Okay, so you’ve decided to take steroids. But have you ever asked yourself the question: “what do steroids do?” or “how do steroids work?” Big muscles, extreme strength and increased endurance are just a part of the pictures that come to our mind when we hear “anabolic steroids”. But the truth is that most of us know actually too little about those medications, although they are getting more and more popular with the years. Well, in order to make the best decision possible for you and for your health it is important to have at least some basic knowledge about how steroids work and what’s their impact on the human’s body.
Steroids were created in the 1930s. They were used as a powerful way to increase rage and aggression during World War II. Only a few years later scientists discovered their positive impact on the entire physical performance. Since then steroids are widely used in medicine. Anabolic steroids are legally prescribed to patients, who have problems with testosterone production or suffer from serious diseases such as AIDS or cancer. However, due to their strong action, they are widely used not only for medical but for bodybuilding purposes as well.
Long story short, steroids are synthetically produced form of testosterone and its derivates. As you probably know, both men and women produce testosterone naturally. The difference is that men produce a lot more testosterone than women, which is the reason why it is also known as a male hormone. Testosterone is responsible for the strength and muscles in the body – that’s why it is not a surprise that many bodybuilders that take testosterone can lift more and more heavy weights every time they hit the gym, while it takes ages for others to become stronger. So, by taking steroid supplements, many bodybuilders and athletes speed up the process of gaining muscle mass and strength and therefore improve their performance.
Types of steroids
As there are plenty of types of steroids available on the market, you should always keep in mind that choosing a steroid according to your goals and needs is always the best strategy to stick with.
Some steroids are used for medical- and others just for bodybuilding purposes. However, the main difference between medical steroids and the ones that are used in bodybuilding is in the ingredients they contain. Most medical steroids, for example, contain cortisone or other similar substances, which prevent a range of serious diseases such as arthritis.
Steroids can be divided also according to the way they should be taken. So, there are two main groups:
- Oral steroids – oral steroids usually come in a liquid or pill form and should be taken through the mouth. The main difference between them and the injectable ones is their half-life. Oral anabolic steroids have a relatively short half-life, so they should be taken more frequently. Otherwise, in terms of the question of what do anabolic steroids do, we can’t say that there is a big difference in the end result between both types.
- Injectable steroids – those steroids come in liquid form only. Most of the injections should be administrated intramuscularly once or twice per week. Although those steroids have stronger action as they stay in the body for longer, many athletes get scared when they hear the word injection. There is also a widespread belief that injectable steroids are more dangerous and cause more negative side effects than oral ones. This is however not completely true. In some cases, the injectable alternative is not only safer but it brings better results as well. Still, it should be noted that it all depends on the steroid. While in some cases it might be worth it to choose oral over the injectable ones, in others, injectable steroids are definitely a better solution.
As testosterone itself contributes to better physical performance and muscle growth, some athletes even combine different injectable and oral steroids hoping that they will achieve better and faster results. Of course the type of steroids you take should depend mostly on the results you’re seeking for.
Working principle of steroids
Steroids act as hormones in the body. They have both anabolic and androgenic impact and make you feel in a way that is really similar to the teenage period. This includes not only high testosterone levels, strength and muscle growth, but oily skin and hair, mood changes and acne as well. Other negative side effects that you might experience when taking and especially when overdosing anabolic supplements are:
- Mood changes
- Voice deepening
- High blood pressure
- Hair loss
Steroids stimulate certain molecules in the muscles, which on their side activate higher production of protein. When it comes to intake, bodybuilders usually choose between two main options called “cycling” and “stacking”. Cycling relates to taking steroids at certain periods of time, e.g. 3 months on, followed by month or month and a half off and then another 3 months on. Stacking means taking not only one, but a whole group of certain anabolic supplements in order to improve physical performance and recovery.
Proper use of steroids
Initially created for medical purposes, steroids are used for treatment against arthritis, tuberculosis, and hormonal disbalance. However, you should keep in mind that anabolic steroids that are prescripted by a doctor are not the same as the ones most bodybuilders take. That’s why, it is extremely important to visit your doctor or fitness instructor first before taking steroids in order learn more about what do steroids do, their proper intake and how to prevent potential negative side effects.