Health Journal: Q&A with Strength and Conditioning Director Paul Arndorfer

Kharissa Forte

Lance Armstrong was held in high esteem when he delivered the keynote address at the World Cancer Congress in Montreal on Aug. 29. Armstrong announced Livestrong would join the efforts of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) for the next three years concerning global access to medicine and technology, according NBCNews.com.

To date, Livestrong has raised over $500 million for cancer research. In Montreal, Armstrong was perceived as a hero and an ambassador. The fact that he lost his medals and was banned from cycling for life only three days prior seemed unimportant.

The scandal surrounding Armstrong’s steroid use has been ongoing for 13 years.

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say that enough is enough. For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999,” Armstrong told media after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency made its ruling. Armstrong is not the first to lose his honors in the sports arena, nor will he be the last.

While unfair advantages are a major component in steroid bans for competitive sports, a lifelong health concern is another factor.

What do steroids do to the human body? Do supplements fall into the same category? U-News sat down with UMKC’s Strength and Conditioning Director Paul Arndorfer to discuss these questions.

Q: What makes steroids unsafe?

“When you put steroids into your body, they’re going to counteract with testosterone. This can make you unstable as a person. For example, you can become more aggressive, have bad mood swings, and anger issues.”

Q: How do steroids affect the body?

“Steroids are an anabolic agent that stimulates muscle growth and makes you bigger. Testosterone is a steroid. They add pressure to your heart similar to being overweight.

Your muscles are getting bigger, but your tendons aren’t developing at the same speed. This is why we see a lot of ligament tears and muscle pulls; because the muscle is getting too big too fast.”

Q: What’s UMKC’s policy on steroids?

“There are absolutely no steroids allowed. If any staff [member] knows or suggests steroids, then that staff member would be terminated.

Basically, it is impossible to fully know, but coaches can tell. They may even see it in their bags or in their lockers. If that ever happened, we would research the situation first.

If the product is on the NCAA’s banned list, then the compliance office would report the athlete.”

Q: What about supplements?

“The only supplements athletes can use are those that are approved by us. A supplement is a bridge for calorie intake for athletes and people who are really into fitness. The general public doesn’t need as many calories as athletes or people who work out a lot, so they don’t need to take a supplement.

After a workout, the body needs to repair the muscle within 20 minutes. If you don’t have any time to eat right after a workout, a protein supplement is safe to take to ensure muscle repair and to reach your caloric goal.”

Q:  What supplements do you recommend?

“I recommend whole grains, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and a good multi-vitamin. A good, quick supplement is chocolate milk, which is much cheaper than buying protein shakes and supplements.

Eat as healthy as possible. Drink chocolate milk. Buy your products only from reputable companies.

Supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so it’s possible to unknowingly take steroids because they’ve been illegally added to a product. Be careful.”

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