The Big Cheat: 5 Reasons to Say NO to Steroids
The release of Body Beast™ has many of us thinking big, literally. And that vision can’t possibly be conjured in this day and age without thinking of one big, dirty word: steroids. In this society of instant gratification, we’re all looking for that “magic pill” that will help us achieve our dreams overnight. Who doesn’t want to lose fat, add muscle, and get into shape pronto?
Many people believe steroids are just such an elixir. Well, they’re not. While it is true that steroids can work, we believe they should be avoided. Unless you live in a cave, you know that major athletes in almost every sport have all been caught abusing steroids, and consequently been stripped of their athletic honors. The reason for this is, unless you have a medical prescription, they’re illegal. Steroids can be dangerous if abused and when you buy them from Joe Ripped at your local gym, you just don’t know what you’re getting.
In the context of this article, the word “steroids” is actually a colloquialism for a group of PEDs (performance enhancing drugs). It covers a broad range, from pain-masking corticosteroids to synthetic hormones that stimulate testosterone, to blood boosters that alter how your blood carries oxygen, to bizarre substances that trigger a myriad of physiological responses.
While this might all sound great, there’s a catch. Unlike food supplements that work through the body’s natural pathways, steroids are hard drugs. This means that they force processes on your body, which causes natural responses that can lead to trouble. Even under medical supervision they are tricky to use, and without it, you’re starting a battle between nature and medicine inside your body that you have little control of.
If you’re not already convinced, let’s take a deeper look at 5 reasons to say NO to steroids.
- Steroids abuse can cause serious health problems. Steroids can cause hormone imbalances that lead to depression and irritability, joint problems, muscle tears, and much more. They can also cause gender and age-specific damage. Men commonly suffer from shrunken testicles, premature baldness, and glandular gynecomastia (man boobs). Women often suffer from a deepened voice, growth of facial hair, baldness, cessation of menstrual cycle, infertility, and other unwanted side effects. Teenagers may suffer the gender-related side effects listed above, as well as stunted growth due to accelerated puberty and premature skeletal maturation.More recent studies have linked anabolic steroid abuse to an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and altered brain chemistry, which could lead to drug addiction. The real scary part is that since new steroids come to market regularly, many of the side effects aren’t well-known. The average life span of wrestlers and NFL® linemen—two professions anecdotally linked with long-term steroid abuse—is around 50 years. Based on lore alone, the dangers of steroid abuse clearly outweigh potential benefits.
- Steroids are illegal. Ever since the passing of the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990, steroids have been federally classified as controlled substances that may be prescribed for the treatment of diseases or other recognized medical conditions. Provisions were added to the Anabolic Steroid Control Act in 2004 to change the definition of anabolic steroids and make them a Schedule III narcotic. Using steroids without a legitimate medical condition is considered abuse. Illegal possession of anabolic steroids is punishable by unlimited fines and years in prison. But it’s not all bad. At least you’ll have an hour in the yard every day to pump iron, as long as you stay out of solitary.
- Black market steroids may be counterfeits, or worse, lethal. The risks are high enough when you know exactly what you’re taking; rolling the dice with black-market steroids is a game of Russian roulette. Sure, your buddy Alexi may bench 700 pounds, but do you really want to trust him as your doctor?If you’re thinking of obtaining your steroids illegally, consider this: A study released in 2009 by the Boston Medical Center analyzed the findings of 217 studies that looked at the chemical makeup of black-market steroids and found that 30% of the drugs labeled as steroids did not contain steroids.
Of those that did, only 44% contained the amount touted on the label. And 20% included heavy metals such as tin, lead, and arsenic. Heavy metal poisoning can result in cancer, vertigo, and all kinds of other fun stuff. Click here to find out how much fun arsenic poisoning can be!
- Healthy, regulated supplements can increase strength and muscle mass similar to steroids without the dangerous side effects. Let’s make one thing clear. Supplements and steroids are two entirely different things. Supplements are largely nutrient-based substances intended to enhance your body’s health and well-being. Steroids are drugs designed to alter your body’s processes.Supplements such as creatine, arginine, and beta alanine are just a few of the nutrients scientifically proven to improve strength, recovery, and lean-muscle gains. While they aren’t the magic pill that steroids might be, they have been tested rigorously and are completely safe when manufactured responsibly. Reputable companies such as Beachbody® make sure that their supplements are manufactured in facilities registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that adhere to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) and are certified by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Natural Products Association (NPA).
Protein supplementation and postexercise carbs: Protein mixtures for recovery are another safe way to build mass. Numerous studies support this, including a 2008 McMaster University study demonstrating that drinking whey protein pre- and postworkout increased muscle density and strength especially when combined with a safe, effective mass-building program to build both your health and strength.
- You don’t need to use anabolic steroids to gain muscle and lose fat. This is something Beachbody has proven time and time again. Practically anyone can improve their health and build their physique by improving their diet and increasing exercise intensity. Are you ready to challenge yourself and pack on some serious muscle? Body Beast is an extreme training and nutrition program designed to build muscle fast without resorting to the abuse of dangerous, illegal steroids. There is plenty of scientific evidence that even people with poor genetics can achieve good health, an excellent physique, and greater athletic performance through smart training, solid nutrition, and strategic use of supplements.
- Glover, E.I., Phillips, S.M. (2010). Resistance exercise and appropriate nutrition to counteract muscle wasting and promote muscle hypertrophy. Curr. Opin. Clin. Nutr. Metab. Care. 13(6): 630-634, 2010.
- Kanayama, G., Brower, K. J., Wood, R. I., Hudson, J. I., & Pope, H. G. (2010). Treatment of anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence: Emerging evidence and its implications. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 109(1-3), 6-13. Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
- Luijkx, T., Velthuis, B.K., Backx, F.J., Buckens, C.F., Prakken, N.H., Rienks, R., Mali, W.P., Cramer, M.J. (2012). Anabolic androgenic steroid use is associated with ventricular dysfunction on cardiac MRI in strength trained athletes. Int J Cardiol. 2012 Mar 27.
- Phillips, S.M. (2011). The science of muscle hypertrophy: making dietary protein count. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 70(1): 100-103, 2011.
- Ritsch, M., & Musshoff, F. (2000). Dangers and risks of black market anabolic steroid abuse in sports—gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses. Sportverletzung Sportschaden Organ der Gesellschaft fur OrthopadischTraumatologische Sportmedizin.
- West, D.W., Burd, N.A., et al. (2010). Human exercise-mediated skeletal muscle hypertrophy is an intrinsic process. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 42(9): 1371-1375, 2010.