“If you have the choice to do steroids or stay natural, stay natural. There’s no reason to do steroids, you’re only hurting your body and hurting yourself.”
Rich Piana (1970-2017)
Anabolic steroids go beyond the professional sports arena. With so many people using them recreationally, it’s beneficial to be aware of their benefits and potential, negative side effects.
What are anabolic steroids? AAS(Anabolic Androgenic Steroids), synthetic derivatives of the hormone testosterone, are very popular. Many gym members use them, as well as many athletes, bodybuilders, fitness competitors, and the like.
They were originally intended, and still are, for ailing people with degenerative diseases. Bodybuilders and athletes discovered that they were also an asset to help with performance enhancement and positive physique changes.
I don’t necessarily advise others to take them or not to take them but, like many others, I list the pros and cons of their usage in order for an informed decision to be made.
In my opinion, focusing on long term health through weight training and proper dietary supplementation is more important than seeking a ‘cosmetic look‘ for a few short months. One’s body will generally function optimally over a period of one’s lifetime when prioritizing health is the objective.
Most drugs generally work ‘outside the body’, meaning that they don’t work with the body’s immune system to elicit better health. The same may be stated for anabolic steroids. Although they improve athletic performance and body composition they don’t necessarily work with the body’s immune system.
The following is a very short list of the potential pros and cons of anabolic steroid use:
- Cessation of endogenous testosterone production
- Gynecomastia in men
- Chronic steroid use may damage the heart
- Drug dependence
- Virilization in women
- Illegal without a prescription
- Improved endurance from increased red blood cell production
- Increase in power, strength, and agility
- Faster recuperation from exercise
The preceding list is in no way a detailed one. To be fair, ignorance and steroid abuse, not responsible use, is the main reason for many of the negative side effects. Not everyone will experience the same effects as different people exhibit variations in results/effects.
In my 20+ years of training I’ve always preferred to use proper dietary supplementation and focus on good health. The reason I usedietary supplements is because they help the body to naturally produce its own hormones whereas anabolic steroids are synthetic and foreign to the body.
Leroy Colbert once stated, “anabolic steroids work outside the body, nutrition works with the body.” From personal experience weight training exercises combined with amino acid supplementation elicits a desirable physique over time, slows down the aging process, and affords one a better quality of life.
I also recommend using DHEA instead of anabolic steroids. Beware, there’s no supplement on the market that is anti-aging, however we can slow down its process through weight training and proper dietary supplementation.
DHEA is produced naturally in the body, works with the body, however it unfortunately declines in production as we age.
It is legal and can be purchased over the counter. I hope that my short take on this controversial topic has steered most, if not all of you, in the direction of focusing on one’s health over a lifetime.