Everyone has an opinion on steroids, they’re either an awesome way to get massive fast, or they are a dangerous gateway drug that will destroy your life and leave you a psychotic mess.
The general consensus seems to err on the latter side of the argument. But most people know absolutely nothing about steroids, what they are, how they work, or what the dangers really are.
The media certainly hasn’t helped, when the WWE wrestler Chris Benoit tragically killed himself and murdered his family in 2007 the media was quick to blame roid rage. It didn’t matter that there was no evidence for this, he was a wrestler, so it was assumed that he was on steroids and that the steroids were responsible.
We will look into roid rage later on in this article, but will briefly touch on this story now.
Even if roid rage exists, it would be insane to assume that any drug affects everyone in the same way.
Some people are allergic to penicillin while others are fine. Some people can drink 12 cans of lager and be the life and soul of the party, while others can drink 4 lagers and punch someone in the face. It’s the same with steroids.
With all the misinformation being thrown about, it is difficult to have a proper discussion about steroid use. If one side is preaching that steroids are the greatest thing since sliced bread, and another side are calling them devil drugs then there is no middle ground.
In this article we will take a look at the top 5 myths about steroids in bodybuilding, and try to clear up these misconceptions.
Myth #1. Steroids will only work if you exercise
People who are pro steroids often find themselves defending bodybuilders and professional athletes who have been caught taking them.
This is usually necessary, because the anti-steroid debaters are often using faulty logic to attack anyone who uses steroids. The user is called a cheat, and it is claimed that without steroids they would be nothing.
Pro steroid users will then say that without exercise, steroids don’t do anything.
That if you took steroids and then sat down in a room for 6 weeks you would see no difference in your physique. This makes sense when you think about it, how can your muscles grow in size when they are not pumping iron?
Amazingly the idea that steroids need exercise to increase muscle size is a myth.
Studies on non-lifters have shown that taking steroids will increase muscle mass, even if the steroid user in question does not participate in exercise.
The study found that men who did not exercise but took steroids had greater increases in arm size, leg size, and increases in strength (bench press and squats) than men who did not exercise and did not take steroids .
What does this mean? Theoretically, if you are an untrained male you could sit in your room, take steroids, and see increased strength and muscle size within a short period of time.
The steroids themselves are enough to illicit a change in your physique. But as we will see in myth #2, this is not the whole story.
Myth #2. Steroids alone are responsible for bodybuilders’ physiques
If you had previously claimed that without steroids, bodybuilders would just look like regular people you might be feeling quite smug right now.
Well sadly we’re here to burst your bubble (the aim of this article is to leave nobody satisfied).
The study we mentioned was on untrained men, normal men, the kind of guy you’d see at work, or in line at Burger King.
This was not a study on potential bodybuilders. If it had been the results would have been less dramatic.
Think of it this way, if you are completely broke finding a $10 bill would see a dramatic rise in your finances. On the other hand, if you had been consistently making $100 per day for 6 years, that $10 would make less of a difference to your finances.
It’s the same thing with training, a bodybuilder without steroids would still be huge. Their consistent training day in day out for years on end would have led to large changes in strength and size.
Adding steroids to their physiques (and then keeping their training the same or even reducing it) may lead to a very small improvement in physique and strength, but it could also lead to no change, or a reversal.
The benefits of steroid use for bodybuilders who are already in good shape, is that it allows them to train much harder, allows them to recover better, and allows their muscles to increase in size and strength more than they would without steroids.
This means that a bodybuilder who is massive will gain some size and strength, but it will come from training and the differences will not be massively obvious.
Myth #3. Roid Rage can lead to violence and crime
Roid rage is a term used describe bodybuilders who take steroids and become enraged as a result.
The idea is that someone on steroids is more likely to lash out at a partner or friend, have a short temper, or attack strangers.
Roid rage is also used to negatively describe any bodybuilder. It’s a stereotype that’s very similar to “small man syndrome”.
There’s nothing scientific about saying that small men have a complex about their height and that it affects their temper. But this belief still exists, it doesn’t matter if you encounter 400 genial small men, if you see one small man who is angry your belief will be confirmed.
It’s the same with bodybuilders. 99% of bodybuilders can be as nice as pie, but one angry dude seems to represent all bodybuilders as a roid rager.
The truth is that long term steroid use does not seem to cause rage in anyone except for people who already had anger issues.
A study in 2001 found only mild (and reversible) effects on mood and cognition when men took steroids . In fact, rage is even less likely than depression – which is still rare!
Myth #4. Natural Bodybuilders are free of steroids
Everyone bar perhaps the most myopic of bodybuilding fans accepts that professional bodybuilders all take steroids. They may not be able to admit it for legal reasons, but it’s pretty obvious that their physiques are now far beyond the realms of natural.
Luckily for those who want to avoid the dangers (both legal and health related) of taking steroids there is natural bodybuilding.
Well we have some bad news for you, many natural bodybuilders are anything but.
Yeah they may not be massive in the same way as Ronnie Coleman was, but their physiques have also been assisted by steroids.
But what about testing? You ask. Well what about it? Most competitions can only afford one test, it’s not randomised, and there is no real benefit for the testers to actually catch anyone.
Most drugs can be out of your system within a couple of weeks, and a natural bodybuilder will know when to stop taking anything.
It’s not like the Olympics, where athletes are tested randomly and repeatedly throughout the year.
If you’re a natural bodybuilder who doesn’t compete, then there really is nothing stopping you from using.
We’re not saying that every natural bodybuilder is on steroids, in fact it’s probably just a small percentage. But that percentage would include all of the most well known and successful bodybuilders out there.
Myth #5. The side effects of steroids affect everyone
The side effects of steroids definitely exist, but not everyone will be affected by all of them.
All of the side effects are reversible in men, provided they follow a proper course.
When you take antibiotics, or a headache tablet, do you read the side effects? Do you immediately assume that every single side effect on that list is going to affect you? No of course not, in most cases none of them will.
If you took too much of the tablets, or if you had underlining health issues then you might be more likely to be affected. It’s the same thing with steroids.
If you are already depressed, and you take large doses of steroids, then you are more likely to be affected by depression. If you take steroids for too long, then gynecomastia is more likely.
Safe Alternatives to Steroids
Crazy Bulk is a supplement store that offers a range of “legal steroids”. While not as effective as real steroids they are certainly a much safer option.
One of their most popular products is D-Bal, which is a safe and legal alternative to the popular but now-banned anabolic steroid Dianabol.
D-Bal contains proven ingredients, which include BCAAs, Whey Protein Concentrate and Tribulus Terrestris.
When these ingredients are combined you will experience an increase in nitrogen retention, which will lead to an increase in protein synthesis.
Other benefits you will experience include:
- Increased strength and muscle
- More endurance
- More nitrogen retained
- Extra blood flow due to the extra oxygen being sent to your muscles
If there are any doubts in your mind whether D-Bal works as claimed, you only need to visit the Crazy Bulk website. They have numerous testimonials available to back up these claims.
 Bhasin, S., Storer, T., Berman, N., Callegari, C., Clevenger, B., Phillips, J., Bunnell, T., Tricker, R., Shirazi, A., Casaburi, R. 1996. The effects of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone on muscle size and strength in normal men. The New England Journal of Medicine 335: 1-7
 Brown, E., Chandler, P. 2001. Mood and cognitive changes during systemic corticosteroid therapy. The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 3(1): 17-21