Forget steroids. The new dope for muscle freaks is



Forget steroids. The new dope for muscle freaks is
featu re s S lu g
F eatleurmadn
e s slug
e ss
nope. it’s oil
Forget steroids. The new dope for muscle freaks is called
Synthol. It works instantly – but it may cost you your life…
May 2010
nder the theatre lights of a
Liverpool hospital, a young
man with impressively honed
arms is having one of his
biceps sliced open. His arms,
once considered his pride and joy, are
infected and swollen from repeated
injections with dodgy needles. But
this isn’t heroin use – it’s a different
fixation entirely. Out of the wound
pours yellow pus, lumps of scar tissue
and a toxic, oily fluid.
What doctors found in the open
wound was Synthol – a silicone oil
normally found in mouthwash,
shampoos and hair tonics. But rather
than being used topically to add
polish to a smile or free hair of
dandruff, this time the oil had
been used to boost the
patient’s muscles.
Synthol gives
near-instant muscle
size, boosting
biceps, pumping
pecs and
abs. But
it also
question to every man in Britain who
wants to get in shape without putting
in not just the hours, but any hours at
all: how far will you go in this
summer’s rushed bid to look good on
the beach? Whilst other underground,
internet-bought products like steroids
or growth hormones can help
increased muscle growth if coupled
with hard work, Synthol is the only
one that can guarantee instant
growth… with almost no effort
whatsoever. To gain bigger guns or
broader shoulders users instead have
to endure the excruciating pain of
having their muscles instantly
stretched with injected oil. And on
top of that there’s the small but real
chance you might die. Alarmingly, it’s
a gamble that many British men this
summer seem willing to take.
Mick Hart, former pro-bodybuilder
and author of The Layman’s Guide to
Steroids says Synthol is being seen as
a quick fix for those looking to get big
fast. “With Synthol you can say ‘I’m
going to Spain on holiday in a few
weeks with my mates – I’d like to
bang an inch on to my arms. I’ll stick
some Synthol in.’ By the time you get
on the plane you’ll have huge biceps.”
But Synthol doesn’t actually make
the muscle physically larger – the oil
sits within the fibres of the muscle
making it appear swollen in size.
Injections don’t improve strength or
fitness, merely how inflated the
muscle looks – almost as
if you’re ‘pumped’ all the time.
But it does come at a price – if
the oil is injected into a vein it
may travel to the lungs
causing a blockage or to the
brain causing a stroke. It can
also simultaneously create
clots around your bloodstream.
Hit a nerve or nick an artery
while injecting it, meanwhile,
and you might cause permanent
paralysis of a limb or bleed to death.
Far from standing on the shoulders
of giants, users are in fact walking a
tightrope between accidentally
hospitalising themselves and
disfiguring their bodies forever.
Take American bodybuilder Gregg
Valentino, unfortunate star of the
documentary The Man Whose Arms
Exploded, for example. Though he
strongly denies this to FHM,
Valentino is accused of pumping so
much Synthol and steroids into his
record-breaking 28-inch arms that > a
huge hematoma formed inside his
May 2010
musc le madn e ss
May 2010
Cheat drugs that work
A legal but potentially
fatal oil injected into
the bicep by wannabe
musclemen who
overnight develop the
appearance of muscles.
they never had in the first place. “A lot
of the younger guys are using it as a
quick fix,” says steroid-dodging pro
bodybuilder Rob Riches. “They go
down the gym and realise all the
money, time and hard work that goes
into having a naturally toned body and
they want to cheat. They then see
their buddy at the gym, who suddenly
blows up in size, telling them they’ve
been injecting something. And that’s
how it started, because for men there
aren’t that many ways of cheating to
enhance your physique except for
hard work. You see women with boob
must be in absolute screaming agony
afterwards. And their arms end up
looking watery if they inflate too
much of it. In fact, imagine what
supermarket vegetable oil looks like
under your skin and you’ve got a
pretty good idea of what injected
Synthol looks like.”
Hart says that pressures on young
guys to achieve perfect builds means
they’re easy prey for gym-based
dealers selling them products
promising overnight growth.
“What these characters are selling
is ridiculous but they don’t give a
“Fitness fanatics who inject Synthol reckon it’s the
male equivalent of getting a boob job. It’s not”
jobs, lip enhancements, nose jobs. The
guys who are injecting Synthol see
this as the same thing. I’ve seen it
used by people to target their weak
points – their calves, shoulders, the
back of their arms to bring them up to
scratch. But you can tell straight away
who’s been using it because they look
freakish. After all, they’re injecting a
substance that’s 85% fat.”
But as steroid advice guru Mick
Hart says, once people start using
Synthol, it’s impossible to stop. “And
their muscles don’t look good; they
just look in pain. I’ve seen people jab
five shots in different points around
their biceps in one session. They
toss. They just want your cash.”
The use of Synthol goes hand in
hand with the rise in ordinary
gym-goers turning to steroids to bulk
up, with health clubs reporting that as
many as 250,000 men in Britain are
regularly using steroids. But drug
content expert Allen Morgan says
some of those very gyms are now the
biggest culprits. “Even your standard,
run of the mill, local gyms have
become the biggest sources of needle
exchanges because people are buying
Synthol from dealers in there and
injecting. I was investigating a drugs
case in a building on Merseyside
recently where local smack addicts
Credits: Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
US-based Synthol
fan Rodrigo Ferraz
flaunts the instant
results of his latest
jabs (above); while
now-clean Gregg
Valentino flashes
implausibly large
arms (right); other
users (far right)
aren’t so lucky
*not his real name. Getty, Rex, Alamy
Credits: Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
arm and burst, almost causing his
death. Aussie bodybuilder Guy
Grundy also suffered horrific
complications that required surgery
after taking Synthol. “The doctor
removed a green, cystic-type lump
from my bicep,” he says. “He said
he had no idea what it was. I had a
pretty good idea. I also hit a nerve
in my triceps while injecting it and
lost feeling and control of my arm
for an hour. It was so numb and ached
so bad that I couldn’t sleep
for three days. After that my nails
all went black and my fingertips
were so sensitive that if I even slightly
bumped them it would
hurt for hours.”
YouTube is full of videos of men
like German weightlifter Klaus Doring
who have inflated their bodies with
Synthol to the point where they’ve
reached near ‘Michelin Man’ size.
Other searches reveal such videos as a
Latin-American man having the
substance drained from his arm after
pumping his bicep with Synthol to
the point of infection. After a doctor
makes an incision, yellow pus pours
out of the wound on his arm and
doesn’t stop for a further seven
minutes. Likewise, injecting
extensively to the point where the
muscle is saturated with oil ends up
with gravity soon playing its part as
the oil gradually shifts downwards,
causing baggy skin and strangeshaped bulges.
And yet, looking back at its history,
it’s a wonder that Synthol didn’t hit
high street gyms in Britain sooner
after German weightlifter Christopher
T. Clark began championing its use in
bodybuilding competitions during the
early ’90s. Fast-forward two decades
and even those hulks targeted by
Clark accept Synthol wasn’t quite the
‘boob job for the muscles’ it seemed.
Pro bodybuilder James Norton*, for
example, uses Synthol – which he
buys for around £80-90 per 100ml
– to inflate muscles which before a
show aren’t quite as large as others.
“If you inject it sparingly, it feels hard
like a natural, gym-worked muscle.
But the injections are so painful that
anyone with any sense would use it in
smaller quantities. Plus injecting too
much of it will destroy the shape of
your muscles, giving them a lumpy,
misshapen look. You have to inject it
by pushing the pin in slowly to avoid
hitting nerves – you feel a tingle
before even hitting a nerve. If you do,
you have to withdraw and find
another site. You also need to draw
back on the plunger to make sure the
barrel doesn’t fill with blood so you
know you aren’t in a vein before
Now, though, even casual gymgoers are using it to boost something
were suspected of using an alley at the
back of the site to shoot up. It turned
out it wasn’t heroin users – it was
needles being thrown out of the back
of a gym next door.”
But Synthol isn’t illegal – in fact
there is no government provision on
its use – and like steroids, which have
no restrictions providing you can
prove all your supply is for personal
consumption, there are no rules in
place to stop users and dealers having
huge stashes. “I’ve had mates bring
back suitcases full of steroids, Synthol
and hormones from holidays in
Greece,” says another bodybuilder who
wishes to remain anonymous.
“Bodybuilding supplements like
steroids and Synthol have to be one of
the easiest things to shift. You can
visit the continent, buy them there
legally then shift them onto gyms. At
your local gym, you have a captive
audience and can hardly be touched by
the police as long as they don’t
practically catch you in the act. It’s
hard to arrest on intent to supply and
even harder to prosecute.”
And worryingly, drug expert
Morgan says there’s an increasing
number of cases involving dealers
being arrested in possession of dodgy
bodybuilding drugs. “One dealer was
arrested and a lot of the substances he
had were found to be fake – in each
phial was simply an inert liquid. This
was being sold as steroids. He didn’t
know himself that they were fake –
he took them on good faith from a
supplier in China who’d basically
ripped him off. But there’s absolutely
no guarantee about the quality of
anything you’re being sold.”
Hart also adds that, even though
the internet has meant bodybuilders
can pick up pretty much any
Illegal steroid causing
huge muscle gains.
Once used by Arnie in
his bodybuilding prime;
now outlawed, but
available on the net.
supplement they want, greater choice
hasn’t created quality, with the
explosion in easy-to-access
supplements being funded by
backstreet producers in Eastern
Europe and the Far East.
“Ten years ago there were around
1,100 good, safe products. Now, I only
trust about ten out of all the illegal
ones on the internet because dodgy
producers in places like Russia, China
and anyone else with a tin bath to mix
stuff in can make ‘Synthol’.
“The worst thing about it is, ten
years ago gym members across Britain
“Ten years ago, gym-goers across Britain weren’t
dying. Now they’re dropping dead every month”
weren’t dying. Now they’re dropping
dead every month, with doctors
finding traces of metals in phials
being shipped in from all over the
place. So much of the gear sold on the
internet isn’t safe. There’s no
literature out there advising people on
these dodgy supplements apart from
the internet where the only advice
comes from the same people who are
flogging them to you. And there’s no
advice for people who want to use this
stuff. Lads are being offered all sorts
in gyms and they’re giving them all
sorts. The internet has created a
free-for-all for guys wanting to get
And the free-for-all won’t stop
with Synthol. As muscle culture
continues to grip the UK, newer,
deadlier cheats will flood the market,
forcing increasing numbers of men to
run the death gauntlet in exchange for
overnight abs. But, conclude the
experts, it’s a risk more and more of
us are now willing to take.
Banned injectable oil
that boosted the
athletic performances
of soon-to-be busted
British Olympic runner
Linford Christie and
UFC Hall of Famer.
Royce Gracie.
May 2010

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