The real deal with anabolic steroids
Lots of stuff is written about steroids in mass media but few take a moment to actually say something clear about both its pros & cons.
For many people who don’t know what steroids are in detail is it usually portrayed as en evil like heroin and for many people who use it it is portrayed as ambrosia, the divine food of the gods.
Some like me tho wonder what the heck is it really about and think the truth isn’t in either extremes.
‘Anabolic’ steroids are the type of steroids you usually hear about in media sports’ scandals and come in different types invented in different times and for different reasons like the medical and animal farming industry. Steroids are testosterone hormone replacements so they serve the same end goal of growing your muscles with some created to help patients with muscle deficiencies like AIDS recover lost muscles while others help farm chickens grow faster into your tasty MC Nuggets (with a healthy helping of other growth hormones as well).
The earliest steroids created date back to the mid 1930s and in the 50-60’s they were refined by some western scientists to be taken by athletes competing in the Olympics (ie Dianabol) as Soviet athletes were taking then much harsher testosterone injections directly and winning in all competitions.
During that time body building was taking shape too and steroids became a stable injection for most body builders who wanted to get bigger and bigger.
Quite a bit later steroids started to get regulated and banned by many governments for none medical use & all sports organizations for giving an unfair substantial advantage to their users and for having quite a bit of potential Russian roulette side effects also.
Steroids increase the amount of synthetic testosterone in your your blood stream by an impressive 500% to 5000% depending on the type you take & how you stack mix them together (ie Trenbolon is on the high end). But that also comes at the cost of having toxic and dangerous foreign difficult-to-break chemicals in your bloodstream that do substantial inner damage while they help your muscles.
They are also cycled, as in used for a couple of month then off, then repeated again. As for their users they range from young adults with high natural hormone counts to old people with declining natural hormone counts.
While i haven’t used steroids nor am a research scientist on the subject matter, the info geek and hobbyist gym goer in me can still put together the following clear list of pros & cons from all the resources found online & from the prevalent gym environment i usually encounter.
So while this list provides helpful info do take it with a grain of salt also.
Advantages of steroids:
-Gain muscle fast, in a cycle of a couple of month you can gain 5kg to 15kg of muscle mass while working out that takes other people 1+ year of similar effort.
-Increased endurance & strength & stamina while working out & competing. All over the board steroids boost you, and some types are better at boosting some specific attributes than others.
-Burn fat quickly, due to the increased synthetic testosterone you can burn more calories on the daily which translates to better fat loss (ie Winstrol is used while cutting).
-Recovery, when on steroids the recovery time after working out is very low, you are basically turned into the Wolverine from X-Men.
-Bypass your natural genetic limit, the risk of developing ugly proportions that don’t fit your skeletal frame put aside, steroids make their users go above the natural genetic muscle limit.
Disadvantages of steroids:
-Liver damage, you can take steroids in injectable form instead of oral form to reduce liver damage and take liver support supplements but your liver will still suffer damage from the difficult to break steroid molecules. If they weren’t difficult to break your body will immediately break them away and they wont help you grow muscles like they do.
-Heart problems, blood pressure issues might pop up in the short run and heart strokes while working out become a real risk too as steroids push your body beyond its natural limit.
-Acne & loss of hair, some steroids are more destructive that others when it comes to your hair and skin, but they all have some effect on it.
-Shrinking balls for guys, since you are injecting artificially extra synthetic testosterone replacements in your blood in huge quantity your body stops producing its own so your balls shrink from lack of production.
-Getting female tits and other female features, steroids are know to increase female hormones as well in the body, taking anti aromatose SERMs and DIM supplements to reduce that effect will not fully stop it and side effect amount differ from user to user.
-Developing a male voice for women users, women on steroids have their vocal cords change and end up sounding like men from using it.
-Mood swings and god complex, during steroid use some few people develop a psychological god complex due to the increased aggressivity and power that synthetic testosterone creates, the famous roid rage, while not universal it does happen, also after a cycle is finished a user experiences hormonal imbalances & mood swings due to the fact that his body cannot immediately start producing male hormones normally again after it was shut down. Post cycle treatment include taking libido boosting herbs like Tribilus but those reduce the side effect and do not prevent it.
-Becoming baggy as you grow old or stop working out and using them. Since steroids push you beyond your limit, if you use them to seriously bulk up you will become saggy looking at old age when you stop working out and return to normal after a few years of not using them + the sagginess, clear case in point is Arnold Schwarzenegger in his old age. That’s why some users are also trapped in a cycle of always using them.
Status of Steroids:
For sports competition it is illegal everywhere and considered as part of the banned performance enhancing drugs, that said a huge amount of athletes try to cheat and use them in some new form of doping that they hope is undetectable.
And since lots of steroids boost your performances but dont bulk you up it is not restricted to any one sport, for instance Lance Armstrong the cyclists was finally caught using them after years of cheating and winning.
Outside of sports in the west its illegal to buy them without a medical prescription, but you can import them from eastern sources easily that manufacture them without a problem. The question then becomes what are you being sold since eastern sources aren’t very renowned for their quality products and try to sell diluted even more toxic forms of steroids often.
Finally steroids are relatively cheap and their gains far outweighs the gains of using normal workout supplements like protein powder so their use by gym goers is relatively common.
Alternatives to Steroids:
There are no healthy alternatives to steroids, the boost steroids give in unmatched by normal proven healthy supplements like whey protein powders, bcaas and creatine.
A similar performance booster is HGH although its effects are a bit different than steroids, as HGH are human growth hormones that instruct your body to continue building itself past the childhood state making you bigger everywhere not just muscles and better at repairing yourself. It is also chemically difficult to detect in competitions and comes at the risk of developing some big unwanted body parts like big ugly jaws (check MMA women fighters), big belly (Rony Coleman) or terminally dangerous big hearts (refer to Rich Piana and his use of HGH)
Should you use them then ?
That is a question only you can answer as using steroids for personal gains is a personal matter of judging your priorities.
Some people can use them and get away scott free without side effects while others will definitely end up with problems in the short and long run much like alcohol and smoking.
Also there is the question of priority for each person like i said, as each person needs to ask what is his priority, to build up his body fast and as big as possible at any potential cost or to try to reach his genetic limit naturally & slowly as a challenge while retaining his inner organs health as much as possible.
A final light note to end all this with is that it is helpful to always remember that we humans aren’t made to be gods like Hercules, as any tough jacked person on steroids can be still ripped apart easily by an angry average chimpanzee less than half his size due to the difference in genetics between us that give our little simian brothers better quality muscle fibbers, better nerves that fire the muscles and in a heck lot more quantity than us without any steroids.
Old Arnold 7 times Mr Olympia vs Old tamed captive zoo ape