Bigorexia survivor backs anti-steroids message to body builders

A young man who had to have a heart transplant at 21 after taking steroids in a desperate move to build up his muscles, is backing calls to stick to safe body building techniques.

Luke Nabi suffered from bigorexia and says he’s thankful to be alive to tell his tale. Source: Seven Sharp

A study has shown one in 10 gym-goers have a condition called bigorexia in which they build up their muscles but still feel small, so go to extremes to build them up more.

Luke Nabi, who was a bigorexia sufferer, told Seven Sharp he was very overweight for the majority of his youth, was teased and decided to get a trainer at the gym.    

Others noticed his muscles growing but, not him. He said he saw himself as small and weak. 

Luke said he then decided to do steroids and thinks it was out of a combination of "self image and attention".

In the first two months, he said, he gained 16 or 17 kilos muscle and "I felt like I was bullet proof, but obviously that was not the case".

There was a problem - his heart muscle almost doubled in size.

"I had sharp chest pain, started vomiting dozens times day." 

I don't let body fat percentage or muscle mass and all that take over life. - Luke Nabi

With a pre-existing heart defect he knew nothing about, the steroids could have been fatal.

"I had to have a heart transplant eventually," he said.

Luke agrees with a body builders' competition organiser who says they don't need steroids.

"You can do it safe. You can enjoy it. And I'm healthy at moment, but trying to do it safely. I just want to give my body bit of a break," the body builder told Seven Sharp.

Luke, who's studying and taking his legal medications, is also back to working out - safely. 

"Top priority is health. I don't let body fat percentage or muscle mass and all that take over life," he said, adding as long as he's healthy, he's happy with that.