Have you ever wondered how those bulky weight lifters got so big? While some may have gotten their muscles through a strict regimen of weight-lifting and diet, others may have gotten it though less.. natural means. Of course, I’m talking about steroids. But what exactly are steroids and how do they work? How many muscles can you build using steroids? What happens to your body when you take them every day and are they really that bad for you?
When we say steroids for building muscles or strength enhancement, we are actually talking about anabolic steroids that are the synthetic variations of a naturally produced male sex hormone testosterone. This hormone is responsible for the development of male sex organs and other characteristics such as deepening of voice and beard growth.
Now you might be wondering if the steroid is just a synthetic version of testosterone, how do they build muscles? When we lift weights heavier than what we’re used to, we create tiny micro-tears in our muscle fibers.
The body’s natural repair process repairs the tear and then overcompensates by adding bigger cells to build a stronger fiber. It is this continual cycle of breakdown and repair that increases the size of the muscle.
Natural testosterone is the body’s main ingredient for this process. By taking steroids we are increasing testosterone levels in the body, which creates a much more efficient environment to stimulate muscle growth.
Once ingested, steroids travels through the bloodstream to the muscle tissue where they get attached to specific receptors. Once these receptors are activated, muscle cells increase their production of proteins, which your body uses to build more muscle cells.
Steroids also work by inhibiting hormones called glucocorticoids. Inhibiting glucocorticoids speeds up the breakdown of complex molecules like proteins into smaller units like energy-giving amino acids. That means your muscles spend less time recovering between workouts, and you can do more with less rest.
When you combine quicker muscle development and the quicker recovery time, you see how steroids might improve athletic performance. A study found that, during a period of ten weeks or less, the average muscle gains in people doing resistance training while on anabolic steroids range between 4 to 11 pounds.
The most impressive amount of muscle growth researchers found was nearly 16 pounds of lean mass gained in just 6 weeks of weightlifting with steroids. If those numbers don’t boggle your mind, consider this: the most accurate science-based models of natural muscle growth predict that men can gain no more than 20 to 25 pounds in their first year of weightlifting.
It means that with the right steroid cycle and training and diet regimen, you can do in just 2 to 4 months what would take a year to accomplish naturally. But that’s not the whole story! There’s a reason doctors warn against the use of steroids. In fact, there are several reasons.
Steroids don’t just impact the area you’re trying to work, like your biceps, for example. Pumping too many steroids into your body has a lot of adverse effects like acne, baldness, and erectile dysfunction. It can lower sperm count and cause testicular atrophy, better known as shrinkage.
Overuse of anabolic steroids can also age you faster. Then there are cardiovascular problems. Because of the way they affect heart cells, anabolic steroids can cause chronic high blood pressure, as well as enlargement of the heart.
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The hormonal effects of steroid use also increase your risk of prostate cancer and can cause kidney and liver damage. So, don’t risk it. If you want to see bigger muscle gains, find a workout partner to help you, or better yet, find a professional trainer. Don’t turn to synthetic drugs for short-term success at the risk of serious long-term damage.