One of the most controversial topics surrounding weight lifting and body building is the use of anabolic steroids as a means of enhancing both physical size and performance. The majority of individuals tend to know the desired effects of anabolic steroids but less is known about how these effects are achieved and the potential short and long term risks associated with this drug. This article aims to explore these topics of interest.
Before tackling these particular topics, it is important to note that anabolic steroids are currently classified as a class C drug, for which there are various legal implications. That aside, we’re not naive to the fact that anabolic steroids are readily available for purchase nationwide and appreciate that many gym users take them regularly as part of their dietary needs and requirements. For this reason alone, we believe it is important that the pros and cons of anabolic steroids are documented to allow informed decisions to be made.
Anabolic steroids can be administered into the body through numerous methods, including orally and through injecting. The drug itself closely resembles hormones such as testosterone and its desired effects on the body include enhanced weight, strength, power and speed to name a few. Previously, there have been many media reports, highlighting numerous ‘drug cheat’ athletes who had utilised anabolic steroids in an attempt to enhance their performance.
So how do anabolic steroids bring about their effects? The drug itself has been designed in such a way to bring about anabolic effects on the body, hence the name. The main anabolic effects include enhanced bone and muscle growth. Research has also demonstrated improved red blood cell count and neural conduction; all of which can be considered desirable for sporting performance. Although these anabolic effects occur naturally, to some extent, within the male human body, anabolic steroids massively enhance such effects.
Without trying to overcomplicate the biology behind this drug, anabolic steroids bring about an effect within the muscle cells responsible for protein production. Ultimately, protein production is enhanced whilst reducing the severity of protein breakdown. This creates a two fold effect which both assists in shifting the balance in favour of protein synthesis.
Furthermore, as there is a reduction in the breakdown of muscle tissue, this means that there is an ability to recover quicker between exercise bouts, resulting in reduced recovery periods between sessions. It is important to note that anabolic steroids do not bring about these effects on their own. Research has indicated that a certain level of resistance training is still required to achieve any noticeable changes in the active muscle. If you were looking to anabolic steroids as an easy way of achieving gains then think again, hard work is still required!
The Side Effects & Disadvantages
As you are reading through this article you may be thinking to yourself anabolic steroids sound incredible in relation to your training goals. Although they have been seen to bring about impressive gains in sporting performance, there are many short and long term side risks which will now be considered;
- If taken whilst still growing, naturally occurring growth can be diminished.
- Psychological effects such as mood swings, irritability and aggression can be observed whilst taking the drug.
- Fatigue and depression can be observed on withdrawal from the drug.
- Other psychological symptoms can include paranoia and confusion.
- In male users, shrinkage of your genitals and erection problems have been reported.
- Oily skin and heavy acne can be observed.
- Damage to the veins and other medical conditions have been reported with injecting the drug. This method also heightens the risk of infection and HIV and hepatitis viruses.
- Enhanced risk of high blood pressure, liver failure, stroke and heart attack.
So there you have it, a complete review of anabolic steroids. From their desired effects and how they are achieved to the potential short and long term risks associated with their usage. So what are your thoughts about this drug now? Still think the pros outweigh the cons? We try to provide both sides of a story to allow you to make an informed decision, rather than forcing our own opinions onto yourselves and preaching about what you should and shouldn’t do.
Ultimately it comes down to a personal choice of whether you think the potential gains outweigh the harmful, sometimes deadly risks indicated above.
It is important to highlight that there are individuals out there who have achieved unbelievable sporting performances without ever taking anabolic steroids. Instead, they have opted to utilise a combination of dedicated training methods and legal supplements to achieve their goals. If you are concerned about the potential negative effects of anabolic steroids then why not instead consider alternative supplementation which have been approved and tested.