Why Pakistan's Bodybuilders Are Dying

Last year, national bodybuilding champion and winner of Mr Pakistan 2011, Shehzad Khan Afridi, suddenly died of a heart attack just a few days after winning a gold medal at the National Championship in Karachi. It is widely understood within the community that the real cause of death was the use of deadly and illegal steroids – and this wasn’t an isolated incident.

For many lower class kids in Pakistan today, bodybuilding has become an obsession and a route out of the abject poverty in which they were born. But time spent at the gym brings them into contact with unscrupulous actors feeding off their dreams, and supplying them with steroids.

VICE World News is in Pakistan to explore firsthand the obsessive culture of bodybuilding among frustrated lower working-class men and how, after investing more than they can afford in this competitive and unforgiving sport, they end up gambling with their lives for a shot at wealth and fame.

Check out the VICE World News playlist for global reporting you won’t find elsewhere: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw613M86o5o4S3BXgi3bCiIVuopQxIMgV

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Produced & Directed by Saad Zuberi
(Insta: https://www.instagram.com/zuberisaad/ | Twitter: https://twitter.com/saadmzuberi)
DOP: Haider Ali
Editor: Husain Qaizar Yunus
Associate Editor: Nina Zehri
Assistant Producer: Sharjeel Arshad

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30 thoughts on “Why Pakistan's Bodybuilders Are Dying”

  1. No matter what you do there's always somebody there waiting with a handout. Even if you have a hobby that you like to dress up like a blue Martian. Somebody's going to be there to try to sell you something that it's going to not help you but hurt you.

  2. I grew up in southdakora eating steak for most meals and mashed potatoes…. like 70 percent of my diet im five 10 210 pounds lean and muscle bound… fit also i can actually lift weight not get hurt 37 never been injured or limmped yet natural

  3. I am myself from Pakistan and had been avid sportsman and workout enthusiast. This is exactly what my elder brother's friend had advised me once when I had decided to compete. I was only 20 on that time. He had said, "If you will play fair then you won't win, if you will play like them it will cost you your life. So just workout for yourself and for your own aesthetic satisfaction".
    This is why now I do it only for myself and for my marital partner's preference to see me fit.

  4. Great, because if there’s one group of men on the planet that could really use a bit of chemically induced rage…..

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