Looks Can Kill – Riam Shammaa

Looks Can Kill: A Doctor’s Journey through Steroids, Addiction and Online Fitness Culture

A leader in sports medicine reveals the prevalence of anabolic steroids and appearance-enhancing drugs for recreational use, and explodes the myths and silence around these dangerous drugs of choice for the Instagram era.

From fitspiration vlogs touting “fit” as the new skinny to magazines imploring men to get “shredded” and “massive” in the gym, fitness stars and elevated body-image standards are driving a burgeoning industry meant, ostensibly, to make us all more healthy. But are those images of rippling abs, bulging shoulders and tiny waists truly inspiring good health? In this book, leading sports doctor (and former champion powerlifter) Riam Shammaa exposes the dirty secret of online fitness culture: rampant steroid and drug use, not only amongst its Instagram stars and wellness gurus, but eagerly enjoined by millions seeking to emulate a new beauty ideal (and its myth, of being all-natural).

Never mind the high-profile cases of athletes Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong. Steroids and other pharmaceuticals are being sold and consumed in life-threatening quantities online and through the backrooms of gyms and fitness centres, and the people buying them range from teen girls trying to look good on Instagram to middle-aged men who can’t say good-bye to their youthful physiques.

This is a vivid, eye-opening and compassionate journey alongside a young doctor as he discovers an underworld of misinformation and misdirected ambition, drug abuse and lives cut short for the glory of competition, pageantry or the mistaken belief that we need to be fantastically beautiful in order to be fit.