Living large in Thailand: Sharky's tale

TIM "SHARKY" WARD is an imposing former Gold Coast loan shark. He has also become an online social media celebrity among the amateur bodybuilding community, boasting more than 30,000 followers.

Now living in the Thai beach resort of Pattaya, he openly admits to being a full-time steroid user.

"I take testosterone, I take deca [a popular, slow-bulking, synthetic steroid] for my joints and muscle tears and I take human growth hormones, which is phenomenal in that it gives me enormous energy and makes me so much more alert."

Sharky has an opinion on most subjects - and when it comes to the young bodybuilders who frequent his town for steroids, he pulls no punches. "I don't do it to stand in front of a mirror, rub myself in fake tan and win plastic trophies," he tellsĀ Fairfax Media. "I do it because it makes me feel good, and whose business is it to say I shouldn't? Look at all the damage done by alcohol and tobacco. They cause far more destruction to people's lives."

But of the young people who use steroids, he says: "If you're chasing an image that's always slightly out of reach when you're 20, how are you going to cope in your 50s? Worse still, imagine how you're going to look."

Sharky was an associate - and fan - of Aziz "Zyzz" Shavershian, Australia's No.1 bodybuilding pin-up who, at 22, suffered a fatal heart attack while holidaying in Bangkok last year. Sharky reveals that in the days before Zyzz's death, he had asked him outright: "What [steroids] are you taking in Bangkok?"

Zyzz had replied: "Everything."

"That's when I warned him, 'Slow down, man'. He was about to come to Pattaya and hang out with me. I had planned to talk with him some more once he'd arrived. But he never made it. Suddenly I was getting messages from friends and fans of his, telling me he's dead."