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Anabolic Steroid Basics – What Everyone Should Know.
The main reason anabolic steroids were developed was to help people who suffered from certain medical conditions. Today they are used by men and women to gain muscle and increase athletic performance.
Anabolic steroids help speed up muscle recovery times between workouts and have a positive impact on increasing strength, endurance, and reducing muscle fatigue.
This allows bodybuilders to train harder and longer so they can quickly gain muscle mass.
Anabolic steroids are derivatives of the male sex hormone testosterone.
Testosterone is the primary hormone found in men, it is important for maintaining muscle and maintaining a healthy sex drive and sperm count.
Anabolic steroids are also referred to as AAS (Androgenic Anabolic Steroids) using them can help both men and women quickly increase muscle mass and athletic performance, however, they also come with certain side effects. These side effects are usually more pronounced in women than in men.
When anabolic steroids are used for nonmedical conditions they can cause unwanted physical changes, heart and liver problems and symptoms of aggression.
Some interesting facts about anabolic steroids
- Most countries do not require a prescription for anabolic steroids however in the United States a prescription is mandatory.
- While steroids are used to treat many different health conditions, they are usually prescribed in low doses. Bodybuilders, on the other hand, will use doses that are 10-15 times higher than what is prescribed for medical use.
- Synthetic steroids offer muscle building benefits that also result in secondary male sexual characteristics.
- Anabolic steroids put men and women at high risk for liver disease, heart attack, and stroke.
- Anabolic steroids often cause irreversible symptoms of virilization in women that can include a deeper voice and clitoral enlargement.
What are Anabolic steroids?
Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone, they can affect just about every part of the body that includes muscle development, sex drive, blood pressure, your body's organs, and cholesterol levels.
During puberty young men begin to develop body hair, muscle mass, pubic hair and an increase in sex drive. This is all a result of high levels of testosterone.
High levels of testosterone can cause aggressiveness and irritability, the reverse happens to older men who do not have enough testosterone which is one of the reasons older men will resort to TRT (testosterone replacement therapy)
Bodybuilders use steroids in a few different ways
This is a term used when bodybuilders combine different anabolic steroids to enhance their results.
Some may cycle testosterone, trenbolone, and Anadrol together this all depends on what the bodybuilder is trying to achieve.
Cycling is a term used that says how long a bodybuilder will use one particular steroid or a follow a certain regimen of using a few different steroids together.
A steroid cycle can last anywhere between 6-12 weeks.
Types of steroids
When we hear the term steroids we often think of the most common ones, however, there are 32 different kinds of anabolic steroids.
Many steroids are used strictly for medical use while others can be used for both medical and sports enhancement.
Some steroids used by bodybuilders are actually veterinary grade but bodybuilders will still use them, one of the more common ones is equipoise which is used to treat certain medical conditions in animals.
Steroids are used to achieve different results.
Powerlifters use steroids to help increase strength while bodybuilders also use them for strength but for a different reason, a bodybuilder who can lift more can increase dense muscle quickly.
Steroids for endurance
Steroids have been used by a variety of athletes anywhere from baseball players, cyclists, football players cross-country skiers, you name it anabolic steroids can help improve athletic performance.
Steroids for fat loss
Anabolic steroids can help men and women refine their physique, bodybuilders can achieve a hard, grainy and vascular look. Female fitness models also use them to eliminate body fat and increase lean muscle.
How anabolic steroids are administered
Steroids are consumed in different ways, the most common methods of administration are by injection which is usually the most effective way, followed by oral.
The problem with oral steroids is that since they are passed through the liver they can cause liver damage.
Some steroids come in a gel form, this is commonly used to treat older men with low testosterone.
Common injectable steroids include:
- Deca Durabolin
Common oral steroids:
- Oxandrolone (Anavar)
Common side effects from steroids in men may include:
- Enlarged breasts (Gynecomastia)
- Testicular atrophy (shrunken testicles)
- Infertility (low sperm count)
- Low sex drive
Steroid side effects in women:
- Enlarged clitoris
- Deepening of the voice
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Shrinking breasts
- Increased body hair
Other common risks from taking anabolic steroids include liver damage, aggression, depression, and possible addiction.
Men who take anabolic steroids for long periods of time will cause the body to stop producing testosterone on its own. This is a symptom that can take a while to recover from.
Stopping steroid use can cause other symptoms that may include:
- Impotency or reduced sex drive
Anabolic steroids have become very common among bodybuilders and athletes, in spite of their side effects, thousands of men and women continue to use them.
While they may increase athletic performance the side effects should be looked at carefully. Better yet, before you consider using them you should speak with your doctor first, he or she can tell you first hand what to expect and maybe advise you against using them.