonders in terms of catching those cheaters bent on "beating the tests." That's because out-of-competition testing is effectively sprung on the competitors and they have to provide samples pretty much on the spot – there's no time for drugs to vacate the system, and there's nothing that can be done to manipulate the tests. If they're using drugs at that time, they will be caught! What's more, they'll be caught ahead of any competition, so they won't be able to cheat and steal the thunder from deserving clean competitors on contest day.

Here's how it began: On September 15, three Physique Canada Tier 1 Elite competitors were individually approached for drug testing. If any of those competitors had refused to provide samples without a valid reason (and proof) to do so, it would have been the equivalent of failing the test and they would have been disqualified from competing for the maximum period. That didn't happen – all three provided samples to Physique Canada's doping-control team without hesitation. As I write this, those samples are now being transferred to the lab for testing. Under WADA standards, Physique Canada is obliged to publish the results of the tests, which is exactly what they did following the testing at the June 16 event.

I've been known to go out on a limb with predictions before, and I see no reason to stop doing that now, particularly if I feel confident about what will happen. So here is the next prediction: Even though drug use in non-tested events is at an all-time high, on October 20, Canadian physique-sports enthusiasts will witness the cleanest national championships ever because of Physique Canada's diligence in fighting drug use on their stage. These are exciting times for fans of natural physique competitions, and credit for it goes to Physique Canada and their state-of-the-art drug-testing program that they haven't just backed up with promises – but with actions.

. . . Doug Schneider Founder and Publisher