The use of steroids or performance enhancers has been ongoing for centuries. While the Greeks used enhancements to improve their human abilities, the Mayans used cocoa for the same.
The modern athlete and bodybuilder will go to great lengths to enhance his body and athletic capabilities through such enhancers as creatine, anabolic steroids, amphetamines, steroid precursors, human and animal organs, human growth hormone, Erythropoietin among others.
Some frightening recent statistics have shown that dependant on your area, as many as 1 in 4 guys at your gym are using some sort of anabolic steroid right now .
For drugs which are illegal to sell in the UK those are pretty tough statistics to swallow. That said, the simple truth is that many of us will at some point come in to contact with anabolic steroids.
Perhaps you’re already training with someone who uses them.
With the media hype around fitness and muscle gaining, including the latest media fad ‘bigorexia’ becoming a hot topic it’s not hard to see why so many guys, particularly the younger guys coming into the fitness industry, would and likely will consider the use of anabolic steroids.
So with that in mind, we wanted to post a non-biased quick list of things you should know when weighing up your options. Should you try steroids or not?
What are Steroids?
Anabolic steroids are a synthetic testosterone derivative that is used to increase strength and hypertrophy in muscles.
They are legally used to treat hormonal issues or diseases that can reduce muscle, for example, AIDS.
They are illegally used by gym goers looking to rapidly increase their muscle size.
Anabolic steroids are often used by bodybuilders, fitness models, and regular gym goers for both performance and body composition changes.
The most commonly used anabolic steroid is testosterone.
Taking Testosterone will lead to increased muscle mass, particularly when combined with a high volume training program .
Some studies have seen strength gains of around 5-20% and increases of lean body mass totalling up to 2-5kg .
How do Steroids Work?
Anabolic steroids are designed to help increase testosterone production.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone that is necessary for muscle production, energy increases. Basically, it makes you more capable of training hard.
Some steroids have better capabilities of increasing muscle mass than others. Choosing the correct anabolic steroid can become quite a difficult task for some.
You will want to look at the following benefits to see if the supplement is right for you.
Does the anabolic steroid:
- Increase testosterone production enough?
- Enhance muscle recovery?
- Produce more energy for training?
- Prevent significant fat gains?
- Have low side effect possibilities?
- Have the legal capability to be used?
All of these questions are quite important when it comes to choosing which steroid to use.
Drug Use in Bodybuilding – Benefits and Negatives
Drug use in professional bodybuilding is not so much an issue as it is a cornerstone of the industry.
Without performance-enhancing drugs, there would be no bodybuilding competitions and it is hard to see a future where this is not the case.
Even in the so-called ‘natural‘ bodybuilding competitions, participants are rarely drug-free, many have become adept at timing their drug use to avoid getting caught.
Here are some of the most common drugs used by bodybuilders:
#1: Testosterone & Androgenic-Anabolic Steroids (AAS)
Testosterone is one of the most popular Anabolic Steroids out there and comes in either injectable or oral forms.
Testosterone is different from Androgenic-Anabolic Steroids in that it is produced naturally in the body.
Injectable Testosterone is used legally by lots of people who have naturally low testosterone levels.
To produce the results that bodybuilders have testosterone has to be taken in massive quantities.
As David Handelsman (2006) wrote :
“Abusers may use any available androgens, including veterinary, illegally manufactured, stolen and counterfeit steroids, in often bizarre, high-dose regimens advocated by folkloric underground publications.”
High testosterone levels can lead to many benefits for bodybuilders.
Testosterone increases muscle protein synthesis, so their muscles will grow faster, will increase in strength, and will recover faster from training .
Steroids can also lower body fat  and increase muscle fibre size.
Sadly there is a reason why abusing testosterone is not considered a safe practice. There have been many short and long term side-effects reported.
Acne Vulgaris, along with increased body hair and increased aggressive behaviour have been reported .
Another issue is that supplementing with testosterone can disturb the body's natural production of testosterone.
There are also cardiovascular risk factors, and psychological factors such as depression, mania, and psychotic features to consider too.
Whilst it is true that you will never reach the top of the bodybuilding pyramid without using steroids. The risk of doing so is too high for anyone wanting to live a long and happy life.
In 1989 there was a study of competitive male and female bodybuilders in Kansas that found that 54% of the male competitors and 10% of females admitted to using steroids on a regular basis .
Given the explosion in popularity that bodybuilding has received in recent decades I suggest that this figure has only increased since. These bodybuilders are living on borrowed time, and it may be too late to save many of them.
#2: Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
HGH is a peptide hormone produced by the pituitary gland .
It is created through genetic engineering and is used by many bodybuilders as (when dosed correctly) it is “efficient, hard to detect, and without major side effects” .
It is normally taken in cycles of 4-6 weeks, which is the same as steroids. And is often taken in conjunction with AAS and EPO.
As with testosterone and AAS, HGH is used to increase muscle size and power and has a powerful effect on fat and carbohydrate metabolism .
A study by Tavares et al (2013) found that HGH significantly increased muscle strength .
Rennie (2003) claims that HGH's effectiveness has been over exaggerated and that the risks that come with it are too high.
The main danger of over-doing HGH is developing a condition known as Acromegaly which is where the body produces too much growth hormone.
This can lead to abnormally large hands and feet, joint pain, excessive sweating, fluid retention, and dental issues to name a few.
There is also an increased chance of developing diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and cardiomyopathy.
Produced in the pancreas, Insulin is a hormone that “regulates blood glucose by allowing your body's cells to absorb and use glucose. In turn, this drops blood glucose levels.” .
Some people may not produce insulin properly, in which case they need to take injectable insulin so that they can regulate blood sugars properly.
Bodybuilders have been known to take insulin too, though for a different purpose.
When working in conjunction with steroids, insulin can help bodybuilders to train longer without suffering from catabolism (the breaking down of muscle tissue). This is because insulin inhibits catabolism .
One of the reasons insulin is so popular with bodybuilders and athletes is that it is pretty much undetectable.
It only has a half-life of 4 minutes in the body and is “impossible to distinguish from the athlete's own insulin“.
The negative effects of taking injectable insulin when you're not diabetic are simple, you could die.
The chances of suffering from hypoglycaemia are hugely increased and you could potentially develop brain damage .
#4: Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1)
A protein that is very similar to Insulin (hence the name). IGF-1 is used by bodybuilders as it enhances protein anabolism when combined with HGH .
The downsides of using IGF-1 is that you are risking hypoglycaemia, cancer, tumours, and the enlargement of intestinal organs .
Androstenedione is also an illegal hormone found in some supplements.
It is often referred to as “andro” and is produced naturally within the body. It is converted into testosterone and other hormones.
Ironically andro is said to increase your muscle mass when in actual fact it doesn’t build any muscle at all. It mostly converts to oestrogen by the body.
Some of the risks associated with andro include:
- Low sperm count
- Acne and other skin conditions
- Shrunken testicles
- Baldness in women
- Enlarged breasts in men
#6: Erythropoietin (EPO)
Due to its popularity in the cycling world, EPO has been one of the most widely abused supplements in recent years.
Although it is not used by bodybuilders very often, it’s mainly used by endurance athletes like long-distance runners and cyclists.
Since it works to increase the production of red blood cells, it is often used legally to treat kidney disorders.
EPO has many risks; since it increases blood production, it can lead to a stroke or a heart attack.
Your veins can clog when there is too much blood, which is why this hormone is so dangerous to use.
#7: Selected Others
Other drugs that are used in Bodybuilding are Clenbuterol (which is used as a powerful fat-burner). And thyroid medication Thyroxin (T4), which is used to speed up metabolism.
There is also DNP, which inhibits ATP (which makes you burn more calories during a workout). As well as numerous diuretics that can dehydrate the body of any water leaving the bodybuilder looking very lean during a show.
Finally, there is Synthol, which is used by some bodybuilders to fill out muscles that may be under-developed by injecting said muscle with oil.
How to Pass Bodybuilding Doping Tests
We do not condone the use of performance-enhancing drugs that have been banned.
There are many medical reasons why steroids are illegal. Taking them can cause serious side effects or even death.
It is not coincidental that so many professional bodybuilders die of heart failure in their 60s and 70s and it certainly isn't due to whey protein shakes!
That being said, learning the many ways that bodybuilders and athletes have passed doping tests is fascinating and will give you a better idea of the tightrope they are walking both in terms of legality and their health.
The guys who tell you that their bodies are down to eating right and training hard whilst selling the magical protein powder that gave them their bodies.
Those guys who are lying through their teeth every time they say that they're clean. They are not, obviously not but such is the state of the world.
They can't admit to buying illegal steroids, nor could they earn a living pushing supplements if they ever admitted what they really used.
That's just being street smart, and nobody seriously believes that they are clean.
For those of you who would prefer to see what is possible naturally there are always natural bodybuilders. These guys get tested before a competition and are therefore clean… Right?
Well sorry to burst your bubble but actually, there are almost as many drugs in natural bodybuilding competitions as there are in unnatural comps.
The testing in these competitions is not on the same level as those of professional athletes (in other words there is unlikely to be re-testing of samples from 8 years ago like the Olympics has).
In fact, there are many people who would claim that the organisations running the competitions are aware of this.
The amounts of drugs being taken by regular and ‘natural‘ bodybuilders are at a level that has never been seen before.
A low-level user would be taking a number of steroids that would have shocked most steroid takers in the 90s.
The drugs are more powerful, more effective, and are being taken by more and more people every year.
How to Beat The Tests?
If a bodybuilder is using steroids, how do they manage to beat these doping tests?
Well, the interesting thing is that drug tests are not as infallible as they are made out to be.
Lance Armstrong got away with it for YEARS. Even Olympic athletes have gotten away with cheating doping tests, at least in the short term.
This was managed whilst being tested by the number one drug testing team in the world WADA. So getting past a drug test administered by a regional ‘natural‘ bodybuilding competition which has no vested interest in actually catching anyone is a piece of cake.
What you have to realise is that the makers of the drug are always going to be one or two steps ahead of the drugs testers. Always.
You cannot test for a drug that hasn't been invented yet and this is one of the easiest ways for bodybuilders to cheat the system.
So-called designer steroids are steroids that have been slightly tweaked to create a new compound (this is also how legal highs are created).
The maker can then sell their new product until the government gets it together to ban it, by which time the manufacturer has created another variation.
Another common technique is to use drugs that have a fast clearing rate. In other words, a drug that can be clear of your system in a short time (without causing you to lose your physique).
For example, most injectable testosterone will only stay in your system for about two weeks.
This means that if you know you have a test at a certain date you can take your drugs all the way up to within a fortnight of the test and then walk away from the test with a pass.
Some other drugs are in the system for even less than two weeks. This is partly why random drug tests are so common in organised sport.
Drugs such as insulin (which is incidentally one of the most common drugs used in bodybuilding now) and Human Growth Hormone are pretty much undetectable (again, unless you're an Olympic athlete).
Insulin will be impossible to detect even a few hours after it has been administered! Even if it was caught the user could just claim that they required it for Diabetes.
Other drugs like Ephedrine can be taken up to a few weeks before a test as they take a little longer to clear the body. By then the user will have already received the results that they required.
There are other ways to cheat a drugs test. For example, taking a diuretic will mask the drugs or you can just switch urine with a clean person.
Even bribery and lying can help you get past a drugs test. Sadly the competitions that would benefit most from strict drugs testing have the least amount of money to spend on it.
A test for Human Growth Hormone would cost a fortune to do, and there just isn't that much money involved in the sport. Not to mention that strict and thorough drug testing would turn bodybuilding into a ghost town!
There is a reason why these drugs are banned, they are dangerous and could cost you your health, your freedom, or even your life.
Popular Anabolic Steroids
Here are some of the more popular anabolic steroids, how they work, the benefits and potential side effects too:
This is one of the classic bodybuilding steroids that have helped loads of people bulk up over the years.
It is a strength and muscle builder that is popular with people who struggle to gain size and bulk when training.
Dianabol uses the active ingredient Methandrostenolone, is taken orally and is just about the most popular steroid around just now.
It acts quickly by increasing your nitrogen retention levels. This helps you to build muscles much more easily than would otherwise be the case.
Expect to see impressive results in your size and strength in as little as two weeks, with a loss of fat too.
The popularity of Dianabol is in part due to its lack of serious side effects as well.
The fact that it suppresses natural testosterone production means that you will want to take a testosterone supplement while using it.
It also has a toxic effect on your liver, although you can expect your liver to go back to normal levels once you stop using it.
This orally taken steroid is the base for just about any steroid cycle you might want to do.
No matter what kind of improvements you want to make in your body, this is the starting point you need.
Of course, there are different types of testosterone available depending upon what exactly you want to do.
There are multiple benefits to be gained for using it, such as amazing gains in energy and a rapid increase in size. Another benefit is that you can enjoy a much faster recovery time.
This steroid increases your nitrogen retention and your blood flow, while also giving you other big benefits such as less stress and a boost in your libido.
As for potentially harmful side effects, these include liver damage, skin problems and blood clots among others.
As with any steroids you plan to take, it is wise to do some additional research on the dosage that is safest for you to take.
The powerful Anadrol steroid uses Oxymetholone and is used to delay fatigue setting in, to help oxygen get around your body more easily and to boost red blood cell production.
All of this means that it is ideal for adding bulk and strength. It can be used on its own or stacked with other agents.
You can expect to see huge muscle gains when using this steroid.
As with all of these steroids, there are some side effects for you to be aware of.
These include an increase in blood pressure, liver toxicity and hair or skin problems.
A temporary reduction in the dosage level is often the best way to deal with any of these issues as they emerge.
Another highly useful steroid for bulking up in double quick time.
Trenbolone helps to burn fat and build big muscles, making it useful in different cycles and for different needs.
Certainly, there are some possible side effects to be aware of with this supplement.
Blood pressure and cholesterol are among the areas you might be concerned about when using Trenbolone.
However, it is also highly possible that a healthy man using the correct dosage can take this supplement without any serious problems.
The overall opinion of many users is that this is one of the most effective steroids for bodybuilders but also one of the most worrying in terms of possible side effects.
While it is commonly used to cut fat, Anavar can also be highly effective at adding muscle and gaining strength too.
The active ingredient here is Oxandrolone and it is taken as an oral steroid.
It is generally considered to be far more effective at cutting fat than gaining muscle. Although improvements can definitely be seen in both areas when using it.
An advantage to Anavar is that it is extremely mild in terms of possible side effects.
Acne, hair loss and cholesterol issues are the main areas of concern to consider before using this steroid.
This steroid comes with a number of similar names but they all have the same goal; to increase lean, hard muscle mass and stamina levels.
The fact that it helps reduce water retention in the body means that it is most commonly regarded as being best for cutting cycles.
Winstrol can be taken orally and also comes in injectable form too. It is another strong and effective type of bodybuilding supplement that.
Its use can lead to fast muscle gains. However, there are some side effects that you should be aware of before using it.
Acne and dry joints are among the possible problems encountered when taking this bodybuilding supplement.
Side Effects Of Steroid Use
The reason steroids are regulated is because they are very powerful hormones with an effect on the entire body.
In a nutshell, abuse of anabolic steroids in men leads to:
- Testicle shrinkage
- Development of breasts
- Male pattern kind of baldness
In women, anabolic steroid abuse ends up in:
- Male-pattern kind of baldness
- Increase in body hair
- Clitoral enlargement
- Deepening of voice
- Coarse skin
- A decrease in body fat
- A decline in breast size
There are also other effects of anabolic steroids abuse that cut across both genders. This includes:
- Tendon ruptures
- Short stature among adolescents who abuse them
- Heart attacks
- Heart enlargement particularly the left ventricle
- Cancer of the liver, tumours and peliosis hepatis
- Severe cysts and acne
- Fluid retention
- Oily scalp
- Aggression and rage
- Delusions and mania
There are a lot of misconceptions and myths surrounding the use of steroids. If you are curious about the side effects of steroid use then it is probably time to set the record straight.
Steroid side effects have been the topic of much debate over the past few decades and this has unfortunately been accompanied with some misinformation.
When people debate the issue of steroids they immediately jump onto the worst case scenario bandwagon without having the real facts presented to them properly.
Conversely, there is a lot of ‘Bro-Science’ being thrown around the internet about the side effects of steroids and it is now time to debunk the myths. Here goes:
Do Steroids Block Natural Hormones?
The inhibition of natural hormones is probably the most common side effect that is associated with steroid use.
In most cases taking steroids will send a message to your endocrine system to stop creating natural hormones.
Theoretically, your brain wants the body to remain in a balanced state (homeostasis) and this ensures the body doesn’t have too many or not enough hormones in your blood stream.
When you administer anabolic steroids the brain signals to your testicles to stop or slow down the production of testosterone.
This mechanism happens when any kind of hormone is added to the body and the type of steroid taken can have a varying impact.
These range from a total shut down of testosterone production to a mild reduction where hormones are still being produced and circulated.
Fortunately, research has indicated that your testosterone levels do go back to their original after you stop the use of steroids.
However, the amount of time this can take is dependent on the individual.
Does Steroid Use Cause Liver Damage?
Many articles that you read on steroid use and their side effects identify liver toxicity as the main issue associated with their use.
Steroids that are ingested orally pass through the liver to be metabolised and filtered back into the bloodstream and off to the skeletal muscle.
During this process, the enzymes that are involved in breaking down the steroids are used as a marker of their toxicity and they will obviously be raised because of this.
Does this increase in the enzyme markers equate to your liver being damaged? In the long term probably ‘yes’; however much of the research within this area have used very high doses of steroids on their subjects and have mainly focused on liver activity and not damage.
Do Steroids Increase My Cholesterol Levels?
In terms of cholesterol, steroid use does lower your high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and increase your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Some steroids differ in the severity of lowering of your HDL level and increasing your LDL levels but why is this significant?.
Well, HDL is important because it helps to mop any cholesterol within the arteries before it is then broken down by the liver. This is the main reason why HDL is regarded as ‘good cholesterol.’
On the other hand, the LDLs can stick to the side of your arteries and cause blockages.
This is the main reason why steroid use has been linked to many cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure.
Do Steroids Cause Man Boobs?
The scientific term for man boobs is ‘gynecomastia’, which is the enlargement of breast tissue in men.
This condition is possible with the use of anabolic steroids because there is an increase in estrogen within the body via the process of ‘aromatization’.
This occurs when androgens are converted into estrogen. An increase in circulating estrogen levels then binds to the breast tissue to form man boobs.
Therefore developing man boobs via the use of steroids is in fact ‘true’ and not a myth!
Can Steroids Harm My Kidneys?
The use of certain steroids can place an additional burden onto your kidneys because they are involved in the filtration and excretion processes.
Many steroids such as ‘Tren’ can cause your kidneys to work overtime. This is evident with the dark brown urine that many bodybuilders omit after taking this particular steroid.
A solution is to drink plenty of water or cranberry juice to flush out your urinary system.
This should be the case for taking any supplements regardless of whether they are steroids or not!
Can Steroids Make Me Bald?
Yes, taking steroids can cause you to go bald if you have a genetic predisposition towards it.
The balding gene resides in your ‘X’ chromosome and steroid use can exacerbate the balding process further by the scalp reacting to the dihydrotestosterone levels.
This, unfortunately, does speed up the balding process if it is in your genetics.
A top tip is to check out your mother’s side of the family and see how many males members are going thin on top!
Can Steroids Give Me ‘Roid’ Rage?
You've probably heard of roid rage, either anecdotally “Yeah that guy got serious roid rage and smashed up his last gym when he couldn't use the leg press” or on TV.
When WWE wrestler Chris Benoit tragically killed his family and himself steroids were found in his body and the media speculated that he had suffered from roid rage.
But does roid rage actually exist? Is there scientific evidence that taking steroids leads to increased aggression that can result in violent attacks?
Anecdotally, roid rage has been described as unprovoked aggression rather than an overly aggressive response to situations.
So for example, the steroid abuser would get absolutely furious for no reason. This is not the same as getting angrier than you should, this is getting angry for no reason at all. It is important to make this distinction, and you will see why later.
The common belief is that having high levels of testosterone can increase aggression, this is why men are more typically aggressive than women. But is this actually the case?
A 1996 study by Schaal et al (1996) found that high school males with high testosterone levels were more socially dominant but actually showed low physical aggression .
This seems to disprove the belief that high testosterone levels cause aggression.
And studies that have actually looked into steroid use (like the one by Bhasin et al in 1996) have actually found no evidence of changes in mood .
A common argument for roid rage says that studies that don't find an effect on mood or behaviour are not using the high levels that bodybuilders typically use.
What's interesting about the study by Bhasin et al is that they used very high doses of testosterone and still did not see an influence on mood or behaviour.
There have been studies that have shown increased aggression in rats who are given high levels of testosterone.
For example, a study by Breuer et al (2001) found that testosterone increased the likelihood that the rats would “respond with aggression/dominance in a provoking situation” but that “chronic exposure to [testosterone] does not eliminate the ability to discriminate between social or environmental cues, as might be expected if it induces a ‘roid rage'” .
What this means is that high testosterone abuse could lead to someone reacting to provocation in a more aggressive or dominant way.
However, the person would have to be provoked like anybody else. Roid Rage is typically characterised by unprovoked anger.
So does Roid Rage exist?
After reviewing the evidence it is impossible to say, roid rage in the typical sense seems to be a myth.
Guys who are sitting alone in a room becoming ridiculously aggressive for no reason may exist. But there is no proof that the steroids are responsible.
Even if they are it doesn't mean that every man or woman who takes steroids will react like this.
But very high levels of testosterone might make users react to situations in a more aggressive way than they would have without the steroids.
Did Chris Benoit kill his family due to roid rage? It seems unlikely that it was solely the steroids, maybe they were the straw that broke the camel's back.
It is more likely that the tragic events were caused by possible mental health issues.
At the end of the day, there are enough reasons not to take steroids as it is. They can lead to heart failure.
If you are already an angry guy, dosing yourself up on testosterone might not be a good idea.
Do Steroids Cause Water Retention, and Will They Reduce My Sterility?
Some of the medium and longer steroids have an increased rate of aromatization and this can cause water retention. Therefore these types of steroids are used in the bulking cycles and not during the cutting cycles.
Typically shorter ester steroids don’t cause water retention and/or bloating.
In terms of sterility. Long term use of steroids does lower the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which is required to produce sperm.
Are Steroids Legal To Buy?
If you are an athlete looking for effective results and are not sure what supplements are banned in the UK then I suggest that you visit the World Anti-Doping Agency and view their list of prohibited supplements.
It’s a great resource for anyone wanting to find out which supplements are banned and possibly dangerous to your health.
Gym supplements are undoubtedly very popular. And they still continue to pique the interest of people looking to improve their physique.
Instead of looking for a miracle solution that will in turn negatively influence your health. I would recommend that you stick to the basic, proven methods to ensure that you look your best while always prioritising your health.
Illegal bodybuilding supplements like steroids are not only illegal to take, but also pose serious risks that are not worth the promised results.
How Much Do Steroids Cost?
We’re nothing if not economic here. If you’ve been bodybuilding or aspiring to be a bodybuilder, then by now you will have realised that it is not a cheap sport.
Gym memberships, the sheer volume of quality food you need to consume. Plus the cost of your supplements and then probably some sort of massage therapy or even personal training/coaching all adds up!
Steroids are not cheap, and let’s face it, would you trust a bottle of fluid being sold to you for £10 that someone claims will turn you into Ronnie Coleman? The price certainly won’t be that low.
Most ‘steroid cycles’ last anywhere from 10-20 weeks entirely depending on the user and many other factors.
Can you afford to start and maintain a ‘cycle’ like this which may cost you as much as £1000 to fund over the 20 weeks?
There are many considerations to taking anabolic steroids. Yes, they work, if you’re buying legitimate products. But they almost all come at a financial cost as well as an overall health sacrifice if you do end up experiencing some of the many very negative potential side effects.
How to Gain Muscle Without Steroids?
Want superior muscle tone that you can be proud of? But don’t want to shrink your testes, develop breasts or risk becoming impotent.
Well believe it or not there is a way. The good old fashioned way of perseverance and hard work!
To gain muscle you need to have a nutritious balanced diet and you need to work out.
Simple. If you don’t feed your muscles and keep them active they will atrophy, lose mass and gradually waste away.
Ok, so you need to be realistic. If you have a slight, lean frame, most likely you will never end up looking like Arnie.
That doesn’t mean you can’t bulk your body to the best of its abilities and have it looking pretty ripped in its own right.
Firstly, Your Diet
In order to bulk up, you need to be chowing down calories.
No, this doesn’t mean doughnuts and chips and gravy. We are talking about REAL food here. Food that is high in protein, complex carbs, and some good fats for good measure.
You need to be eating regular meals, about 5 times a day. Try breakfast, morning tea, lunch, post workout and dinner.
Be sensible with your quantities. “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”, is generally good advice.
However, if you are working out, you need to ensure you are feeding your body so it has the energy to keep going and the fuel it needs to build muscle.
Try eating a generous breakfast, full of protein and complex carbs. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, because you need to fuel up in preparation for your active day ahead.
Eat lunch and again post workout, ensuring you get that much-needed protein and carb ‘kick’. I would suggest that you try to curb the carbs when it comes to your evening meal.
Unless you are someone who likes to go for a run after dinner, you aren’t likely to need the extra energy.
What About Your Workout?
You next need to consider your workout routine. There is no point in eating all these extra calories unless you intend to use them whilst working out.
Balance your workout with rest days so the muscles have time to repair and regrow. But remember rest days don’t mean that you should lie around all day and eat.
You don't need to be feeding yourself extra calories if you aren’t planning on working hard.
Your body still needs to be kept active. Just rest the body parts you have been focusing on, and go for a walk or a swim. Don’t dismiss cardio.
Often, when we plan to bulk up, we are advised to avoid cardio because it will burn off our much-needed glycogen (energy) we have stored for building muscle.
What we need to think about here is what kind of cardio we are doing and how long we are doing it for?
Sprinting is a fantastic way of not only reducing unwanted fat but also building and preserving muscle tone. Try to incorporate 20 minutes of sprints into your routine, 3-4 times per week.
When it comes to weights, you don’t need to strain yourself but the reality is if you don't stress your muscles past their comfort zones then they are not going to grow.
Try working yourself at 80% or your one-rep max for a rep count of 10-12.
It is possible to gain muscle without steroids. However, like all good things in life, it requires discipline and hard work.
Eat nutritious and balanced meals often, and have a regular balanced workout schedule that works on increasing strength, and you are on track to achieving a toned body you can be proud of!
What Supplements Should You Use?
A whey protein shake is definitely recommended, as numerous studies have shown protein's help with recovery, strength, and hypertrophy .
Creatine is also a good supplement to take as it can produce similar effects to steroids in terms of growth whilst being completely safe and legal .
Incidentally take your creatine post-workout, as the results are significantly better than when taken pre .
I would also recommend supplements that contain caffeine before a workout as caffeine has a lot of benefits on performance. It also helps with fat-oxidation, and energy expenditure (it will increase your metabolism) .
When looking at buying supplements there are a few checks you should complete before you hand over your hard-earned cash.
You should always check the website first, to ensure the information provided by the vendor is important. The site has to provide enough evidence the types of supplement they are selling is legal.
A Better Business Bureau logo can be a sign of confidence. While systems of cybercrime prevention like ‘https security/SSL certificates’ and antivirus in-built in it mean safe purchases.
Does the website have a blog or forum? With posts in the blog and forum, you'll find lots of answers and pointers.
The manufacturer needs to have made the supplement in cGMP certified facilities that are periodically checked by such bodies as FDA.
A regularly inspected facility means that quality control is trustworthy and the supplements are safe to use.
You should take the time to inspect the packaging as this will contain all the information about the ingredients used.
Before you buy you will need to know whether the product has safe ingredients or not.
Buying supplements with a label that clearly indicates their name, ingredients, usage and other important information is recommended.
With the advent of the internet and social media. User reviews have become very handy while purchasing products such as supplements.
You should take the time to find as many reviews as you can from current and past users of the supplement.
I would also recommend talking to friends, bodybuilders, colleagues and trainers. They should know what they use and what is not worth your time.
Finally, I would recommend buying from stores that allow credit card payments is important; such stores are always checked to find if they are legitimate.
You can also request a chargeback in case the order was never shipped.
Anabolic steroids and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) are increasingly used today by both athletes and the general public.
They are used because the benefits (increased muscle size, increased strength, and improved recovery) are perceived to outweigh the risks (liver/kidney/heart disease, depression, and an increased tendency towards suicide).
Interestingly, a study by Hoffman & Ratamess (2006) concluded that the risks of anabolic steroids may have been exaggerated to dissuade athletes from partaking .
Whether the medical risks have been exaggerated or not, steroid use is illegal and costly and should be avoided.
Personally, I would recommend looking at legal steroid alternatives. And this is for a number of reasons.
Firstly they are legal, so buying legal steroids for bodybuilding mean you won't be afraid of getting into serious trouble with the law within your jurisdiction.
‘Legal’ simply refers to the fact that you can access them in your country without the fear of breaking any law.
Essentially, most nations consider them to be drugs and illegal to both buy and use. Doing so could lead to huge monetary and administrative fines or prison time.
By buying legal steroids there's no reason to fear any of these will ever happen to you.
Secondly, illegal steroids contain harmful ingredients or badly combined elements that hurt vital organs such as the heart and the liver.
This can lead to cancer, liver complications, kidney problems and cardiovascular complications.
Steroids enter directly into the blood and they are not the easiest to filter or control filtering.
Legal steroids have passed the various tests laid down by the FDA for steroids legal in the US.
Our favourite supplier of legal steroid alternatives is Crazy Bulk who sell a variety of alternatives including D-Bal, which is a Dianabol alternative. Plus, Anadrole, a supplement that delays fatigue, increases red blood cells production, boosts strength and encourages bulking, among others.
Legal steroids are great substitutes to pure anabolic steroids. They allow bodybuilders to gain the kind of body they want massively within a set time.
No prescription is needed to buy them and they lack the harmful and dangerous side effects of steroids.