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CrossFit Steroids: Which athletes were busted and which PEDs did they use?


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This guide is designed to help you understand which performance enhancing drugs, like steroids and other banned substances, CrossFit athletes have tested positive for over the history of the sport. This is divided into four primary sections:

One of the most commonly-tainted supplements with PEDs and steroids in CrossFit have been protein powders and shakes

A Look Back at CrossFit Steroids

There is no single definitive (published) list on CrossFit athletes who have tested positive. In that void, we’ve done our best to compile one for you.

Jumping back to 2010, a notable name stands out – Ben Bergeron. Ben is the owner of CrossFit New England and the CompTrain fitness program.

He is now the coach of fan favorites Katrin Davidsdottir and Brooke Wells. Bergeron tested positive for methylhexanamine, a stimulant, in 2010.

He stands as an example that even great people make mistakes. Athletes can overcome those mistakes and make a positive impact on the community.

CrossFit steroids and PEDs can come in many forms, whether injected or ingested in pill form, powders, creams, and tainted meat and dairy products

CrossFit Steroids: Looking Forward

For the three fittest men and women on earth, nobody tested positive in 2018 and 2019. CrossFit continued testing all Regional and Games athletes. Those tests caught more users than in previous years. They resulted in two masters athletes losing their podium finishes.

To maintain full transparency, CrossFit published a list of 2018 sanctioned athletes. You can read it here. The list includes Emily Abbott, a perennial crowd favorite.

CrossFit Steroids – Athlete Responses

While the vast majority of athletes are continuously tested for steroids and performance enhancing drugs, very few have tested positive for banned substances. Those who have worked so hard and done the work to become great the natural way have many choice words for those who take shortcuts:

Patrick Vellner on Ricky Garard

“Those precious moments at the Crossfit Games are ones that I work so hard all year for, and they are moments that I can never get back. I lost an event win, I lost the experience of having back to back podiums, and worst of all, I lost the chance to stand on that podium with a fellow Canadian…When someone cheats, they aren’t simply cheating the sport, they are cheating the other athletes who have sacrificed a lot to get where they are.” – Patrick Vellner

CBD and hemp products can also be tainted with performance enhancing drugs because of shared production lines and equipment

Noah Ohlsen on CrossFit Steroids

“As if we didn’t already get enough of the 💉 emojis and ‘no way these dudes are natural,’ comments. Now, I’d imagine that within our community and beyond it’ll be even harder for people to believe that we train and compete with all natural integrity.” – Noah Ohlsen

Thuri Helgadottir

“I am disappointed in Garards actions, but happy that the CrossFit Games are coming down hard on these issues. In response to Garard I would like to say: Don’t try to justify your actions by dragging us all down with you. If you know of people cheating, name some names, contact HQ with your info and do your part in upholding the integrity of the sport. Don’t make us all look questionable in order to make yourself look better!” – Thuri Helgadottir

The List – Athletes Reported for PED Use

At the time of writing, 43 athletes have tested positive for PEDs. This is since the 2010 CrossFit Games season.

It’s important to note the average suspension has grown from none in 2010 to an average of 3.8 years in 2018. CrossFit is getting tougher on cheaters.

2010 PED Sanctions in CrossFit

Athlete Substance(s) Years Suspended
Ben Bergeron Methylhexanamine 0
Derek Mohammad Methylhexanamine 0

2014 PED Sanctions in CrossFit

Athlete Substance(s) YearSuspended
Taylar Stallings B-methylphenethylamine 1
Abigail Guerrero Methandienone (Dianabol) 2

2015 PED Sanctions in CrossFit

Athlete Substance(s) Years Suspended
Steve Pinkerton Anastrozole, Letrozole, 19-norandrosterone 2
Elia Navarro Garcia Oxandrolone 2
Richard Bohlken Ostarine 1
Riyan Fischer Compliance failure 1

2016 PED Sanctions in CrossFit

Athlete Substance(s) Years Suspended
Charis Chan Trenbolone 4
Natalie Newhart Oxandrolone 2
Scott Jones Anastrozole 2
Penny Kemp Clomiphene 1
Steve Marino Unspecified AAS 2

2017 PED Sanctions in CrossFit

Athlete Substance(s) Years Suspended
Ryan Elrod Clomiphene 2
Nick Thomas Ostarine 2
OJ Washington Methylhexanamine 2
Andrea Barbotti Clomiphene 4
Stella Christoforou Clenbuterol 4
L’duvit Czokoly Clomiphene 4
Pawel Lesnikowski Clenbuterol, Modafinil, elevated testosterone levels 4
Gianluca Occino Tamoxifen 4
Ricky Garard Testolone, Endurobol 4
Tony Turski Anastrozole Not disclosed
Josee Sarda Ostarine, Testolone Not disclosed

2018 PED Sanctions in CrossFit

Athlete Substance(s) Years Suspended
Kelli Holm Endurobol 2
Shawn Ramirez Endurobol, Ostarine 4
Emily AbbottIbutamoren 4
Dean Shaw Clomiphene 4
Lauren Shawver Ostarine 4
Laura Hosier Higenamine 4
Maria Ceballos Stanozolol 4
Andre Ganin Elevated testostrerone 4
Nuha Almarri Endurobol, Turinabol 4
Stephanie Araujo Stanozolol 4
Joel Munro Endurobol 4
Rachel Campbell Oxandrolone 4
Kara Paslay Methylhexanamine 2
Megan Benzik Methandienone, Oxandrolone, Methanol, Letrozole, Amphetamine 4
Carlos Castillo LGD-4033 4
Gena Malkovskiy Clomiphene, Meldonium, Drostanolone 4
Fabio Botteghi Endurobol 4
Vivian Bomfim Stanozolol 4
Andre Sanches Epimentendiol, Methandienon, Ostarine, LGD-4033 4

2019 PED Sanctions in CrossFit

AthleteSubstance(s)Years Suspended
Anna FragkouTurinabol4
Katie TrombettaGW1516, Ostarine4
Franky WoodTamoxifen, Chorionic Gonadotropin4
Achilleas PantazisGW15162
Hylie ThompsonGW15164
Mauro AcevedoEndurobol4
Juan SforziniStanozolol4
Ben GarardEndurobol4
Elly KabboordClenbuterol4
Hinrik Ingi ÓskarssonOstarine, RAD-1404

2020 PED Sanctions in CrossFit

AthleteSubstance(s)Years Suspended
Lefteris TheofanidisTBATBA
Some positive steroid and PED tests have been tracked back to meat and dairy products high in the substances

The List – PEDs and CrossFit Steroids

This list only extends to the substances found in CrossFit athletes. It does not include the full list of banned substances from WADA.

(S1) Anabolic Androgenic Steroids in CrossFit


Intended for chronic breathing disorders like asthma. Used by the boxer Canelo Alvarez (WBA, WBC). CrossFit athletes Stella Christoforou and Pawel Lesnikowski have tested positive.

Also known as Dilaterol, Spiropent, Ventipulmin.


Intended for use in treatment of breast cancer. Gena Malkovskiy tested positive for this substance 2018. Also known as dromostanolone, Drolban, Masteril, and Masteron.


This drug was in testing for treatment of muscle wasting and osteoporosis. It did not pass drug trials and is currently a black market drug.

Seven CrossFit athletes have tested positive for Enobosarm, like Shawn Ramirez:

  • Lauren Shawver
  • Andre Sanches
  • Richard Bohlken
  • Nick Thomas
  • Josee Sarda
  • Tony Turski.

The most common name for this PED is Ostarine.


Much like Enobasarm, LGD-4033’s intended use is for muscle wasting and osteoporosis. Withdrawn from the use, it is only available on the black market.

Also known under the name of VK5211 and Ligandrol. CrossFitters Carlos Castillo and Andre Sanches have tested positive for this. Will Grier (Florida Gators football) and Joakim Noah (NBA) have tested positive for this.


Used for the treatment of hypogonadism. This drug is no longer available. It’s considered a black market substance.

Bodybuilders often use metandienone. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a vocal user. Common names include methandienone, methandrostenolone, epimentendiol, and Dianabol.

In CrossFit, Abigail Guerrero, Megan Benzik, and Andre Sanches have tested positive.


Also known as 19-Norandrosterone. This drug’s used to treat a varying array of disorders. They include anemias, cachexia, osteoporosis, and breast cancer.

Steve Pinkerton is the lone CrossFit athlete to test positive for Nadroline, to date.


Oxandrolone is common AAS in professional sports. Associated users include baseball players Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

In CrossFit, four athletes have tested positive. They include Elia Navarro Garcia, Natalie Newhart, Rachel Campbell, and Megan Benzik.


Also known as Androstanazol, Menabol, Stanazol, Stromba, Tevabolin, Winstrol, etc.

Stanozolol found use in treatment for lipodermatosclerosis. Formal use of the drug discontinued in favor of other treatments.

To date, it is still used in cases of horse doping. Stanozolol-affiliated accusations exist against Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. CrossFit athletes Maria Ceballos, Stephanie Araujo, and Vivian Bomfim have tested positive.


Known as “exogenous testosterone”, this is the case of elevated testosterone levels. Those levels are not created by the body. Exogenousrone is used to treat hypogonadism, breast cancer. Additionally, it’s used in sexual transitions.

CrossFit athletes Pawel Lesnikowski and Andrey Ganin have tested positive. Included as a user is US Olympic sprinter Justin Gatlin.

Testosterone in drugs like Andriol, Androderm, AndroGel, Testim, TestoGel, Sustanon, and Omnadren.


Also known as RAD140, Ricky Garard tested positive for Testolone in 2017. It is still under development and in trials. RAD140’s use targets muscle wasting and includes the treatment of breast cancer.


Finaplix, Parabolan, and Hexabolan. Charis Chan tested positive for this in 2016.

To this day it is only used in livestock to promote growth of muscle and increased appetite.


Has no non-performance medical use. Used by CrossFit athlete Nuha Almarri. Also known as CDMT and Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone

(S2) Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics


Known by athletes as GW501516 (or GW1516). Endurobol’s intended use is to treat metabolic and cardiovascular disease. The medical industry abandoned the drug for causing rapid cancer development in mice.

Six CrossFit athletes have tested positive, including Ricky Garard. The others are: Fabio Botteghi, Joel Munro, Nuha Almarri, Shawn Ramirez, and Kelli Holm.


Designed for treatment of hormone deficiency. Ibutamoren approved by the FDA. Other names are MK-677 and L-163,191.

CrossFit placed sanctions on Emily Abbott after testing positive for this in 2018.


Also referred to as Mildronate. Meldonium tennis star Maria Sharapova tested positive for this. It resulted in sanctions from the WTA.

The drug fights restricted blood flow disorders, such as ischemia. CrossFitter Gena Malkovskiy tested positive for this in 2018.

One of the most common reasons CrossFit athletes say they’ve taken steroids and PEDs is to help recover from an injury

(S3) Beta-2 Agonist


This substance is in various over-the-counter supplements and has unverified weight loss properties. Known as norcoclaurine and demethylcoclaurine, Laura Hosier tested positive in 2018.

(S4) Hormone and Metabolic Modulators


Known under the brand name of Arimidex. Anastrozole treats breast cancer. Steve Pinkerton, Scott Jones, and Tony Turski have tested positive for this substance.


Also spelled “clomiphene”. Hundreds of prescription names includen the substance. Examples include Belcom, Biogen, Bleifen, Climene, Fertilphen, etc.

This drug treats infertility.

Five athletes have tested positive for Clomifene. They are Dean Shaw, Penny Kemp, Ryan Elrod, Andrea Barbotti, and L’duvit Czokoly.


The drug Femara is the product name of Letrozole. It’s used to treat breast cancer. Samples from Megan Benzik and Steve Pinkerton tested positive for the substance.


Intended as a breast cancer prevention method. Tamoxifen is also a treatment for infertility. It’s sold under the names Nolvadex, Genox, and Tamifen. Gianluca Occino tested positive for Tamoxifen in 2017.

(S6) Stimulant


Amphetamine drugs treat ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity. Adderall, Dyanavel, Benzedrene, Evekeo, etc. use the substance.

CrossFit athletes Megan Benzik and Taylar Stallings have tested positive. Other users include Olympic sprinters Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay.


Designed in 1944 as a nasal decongestant, use of Methylhexanamine stopped in 1983. Creators withdrew it from the market.

Methylhexanamine has been in the news recently. The FDA issued a warning to 14 companies for unlabeled use of the substance in their supplements. The chemical has unverified weight loss properties.

Kara Paslay, Ben Bergeron, and Derek Mohammad have tested positive for this. Other names include dimethylbutylamine, methylhexamine, 1,3-dimethylamylamine, and 1,3-amphetamine.


Sold under the names Provigil, Alertec, and Modavigil. Baseball player Barry Bonds stands accused of using Modafinil. Additionally, CrossFit announced Pawel Lesnikowski tested positive by 2017. This drug treats sleepiness due to narcolepsy.

CrossFit as a sport and organization has made it clear they won’t tolerate performance enhancing substances in their athletes and encourage athletes to seek certified supplements
Ben Garves
Ben Garves
Ben is a digital media entrepreneur, elite fitness analyst, activist, and CrossFit Level 1 coach. He founded WODDITY in 2017, making tools and resources for the CrossFit Community. You can find his content all over the internet, including contributions to, his blog at, YouTube, and the Ben Garves Podcast.

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