Note: This article neither supports nor promotes the use of anabolic androgenic steroids.
Anabolic Androgenic Steroids have been used since the 1950s and contrary to popular belief, not just bodybuilders or powerlifters, but a host of other athletes administer steroids. But as our audience is primarily interested in muscle building, in this piece, I will answer some of the most logical and frequently asked questions about using steroids.
Q1- What exactly are Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS)?
Anabolic androgenic steroids are a class of drugs that contain a synthetically manufactured form of the male hormone testosterone or a related compound. No matter what form of AAS it is Dianabol, Tren, Deca etc. they all are some form of testosterone. Anabolic refers to the muscle building ability of these compounds and androgenic refers to the enhancement in male characteristics i.e. body hair, deepened voice and strength.
Q2- How does AAS help in muscle building?
Answering this question in detail will require course content of hundred of medical books but in layman’s terms, steroids work by triggering some/all of the following mechanisms:
1) Activating cellular androgen receptors and increasing protein synthesis.
2) Increasing anabolism and blunting catabolism in the body.
3) Enhancing nutrition partitioning: calories are utilized more in building muscles than being stored as fat.
4) Increasing creatine synthesis in skeletal muscle tissues.
5) Stimulating the central nervous system, providing extra strength in the gym. More strength = Lifting heavier loads = More mechanical damage to muscles = Bigger muscles
Q3- Do Steroids Work Like Magic For Muscle Building?
No amount of anabolic drugs can make you win Mr. Olympia or even Mr. India without hard-hard work and consistency. But for an average-plus physique, like that of an underwear model, ASS can indeed work like magic. Below is the abstract of a research to support my statement.
In 1996, an interesting experiment was conducted by Bhasin and colleagues. Participants were divided into four groups:
Group 1 Placebo (no steroids) with no exercise
Group 2 Steroids ( X mg of testosterone enanthate) with no exercise
Group 3 Placebo (no steroids) + exercise
Group 4 Steroids (X mg of testosterone enanthate) + exercise
All the participants consumed a standardized diet containing 36 cals per kilogram of body weight, 1.5 g of protein per kilogram, and vitamins and minerals fulfilling 100% of RDA. Diet was adjusted every two weeks based on the amount of weight gained. The study continued for 10 weeks and at the end results were astounding. As expected, participants in Group 1 did not develop any strength or muscle, whereas participants in Group 4 gained the most amounts of strength and muscle. No surprises here. But here comes the shocking part. Group 2 which took steroids and did no exercise actually gained more muscle (+ 6.6 lbs) than the Group 3 which did not take steroids but exercised (+ 4.4 lbs). Not only Group 2 participants gained more muscle mass than Group 3 participants, they also made equivalent strength gains!
Moral of the story: Steroid do work like magic!
Ditch this creatine and chicken breast. I’m gonna jump on one cycle
Wait a minute brother and read on.
Q4- Can I Do One Cycle And Maintain All My Gains?
Perhaps the question most people want answered- are steroid gains sustainable?’ The answer to this question is a No: for most part and a Yes: for some part. Normal testosterone levels in healthy males is somewhere between 200-850 ng/dl. Let’s assume you’re an Indian beast with high T-levels of about 750 ng/dl. Even on a mild steroid cycle your testosterone levels are going to reach 1500-2000 ng/dl. When you come off the cycle, your internal testosterone levels will fall back to starting levels. In some cases, they can fall even below normal. Your physiology will simply give up on the excess muscle mass. Even with a perfect PCT protocol if you bring your natural T-levels back to 750 ng/dl within days, it is still not comparable to 1500-2000 ng/dl and some loss in muscle mass in inevitable.
Q5- Will My Motivation Fade Once I am Off Cycle?
Most people report that they do not feel the same rush and motivation for going to the gym once they’re off cycle. Thus, it is not just low T-levels causing loss in muscle mass but also the lack of following a rigid nutrition and training program post steroid cycle. This is the reason why there is never just one cycle. Once you’re on it, you can never afford to get off it.
Q6- What Are The Health Risks If I Take Steroids?
Steroids usage does come with potential health risks and these risks increase exponentially if you abuse them for prolonged periods. Side effects of AAS are-
1) Plaque deposition in heart, potential for heart attacks.
2) Causing hypertrophy and rigidness in cardiac muscles.
3) Liver toxicity
4) Gynecomastia / Man boobs
5) Shutting natural T-production permanently
7) Aggression and maniac symptoms
8) Body image disorders
9) Acne and water retention
10) Hair fall
Note: If you’re under the age of 25, remember your endocrine system and brain are still developing and adding exogenous testosterone in your body can cause permanent damage to your physiology and psyche.
Should I Use Anabolic Steroids?
As a coach, I believe if you chose to get on a steroid cycle it should serve a purpose. You should weigh the risks you’re going to bear vs what you’re going to achieve with the usage. For example Arnold took steroids but he knew he was going to be Mr. Universe and get a ticket to U.S.A. Do you plan on competing in Mr. India? Have you done well in a district and state championship naturally? Majority of people who jump on a cycle these days are going to achieve nothing more than some followers and likes on social media and to me, that is not worth it for the risks involved.
Tag your friends who’re planning to get on a cycle and do leave your valuable opinion on steroid use in the comment box below.
YashSharma is a former national level Football player, now a Strength Coach, Nutritionist and Natural Bodybuilder. He also runs a YouTube ChannelYashSharma Fitness via which he aims to educate all the fitness enthusiasts to maximize their gains by methods that are backed by science and applicable easily. Connect with him onYouTube,YashSharmaFitness@gmail.com,FacebookandInstagram.
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