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Bodybuilders don’t belong in jail. They belong in Mexico

April 7th, 2009 · No Comments

Bodybuilders don’t belong in jail. They belong in Mexico

Someone asked me today if I miss living in Mexico. Of course I do. The fact that I’m living again in the United States was a notion totally inconceivable when I moved down to Mexico, permanently, in 1999. I had moved there with my wife and son for good. Unfortunately, my so-called “partner in life” had other ideas and ultimately forced a very unfortunate hand. I’ve spent the last five years missing every bit of the amazing life I had down there and counting the days until I can move back. In the mean time I’m noticing that I’m not alone in realizing that earning dollars and spending Pesos is an economic paradise. The exchange rate today is up to 15:1.

You get an awful lot for your money in Mexico. You also get a lot freedom in Mexico; much more than in the US despite all our very technical Bills and documents and laws insuring our freedom. In Mexico, if you behave yourself and don’t bother anyone you can pretty much do whatever you want. For the most part, any matter concerning law enforcement is easily dealt with, especially if you speak Spanish. For a bodybuilder looking for a stress-free existence; able to afford a beautiful place to live, great weather year-round, good clean food so cheap you feel guilty paying for it, great gyms, and the luxuries that are so affordable and readily available– maids, drivers, gardeners, delivery services. Bottom line, you couldn’t ask for a better bodybuilder incubator than a resort town in Mexico. Especially when you consider the fact that you can pursue bodybuilding to the ultimate degree without ever having to look over your shoulder.

My argument to expatriate yourself is simple. If a situation deteriorates to an unacceptable level, it can make sense to reassess the viability of certain options that had, before, sounded unreasonable or impractical. What may have at one time sounded absurd could all of a sudden become one of the only ways to find a solution, or in the case of high- end bodybuilders, find the freedom to do what they do, unencumbered.

The war on drugs is taking greater aim at performance-enhancing drugs, and the sentencing commission has twice now increased penalties for steroid cases. It’s a good bet today that if you’re caught with even a very small amount of drugs you’re going to jail. Today, “being careful” when you buy your gear is a paramount issue. You can’t be careful enough, especially now that steroids have become engrained in the news. From the BALCO scandal and Barry Bonds, to president Bush’s famous State of the Union Address, steroid hearings on Capitol Hill, the entire baseball scandal, to the subsequent busts of legitimate drug manufacturers and compounding pharmacies, and the relentless leaking of privileged testimony, Steroids have permeated the national landscape. Today, in America, the establishment wants you to believe that steroids are bay-ud, mmmmm-kay?

Today in America– more so than any other time in history– the most serious threat steroids pose is to your freedom. So much so, that the thought of leaving the country could become a very attractive means to bodybuild in the 21st century. Today, in America, 5-foot-10, 275lb, ripped, muscular man looks like he’s breaking the law.

That’s a very disturbing conclusion. I believe every human being has the right to exercise sovereignty over his/her own body. However, in today’s quest for big bodybuilding paydays, exercising this sovereignty includes the use of gear that is, by current “civilized” law in the U.S., illegal. This is, in fact, a form of oppression because in order to take advantage of your inalienable rights as an American to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by, let’s say, aspiring to compete as a professional bodybuilder, it seems you must do so in direct violation of the laws designed, supposedly, to protect your inalienable freedoms.

You further exacerbate the contradiction if you choose to pursue bodybuilding as a legitimate means to earn a living and thus pay the government taxes on money you made while breaking the law. That’s money they will, in turn, use to pay the DEA to arrest you, the prosecutor to prosecute you, and the jails to subsequently house you. Various cultures throughout history employed a more direct, yet no less cunning means of exploiting certain factions of their society- those who were different- and subsequently disposing of them in the very machinery they were forced to build.

Today, even simple possession of steroids has become a big issue and according to renowned steroid lawyer, Rick Collins, it’s getting worse by the day. I’m afraid that one day the idea that our world is fertile fishing grounds is going to land flat on the DEA’s head and leave quite a mark. If they pry open this oyster they will gorge on us without relent. The writing is on the walls, fellas. For some of you, it might make sense to leave Babylon.

Exodus Anyone?

Bob Marley’s hit album, “Exodus” is a “chant down” to Babylon. From the Jah People (Rastafari) perspective, Babylon is represented by the historically white-European colonial and imperialist power structure- the establishment- that exploits them. The fatherland refers broadly to Africa, but more specifically, Ethiopia, as the ancestral homeland of all black people. A place they call Zion; a place where they are free. The obvious political message of “Exodus” is to rise up and set yourself free; to leave Babylon and find the fatherland; to leave oppression and find freedom. The hit single by the same name was inspired after a fellow Jamaican made an attempt on Marley’s life, in Jamaica. A disturbing thought for a man who believed that global unity could be achieved through the spirit of love. The song itself speaks for all oppressed people not satisfied with the life they’re living.

Inspired by the essence of Marley’s hit, I think it’s time for bodybuilders to form a line and head for the border; to leave “Babylon” and travel to a place where you can’t be charged with bodybuilding in the first degree. Exodus, movement of Muscle people…

The dispersion of bodybuilders from America may seem like a wholly unpatriotic thing, but with the way things seem to be headed, if you have a mind to use performance-enhancing drugs, you are better off leaving Babylon. At least the guys making a living off their bodies should seriously consider it. A bodybuilder living in Mexico can do whatever he wants, then show up in Vegas, or Columbus, or anywhere else, the night before the show, compete, and go back to Mexico. No problema! The pro living in the States is going to be doing the same thing as the guy in Mexico; however, he’ll be committing several very serious felonies. Think of the stress the competitor in Mexico doesn’t have.

I wonder if bodybuilding ever entertains the idea that in order for it to continue to prosper as the government ramps up its efforts to go after juice, its competitors will have to continue to break the law. They will be taking an exponentially greater risk if they live in the U.S. or Canada, or anywhere else where steroids and GH are illegal. Since the current sentiment among members of law enforcement and the government over steroids in worsening, and since bodybuilding is the most obvious visual manifestation of steroid use, it would stand to reason that bodybuilders will more than likely be viewed as easy targets in the drug war. It’s inevitable; our community is very small and we stand out. If you’re a bodybuilder making money from bodybuilding, I think it’s time you put on some Bob Marley and listen to the words.

Viva Mexico!

I can vouch, personally, for Mexico as the perfect spot to call home if you want to be a bodybuilder and not break the law. There are many other countries where you can legally buy bodybuilding supplies that are otherwise illegal in the U.S. The problem with most of them is that they are very far from U.S. borders, making travel long and arduous. In addition, acceptance of Americans is far less abroad than in Mexico. I found the places worth living in Mexico to be either extremely cosmopolitan, or a luxuriant tropical paradise, and everywhere I went they were happy to see me. I’ve owned property and have done business in Mexico since 1982 and I’ve lived there permanently for five years in either Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara. These are a resort beach town and a bustling metropolis, respectively, and I’ve got to tell you- Mexico is a true bodybuilder’s paradise. Let me give you a glimpse of what you get.

No matter how much money you have, you can find a killer place to live with at least a view of the ocean, if not the mountains and the ocean, and in most cases be close enough to nod off to sleep lulled by the gentle sounds of the waves lapping the shore. That alone is worth the price of admission. Next, for $70 a week (Monday through 1:00 p.m. Saturday) you can get “Esther.”

My little Esther was a dark-brown, 21-year-old, mamacita with a 100-watt smile. I hired her on the spot just for that incurable smile of hers; she didn’t know how to do anything else at the time. But, after looking at the future ex-Mrs. Romano walking around in paradise looking like she was sucking on a lemon most of the time, Esther’s smile was worth 10 times what she was asking. Eventually, my wife left and Esther kicked it up a notch and took better care of me than any woman in my life after my mother. She cleaned, did the laundry, took care of all the household crap, went shopping and cooked, weighed and portioned all my meals as per my instructions and she’d come find me every three hours, wherever I was in the house, bearing a hot meal. If I was going out, she made sure I had food and water to go.

So, every morning you can wake to the sound of the ocean, the smell of dark roasted coffee and 10 scrambled egg whites with rice and black beans, served with “Esther’s” smile. You can eat that meal seated at the head of a massive carved marble and glass table that looks out over the courtyard perched 300 feet up off the beach. The trickling of the fountain and the morning birds’ songs drift in through the open shutters and lightly cover the Reggae Esther turns on promptly at 10. If that doesn’t put you in a good mood, you can always smoke a little weed. No problema.

Since most villas you’ll find will have more bedrooms than you will need, and since my good friend Scott owns a gym equipment company in Guadalajara, you can easily convert one of those extra bedrooms into a nice little home gym for a very reasonable outlay. It’s nice to have if you don’t want to endure the 15-minute drive to Gold’s. At the very least, you can get yourself some cardio pieces and get the roadwork done at home. It’s nice to be able to go upstairs and knock out an hour of cardio before breakfast. Esther will have a fresh towel and a cold bottle of water up on the machine for you, and she’ll draw your shower when she hears you stop. You’re breakfast will be ready when you are.

Time to Load Up

Okay, you’ve done your cardio, you’re showered, and fed. Now it’s time to load up. You look in the medicine cabinet and- what’s this?! Empty?! No problema. Just call Freddy at Farmacia Las Olas. Tell him what you want; you can do this from the pool on the roof overlooking the beach using your cell phone, pay for it with your credit card, and about an hour later a little white and pink VW bug will pull up in front of the villa. The driver will hand your package to Esther, who will climb the stairs up to the pool and hand it to you. Sustanon, Deca, GH, insulin, T-3, Clen, Proviron, Nolvadex, and a box of syringes- all real, all from the pharmacy and all for far less than what you’ll pay back in the U.S. You climb out of the pool, grab one of the towels Esther laid out for you, take a sip of iced lemon water, take your gear down to the master bathroom, mix up a cocktail and fix it.

Esther feeds you again and it’s off to the gym. The Gold’s gym in Puerto Vallarta was state-of-the-art and spared no expense. In addition to two complete lines of Hammer, and one complete line of both Life Fitness and Hammer Select and several tons of rubber coated iron, there was a 50 foot climbing wall, regulation Reyes boxing ring and a forest of heavy bags, a dedicated spinning room, aerobics room, juice bar, spa, sauna, steam, massage, and more hot ass than you can fit in both eyes. And, it’s a half a block off the ocean. There is nothing like sipping your post training protein shake while you watch the sun dip into the pacific and the sky light up in dazzling wisps of electric pastels that gradually darken until there is an unobstructed view of the Milky Way.

When you return home, your villa will look like it’s on display. Spotless. All your laundry will be done, as will the dishes, and everything will be put away in its place. Esther will have left enough prepared meals to last you the rest of the evening, and will have turned down your bed and set all the lighting both inside and out. And she’ll have lit all the candles before she locked up and went home. Nice touch, ey?

For another 60 bucks a week you can get Carlos to come on duty at 6 p.m. to drive you wherever you want. Parking is a bitch downtown, so it’s nice to be dropped off right in front of wherever you want to go. If you want to go shopping, out to dinner, the clubs, whatever, just call Carlos on his cell and he’ll bring your car around. And for the rest of the evening, he will be at your service with just a touch of the “send” button. And everywhere Carlos drives you, you will get VIP treatment.

The only time you would need to break this routine is on the weekends, if you have appearances or you’re competing. Puerto Vallarta has an international airport less than 30 minutes from anywhere in town. Once on board your plane, you are less than four non-stop hours from LA, San Francisco, Vegas, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Newark, Atlanta and Miami. There is also high speed internet, Digital HD, reasonable long-distance rates to the States if you use a callback service, and you can maintain a U.S. address with Mailboxes Etc. You can either have things sent directly to you at your P.O. Box in Mexico, or you can have mail sent to your U.S. address and Mail Boxes will courier it to your box in Mexico. You can also maintain your U.S. bank accounts and access them through any one of a gazillion ATM machines littered all over town, or have checks cashed at the local casa de cambio. Just call them up, tell them for how much you will be writing your check, tell them if you want pesos or dollars, or both, and they will deliver your cash to your door. Almost everything is available for delivery.

Look Out, Big Dogs!

I love America, but I love my freedom more. I also enjoyed a standard of living I could not buy in the U.S. for five times the price and I had no one looking up my ass. For my money, Mexico is the undisputed number one spot to raise a big freak. Everything you need is right there. Bodybuilding in America is becoming exceedingly more dangerous (from a legal standpoint, not health), and I can’t help but think that with all that’s going on in the news today, soon enough things could really deteriorate. And that would suck, because to those of us who practice it, bodybuilding is a simple case for brotherhood. We’re not hurting anyone, least of all ourselves. It’s almost beyond comprehension that something as innocuous as steroids, with such a paucity of users, could dominate the political landscape right on up to the White House.

The government is only going to get so much mileage out of arresting the guys behind the scenes, as they did with BALCO. Barry Bonds has been big news but he’s never going to be convicted and sent to prison. Once the government regroups and realizes they went after too big a fish, they might look down to bodybuilding and seriously concentrate, get some real good busts, and make the charges stick. They need to nail an athlete for the actual drugs, not lying about them. Since the anti-steroid laws were passed and steroids were listed as schedule 3 on the DEA’s list of illegal drugs, the law designed to catch cheating athletes has not netted a single one; not for drug use anyway.

Bodybuilding doesn’t promote using steroids any more than NASCAR promotes speeding. However, its constituents are undeniable. You can mistake a pro baseball player for a lot of things, but there are no similes for a pro bodybuilder. If the government wants to rack up some quick arrests to show voting America that the money and time they’ve thrown at steroids has been of some good, all they have to do is send a DEA agent down to the newsstand to pick up any one of several bodybuilding magazines and take their pick of the next victims in the war on drugs. It would be like shopping on e-bay!

Bodybuilding is all about the way we live, brothers. There is no mistaking us. . . some more so than others. . . some much more. Regardless of your size, you can crawl but you can’t hide. Whether you even know what a drug looks like, so long as you are noticeably bigger and stronger than the average guy, steroids are likely to be linked to your countenance. The government and the media have done a splendid job of erroneously demonizing steroids. Therefore, anyone with lean, veiny, 18-inch-plus arms today is society’s villain. The bigger your guns, the worse the villain. And society loves to put its villains in jail.

Bodybuilders don’t belong in jail. They belong in Mexico

Tags: BodyBuilding · General

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