I want to talk about an important matter for bodybuilders, anabolic steroids, with the premises that I have never used them and never will.
However, there are important things that I've learned during these years about them, from books, fitness courses I took, and friends that used them in the past.
Let's start with some theory. From the chemical point of view, steroids are organic compounds of lipid origin.
In the human body they are synthesized from cholesterol.
Cholesterol -> Pregnenolone -> DHEA -> Androstenedione -> Testosterone
Anabolic steroids are derivatives of testosterone, the primary male sex hormone.
The term anabolic refers to their ability to accelerate the anabolic effects, generated by the processes for the synthesis of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.
During the years, science has allowed to obtain drugs that, in addition to being produced at lower costs, enhance the anabolic properties of the natural hormones, while limiting undesirable effects.
Basically, researchers are constantly trying to find a way to reduce the androgenicity of these substances through chemical modifications.
Androgenicity is in fact the cause of the major steroids side effects.
Effects of Anabolic Steroids
People use steroids typically to improve their performances in some "power sports" such as bodybuilding and weight lifting, sprint races, wrestling etc., but also in sports where they need to have good resistance and endurance as well as power and strength (football, rugby, rowing, tennis etc.).
In aerobic sports, such as running and cycling, the use of steroids is lower, since a disproportionate increase in muscle mass would be counterproductive due to the increased body weight. In these sports athletes need to be agile first of all.
There are, although, cases where they have used illegal substances to increase their endurance and decrease the fatigue.
Typical steroids before and after effects
Before you think that a few shots per month with transform your body, please read When Steroids Don't Work...
This is not meant to teach you how to take steroids because it is really not my purpose, and I have to discourage the use. I just want to tell you how people take steroids in general.
Typically, steroids are administered in two ways:
- Orally or
- Through intramuscular injections
To reduce side effects and maximize the benefits, people go through cycles where they progressively increase the doses and then reduce them at the end of the cycle.
The problem is that too often athletes tend to exceed the recommended doses and take more types of anabolic substances at the same time (this is typically called stacking).
Of course the main risk when taking steroids is that the natural production of testosterone can be suppressed (like when you do testosterone injections), so they typically use something called hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) with the purpose of reactivate the natural endogenous production of testosterone.
Steroids Side Effects
You probably heard that there are (or can be) several anabolic steroids side effects...and...I just want to confirm that.
Side effects can go from
- Damage and atrophy of sexual organs
- Heart disease
- Baldness and
- Aggressive attitude
in men, to
- Changes in sexual characteristics
- Breast atrophy
- Lowering of the tone of voice
Steroids side effects require a dedicated article where I can go into details.
For this reason I don't want to make this article too long and talk about too many things at once, therefore I'd like to invite you to read the related steroids side effects article.
Of course also for these substances we need to distinguish between use and abuse. If you use them under medical attention, following the recommended doses and for a limited period of time you can lower all the risks.
The only problem with that is...that also the benefits will last for a limited period of time, so what is the result?
I don't see a real benefit, except for the fact that they actually do work. I mean, people see great changes in their muscle mass, their body almost looks perfect in a very short time...very impressive.
The question is always: is it worth it?
Please share your thought below, I'd like to hear your opinion!