Current popular interest in bodies, fitness, sport and active lifestyles, has made bodybuilding more visible and acceptable within mainstream society than ever before. However, the association between bodybuilding, drugs and risk has contributed to a negative image of an activity which many people find puzzling.
Using data obtained from participant observation and interviews, this book explores bodybuilding subculture from the perspective of the bodybuilder. It looks at:
* How bodybuilders try to maintain competent social identities
* How they manage the risks of using steroids and other physique-enhancing drugs
* How they understand the alleged steroid-violence link
* How they 'see' the muscular body.
Through systematic exploration it becomes apparent that previous attempts to explain bodybuilding in terms of 'masculinity-in-crisis' or gender insecurity are open to question. Different and valuable insights into what sustains and legitimizes potentially dangerous drug-taking activities are provided by this detailed picture of a huge underground subculture.