Unless you have been living in a cave the past few years you would have failed to notice that muscle building among both men and women has become a popular past-time.
Many turn towards steroids to build muscle quickly, but there is an even quicker way to appear bigger without the effort.
Synthol is an oil that is injected into the muscle tissue, which then expands.
Unfortunately, as the users repeat the injections, the muscle tissue will expand like a balloon filling with air.
Not only does this over-inflated appearance look ridiculous but it is also dangerous too . Side effects of Synthol include nerve damage, stroke, ulcers, pulmonary embolisms and more.
This article will look at those individuals that have abused Synthol in an attempt to deter you from taking the same route.
What is Synthol?
Synthol is made up of 85% oil, lidocaine (a numbing agent), and alcohol and is used in the fitness industry to improve the appearance of muscles.
When used sparingly it can make muscles look fuller and more aesthetic. However, when abused it can make users look cartoonish.
Synthol is also known as Site Enhancement Oil (SEO). Other substances such as sesame oil can also be used.
Synthol became popular in the 90s with bodybuilders, but before Synthol, there were other alternatives. In fact, a lot of bodybuilders used to inject steroids directly into the muscle as this causes the muscles to swell temporarily.
To understand why bodybuilders would go to extreme lengths to “cheat” you must first understand the culture.
In bodybuilding, aesthetics is pretty much all that matters. Strength is not irrelevant but the competitions are never won by the strongest person.
The competition is won by the guy with the most symmetrical body. As such bodybuilders will try to build up every muscle so that they are evenly distributed.
Having huge biceps but tiny forearms will make their arms look less symmetrical which will cost them a good score. Having tiny legs and an overly large chest will also do this.
Obviously, their goal is to make sure that no muscle is ignored, but sadly not all muscles grow at the same rate.
Calf muscles can be particularly difficult for many bodybuilders because of their fibre makeup. When it comes to calf hypertrophy you were either born to have them or not.
So in an effort to win, bodybuilders would inject oil or a steroid into their calf muscles (biceps, delts, and pectorals may also get the treatment) to “bring them up”. Problem solved!
Once Synthol became popular with bodybuilders it began to be used more and more. You’d struggle to find a bodybuilder these days who doesn’t use it to some extent. As with everything in bodybuilding only the successful Synthol users get famous.
A professional bodybuilder will know where the line is between perfection and ridicule and will go right up to that line. An amateur may not be quite as aware of this line and may end up overusing Synthol.
Signs of Synthol Abuse
Let’s be clear here, whether you’re a professional bodybuilder using Synthol to fashion beautiful delts or a bloke who is randomly jabbing needles into your arm 5 times a day you are abusing Synthol.
At the end of the day injecting your muscles with oil is insane. But we are here to look at the signs of overusing site enhancement oils, so let’s focus on the amateurs.
The most obvious side effect of chronic Synthol injections is muscles that have completely lost their ability to maintain a muscle shape. This is because they are so full of oil that they cannot create any definition.
You can begin to notice this slightly in professional bodybuilders. Muscles such as the biceps brachii can maybe look a little bloated particularly around the origin and insertion of the muscle.
But in many amateurs, the muscles have become so saturated that they look more like water balloons than muscles. In this case, even someone who had never heard of Synthol would know that something was up!
Other than looking ridiculous, Synthol abuse has many other (much nastier) side effects.
A case study in 2005 talks of a 21-year-old bodybuilder who had been injecting himself with sesame oil. His body had reacted badly to it and caused vasculitis.
Vasculitis is where the body attacks healthy blood vessels leading to swelling and a weakening of the immune system .
Another major issue is that the Synthol can prevent the muscles from receiving oxygen and nutrients. This can lead to the muscle catabolism (or exactly the opposite of what they want).
Infections are also a common problem, as is nerve damage, strokes, and many other issues.
Biggest Synthol Freak Gallery
Below are the top 6 Synthol freaks:
#1: Arlindo De Souza
Arlindo is a Brazilian bodybuilder with 29-inch biceps, which makes them the biggest in Brazil.
Unfortunately, while his arms are massive, the strength that goes with the size is lacking.
The only thing gained with the size is a massive local celebrity following and the disgust from people online who see his over-inflated body.
To gain his massive size, Arlindo, who is called “The Mountain” in his hometown of Olinda, injected Synthol three times a week for just two months.
“You inject it and it swells you up without having to work out. Each time I took it I wanted more and more. For me there wasn't a limit.”
#2: Moustafa Ismail
With biceps that measure 31 inches, Moustafa has bigger arms than Arlindo De Souza.
He, in fact, holds the 2012 Guinness World Record for size.
Originally he claimed that his size was down to his genetics and the use of protein shakes, however, these claims were soon dispelled.
#3: Romario Dos Santos Alves
One of the most famous Synthol abusers, Romario injected the oil twice weekly for a year to achieve his 25-inch arms.
Unsurprisingly this led to complications, with doctors explaining that his arms had turned completely to rock.
“I remember the doctor told me that they would need to amputate both arms – they said everything in there, all my muscles, were rock.”
This wasn’t the only issue as he was left in constant pain due to the Synthol, even coming close to kidney failure as a result of its usage.
#4: Gregg Valentino
Gregg was once dubbed “The Most Hated Man in Bodybuilding“, with many claiming that he achieved his size due to the use of Synthol. Something that he himself denies.
“I don't take Synthol. I was taking propionate and Equipoise into the muscle itself. Synthol just works one way: it stretches the fascia. With Equipoise and Propionate you get the double whammy. You get the stretch from the oil plus you get the localized growth from the drugs themselves.”
#5: Valdir Segato
While little is known about the man himself, apart from that he is from Brazil, chances are you have seen the various images or videos around the Internet showing off his freakish body.
#6: Kirill Tereshin
Kirill, a Russian with 24-inch arms has risked his life after injecting Synthol to gain Internet stardom.
Since appearing in a few online videos that have shocked the world and his followers he has now had silicon implanted into his calves to make them appear larger.
Obviously, the thrill of being famous has led to this addiction to body modification and self-harm.
More Images of Synthol Abuse
The Bottom Line
It should be apparent to all that Synthol is a bad idea. Sadly bodybuilding is unique in its way to make people do desperate things for success.
No other sport rewards cheating so obviously, and that isn’t about to change any time soon. Entire competitions hinge on tiny percentages, little advantages that one competitor might have over another. There is an all or nothing mentality leading to people taking extreme risks.
Outside of bodybuilding, there is an increasing number of men from South American and Middle Eastern backgrounds who are turning to Synthol abuse.
Whilst in Europe and America these people are treated with derision, in their home countries the response is more positive. Even in Western countries, you can still get famous by doing it, even if the attention is negative. Celebrity culture is always a great incentive for people to do stupid things to their bodies.
Try to stay away from Synthol at all costs, it is absolutely not worth the risk. But if you are going to do it, then go in smart. Don’t continually inject yourself until your arms are 28 inches round, it won’t end well for you.
A Better Way to Build Muscle
Synthol maybe a quick way to give the appearance of bigger muscles. However, the truth is that your muscle tissue has not increased, nor has your strength.
To build muscle effectively you need to ensure your nutrition is on point (we have an article for that here). You must also work out intensely with weights at least 3-4 times a week. Always making sure to push yourself each workout.
You may also want to invest in some supplements too. Those found at Battle Ready Fuel will cover the basics needed for any muscle-building journey (whey protein, creatine, BCAAs etc), but you may also want to look at additional supplements too.
One supplement brand we would recommend is Crazy Bulk. A company that sells a range of legal steroids, such as the popular D-Bal muscle builder.
D-Bal is a safe and natural alternative to the banned anabolic steroid Dianabol.
It contains ingredients such as Whey Protein Concentrate, Tribulus Terrestris and numerous BCAAs. When combined will help boost strength and muscle by increasing nitrogen retention and protein synthesis.
Benefits of D-Bal include:
- More muscle and strength
- More endurance, allowing you to work out for longer
- Better nitrogen retention
- Improved blood flow, ensuring that extra oxygen is sent to your muscle tissue
If you are in any doubt about these claims I would suggest you visit the Crazy Bulk website yourself. There are a number of user testimonials available that back up these claims.