If you’re sick of dieting to lose weight, you can always eat rat poison. Your body temperature will soar and you will experience rapid weight loss just before you die.

Many of you know I’m a competitive bodybuilder. I got into bodybuilding to get stronger for the mortuary business, and within my first year of training, I got a lot stronger and had people asking me if I competed, so I decided to compete. I placed second-to-last at my very first show, and now, six years later, I’m very hard to beat.

It’s no secret that bodybuilders, like all athletes, take drugs. Obviously not every single athlete in the world takes drugs, but the vast majority of professional athletes do. If your entire career depends on having a competitive edge, you will do what it takes.

And, occasionally, this will kill you. I’ve worked on several young men who died from various performance-enhancing drugs. Anabolic steroids and human growth hormone will not kill you instantly, but some other drugs will.

Probably the most dangerous of these drugs is the pesticide that literally burns you up. It does have an effect on bodyfat, but the dose needed for fat loss is nearly as high as the dose needed to kill you. This drug is legal to purchase, and many people do not understand its dangers. I know a few competitors who have used it, and they all say they will never touch it again.

Many larger-sized professional bodybuilders are using insulin, which is a hormone more anabolic than testosterone. My description of its effects may be a little off, but my understanding is that insulin is a storage hormone, so when taken after a workout with some simple sugars, it will feed the muscle a lot faster than eating without insulin. Those using insulin have usually reached a plateau after years of steroid use and just aren’t getting bigger anymore…except for the young men who just want to get results as fast as possible, so rather than working with an experienced trainer, they look up their favorite pro’s alleged drug regimen and copy everything…and then die.

Competitive bodybuilders, even at the amateur level, are required to purchase accidental death coverage each contest year. This is because some of them will die very close to the contest, and this is most often due to excessive diuretic use. The week before a contest, people in all divisions – from the 280-lb men to the 100-lb women – go through a dehydration phase where they gradually cut off their water consumption and take either herbal or prescription diuretics. Overuse of the harsher diuretics can kill you, especially when the athlete combines these drugs with practices such as heavy cardio, sitting in saunas or sleeping wrapped in garbage bags.

“Get big or die trying” is a common mantra among many younger men aspiring for a championship. I wonder if they realize just how often people do die, trying to get bigger? I worked on one man who died shortly after a show, and the death was attributed to the diuretics and rat poison. He was 36 years old, a father of four, and this was his first contest. He got very big, and then died.

Most local bodybuilders will never set foot on a national stage. Of those who do, only a very few reach professional status, and of those professionals, only a handful of them are making any money. Still think your local show with a class of four competitors is worth dying for?

But, most young men are impossible to reason with. They all have superiority complexes and feel invincible. They don’t understand that copying someone’s drug use is not the way to attain that person’s look or live their lifestyle. Also common is assuming that doubling a dose gives you results in half the time. It doesn’t. Math just doesn’t work here.

However, this isn’t the only dangerous hobby, and I believe many people do love their hobbies enough to die along with them. Anyone who partakes in extreme athletic feats probably loves the experience as much as his own life.

The man I worked on most recently died in a hospital over a period of weeks, probably knowing he was going to die and wishing he could have taken back many of his decisions. Meanwhile, his trainer has vehemently denied ever telling him to ingest rat poison, while former clients of his have shared email and text messages where he told them that was the only way to lose weight. He was conspicuously absent from the funeral.

Everyone has their own bag of tricks when it comes to creating a stage-worthy look. I had one trainer telling me to eat literally half a cup of salt per day. I couldn’t do it. He told me if I wanted to win I had to do whatever it took, and I told him I didn’t want to win badly enough.