From Ron Harris:
Origins And Meteoric Rise
The genesis of Synthol was an Italian steroid called Esiclene that was quite popular in the 1980's. For those unfamiliar with Esiclene, it was not used for lasting mass gains but instead immediately before a contest as a quick fix for visually weak body parts. Acting primarily as a muscle inflammatory agent, competitors injected it directly into the calves, arms, or shoulders for a bit of extra size and fullness in whichever of these smaller muscle groups were lagging. The effect was fleeting, but the drug served its purpose. In the early 90's, a German named Chris Clark began to tinker with the idea of an injectable substance that would yield more lasting gains in size. He came up with a formulation initially named Synthol, which he later learned was already a registered and trademarked pharmaceutical name. Clark quickly renamed his product Pump N' Pose, but the first name stuck. Now, the word Synthol is as much a part of the hardcore bodybuilding lexicon as Dianabol or Deca. Clark hit upon a gold mine, as there were thousands of steroid-using bodybuilders who were dissatisfied with the size of their arms, delts, and calves. Let's face it, few have the genetics to build an upper arm of twenty inches or more in lean condition, even with a boatload of anabolics and the most brutal training regimens imaginable.
One of its first users was a German strongman who billed himself as having "the world's largest arms" at 27 inches. Now, though the effect is quite obvious, as the Synthol-enhanced muscles take on shapes never found on any actual human being, you can go to any contest or large fitness expo and see several men who have injected enough oil into their bi's and tri's to satisfy their most extreme desires. Gains of two inches or more in the arms alone are quite commonplace. Synthol is also commonly used in the side delts and calves, as was Esiclene. Ironically, it is available legally, since the $400 bottles are labeled as posing oil. You sure could buy a lot of baby oil with 400 smackeroos! Despite the high price tag, its makers have found it difficult at times to keep up the worldwide demand from bodybuilders.
What Is Synthol?
Synthol is composed of 85% medium-chain triglyceride oils (a fatty acid), 7.5% lidocaine (painkiller), and 7.5 5 benzyl alcohol. The preparation is injected deep into the muscle where it is encapsulated between the fascicles (bundles of muscle fibers) . With repeated injections, a larger volume of oil builds up inside the muscle, expanding its size like a balloon filling up with air. About 30% of what is injected is metabolized by the body. The other 70% remains lodged in the muscle where it breaks down very slowly over three to five years. There seems to be some issue of debate among bodybuilders as to whether or not Synthol actually lasts this long, and some believe it is even longer. Chris Clark, its inventor, is convinced that it somehow leads to permanent muscle growth in the effected areas, though even he is unsure of the mechanisms that would make this possible. Synthol users report amazing pumps while training, though this could be a result of the extra pressure of the accumulated oil.
Risks Of Synthol Use
Although Mr. Clark claims Synthol is completely safe to use, he also made a point in Greg Zulak's "Uncensored" several issues ago that he is not legally responsible for bodybuilders using it for anything other than a posing oil. Of course, injecting any amount of fatty-acid material intramuscularly can be perilous. This is complicated by the fact that scant few bodybuilders have any medical training. Without knowing the location of major nerves, it's easy to hit one by accident and cause permanent paralysis of muscle fibers in the area. With an injection of any type, abscess infections at the injection site are always a possibility. Often abscesses (extremely painful build-ups of infected tissue) require surgery to remove, not unlike a tumor. You haven't heard the worst yet. Should you inject into a vein or artery by mistake (avoided by drawing back on the syringe to make sure there is no blood, a simple precaution many folks are too squeamish to take) the fatty acids could be transported to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, the heart, causing a heart attack, or perhaps even into the brain, leading to a cardioembolic stroke. All three cases are potentially fatal.
Allegedly, IFBB pro Milos Sarcev had a scare recently when supposedly, some of the Synthol in his arms traveled to his heart. This sounds like an enormous amount of risk simply for the benefit of inflated arms and calves, but bodybuilders are not normal people. To some, it's worth the risk of death to finally have 21-inch bazookas just like the big genetic freaks they idolize. To date, there have been no publicized deaths related to Synthol or any of its several knock-offs currently available. Of course, this is a fairly new product that has only skyrocketed in use over the past two years. Ultimately, Synthol users are adults who are responsible for their own health and safety and are free to make the choice themselves.
Ethical Issues Of Calf Implants And Synthol
Now we come to the nagging question, is all of this cheating? Cheating is a difficult word to define in a sport where a large amount of the participants do not consider it an unfair advantage to inject synthetic hormones designed to increase muscle size and strength. To a point I have to agree with them. Though it gives many bodybuilders an "unfair advantage" over natural competitors, there are at least ten major organizations that promote drug-tested events where steroids are very much considered cheating and those who test positive are disqualified and/or stripped of their titles. In non-tested contests, anyone is free to take whatever drugs they choose. Calf implants would have to be classified as cheating in any competition, since judges are supposed to be comparing physiques composed of muscle, not implanted hunks of silicone that required no effort to attain. For recreational bodybuilders, calf implants are simply a matter of personal choice. It's really no different from a woman getting breast implants to feel a little better about her appearance. Synthol, though, smacks of cheating any way you look at it. It's not fair to stand up there with a 22-inch arm in a lineup when up to four inches of it are injected oil. Though it may be unfair that some are more genetically gifted, it's even less fair to blow up a weak bodypart with oily injections and pass it off as a product of your own hard work. Steroids may be of huge assistance, but you still need to do the work, the training and eating. Synthol is a sham because these muscles aren't outstanding due to anything more than your having the money to buy the product and the ability to endure the painful injections.
Of course, the moral high ground here would be to do your absolute best with whatever God gave you. Steroids, implants, and oils can all make your body inflate to dimensions you never dreamed of - but do you really own that body? In the cases of steroids and possibly Synthol, you eventually give all that muscle back when you stop using it. You might be able to fool yourself into thinking you own the incredible image staring back at you from the gym mirror. You might be able to fool friends, fans and bystanders. In the end, though, you can't fool Mother Nature. She's one smart bitch.