Before I go ahead and say what I want to, I just want to say here, something as a disclaimer of sorts. I like you and I know you like me. So what I say here is not directed against you at all, but simply a statement about the subject and the bodybuilding scene generally.
Usually I refrain from expressing my dim views on some people or practices in the scene, but I think if I simply remain mature and lucid while expressing my views, I don't see why there needs to be problems considering we're all adults here. What dawned on me is that I have usually refrained from expressing my opinions while in many cases there is no reason to do so considering I am not going to be friends with the people we speak of here.
I believe John is a nice guy, but sometimes people on forums who've said some irreverent things about him are treated as if they insulted some posters best friends or family members, when they're simply talking about John the bodybuilder. I assume this is because John, like Dave Palumbo, is gregarious, helpful, intelligent, and passionate, and because of his genetic shortcomings, is looked upon as the everyman's bodybuilder
And usually it's the same topic over and over, his health, and a seeming inconsistency in his concern for health while at the same time appearing to be reckless with his health. In my view, one can eat all the organic and grass fed items, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains till their hearts content, but this in no way safeguards someone for the effects of decades of drug use in modest to high doses, drugs that one does not even need for normal function unless they have medical disorders requiring them, let alone that they produce supraphysiological levels in the body with which the organs can't deal. Even if one takes anabolic in low doses, the body is not equipped to handle them without some disturbance at best, and failure at worst. Of course dosage and duration account for the amount of damage or lack thereof that the drugs can induce, but either way, their use is not healthy.
Like you, one can say he uses relatively small doses of three drugs during an offseason, but they are still drugs he doesn't need and drugs that are taken in supraclinical amounts, with one clearly being a supra clinical amount, testosterone (three times the clinical amount). So he's essentially screwing with his organs for a long, long time.
People can say they get blood work done all they want, but the blood work simply points to the obvious: supraphysiological levels of hormones and other blood values that are abnormal such as kidney and liver function and lipid values, such as HDL, GFR, BUN, creatinine, AST, ALT, as well as estradiol. So I don't see the point in even getting all this blood work. It's almost like someone saying to you that you're wearing a hat after you put a hat on your head.
I've seen on FB John state that he got blood work, which I find peculiar, because one doing so seems to me as trying to reassure oneself or others that everything's OK, while they know deep down it's not, though I can be wrong on such an assumption.
With all this said, I do not have anything against the use of PED's generally. It would be certainly be silly if I did considering I've looked up to drug-aided bodybuilders, have friends who use, and have been following drug-aided bodybuilding for a very long time. But I go by the old adage, "you play, you pay!" And notice how I said generally. In a case in which some guy is pushing the limit with dangerous practices such as decades long drug use and seemingly never-ending competition (Meadows has a habit of competing in multiple shows back to back, and if I recall correctly, sometimes four to six shows on consecutive weeks or bi-weekly!), with a family and business dependent on him, then my opinion isn't going to be stellar. Obviously my opinion is not important to many, but I am simply expressing it considering I am partaking in this conversation and I believe such a conversation can actually remind some people to take caution in anything carrying risk, especially when they have children who can be affected.
I am not a famous bodybuilder, but after lifting for a long time and after 25 years of being physically active getting my first injury, two herniated discs, which actually could have produced symptoms and dysfunction far more consequential than I've suffered from in the past three seasons, it really made me think that I better be damn careful in what I do physically, whether it's in the gym, or any stuff that I must do, such as moving furniture, climbing ladders, shoveling snow. I will be 38 in four weeks and a herniated disc and nerve damage can take up to two years to resolve. Though my herniations are minor, the nerve pain I had in my left foot (you know, a bodypart you can't avoid walking on) and leg drove me nuts and to tears several times. Ask @The_Mighty_Stu how many times I asked him and his brother (my physical therapist) and freaked out about this. So many times I've said to myself, "I hope I am OK by the time the baby comes," and, "I am a fucking loser! I injured myself from a hobby, not obligational manual labor."
Let me tell you, nerve damage is damn strange. It can give all sorts of bizarre feelings, not just pain! Tingling, burning feet, a feeling of swelling when there is no actual swelling, it really is torturous.
Why do I say this all about myself? Because it shows I simply can't fathom why people to go such dangerous lengths for a diversion or hobby. People are passionate about all sorts of things. Does this mean they should do it or continue to do it after a certain age or length of time. Several times I've met a prolific graffiti writer from my borough. He started writing in 1986. He's now in his forties and still does it from time to time. He's passionate about it, but he actually admits it is now a destructive habit that he needs to stop. He actually feels embarrassed about it while at the same time being passionate.
See? Passionate but destructive and dangerous.
I have a similar view on self-destructive powerlifters, Louie Simmons, Dave Tate, and CT Fletcher for example. Louie once provided a list of his dreadful injuries and disasters, numerous herniated discs that have been surgically operated on, numb hands (likely from his cervical herniated discs), broken bones, being pronounced dead, muscle tears, and so on. He said something like, "Why did I acquire all these injuries in all my time lifting? So you don't have to suffer from them!" What he was trying to say was that he was so passionate about powerlifting and coaching people, that in all his passionate experience he stumbled upon numerous mistakes that can be avoided that people he coached to whom he writes.
But (!), he said this as an afterthought. NO ONE in their right minds wants to live with such pain and suffering and hardware in their body and I consider such people who continue to destroy their body for a hobby, or even a passion, as disturbed, even if I have a high opinion on their character or personality. You know, nice people are not excluded from criticism, including myself or John Meadows (gasp!).
Then we have CT Fletcher saying in front of a crowd of easily-influenced jock grabbers that he had numerous heart attacks or other health disasters requiring medical intervention. He started that he usually disregarded medical advice and just did what he wanted to and lived through it all, as if such recklessness is to be admired by gullible young lemmings.
Dave Tate, another guy I like and from whom I've been educated, entertained, and bought products, has openly discussed his destructive practices. I was astonished by his list of injuries, which includes numerous herniated discs and muscle tears. Some of these tears were visually evident when he got ripped. He also appeared to have a deviated posture. If I recall correctly, he would do weird stuff like tape and wrap up inured areas of his body or wear canvas suits to provide more stability. He has to make numerous modifications in his lifting (and likely other activities) because of these injuries. I assume, though possibly wrongfully so, that he has had some surgeries and has to take medications.
I was actually entertained by all this when I was younger, thinking, "Damn, these guys are crazy. They really do anything to succeed in their passions. And people just recover from injuries. And when they're off the drugs, they'll just return to a normal life."
But now I know better. Drugs and injuries can cause long term damage. In some cases, people recover and move on. But in many cases they don't! Does anyone want to wind up on dialysis? Do you think some people would trade in all their fame and accomplishments to be a more typical person and not crippled or in constant pain? I think many would.
Well, now that I know better, am older, the star-struck effect has completely faded, and have suffered pain from an injury myself, am expecting a kid, married, I seriously do not know why such people to continue what they're doing.
And like @The_Mighty_Stu said, it really is sad that adults continue to exhort people to do things that involve dangerous practices. And it's not just for John. There's an IFBB pro who trains at a gym Stu and I went to a long time ago, here in Queens. His wife just donated a kidney to him, because he acquired end-stage kidney failure, obviously requiring dialysis. He implies that his drug practices lead him to this condition. So... after he got his kidney transplanted from his wife, guess what an Instagram- and internet-bodybuilder celeb says to him in response to his vegetable intake or lack thereof? "Screw vegetables! Time to get big."
And to the ill man I speak of, get big, means get bigger chemically, considering that the subject has posted pictures in which he is damn enormous accompanied by posts like, "I'm skinny here," clearly implying that he is tongue-in-cheek joking, or actually is dysmorphic. I think the latter, considering it's clear he loves being chemically enhanced.
I'm done for now. I don't consider myself a wise man, but I think there are actually times at which people should talk about reality and state what they think, so long as they remain mature and lucid. No one's making fun of or slandering anyone here. And I or we can like or even love people despite having some negative opinions of them. I've actually yet to meet someone who likes everything about me.