Anyone looking to get into anabolic steroids is no doubt aware of the many risks involved. Anabolic steroids are serious business, after all. There’s more than a million Americans per year who take anabolic steroids for bulking, cutting, and cosmetic purposes. This doesn’t even count the millions more who are prescribed these substances for medical reasons. This is despite all the gloom and doom we’re told would happen if these substances are abused.
Of course, there is a lot of misinformation about anabolic steroids floating in the ether of the interwebs, which would take another article to address, so for now we’ll take a look at what one can expect from using anabolic steroids, and their overall benefits, particularly for those who are using them for the purpose of improving their bodies.
1. Muscle Growth
One thing that’s without question is that anabolic steroids work well for muscle growth. They make muscles grow faster — this is why they’re called ‘anabolic.’ It’s as simple as that. They are synthetic versions of male-sex hormones, after all, the most famous of which is testosterone.
Anabolic steroids, more or less, mimic the effects of testosterone in the body, and one of the effects of testosterone is increased muscle mass. Indeed, people suffering from conditions brought by a lack of testosterone are often prescribed anabolic steroids to keep their muscles from wasting away.
But how do anabolic steroids make muscles grow faster? To understand the answer to this question, one will first have to know how muscles grow to begin with.
When someone lifts a dumbbell repeatedly, he creates micro-tears in his bicep muscle, triggering his body to repair these tears by adding more cells and fibers to the muscle. The result is — you guessed it — bigger biceps.
Testosterone is what the body naturally uses to repair cells through a process called protein synthesis. Essentially, protein synthesis is what a cell does to make proteins. If that sounds overly-complicated, just look at it this way: the more the testosterone in the body, the faster and more efficient protein synthesis becomes, and the faster and more efficient muscle growth will be. And since anabolic steroids mimic the effects of testosterone, well, you get the picture.
Ask any bodybuilder who uses anabolic steroids (and takes bodybuilding doses) and he’ll tell you that it’s not uncommon for 50 additional pounds of lean muscle tissue to appear after a steroid cycle. So imagine working out on the one hand and working out while using anabolic steroids on the other. You can expect an additional 30 to 50 pounds of gains in the second scenario compared to the first. That’s how effective anabolic steroids are in building muscle.
Of course, all those muscles can come at a cost, but we’ll get into this further below.
2. Fat Loss
It’s no secret that losing fat is among the primary goals that users of anabolic steroids have. Almost every anabolic steroid available in the market has the ability to cut fat, because one of the consequences of increasing muscle mass — which is what they were primarily designed for — is fat loss.
One misconception about anabolic steroids is that they are great for weight loss. The fact is that, while some may lose weight while using them, a lot don’t.
I see you scratching your head in confusion. Well, let me explain. In a nutshell, anabolic steroids are great for fat loss, but not for weight loss. These two aren’t the same. Someone using anabolic steroids will definitely see his waist get leaner, but his weight might end up the same. This is because all the weight of the fat that he lost will have only been replaced by the weight of all the muscle he gained. Got that? Thus, one can end up maintaining his weight after a steroid cycle, despite getting much leaner.
When it comes to burning fat, not all anabolic steroids were made equal. Some are definitely much better than others at accomplishing the goal.
We can tell you right now that if your number one priority for using anabolic steroids is fat loss, then the best compound to use is Anavar. It’s also the compound with the highest safety profile — so there’s that, too. Anavar burns both visceral and subcutaneous fat (most anabolic steroids are only good at burning the latter), and it stimulates T3 levels better than most anabolic steroids, resulting in increased metabolism, and therefore fat burning.
Winstrol is another anabolic steroid that works great for fat loss — perhaps even better than Anavar. The difference is that Winstrol can ostensibly produce worse side effects. Another thing is that Winstrol is stronger androgenic compared to Anavar, which makes them less suitable for women who want to avoid virilization.
It’s no secret that people use anabolic steroids to increase their strength. Though none of them will probably admit it, many elite powerlifters take anabolic steroids not so much to increase muscle mass or endurance but to increase strength. The fact of the matter is that anyone who uses anabolic steroids will eventually see appreciable gains in strength after every steroid cycle. Ask any veteran user and they’ll confirm this to be true.
And of course it makes total sense that an increase in strength will follow an increase in muscle mass. To be sure, there’s much more to strength than muscle mass, but generally speaking, the larger one’s muscle fibers are, the more force they can produce.
4. Fast Recovery
Injuries to the muscle, bone, tissue, or tendons are common in bodybuilding. We know from studies that recovery time from mild injuries of this sort can be increased through the use of anabolic steroids. To be sure, most of these studies were done on animals because of the hesitancy of most institutional boards to recommend or approve non-medical anabolic steroid use, but we do have a preponderance of evidence nonetheless that shows that anabolic steroids do, in fact, speed up recovery in humans.
To put it in simpler terms, anabolic steroids block cortisol production in the body. Cortisol, if you’re wondering, is considered a stress hormone — i.e., it’s the hormone that a body under stress will produce. The thing about cortisol is that it has anti-inflammatory properties. These have the effect of slowing down muscle recovery time. Since anabolic steroids do the opposite — ie., it blocks cortisol production — the result is faster muscle recovery time.
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however, because blocking too much of the body’s cortisol production can carry side effects, including diabetes and high blood pressure.
5. Enhanced Endurance
Another thing anabolic steroids are proven to do is increase or enhance endurance. It does this by increasing red blood cell production and hemoglobin levels in the body. This has the effect of increasing oxygen circulation and delivery, and therefore endurance.
In simpler terms: oxygen is the body’s main source of fuel, not food. And increasing red blood cell production is followed by an increase in the body’s ability to use oxygen. The more oxygen the body can use, the more endurance it will have.
One thing to note, however, is that some anabolic steroids can decrease blood flow as a side effect. Since blood is what carries oxygen to the areas of the body that need it, an overall decrease in blood flow can decrease oxygenation in the body and thus negatively affect endurance. The best anabolic steroids for endurance purposes are therefore those that don’t impair blood flow. These are: Testosterone, Winstrol, and Anavar.
6. Improved Cognitive Function
There is evidence that anabolic steroid use can improve cognitive function in the short term. This is because healthy testosterone levels have been shown to improve memory and mental function in men.
Of course, there have also been studies that show a deterioration of cognition among long-term anabolic steroid users, so I’m not sure that the short term improvements can be counted as an overall benefit.
In any case, as with anything, those intending to use anabolic steroids should always do so responsibly (use in the right doses and the right cycle lengths) to avoid the negative cognitive effects associated with long-term steroid use.
7. It Will Give You That Ripped Look
This particular benefit might be totally subjective. Not everyone wants to have the veins of an elite bodybuilder, but certainly, a lot do. Anabolic steroids can, of course, make one look ripped (think Hugh Jackman in those Wolverine movies, or Chris Hemsworth in those… well, you get the drift), and of course one needn’t go as far as looking like Arnie during his bodybuilding competition days, but either case is possible with anabolic steroids as long as they’re coupled with the right fitness routine.
The reason for this is that anabolic steroids decrease collagen production in the body. Collagen is just another word for skin, really. This reduction in collagen production leads to thinner skin and a more ripped and veiny look.
To illustrate the relationship of skin thickness and looking ripped: Have you ever wondered why older bodybuilders are more susceptible to looking ripped than their younger counterparts? Well, the bodies’ of older people produce less collagen to begin with. This is just what happens as one gets older. So with anabolic steroids, you’ll totally be able to look ripped no matter your age.
Those veins that sort of pop out and give a bodybuilder a really aggressive look is also because of an anabolic steroid’s effect on red blood cell production (which we discussed above). The increase in red blood cell production and blood flow following anabolic steroid use enhances vascularity, resulting in a more jacked look.
8. Get a Squared Jaw
If you’re the type of person who looks in the mirror and wishes their jaws were more defined — or were more square — then this benefit might be a boon.
Again, it is a subjective preference. Some people like square jaws, and some don’t. Women, especially, will probably prefer non-square and more slender jaws because square ones look too masculine. But men will generally prefer square-ish and well-defined jaws.
To men not blessed (or cursed, as the case may be) with square jaws, well, we’ve got bad news for you. It’s been known in the science community for decades that women prefer men with masculine facial features, including strong, well defined, square jaws. But don’t fret, because you can always hop on the anabolic steroid bandwagon and square up that jaw in no time. Indeed, it’s well-known among steroid users that one physical effect of steroid use is muscle growth in the jaw, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing set of mandibles.
9. Long-Lasting Muscle Mass
One myth being perpetuated about steroids (among a slew of others) says that a person who stops using will immediately lose all the gains he’s made from steroids. The fact is that this isn’t true. In fact, research reveals that steroids might even have a permanent effect on muscle nuclei. This means that any gains you’ve acquired from steroid use can be recovered naturally, even years after you’ve stopped using.
But what about all the anecdotal evidence to the contrary? Well, they’re just that — anecdotal. Many anabolic steroid users who’ve lost their gains after stopping more than likely stopped weight training, too. Of course, if you stop weight training long enough, you will lose muscle mass. That’s just the way it is. But the great thing about anabolic steroids is that the muscle mass you’ve gained — and you’ll gain plenty after each cycle — will always be there for you to recover.
I know I’ve just downplayed the evidentiary weight that should be given to anecdotes, but if you happen to like them, then here’s one that supports the point I’m trying to make. Lee Priest (who you can readily google) is a good example of someone who’s stopped using anabolic steroids but was able to retain his muscle mass by continuing weight training. The guy is as jacked as can be, and anyone who sees him will probably not believe he’s no longer using. But trust us, he isn’t, had stopped using for a long while now, and is still as huge as he used to be.
What About The Negative Effects?
You’re right to ask this question. Using anabolic steroids carries risks, and we’re not going to tell you that they’re for everyone. If, for some reason, they’re not for you — maybe you have a heart condition, or maybe you have a history of liver disease — then don’t use them. Be smart, don’t be a knucklehead, and realize that it’s not worth looking jacked if the price is a few decades off of your lifespan.
However, we’re not going to tell you what to do, either. It’s your job to do a risk-benefit analysis and determine whether the risks are worth the rewards. What we can say is that listening to anti-steroid propaganda online won’t help. Many of the claims people make online about steroid risks are overblown. That’s not to say that they’re totally safe, because they’re not. Realistically, however, someone who’s using responsibly and who limits himself to the recommended doses and cycle lengths can expect to avoid problems.
Also — like we always say — not all anabolic steroids are the same. Some are safer than others, and some you’ll really need to avoid if you’re either just beginning or are a woman (because of the virilizing effects).
Anavar, for instance, is relatively safe. It’s even said to be “female friendly.” Granted, the “female friendly” tag has more to do with the fact that it’s significantly less virilizing than other anabolics, but it has a high safety profile nonetheless. To be sure, it’s not as potent as, say, Trenbolone, but you can still expect massive gains from the compound with proper use.
The point is that anabolic steroids aren’t safe, yes, but taking the proper precautions will generally make them safe. As with anything — as with any drug — abuse is dangerous, and anabolic steroids are no exception.
To the inveterate bodybuilder, the benefits of anabolic steroids cannot be denied. You get more muscle mass, an improvement in strength, endurance, and overall athletic ability. Not just that, you can also improve your recovery time, reduce your body fat, and get a more aesthetically-pleasing jawline.
There’s really just so many benefits that it’s no wonder millions use anabolic steroids in the US alone.
But before you go online, download a TOR browser, and dive into the dark web to purchase supplies for your next steroid cycle (there are easier ways to do it, of course!), it’s worth repeating that anabolic steroids are not for everyone. Neither should anyone expect them to be. These are serious drugs that can have long-term health consequences for ‘experimenters.’ Especially if you’re a novice, you don’t want to mess with these substances without first getting educated about them. And by ‘getting educated,’ we don’t mean googling a few articles and watching a few Youtube videos.