Whether you’re a gym rat or a New-Year’s-resolutionist or if, indeed, you’ve never stepped foot in a gym before, you’ve probably heard about the performance-enhancing drugs known as steroids. You’d be hard-pressed to find a subject more divisive, rife with misconceptions or more polemically charged.
In this article, in a fact-based way, we’re going to clear up as many of those misconceptions as possible. It’s difficult to remain completely objective, but what you’ll get here is a simple introduction as to what anabolic steroids are and some safe ways to approach their use.
Some Foundational Terminology
Before getting into the granular details of chemical composition and metabolic reactions, it’s good to start with a small glossary of what we’re talking about.
Anabolic steroids are one of the two broad types used in medicine. The other is corticosteroids. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone and cortisone, are used to reduce the body’s inflammatory response.
- Anabolism, also called constructive metabolism, is the synthesis of simple molecules into more complex ones in living beings. For instance, when you eat, the molecules from your food are synthesized into fat and glycogen stores as well as muscle mass and other structures. It stands in contrast to catabolism which is the opposite process.
- Steroids are defined as such partly due to their molecular configuration. However, that definition falls outside the scope of this article. It’s enough to know that they are a type of hormone that regulates numerous processes, including anabolism.
- Synthetic anabolic steroids are man-made versions of hormones that promote anabolism. The terms pumpers, gym candy, gear, stacks, ’roids, juice, etc. all refer to this type ofsteroids. UKlaw categorizes them as Class C substances.
Mechanism of Action
So now that you know what they are, it’s time to figure out how they work.
Testosterone – in part – is responsible for significant developmental changes in humans, including changes in sexual characteristics and muscle growth. It and other male hormones have strong anabolic effects.
In short, these hormones steroids are chemical signals for the body to accelerate the growth of muscle, bone, organ, etc. The steroids used in bodybuilding and athletic pursuits are specifically designed to have strong tissue building effects while minimizing the sex-altering properties.
Muscle cells have receptors for these steroids. When said receptors are stimulated, they activate genetic functions leading to the production of proteins and protein metabolism. Protein synthesis, therefore, increases and protein degradation is reduced, leading to muscle growth.
Some synthetic steroids also work not so much by promoting anabolism, but by minimizing catabolism. Trenbolone is a great example of this and it’s among the strongest muscle-building steroids.
How to Use Them
It’s important to note that without heavy resistance training, anabolic steroids don’t have much of a beneficial effect on growth or performance.
The data on anabolic steroids is relatively scarce in terms of medical standards but the data that does exist stems mostly from research done on experienced athletes of relatively advanced age. Very rarely will any coach, trainer, or physician advise using anabolic steroids to novice or young athletes.
Of all the anabolic steroids UK residents have access to, Dianabol is among the most popular. But evenDianabol can have severe side effects if abused.
Anabolism is a taxing process, so methodical nutritional practices are paramount when taking anabolic steroids. In this regard, vitamin and mineral supplements can be a great asset.
In an ideal world, any steroid use would be administered under a physician’s direct supervision. Barring that, it’s best to trust only scientifically validated claims and receive guidance from trusted sources with a proven track record.
There’s No Growth Without Effort
Steroids shouldn’t be seen as a shortcut to an imposing physique. The decision to use them or not is up to you, but make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Remember that your health should be of primary concern if you do decide to use something like Dianabol steroids. UK residents should note that it is illegal to manufacture, supply or possess/import/export steroids with the intent to supply unless they hold a special license.