Natty or not? How to tell if someone is on steroids

Natty or Not

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Steroid use is a controversial subject in many gyms up and down the country, particularly in the more old-fashioned “spit and sawdust” type gyms.

On the one hand people clearly use them, and the professional bodybuilders are all taking steroids, growth hormones, insulin, and many other illegal performance enhancers. On the other, as they are illegal it’s taboo to talk about them.

The subject is an open secret in bodybuilding circles, of course the top 10 bodybuilders in the world are taking banned substances (it would be impossible to create those physiques naturally).

But 1) if the bodybuilders admitted to it they could face legal troubles, and 2) they would lose sponsorship deals from supplement companies – which is a big part of their income.

While the jacked dude at your gym probably doesn’t have the same worries, he’s still unlikely to answer your questions regarding his possible use of anabolic steroids. But for those of you who are curious as to whether or not someone is “enhanced” then this article will help you to identify eight signs that someone is on steroids.

8 ways to tell if someone is on steroids

Not all of these signs will apply to every person (particularly the gender-specific ones) and neither does displaying one of these signs mean that a person is definitely on steroids.

However if you already suspect someone and they display two or three of these signs then you might just be on to something.

Sign #1. Bad skin


One of the most obvious side effects of anabolic steroid use is oily skin and acne. Like when you are going through puberty, increasing your testosterone levels can cause your sebaceous glands to release extra oil. This leads to oily skin which can cause acne.

This can be found all over the face and body, but seems to particularly occur on the upper back.

Sign #2. Hair loss

The idea that steroid abuse causes hair loss is incorrect, all it does is speed up the process in people who are already predisposed to male pattern baldness.

Steroid use can increase levels of the hormone DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) which is responsible for hair loss, there are benefits of DHT as a steroid though as it is one of the few anabolic steroids that doesn’t cause gynecomastia.

Remember that lots of people who are on steroids will not have any hair loss, and that lots of people who aren’t on steroids will lose their hair. So hair loss on its own is not enough of a clue for steroid use.

Sign #3. Hair growth

Whilst artificially raised testosterone levels can lead to hair loss, they can also lead to hair growth …. Just not on the head.

Increased body and facial hair is another side effect of steroid use, something that affects both men and women, but is clearly more obvious among the fairer sex.

Sign #4. Jaw development

Whilst Human Growth Hormone is more commonly associated with increased jaw size, anabolic steroids have also been known to have an effect on the size of the user’s jaw.

Remember that when people lose body fat their jaw will naturally become more pronounced, so don’t jump to conclusions just because someone now has a great jaw line.

Sign #5. Very fast muscle gain and fat loss

This is the most obvious of signs to look out for, and probably what tipped you off in the first place.

If the person that you suspect of taking anabolic steroids has put on a lot of muscle in a short space of time then there is a very real chance that they are enhanced.

Fat loss whilst gaining muscle is another sign, as it is something that is almost impossible for experienced lifters to accomplish.

Sign #6. Shrunken testicles

Just how badly do you want to know whether a guy is taking steroids? Because measuring their testicles can get you an answer!

Taking steroids can boost testosterone levels but as a result of this the body will begin to produce less testosterone (as you don’t need it), this results in testicular shrinkage.

The results may be reversible once the guy stops his cycle, but it is not guaranteed.

Sign #7. Deepened voice

Mostly something that is noticeable in women who take steroids but it can also affect men. Steroids can affect the vocal cords of users and lead to a more deepened voice.

So if the 5 foot 3 woman beside you sounds like Barry White then she might just be using.

Sign #8. Mood changes

There is some debate as to whether anabolic steroids can affect mood, research has had mixed results.

Some studies indicate that they do whilst others find that they don’t. But with all the hormonal changes, and the possible body issues that may have caused the steroid use in the first place depression is quite likely.

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Hi, my name is Jonathan, a fitness blogger and bodybuilding enthusiast and I am the founder of Skinny2Fit. I want to provide you with easy access to good advice that is both simple and to the point. Helping you gain muscle mass and strength!


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