The number of people using steroids behind closed doors would shock Tauranga people, says a local gym owner.
The head of New Zealand's anti-doping agency, Graeme Steel, says an increasing obsession with appearance and body shape has led to an increase in the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.
Tauranga gym owners spoken to by the Bay of Plenty Times said there wasn't a big steroid problem in the city, but the performance enhancing drugs had always been around and always would be.
Mount CrossFit owner John Templeton said people would be surprised by how many people were using steroids.
"Steroid use doesn't happen at Mount CrossFit and in my area of training.
"From my background experience, people in bodybuilding gyms and global gyms do take them. I can't be sure about Tauranga but if it's the same as the rest of the country and the world I'd say there's quite a percentage of people using them, more than people expect."
He said people who wanted to change the shape of their physique were using steroids, not to enhance performance.
"I'd say young men are the target market. In that context, using steroids is bad if they're doing it to change their image. It's the abuse of steroids that messes people up, they start suffering bad side effects such as acne and depending on the personality they can get 'roid rage."
However, FitCo Gym owner John Richardson said he thought there was minimum steroid use in Tauranga.
"It's not a good look for gyms, I don't condone it at all. The problem has been around forever, it's just a story that's now being well publicised because of what's coming out in Australia."
He said steroids were damaging and the majority of gym users in Tauranga wouldn't take that path.
"I don't know of a lot of users in Tauranga. My gym-goers are all normal people, for them the gym is about health, longevity, flexibility and fitness. Our body builders are all natural."
Oceanblue Health and Fitness Club owner Sue Murphy said she had zero tolerance for steroids in her club.
"We know they are in our industry and have been for many years and will continue to be. I've had no direct reports of it in Tauranga but I can guarantee some people use it.
"It's one of those things you can never really know."
While steroids were more common in the bodybuilding scene, Ms Murphy said a lot of young people also used steroids as an easy way to bulk up.
"Teenagers coming through are very impressionable and are wanting that big look and know they can get big with steroids fast but don't realise the affect it has on health, moods, aggression and behaviour."
Mount Maunganui Bay BodyFit owner and personal trainer Mark Woodgate said he wasn't aware of steroid use going on in his gym.
"I'd say steroid use is only affecting about 1 per cent of the gym-going population, I've never come across it. I know of body builders that use them, but none here."