I’ve been told that I’m as controversial as I’m outspoken, even in front of a crowd. I certainly wouldn’t disagree, but it’s nothing that I’m ashamed of, because I believe that if you think it you should be able to say it, even if there are others around.

Occasionally, though, things I’ve spoken about have gotten me into hot water, even into confrontations, particularly when I’ve touched on a subject that others have opposing views on and are just as willing to express them vehemently back to me. That’s rare, though. More often than not my controversial, outspoken mouth doesn’t get me into a fight, it gains me support when I talk about something important to others who are of the same mind but aren’t necessarily inclined to speak so candidly about it. It’s like they found an ally.

The most recent incident was at the Physique Canada seminar on February 22, 2014, which was held in Ottawa, Canada. It was there that I talked about the importance of drug testing for gaining credibility in physique sports, particularly in men’s bodybuilding, which is where drug abuse is at an all-time high and is spiraling the sport into a rapid decline and rejection by the public.

To illustrate why it bolsters credibility, I backed it up with an example I like to use. I told the audience to imagine one of those big 250-pound bodybuilders from a non-drug-tested organization being invited as a guest on a news program or a talk show. It’s there that the host asks the big bodybuilder if he uses steroids and/or other performance-enhancing drugs. The bodybuilder can answer the question in one of two ways, but both are going to backfire on him badly. If he admits steroid use, he’ll immediately be discredited, because whether bodybuilding fans want to admit it or not, drug use is frowned upon when it comes to real sports. Just look at Lance Armstrong. So the bodybuilder’s credibility is shot if he goes that route. If he denies steroid use, which is what most do, he’ll immediately be branded a liar, because everyone knows that a 250-pound jacked-up freak doesn’t get to look that way just because of vitamins and protein powder. Again, his credibility is shot because nobody likes a liar, and you can look at Armstrong once more for proof. In turn, the credibility of bodybuilding is also shot because everyone on the outside thinks that all bodybuilders are just like this one, given the rampant use of drugs in the sport.

The only way to win in a situation like this is to not be using drugs in the first place, which allows for an honest answer that won’t turn people off. This is where Physique Canada comes in. Physique Canada is an organization that drug tests rigorously, and why Rob DeLuca is featured on our cover this month, alongside a caption that reads “True Champions,” as well as in the opening shot in this article. Rob is Physique Canada’s 2012 Canadian Bodybuilding Champion and can get on a news program or talk show and answer the question about steroids and not be immediately disgraced as a sports fraud or called a liar. That’s because he’s a clean competitor who is not only able to claim being so, but can prove it, given the number of times he’s been drug-tested both in and out of competition by Physique Canada.

Denis Pedneault and Rob DeLucaDenis Pedneault and Rob DeLuca

Now, granted, Rob’s not 250-plus pounds like the drugged-up competitors common in non-tested competitions (Rob’s stage weight is about 195 pounds), but his build would more than impress almost anyone, particularly since it’s been created through hard work and extreme dedication, not pharmaceuticals and other artificial enhancements. In short, there’s real credibility there. Ditto for guys such as Simon Proteau, Alexis Brien-Fontaine, and, of course, Denis Pedneault, who are all top-ranked Physique Canada athletes who have been subjected to numerous drug tests and have passed them. These are true champions of the sport who can be called that, no matter if they win a particular competition or not, because they’ve achieved what they've done cleanly, fairly, and honestly.

Simon Proteau and Alexis Brien-FontaineSimon Proteau and Alexis Brien-Fontaine

I think most will agree with what I’m saying about drugs and credibility. I also think that there will be some who will be thankful that I’m speaking out about it because it’s time someone did; in fact, I saw that firsthand at the Physique Canada seminar when a number of people came up to me afterwards and thanked me for talking so candidly about drug use in physique sports, because it’s something that has been on their mind for a long, long time. But I can also see a few reading this and getting worked up and upset about what I just said, particularly if they’re competitors who use drugs – after all, this article is insulting to them. On the other hand, I believe that even drug-using competitors know deep down what’s right and what’s wrong, which is also why most I’ve talked to won’t admit their drug usage even to their closest friends, let alone on a news program or talk show. But I think, ultimately, they’ll also concede that I’m right about this point.

But whether someone agrees or disagrees with what I just said isn’t what this article is about. Instead, the real goal of this article is to point out who I believe the true champions of this sport are – the clean competitors you see competing in organizations such as Physique Canada – and to emphasize why drug testing is mandatory in order for bodybuilding and related physique sports for men and women to grow and gain real respect with the public. So if you’re a competitor, decide which side of the fence you want to be on, as well as what kind of organization you want to compete with. My big mouth just let you know which side of the fence I’m on and who I’m aligned with.

Doug Schneider
SeriousAboutMuscle.com Founder and Publisher