The benefits of taking anabolic steroids are numerous. While anyone considering taking them should think long and hard about whether they are ready for the side effects, we know that there are going to be a certain percentage of you who are going to take them whatever the risks.
The purpose of this article is to help you understand what anabolic steroids are, what they do, what the benefits of taking them are, what the downsides are, and how to take them safely.
What are Anabolic Steroids?
The full name of steroids is anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS). They are made up of natural and synthetic androgens (lab made) that are similar in structure to the hormone testosterone, they also have the same effects.
Steroids have been around since the 1930s and are used in medicine to help cancer or AIDS sufferers increase appetite and build some muscle.
They can also be used to help men with pituitary issues that prevent them from producing enough testosterone naturally.
They have been used by athletes and bodybuilders to improve performance in sports or in the gym, or to improve body composition. They are increasingly taken by “regular” people as a way to get bigger, get stronger, and look better.
How do Anabolic Steroids Work?
Anabolic steroids work by replicating the effects of the testosterone hormone, this causes androgenic and anabolic changes to your body.
Anabolic means muscle growth, bone density increases, and a higher red blood cell count. Androgenic refers to sexual characteristics.
Most steroids have been created to focus more on the anabolic side and less on the androgenic.
When you take an anabolic steroid they travel through the bloodstream until they hit a steroid receptor molecule (which is found in muscle cells).
When the receptor is stimulated it starts to produce proteins and releases enzymes that help you build muscle mass (through protein synthesis) .
Steroids also work as an anti-catabolic, this means that they can prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue by blocking cortisol.
What are the Benefits of taking Anabolic Steroids?
There are many benefits to taking steroids, they can increase your strength and hugely increase hypertrophy.
Studies have shown that long term steroid use can lead to massive gains in lean body mass . Taking steroids can also help reduce body fat, and increase bone density (reducing the risks of fractures).
There is even evidence that you could take anabolic steroids, stay completely sedentary (i.e. don’t exercise) and still see gains in size and strength – though nowhere near as much as you would with a well programmed weight training program.
High testosterone levels can improve libido, improve mood, and improve sleep duration and quality.
Anabolic steroids will help you recover from exercise quicker, will prevent catabolism after extended workouts, and will allow your body to gain more muscle size and strength from each workout.
It is for this reason that natural bodybuilders will never be able to compete with steroid taking bodybuilders. They simply can’t train as long, and if they did they wouldn’t get anywhere near the same benefits.
What are the Negatives of taking Anabolic Steroids?
Well the most obvious negative is that taking anabolic steroids is illegal, if caught taking, selling, or buying steroids you could be risking fines or even prison (depending on where you live).
This means that buying steroids is a risky business. You have to buy them from less reputable sources than your local chemist, this can put you at risk.
If your dealer rips you off who are you going to complain to? This is one of the most overlooked downsides to steroid use.
Other downsides of taking anabolic steroids are of the physiological variety. Decreased sperm count in men, atrophy of the testicles (tiny balls), mood fluctuations, acne, baldness, increased body hair (seems unfair to lose hair from your head while gaining it on your back).
Increased aromatase production is another huge problem. This is an enzyme that your body produces when it feels that your testosterone levels are too high, its function is to redress the balance. It converts excess testosterone into estrogen.
Your body will also stop producing testosterone naturally, this combination can lead to symptoms such as gynecomastia – or the growth of breast tissue in men.
Interestingly, a lot of the negative side effects of taking anabolic steroids can be prevented if you take them properly.
The purpose of this guide is not to encourage you to take steroids, but to help you take them safely if you decide to use them anyway.
Using Anabolic Steroids Safely
Now we’re going to take a look at how to use anabolic steroids in a safe way, this will reduce the risk of negative side effects, and will also reduce the risk of you getting into trouble.
We’ll take a look at six factors that you should consider when you start out taking steroids.
Consideration #1: Legal issues
The first thing that you should do is make sure that you are aware of the legal status of anabolic steroids in your country/state.
A country such as Mexico, for example allows the purchasing of anabolic steroids legally without prescription. On the other hand, possession of anabolic steroids can get you arrested in other countries.
Whether the steroid is legal or not in your country may not matter to you, but it is still important to be aware of the risk … or move to Mexico!
Consideration #2: Know your steroids
You can purchase steroids in two forms, either injectable, or you can buy them in pill form.
The idea of sticking a needle into your body may be quite off putting and as a result you may feel that pills are a safer way of taking steroids. This is actually incorrect. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a time and place for oral steroids though.
Oral Steroids – Because you are swallowing them, they will have to pass through your gastrointestinal system and are then metabolised in the liver. Because of this they are more likely to cause your liver harm (usually if taken over long periods of time).
Oral steroids don’t last as long as injectable steroids, so have to be taken more frequently.
This has some advantages and disadvantages. The increased volume can help cause much bigger muscle gains, but it can also come with bloating, nausea, and stomach upsets.
They can also affect your cholesterol, removing good (HDL) and increasing bad (LDL) cholesterol. Oral steroids are often taken at the start of a cycle, before switching to injectable steroids.
Injectable Steroids – For these steroids you will need to purchase syringes and needles, which is probably easier than you think, but again comes with an added level of caution.
Make sure that your needles are brand new and completely sterile. You will also want to purchase plasters/band-aids, and some rubbing alcohol.
Once you have injected them into your bloodstream they will stay there much longer than the oral version. Because of this you don’t need to take them as often, and therefore will suffer less side effects, and usually get better results.
Examples of oral steroids include: Trenbolone, Winstrol, Dianabol, Anadrol, and Halotestin.
Clenbuterol gets honourable mention as it is not exactly an anabolic steroid, but it has similar effects and can be taken orally.
Examples of injectable steroids include: Testosterone, Trenbolone (there’s an oral and injectable version), Deca Durabolin, Winstrol Depot, and Trenabol.
Consideration #3: Learn about cycling
You can’t take anabolic steroids every day for 365 days, not only would this cause a lot of issues (particularly to your liver) but it simply is not an effective way to use them.
Bodybuilders take steroids in cycles. Usually a beginner would take a steroid such as testosterone for 12 weeks, after the 12 weeks are finished they would have a few weeks (3-4 is usually enough) where they don’t take anything.
This is so that the testosterone can clear out of their system. After that they would take a product called a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator. This would help to prevent an increase in estrogen (which we mentioned earlier).
After you have been taking it for a while though, you may want to take things up a notch.
This is where people start stacking products together. Often bodybuilders will take different drugs that complement each other, and compliment their specific goals.
For example Dianabol (an oral steroid) is often taken after a 12 week testosterone cycle, which is great for bulking. But it can lead to increases in estrogen, so must be taken with an aromatase inhibitor.
Suddenly you’ve got 3 or 4 products that have to be taken in a certain order. As you can see it can quickly get confusing, which is why newbie steroid users should probably stick the simple cycle we mentioned above.
Consideration #4: Find a reputable seller
So where exactly are you planning on getting your hands on anabolic steroids? In some countries it may be as easy as walking into a chemist, but in most you’ll need to either purchase them online or find yourself a dealer.
This can be an intimidating prospect, and isn’t as simple as just walking up to the biggest guy in the gym and giving him your money.
First you need to find the right gym, you’re not going to find too many steroid dealers in a legs, bums, and tums class. But you may in a commercial gym with a large weights section.
Alternatively bodybuilding gyms are a great choice. Next it’s about ingratiating yourself with the most obvious steroid users out there.
Train with them (if they’ll let you), spot them when they need it, ask them questions about training and diet.
Once you’ve established a rapport, then you can ask them if they know anyone who can help you. If you don’t have time for this then you can of course attempt to walk up and ask them, but don’t be surprised if you don’t get anywhere!
Online purchasing can be quite risky in its own way, but may appeal to anyone who doesn’t want to deal with gym bros.
Research exactly what product that it is you want, and then read the packaging carefully, try to find (through forums or word of mouth) a reputable company that you can trust.
Consideration #5: Human vs Veterinary
Basically there are two forms of steroid that you can purchase, steroids that were created for humans and steroids that were created for animals.
A lot of people say that you should avoid veterinary steroids as they don’t work as well, but they are exactly the same thing. Testosterone is testosterone, Dianabol is Dianabol.
Find whichever is cheaper or easier to get and choose that one.
Consideration #6: Avoiding the side effects
We mentioned this earlier while talking about side effects, but it is possible to lessen or completely avoid some of the side effects associated with taking anabolic steroids.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators can help prevent excessive estrogen production. Anti-aromatase drugs can prevent gynecomastia, and so on.
Search forums, ask friends who have taken them, ask the blokes in your gym. Then do your own research.
Before taking a certain steroid find out what the side effects are, and what is recommended to prevent them.
If you have your heart set on taking anabolic steroids, then go for it.
Just ensure that you are careful, that you know what it is you want out of it, how to prevent side effects, and what dosages you should be taking. This will ensure the best results possible with the least amount of negative side effects.
For those that do not wish to risk taking steroids there are alternatives available for example legal steroids.
If you are looking for a company that sells legal steroids then my recommendation would be Crazy Bulk, who sell a range of steroid alternatives including D-Bal.
D-Bal is a safe and legal alternative to the banned anabolic steroid Dianabol.
Ingredients found in D-Bal include various BCAAs, Whey Protein Concentrate and Tribulus Terrestris, which when combined will help increase nitrogen retention within your body.
This will then cause an increase in protein synthesis.
Other benefits on offer include:
- Strength and muscle gains
- Better endurance
- An increase in nitrogen retention
- Extra blood flow and oxygen sent to your muscles
There are numerous testimonials available on the Crazy Bulk website that prove these claims if you have any doubts.