Want to take a min of yours before we get into this. I met an old friend recently. She happens to go through my blog whenever she is able. Quite likes the content, however, the only issue she mentioned was the length of the articles. Well, this is the thing, once you get down to writing, there is so much information you want to share and this platform is the best way to communicate. I dunno about the length,however, I can assure you it will be worth your time and money. Also, just for everyone to know, I plan to start putting videos on the blog shortly. Watch this space and be sure to subscribe if you like the content!
Now, brace yourselves as this one will blow your mind.
This guy is on the juice! He is shredded as F#%k! Look at him push that weight!!! There is no way he could have achieved this naturally! Can you build a respectable physique without taking steroids?
If you’re an athlete, these are common retorts you deal with in today’s sports world. A sizable population in the industry is on some or the other form of performance enhancement drug and, to tell you the truth, most of it is endorsed or recommended by a so-called guru, or trainer and is hardly self-induced. You may ask why? Well, no one wants to know the science behind it. People just want quick results. It is the age of short cuts. Short cuts through mobile apps. Or get a trainer, or speak to a guy who has a decent physique. Emulate his training, sup guide, steroid cycle (that is if he is on one) no one will ever tell you if they take steroids, its considered a taboo, however it’s a part of the competitive sport.
Whatever happened to the old philosophy of TRAIN HARD, EAT RIGHT, GET ENOUGH REST and REPEAT!!!
Why take steroids considering the health risks involved, is it worth it? Well, before I get into details and pen down an article which could bring about a lot of backlash, let me be very clear that my intention here is only to educate. I do not have an opinion about people who choose artificial enhancers. I do not endorse any product or substance and I am not sponsored by anyone to do this. Why am I doing this? Well, I like to practice this sport and want to share my experience with everyone to ensure you are well informed and aware of the nuances. Intense shit, isn’t it? I know! Now, let’s get down to business.
What are anabolic steroids?
Well, as per the national institute of drug abuse, anabolic steroids are some or the other form of synthetic(manmade) testosterone (growth hormone) or the male sex hormone. They help in the growth of the skeletal muscle and the development of male sexual characteristics. Doctors do prescribe them to people with certain medical conditions and to men who don’t produce enough testosterone, however, never to young and healthy adults. It is a prescription drug. You just can’t pick it up like that. A list of some of the most common anabolic steroids taken today are anadrol, oxandrin, dianabol, winstrol, deca-durabolin, and equipoise. People often refer to it as roids, jucie or gear.
Why does one take it?
To get big as hell! To win in a sport where everything is at stake!
The pressure in competitive sport where everyone wants to outperform the other, or look better than the other is tremendous. If you happen to be an athlete who competes professionally, the burden to win and sustain yourself in the sport is tremendous. One can go to any extent to get that super solid structure, which otherwise is not possible naturally. For e.g., you can’t lose fat and build muscle simultaneously. Which means keeping abs and building huge delts or arms, (when I say huge, I mean big and disproportionate) can’t be done naturally. Some are gifted with good genetics, however, even then you can only grow up to a certain degree. If someone tells you “you can get big as a competitive bodybuilder without taking steroids, it just takes longer” doesn’t know jack about the sport
In today’s world, one considers itself to be greater than or equivalent to GOD! This is due to the exposure one has to technology and information which gave birth to the philosophy “Thou have INTERNET! THOU know everything!” This has changed many lives for the better and worse. It has empowered some and helped them to be proactive and change the world. And, at the same time mislead quite a few to do things for personal gain. Despite of specialists around, people are naive enough to refer the internet for information and then practice the same without validation. The source of the data is not important as long as its free, endorsed, you will take it.
The Mr. Olympians, the big daddies of bodybuilding, artificially induce substance to manipulate hormones to get advanced muscular anatomy, lower body-fat levels and still smash their way in the gym. Don’t get me wrong, training hard and eating right is still critical. Muscle gains are not always equal to steroids. It could be a result of hard work and great genetics. However, there is a limit to how much muscle a natural guy can put on. It is still possible to build a respectable physique with the right training principles and diet, however, if you’re going to compete, you will certainly be tempted to use something or the other to get an edge over your competition and surpass your genetical limit. Such is life for an active athlete. In competitive bodybuilding, no one cares about health, it’s the size, muscle and the win they care about.
Let’s understand the Pros and cons of Steroids
Everyone will tell you about the positive so much that you will almost ignore or pretend there are no negatives
Increases testosterone levels artificially– your body will reduce internal production of testosterone as it will externally get large amounts.
Massive muscle gains in the shortest amount of time– You will see phenomenal gains in as little as months or maybe weeks.
Helps to build big ass muscles and drop body fat at the same time-Your body will grow new skeletal muscle and drop fat which is only relatively possible when you’re a newbie or a being from another planet.
Makes you stronger and improves your form in the gym- you will get everyone’s attention in the gym for all the right and wrong reasons.
Helps in faster recovery– post workout recovery will be accelerated which will push you to go longer and better each time you work out.
Let’s list the cons now.
Acne- this is almost common and happens more than often. This is the result of high levels of testosterone. You will see an outbreak of pimples as if you were in your puberty.
Stretch marks– because you will produce massive muscle gains, your skin elasticity is not always equipped to adjust with the growth, hence, the same stretches and leaves marks.
Big gut or big stomach– Steroid gut comes from growth hormones and insulin. Steroid use enhances muscle development tremendously, however, it can also lead to heavy water retention and increased body fat. Your muscle and skin increase simultaneous to adjust with the oversized organs, however, your rib cage can’t, hence it leads to a bloated gut.
Gynecomastia or manboobs– This is probably one of the worst symptoms. It is often the result of excess steroid cycling where the testosterone converts to estrogen, the female hormone and leads to growth around your nipples and breast tissue. It gets converted into estrogen through a process called aromatization.
Can damage your liver- Liver filters your blood. Steroids can lead to inflamed liver, thus effecting proper functioning of the same.
Quick muscle transformation- If you see a guy in the gym making gains in a really short period and like nobody’s business, there is a high chance he is on the juice. They will often have large, disproportionate upper body muscles. This is especially true with the shoulders, traps, and back – since those muscles have more androgen receptors than other areas. The androgen receptor, is a type of nuclear receptor that is activated by binding testosterone in it-result, more testosterone which leads to better ability to build muscle.
Now as we understand the pros and cons of anabolic steroids, the use of it is eminent yet discreet due to its nature and given the competitive rules of the sport. I have never used it and will never recommend it. Simply ‘cause of the risks associated with it. I believe in working hard and giving it my best no matter what I do. Work, sport, life, you must play hard. There are no short cuts.
Multi-joint movements like squats, presses, and deadlifts, enhances one’s muscular ability and makes you super strong. Effective barbell training works so well that its results are often attributed to steroids by people. It’s common for people who have never gone through the process of heavy strength training to see their strength grow in a period of weeks. All this can be achieved without the use of steroids. When you see a Bodybuilder or an athlete it does not evoke positive thoughts. You think about muscles, food, steroids and various other things which are associated with the process of physical development of the body, however, no one understands the mental connect. The sport has taught me to be able to transform myself not only physically, also mentally. Your mind changes first, followed by the body. Train hard, eat clean, get enough rest. Repeat! This is the mantra I have followed.
Below is a timeline of my progress over the last 4-5 years for you to understand how I looked when I started vs how I look now. I am not a big guy with bulging muscles. Yes, I do have good muscle quality with 9-10% body fat levels year-round, and that, ladies and gentlemen as mentioned earlier, is a result of hard work in the gym, clean eating and the right mind set. I have been training consistently for 5 years now. Just to give you some figures
- I have over 1200 workouts behind me.
- That’s around 1500 hours in the gym
- Chicken breast, oatmeal, brown rice and vegetables have been my staple for the longest time ever.
- Innumerable clean meals that I carry where ever I go. Well almost wherever I can take them.
Body part development in the initial years’ vs now. You can see visible difference in deltoids, biceps, triceps and abs
This is what I looked like in the initial years of my training.
This is what I look like now, after 5 years of training.
This is progress over 5 years, year on year. The key is consistency. I have included a clip of my training at the bottom for you to have a look. It’s been a lot of hard work and trial and error in almost half a decade. Now, you will notice how my muscle quality has improved in the years gone by and the same is due to progressive training and not substance abuse. I have my hair intact, my skin is perfect and you can never say I am running 38. (would have been the opposite if I was on steroids) Now, if I was to achieve this in a year or two, it would have had to be on some performance enhancement drug as your natural self takes time to respond to training. You must put in workouts, meals and other things consistently to get results. The process does not get you results overnight, it takes time, don’t get disappointed. Be at it! Its not just the physique which changes, it’s also the strength you develop over the years. Just to give you an example,I weigh 164 lbs, I lift almost 1.3 times my body weight on bench press, I can squat almost 2 times my body weight and deadlift around 2.35 times my bodyweight.
This as per strength standards http://strengthlevel.com/strength-standards/deadlift is at an intermediate level and I am super damn proud about it. I have earned it the right and the hard way. Yes, it took a while to build the strength and the reputation. When i started, I wanted to lift everything in the gym. That’s the mindset and aspiration of every newbie. The sport involves strength standards to be broken or matched and the physical self is often tempted and misled to believe anything’s possible. Which is true to some extent,however, there is a process and that takes time. It took me many failures and injuries to realize that. Rome was not built in a day. So, give yourself time and you will see results. You can do the same without using steroids. I am often asked, if I take anything. Initially it would offend me, however, now, with time, I have learnt how to deal with it and realized that this will happen as people love to criticize and the sport has a reputation of sorts. So, the next time you see a guy with a good body pushing hard in the gym, it’s not necessary he is on steroids.
In case your trainer says you can’t build a quality physique without steroids, tell him to take a hike and do what you have to do!
We lift, therefore we are!