Steroids: Explained

November 14, 2015

 

This will explain the actual use of anabolic steroids and their effects on the body as a whole as well as the myths that cycle throughout the gym every day.

 

Steroids...what an intriguing topic to discuss. So many people taking them and so many people not understanding what the hell they are doing. Where to begin? Steroids simulate the male sex hormone testosterone. Testoterone functions in the body by increasing muscle and bone mass as well as body hair growth. Thus the intake of artificial testosterone will lead to a higher concentration and more muscle growth, which is the obvious goal for anyone taking such substances. Increases in protein synthesis, nutrient efficiency, and insulin growth factor -1 (IGF-1) all occur due to steroid use. These effects lead to a higher rate of protein production, nitrogen production and insulin. When nitrogen levels are high (over 1/8 of muscle is nitrogen based) we exist in an anabolic state or state of muscular growth. Insulin uptakes nutrients into muscle cells from the bloodstream and protein serves as the building block to muscle growth. These three components comprise the reasoning behind a rapid increase in muscle growth. There are countless variations of anabolic steroids that all elicit different effects or better put...different extent of those effects. For instance the drug winstrol (Winny) is primarily used for cutting up or loss of body fat and increase percentage of lean body mass. Trenbolone (Tren) is considered a hybrid drug that effectively can assimilate to either goal of bulking or cutting. Dianabol (Dbol) is known as a bulking steroid due its immense weight gain early on (mostly water retention, but still very large gain in overall mass). This variance keeps all of these drugs in play for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts alike due to their goals always changing. Bulk up to put on as much size then cut down and retain as much as possible to look super shredded and huge for the summer. Thats the idea of most individuals who take these drugs recreationally. Bodybuilding is a whole other world of constantly manipulating and cycling different dosages and compounds to keep the body guessing and responding to a growth stimulus. The use of steroids is growing rapidly and the obvious reason is society has an obsession with physical appearance and masculinity. The biggest issue is these drugs are highly manipulative to the hormones and regulatory functions of the body. Without understanding what you are subjecting yourself to you will lead yourself down a path that is very hazardous to your health.

 

The main question I always had in my head was "how the hell are these idiots taking highly potent drugs with no knowledge of how to properly take them and not getting screwed for it?" The answer I have come to is quite simple. Our generation is the first to have steroids be a commonplace thing within the recreational gym rat. We have not had time to see these people in their later years to see how their body will respond. Back in the day bodybuilders and athletes would be on certain compounds and they acted in a more qualified manner to their usage. Nowadays we have roid monsters stomping through every gym in America who 40 years ago would be Mr. Olympia status, but now just turn heads as they walk through Bally Total Fitness (nothing against Ballys just a reference of a commercial gym..I actually trained at Ballys in high school and it was better than most gyms I have been to today). Now I know I am going off target here with explaining steroids, but this is a hufe factor to the point of this article. People are pumping themselves with various dosages of artifical hormones just to see what happens in most cases. It takes away from training properly cause most will see results regardless of that. Ultimately it has placed a huge asterisk on the fitness community and since its unregulated and 90% of users will lie about their usage, we are shown Greek Gods every day in magazines that are full of shit just to keep a sponsor or endorsement. It may seem like I am anti-steroids, but in reality I am not at all. I think they have awesome effects and when used properly can take your body to a level you cannot imagine. My issue is the mess it has created within the fitness industry. It essentially runs the supplement industry with most claims showing roided up guys and girls and stating facts like "increases testoserone by %500" and just bullshit atop of bullshit.

 

Thats enough for my rant on the downfall of society...back to the topic. These drugs are either taken through an oral tablet or injection (subcutaneous or intra-muscular). Oral steroids provide a less intrusive method of taking the drug, but also create a liveer toxicity problem as they pass through the body. This is why most steroids are preferred via injection directly into the muscle belly or underneath the skin. Cycles of steroids keep the hormone levels elevated progressively throughout the time of usage. Typically, the injections occur twice a week for standard use and oral tablets may be broken down to take everyday if desired. Basically nobody wants to inject their ass more than twice a week. Which leads me to injection sites. The most common area is the upper outer section of the glute due to its muscular belly being very large and it does not cross any major nerves or arteries. Another site is the anterior thigh or quad, but most utilize the backside for injections. Lets now get into the actual effects of steroids. Many are positive, but many are negative. Balance is the key and managing your negative ones can be done with proper adherence to your needs and understanding of what your taking.

 

Positive:
Steroids promote increased red blood cell count, which leads to a better flow of oxygen in the blood and overall function in the bloodstream. Promotion of bone mineral density can impact an individual with osterporosis dramatically and assist with the remodeling of bone mass. Muscle wasting diseases and weight gain issues also can be resolved with the proper use of anabolic steroids. The increase in testosterone can also be euphoric and extremely stimulating for a persons libido. The obvious is an increase in lean tissue as well as collagen fiber within the body. This effect has a direct correlation with the improvement in athletic performance and increased red blood cell count has an even stronger relationship with increased endurance in athletes.

 

Negative:
Steroids are artifical hormones that are introduced to the body to stimulate a natural process. This initially leads to positive physical responses, but once the body becomes adjusted it leads to many possible issues. Your testosterone production becomes stagnant and due to your increase amount of the hormone your body chooses to cease production in its own right. Once off the cycle the body has a difficult time producing testosterone and without proper stimulation (Ex: using the compound Clomid stimulates the hypothalamus to tell the anterior pituitary gland to release the hormones FSH and LH. These are known as gonadotrophic hormones and they stimulate the production of testosterone in the testes and increase secretion of the hormone to the body.) Lack of production in a natural sense is a major concern of using steroids and is the most difficult to regulate and maintain without having severe drops or lags in production when cycling on and off...this leads to many users continually cycling on and never off and results in abuse. Coming off is considered to be a depressing experience as your usual test levels are depleted and lowered quite dramatically. Other side effects include gynecomastia or development breast tissue due to estrogen converison from too much testosterone concentration. The body prefers balance and with excessive amounts of test you force the aromatization of the hormone into estrogen (female sex hormone) which leads to breast tissue developing. Thus many users use aromatase (enzyme that causes conversion) blockers to hinder the process and reduce or eliminate those effects. Increased blood pressure occurs because of this as well. The increased estrogen concentration leads to water retention and increased pressure within the body. Again all of these are avoidable when a structured systematic approach is applied to the usage of anabolic steroids. However, most do not think that far ahead and even if they do the need for more size and gains leads to decreased off periods and increased dosages as well as amount of compounds used simultaneously. Now lets get into the ethical portion:

 

Ethics:
Is it cheating to take steroids in sports? I am gonna go with a resounding yes on that one. If the rules state that it is not allowed and everyone is not taking them then how can it not be? In that sense it is cheating. However, do I feel that steroids should be banned from sports...no. I think with a proper regulation and understanding through the medical staff on professional teams you can properly introduce the idea of using anabolic steroids into sports. These athletes subject themselves to 365 days of physical activity at the highest level and you expect them to recover or be able to have a normal life beyond sports once all the damage to their body has been done through 20 years of training and competing. That is where people are ridiculous. "Well thats what you signed up for" whoever says that is an asshole who doesn't understand the strain placed on athletes body in anyway. I understand the rules say no, but all I am saying is I completely understand why athletes say yes. But, unfortuantely our society has deemed them as evil and ungodly. And this stems back to the assholes using them on a recreational basis getting massive and making horrible decisions, which creates a negative perception of something that actually is quite beneficial and easy to manage under supervision of qualified personnel. So will steroids ever be suitable for society? Answer is...no way in hell. People blew everything out of proportion when high school athletes were found using and it resulted in suicidal incidents that were never directly correlated to the use of steroids. But the easy cop out to a mentally unstable and depressed individual is to blame the thing that can be a marketable campaign to cope with the loss. Understandable, but doesn't mean it is true. Alcohol and cigarettes killed more people today than steroids ever will. So that claim is assanine in my opinion, but I am sure many people will disagree and say steroids will kill you.

 

Moral:
Anabolic steroids are extremely effective and potent drugs that need to be taken seriously and handled with care and understanding. They can lead to many negative side effects if you don't address the need to negate them through additional compounds. They are deemed evil in society because people in sports used them for an advantage and are now looked at as frauds. People believed in the hero based character of the all-pro athlete and forgot the fact that he or she is human and to get to the top some extreme measures such as breaking the rules are taken. Everyone does it in a sense, just so happens these athletes are in the limelight and have a higher chance of getting caught. The average gym goer on steroids has ruined the ethical opportunity for there acceptance and I see no coming back from that. I wanted to educate the average person on the actuality of steroids and the truth behind the reason so many people hate them. Regulation is the key to using steroids and it needs to be regulated by the user. Just as alcohol and other drugs, even caffeine need to be regulated by the user or you will get negative effects. The irresponsible people created a facade of steroid use and ignited the anti-steroid campaign, which was easy to follow as it erupted during the war on drugs in America. Hopefully this sheds some light on the subject and gives a different perspective on the idea of anabolic steroids.

 

P.S. 
I have never taken any anabolic steroids, but have multiple conversations with individuals who have had both positive and negative effects through their experiences. I base my claims off those interactions and years of research and exposure to the fitness industry. I will be the first person to let you know if I decide to cycle in the future. Any instances will be posted on this page and tagged to this article. Til then...

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