Talking about steroids can be a touchy subject, I have been fortunate enough to have seen both sides of steroid use and the positive and negative effects. I have seen both the short and long term side effects of steroids and many of them are not very pretty.
One of the biggest misconceptions that young bodybuilders face today is thinking that the only way they will gain muscle is by using steroids, in fact many bodybuilders did not begin using steroids until they hit the professional level, building lean muscle mass can be accomplished with lots of intense and heavy resistance training along with proper diet and supplementation.
Misconceptions about steroids
Many famous bodybuilders have used steroids, there are so many controversial articles scattered on the internet about famous bodybuilders who have used steroids, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, Mike Mentzer and Serge Nubret all used steroids to some degree. If you make it into the league of professional bodybuilding you may have no other choice if you want to be competitive, but if you are the average Joe, steroids are not worth it.
Short term side effects
Steroids are generally cycled over short periods of time, a smart athlete or bodybuilder will know how to cycle them so that the effects are most prominent before a competition, many athletes will use a certain combination of steroids to reduce water retention, increase the effects of muscle striation and fullness, however even short term side effects may include the following:
- Cardiovascular damage, risk of stroke or heart attack “enlarged heart”
- Pain when urinating
- Irritability or mood swings “roid rage”
Long term effects
Extended steroid use is often caused by men who use steroids for long periods of time, during bulking or cutting cycles, this often becomes a psychological issue because once a bodybuilder has achieved a certain physique, he or she may be reluctant to discontinue use due to the fear of losing their muscle gains, some of the long-term side effects of steroid use include the following:
- Liver disease
- Shrinking testicles
- Enlarged breasts Gynecomastia “man boobs”
- Altered mood, irritability and depression
- Kidney disease
In spite of the health risks many amateur bodybuilders will use steroids even if they don’t have the genetic makeup to become a professional, in fact many “not all” popular bodybuilders were gifted with great genetics and anabolic steroids are what helped them enhance the esthetics of their physique
Things you can do to avoid using steroids and still get big
While you may think that steroids are the only way to pack on muscle you are wrong, there are many things you can do to gain a significant amount o muscle mass such as:
Heavy compound movements
If you shock the muscle it will grow, the human body is amazing and will accommodate just about anything you throw at it, performing heavy compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, bench press and barbell rows will pack a good amount of muscle, it may take some time, but it is a very effective way to stimulate muscle growth. Most bodybuilders did not achieve overnight success, many trained for years, Jay Cutler trained for over 10 years before setting foot on the Olympia stage, so be patient and work towards your goals.
If you train hard, you will need to provide adequate nourishment for your body, high-intensity training without proper food won’t help grow, you need to make sure you get enough protein and carbs during the day to make sure you provide your body with plenty of protein so that muscles grow, be consistent with your diet and you will see strength and muscle gains.
Natural steroid alternatives
There are many supplements that you can take that will help pack on lean muscle, there are products available known as legal steroids that don’t contain any chemicals. Crazy Bulk sells a legal steroid alternative for those who need help during bulking or cutting cycles and they can be very effective, plus you won’t have to worry about side effects, Creatine is also something you may want to consider because it is absorbed by the muscle and can add more volume and help increase strength.
If you plan on competing in the big leagues you may eventually have to consider steroids, until then proper diet, nutrition and training along with a quality supplement are all you need to build quality muscle mass.