She gains man's body but loses her beau

SINGAPORE - On Facebook, friends track her training and post words of encouragement.

In June, she posted photos and workout videos for which she received almost 50 "likes".

To them, Ms Elaine Lye (right), the owner Muszle Warrior Gym in Ipoh, Malaysia, is a hero.

With the help of steroids in 2008, Ms Lye went from a 1.5m-tall woman weighing 42kg to a 62kg bodybuilder with bulging muscles in just two years.

In a 2010 The New Paper interview with Ms Lye, affectionately known as El, the then 29-year-old admitted to using the steroids over a course of 12 weeks.

Said Ms Lye: "Of course, it was important to use (steroids) in the right way and not abuse it. "That's why I stopped after that one cycle as it's important to let the body 'rest'."

She said she was aware of the risks.

Besides gaining bulk, she noticed that her voice had turned coarse.

She also sported facial hair, and as she posed bare-bodied, it became clear her breasts had given way to a rock-hard chest.

While she now has the body of a man, Ms Lye still believes that she has the "heart of a woman".

Madam Lye's boyfriend of seven years did not approve of what she did. She said: "We shared the same keen interest in sports, yet he could not accept the changes (to my body).

"He wanted a woman who could keep fit but not one who had gone from petite to gigantic."

They broke up.

Dangers of taking steroids

Anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs are listed under the Poisons Act. Anybody found guilty under the Act can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed no more than two years.

The Health Sciences Authority had told TNP previously that these drugs "can be legally supplied only on a doctor's prescription or under supervision of a pharmacist as they are potent and may cause adverse side effects".

Sports medicine physician Chiam Tut Fu, from SportsMed Central at Novena Medical Centre, also warned previously against using the drugs meant for animals.

Complications like liver problems, heart diseases and higher blood cholesterol levels can arise. Other drugs commonly used by bodybuilders include:

Ephedrine

For weight loss and performance enhancement.

Possible side effects: Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), hypertension, hallucinations and anxiety.

Anabolic steroids

Used to build muscles and increase strength.

Possible side effects: Liver complications, high blood pressure, acne, hair loss and depression.

Clenbuterol

Used as a fat burner.

Possible side effects: Increased heart rate, palpitations and tremors.

zaihan@sph.com.sg

This article was first published in The New Paper .

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