Bodybuilding enthusiasts and athletes looking to gain an inside competitive advantage constantly battle with the temptation to take steroids or not. Deciding to body build naturally is much better than taking the steroid route. There are a number of good reasons to support this statement.
First off, have you ever seen what happens to a bodybuilder when they go off muscle enhancing anabolic steroids? Two words that muscle building enthusiasts never want to hear, atrophy (get small), and strength lose. The fact is a steroid induced bodybuilder should not stay on steroids day in and day out for years on end. It is suggested to cycle your administration, say, 6-10 weeks at a time, and then go off for an extended period of time before starting again. Weeks following going off tend to equal muscle atrophy, decreased strength, and even depression.
Natural bodybuilding may not elicit that huge, rapid spike in muscle growth in a super short time, but illustrate a long term, stable growth curve. It may take longer to develop muscle strength and size, but when you have it, you have it as long as you keep training at an intense level. However, as witnessed many times by former steroid users, a rapid shrink in size and strength occur to levels sometimes below the natural bodybuilders production. How much fun is that?
Take, for instance, a professional baseball player who administers generous amounts of steroids one year and hits 58 home runs, but is only able to hit 16 during his next, steroid free season.
Since we all want instant results, steroids may be attractive, but the medical side effects don’t quite seem worth it.
Is adding ten pounds of muscle more important than increasing heart disease risk, cancer risk, or manipulating your natural hormonal balance? This question is only for you to answer, not me. In my opinion, the risks far outweigh the benefits which are only visible when you are taking steroids. Size and strength quickly decrease after ceasing steroid use.
Steroid users seem to have a greater risk of injury from the muscle tissue growing faster than the, trying to adapt, connective tissue. The workloads are more aggressive, more frequent, and with faster muscle building recovery times. Once again, do you want the injury prone “quick fix,” or the slow, but steady wins the race approach? Just remember, the natural bodybuilder will probably show better results compared to the steroid user who has not used steroids in years. Are all the health risks worth it?
Anabolic steroids are illegal if not administered by a physician. I known people who have died, and even been thrown in jail for using, and selling anabolic steroids. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me.
There can also be a sense of addiction for the non-natural
bodybuilders. The performance enhancing, drug user gets a very good feeling when their bodies are pumped up and buff. However, the opposite happens when they stop the steroids, and the muscle shrinking process begins. Imagine the feeling these athletes get. Their body image quickly erodes, and thoughts of the next muscle producing cycle are rolling around in their heads.
Aside from the health, and legal risks, it also costs quite a bit of money to take muscle enhancing drugs.
Hopefully, I convinced you to not take the performance enhancing pathway, but to use your resources, and energy into training smarter. If you are a natural bodybuilder, and want an advantage, you must train in an intelligent manner. That means providing the proper intensity of muscle producing stimulus, followed by adequate rest. The natural bodybuilder must pay extra close attention to sound training practices, in order to continue that gradual, continuous climb up the muscle development ladder.
Just remember to be patient and think long term results, not quick, short term, hi-risk muscular development. If you make a chart listing all the positives versus the negatives when it comes to natural bodybuilding versus steroid induced training, the natural bodybuilding positives far outweigh the drug induced positives. Therefore, in my eyes, natural bodybuilding is a much better training system than anabolic induced bodybuilding.
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Jim O’Connor- Exercise Physiologist
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