With more and more discussion surrounding the myths about steroids for bodybuilding, it’s important to separate fact from fiction.
If you’re considering using steroids, your decision might be heavily impacted by what you hear in the media or see on TV, but keep in mind that not everything you hear about steroids is true.
Here are three myths about steroids to help you cut through the noise and make an informed decision about whether or not they’re right for you.
1) Anabolic steroids are bad for your health
All drugs have side effects. When it comes to anabolic steroids, both short-term and long-term risks are associated with their use.
For example, men who have used anabolic steroids in high doses or for extended periods of time have experienced testicular atrophy (shrinking), breast enlargement (gynecomastia), and voice deepening due to changes in their hormone levels.
It’s important to note that long-term steroid use can also significantly increase your risk of heart disease—cardiovascular disease is currently one of the leading causes of death among males in America, so minimizing risks is essential.
But when it comes to anabolic steroids, many people assume they’re just as dangerous as other illicit substances like heroin or cocaine. The truth is that you don’t see many headlines warning about steroid overdose or steroid abuse.
And while there has been a lot of media attention on a handful of professional athletes who tested positive for banned substances, these cases don’t represent typical users; they’re outliers.
In fact, surveys show that most people taking anabolic steroids aren’t even athletes but instead older men looking to improve their quality of life by increasing muscle mass and strength. To be clear, taking anabolic steroids isn’t safe—it’s still a drug that carries some serious health risks.
But if you do decide to take them, doing so responsibly will minimize those risks.
2) They make you bulk up instantly
The number one myth surrounding steroids is that they make you bulk up instantly. There’s some truth to that, but it’s also an exaggeration.
You see, steroids are only one factor in muscle growth. Without a proper diet and workout routine your muscle gains will be minimal (at best). The moment you start piling on workouts and packing on protein, though, those gains will be accelerated—but it still won’t happen overnight.
Getting bulky takes time and work, even with steroids in your system. That said, there are rumors of steroid users making dramatic changes in their physiques after just weeks of use… but these are often backed by anabolic-androgenic drugs (AAS), a whole different animal altogether.
For example, AAS have been known to promote fast muscle growth through androgen receptors. They can cause rapid strength increases because they affect more than just your muscles. In fact, studies show AAS affects everything from bones to sex organs—which is why bodybuilders who use them sometimes develop male breasts.
When taken at normal doses for bodybuilding purposes, however, steroids don’t create instant results like many people believe; rather, it’s possible for noticeable changes to occur within two months of consistent use.
It all depends on how much effort you put into dieting and training as well as how long you take them for before discontinuing treatment entirely.
3) You can get them online easily
Research has shown that purchasing steroids online is a bad idea. In fact, you’re better off getting them on a gym-by-gym basis; that way, you can be sure they are clean and safe.
You might run into legal issues, as well. The steroids may not even get to you in one piece or at all if they are shipped by mail. If you want steroids to build muscle fast, consider other alternatives such as weightlifting and eating right.
These strategies will be much safer than looking online for illegal items that may not even work or may actually hurt your body over time. Remember, it’s always best to know what you’re putting into your body.
Just because something is advertised doesn’t mean it’s good for you! Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. He or she can advise you on which products are safe and effective.
This product/program was created by someone who didn’t have a background in scientific research: For example, think of fad diets—many of these programs aren’t based on solid scientific research and don’t have evidence behind them to back up their claims.
It’s always important to look at whether someone with experience in nutrition created whatever program you’re considering buying into. If not, chances are it won’t produce lasting results for you (or anyone else).
Look for solid scientific evidence supporting whatever product/program interests you—and remember that anything without proper research isn’t worth investing in.
4) They are addictive
Not all drugs are addictive. In fact, many of them are not—in fact, most of them are not. And steroids aren’t inherently addictive, either.
Even if you take steroids for an extended period of time, once your body stops producing testosterone and you have no choice but to keep taking steroids, that does not make it an addiction by definition, says Ryan Jimmo, a Men’s Health nutrition advisor and dietitian at Peak Performance in New York City.
How do you know when someone is truly addicted? There are three main criteria, according to Jimmo: compulsive use despite negative consequences; withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped; and preoccupation with obtaining or using.
If you don’t meet any of these criteria (and I doubt anyone who takes steroids would), then it’s probably safe to say you don’t have an addiction. But what if you are abusing steroids, though? Does that mean you’re addicted? Well, not necessarily.
People can become dependent on anything they abuse, Jimmo says. That doesn’t mean they’re addicted. It’s important to note here that steroid abuse is very different than steroid dependence: An abuser has used without medical supervision or control and may continue to use despite harmful side effects or other life problems associated with their drug use.
A person who is dependent on steroids may also abuse them but has developed physical dependence as well as tolerance for their effects—which means they need more and more over time just to feel normal (not high).
And yes, both of these scenarios can be dangerous—but only one is considered an addiction by medical professionals.
5) If you buy them illegally, the quality is poor
This is probably one of the biggest myths about steroids. If you buy them illegally, there’s no way to guarantee that what you’re getting is what you think it is and if it is, there’s no telling how safe it will be for your body or whether or not it contains some other substance meant to enhance its appearance and not yours.
Only buy steroids when they come with a label stating they are legitimate and legal. Never order steroids online, as they could contain anything from rat poison to flour. The powders can also sometimes be mixed with strychnine or other deadly chemicals.
These products are dangerous enough without having to worry about illegal drugs being cut into them. Always get steroid injections at a reputable medical clinic, which may require you to have an examination before injecting you with any substances.
And never take any more than prescribed by your doctor. Some steroids may increase aggression in users while others may cause people to become extremely depressed; they all have different effects on each person and most doctors won’t prescribe until they know exactly what will happen in your case.
For example, if a man using Deca-Durabolin experiences depression and his doctor decides he needs something else, he should change his prescription accordingly because Decaduro is known for causing extreme depression in users.
A good doctor will always keep tabs on his patients’ progress and make sure they don’t develop any serious side effects.
Why steroids are banned in sports?
There’s no question that steroid use poses a threat to athletes, but do you know why it is banned in sports? There are two main reasons behind it. First of all, steroids can cause serious health problems. If you are taking steroid supplements, there’s a high risk of side effects including stunted growth and baldness, as well as irritability and aggression. Over time, abuse can lead to heart disease and even cancer. At best steroids will make your muscles bigger, at worst they could end up killing you. Most leagues want their players in peak physical condition without any outside help so they have strict bans on steroid use by players.
Why do athletes take steroids?
Athletes take steroids for three main reasons. Firstly, many athletes believe steroids will improve their performance. Secondly, some athletes are in a win-at-all-costs mind frame and feel that using steroids will help them reach their goals, regardless of what others may think. Thirdly, steroid users often find themselves surrounded by steroid users and therefore can become socialized into believing that using these drugs is just a normal part of training for sports or bodybuilding competitions. The fact is that there is no evidence that use of anabolic steroids results in improved athletic performance. In fact, there are several well-documented cases where athletes have been found to be taking large amounts of steroids and they still don’t win competitions against non-steroid users.
Can steroids shorten your life?
The truth is that no one knows for sure. Athletes and bodybuilders have been injecting anabolic steroids (aka AAS) into their muscles for decades, but research on these drugs is relatively scarce—especially as they relate to potential long-term health risks. We do know that steroids can trigger side effects like mood swings, high blood pressure, and liver damage. But there’s also evidence to suggest that when used responsibly—and in moderation—steroids may pose less of a risk than some people assume. Like any type of drug or medication, it’s possible to abuse steroids; however, if you follow your doctor’s instructions and exercise reasonable caution, you should be able to avoid abusing them. Still need convincing?