There’s often an “afterschool special” mentality when it comes to taking drugs. That is DRUGS ARE BAD!
Well, we’re not going to tell you what you should and should not do when it comes to drugs, and we thought it was time to discuss the consequences AND the benefits of taking anabolic steroids.
1. There’s a big “juicing” culture
The sad and terrible truth is that many of the images you see of lean, buff, gorgeous guys in the media (including the stock images we use here) will be of men that are using steroids. It’s unfortunate but important to note that the look that’s often idealized in mainstream gay media – the white Adonis with abs of steel and the perfect bubble butt – often doesn’t exist without drugs. It’s physically not obtainable for the vast majority of men.
That doesn’t mean that you should just give up and get fat, nor should you start taking steroids just because you want to fit in at the next speedo-clad pool party. The point is that it happens far more frequently than you might think, and that could be why there is such a wide gap between what “those guys” can achieve and what your average gym-goer can achieve with regular exercise and with proper eating.
2. You’ll need to be cool with needles
While there are oral steroids available, most of them are hepatotoxic (i.e. toxic to the liver). In order for oral steroids to make it through your digestive system and not be broken down by the liver, they have been altered with a hydrogen atom replacing a carbon atom (commonly referred to as 17-alpha alkylation, 17-AA or C-17).
Whilst this alkylation is desirable for the athlete in terms of improving the bioavailability of the oral steroid, it does, however, place undue stress on the liver.
So if you don’t want your liver to konk out, you’d have to inject yourself in the butt or in your thigh twice a week.
3. You can gain a lot of lean muscle fast
Steroids can help you gain a lot of lean muscle fast, so they are technically effective, otherwise, why would these guys be using them?
A study conducted by Maastricht University revealed that – during a period of ten weeks or less – the average muscle gain in those doing resistance training while on anabolic steroids ranged between 4 to 11 pounds. The most impressive statistic being a 6 week gain of 16 pounds of lean muscle.
To put this in contrast, it is currently accepted that men can gain only as much as 20 to 25 pounds in their first year of weightlifting. Meaning that the right cocktail of steroids, training and diet could give the same results in two to four months as others would achieve in a year without them.
4. Steroids will not fix your problems
The most important thing to remember is that steroids are not a magic wand that will fix all of your problems. If you, like so many gay men, have body issues, then a cycle of steroids and a serious training regime will probably give you the muscles that you’ve always dreamed of.
What they won’t do is make you feel any better about yourself. The moment you come off steroids, those gains that you’ve flaunted all summer long will quickly disappear, and your body issues will once again rear their ugly heads.
5. Some of the side effects are reversible
Steroids may not necessarily be as dangerous as some people might think, but if you think that you could use them without any side-effects at all then you’re kidding yourself.
Research published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health shows that some of the side effects are, in fact, reversible. These include testicular atrophy (shrinking), acne, cysts, oily hair and skin, elevated blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol levels, increased aggression, and lowered sperm count.
6. Some of the side-effects are NOT reversible
Not to nag, but there are some pretty significant negative side-effects from steroid-use that are not reversible, including male-pattern baldness, heart dysfunction, liver disease, and gynecomastia (breast development).
Probably the most common negative side-effect from steroid-use is the risk of biological and psychological addiction, with one study finding that 30% of steroid users developed a dependence syndrome.
No matter how careful you are, there’s a big chance that something could go wrong when you’re injecting chemicals into your butt, with no guarantee that with all the muscle you’ll gain any more confidence and happiness than you already have.
So, steroids seem like they might be an option, but they’re not the ONLY option if you’re struggling to make changes and see improvements. If you want a healthier alternative then your best bet is to get in touch with a gay personal trainer who can give you some real advice on your training and nutrition.
It may not be as fast as steroids, but at least you won’t have to stab yourself in the butt twice a week