For decades, there has long since been a stigma associated with the use of anabolic steroids for bodybuilding purposes that exists to this very day.
If used correctly, however, the risks are minimal and the rewards are substantial.
Different people use steroids for different reasons, because there are so many compounds to choose from.
People seem to think that all steroids are the same and that they were created equally, when in actual fact this is not the case at all.
Different steroids work in different ways and have different effects on the body.
Some boost strength, some increase muscle, some burns fat, and some increase energy levels.
But how do anabolic steroids work?
What Are Steroids And What Do They Do?
Before we address the question of how do anabolic steroids work, first up we’ll take a look at what steroids are and what they do.
Steroids can be anabolic and androgenic, and are best described as being synthetic compounds designed to mimic the effects of anabolic hormones in the body such as testosterone.
Testosterone, however, actually affects the body in two separate ways.
To begin with, it can have androgenic effects which are characterized by excessive hair growth and a deepening of the voice.
Secondly, however, it can have anabolic effects on the body.
This is where bone mass, and perhaps more importantly, muscle mass percentages, increase fairly rapidly.
Generally, all steroids will have androgenic and anabolic effects on the body, the only real difference is that many artificially created steroids can be designed so that they provide very minimal androgenic side effects.
How Do Anabolic Steroids Work?
Steroids, as you are no doubt aware, serve primarily as compounds to help enhance a person’s overall muscle mass levels.
But how are steroids able to do that?
Well, you see, when we lift weights in the gym, the reason why it hurts, and the reason why we’re sore afterwards, is because we aren’t building muscle at all.
In actual fact, what we’re doing is destroying muscle tissue as we are making tiny tears and rips in the muscle fibres.
The body will virtually instantly begin natural repair processes such as protein synthesis, which is where new muscle proteins are created to replace damaged ones.
In order to attempt to protect the muscles, the body will replace muscle cells with larger, even stronger ones.
This creates bigger and stronger muscle fibres and is known as muscle hypertrophy.
Hypertrophy is basically a scientific term used to describe muscle growth.
In order for this process to occur, testosterone is required, and this is where anabolic steroids come into the picture.
You see, once inside the body, steroids will enter the bloodstream and make their way to the awaiting muscle tissue.
The muscle cells have what is known as androgen receptors, which basically function like a boarding dock in the muscle cells.
Here, the steroid enters via these receptors and begins to interact with the DNA of the muscle cell.
This creates a stimulation in protein synthesis, which enables the body to generate larger volumes of muscle tissue.
What Are The More Popular Forms Of Steroid?
Remember, different steroids have different effects on the body, and no two steroids are exactly alike.
For example, for allergies, or arthritis perhaps, a doctor may prescribe steroids.
These steroids, however, are very different to the steroids used by bodybuilders, and they certainly won’t cause patients to turn into muscle-bound hulks.
Generally in bodybuilding circles, however, you will find that there are some steroids, which are most certainly more popular than others.
Common examples include the following:
Trenbolone is sometimes simply known as Tren, and is one of the most potent and powerful steroids currently in existence.
When you see huge 300 plus pound bodybuilders on stage in the IFBB, many of them will almost certainly be very familiar with Tren.
Tren can provide increases in muscle mass at astonishing rates.
One Tren cycle could potentially lead to an increase of around 40 pounds of solid muscle in some cases.
Tren is often used for bulking though it can also be used for cutting as it doesn’t cause bloating or water retention.
Dianabol is sometimes known as D-bol, and it too is very popular amongst bodybuilders looking to bulk up.
Many bulking stacks will contain D-bol due to the fact that it can potentially allow users to gain around 25 – 30 pounds of muscle in as little as six weeks.
Winstrol, or Winny, as it is sometimes known, is another popular steroid, though this one is used primarily for cutting.
When bodybuilders wish to cut and burn off as much body fat as possible, Winstrol is ideal.
This is because Winstrol ramps up the metabolism and basically turns your body into a fat-burning machine.
Winstrol burns fat whilst helping to preserve muscle mass, making it a real winner amongst pro bodybuilders.
Oral Or Injectable?
When people think of steroids, they generally tend to focus on injectable steroids.
Most injectable steroids are injected into the butt cheeks, though some people inject in other parts of the body.
Some steroids, however, are oral steroids, which means that they are taken in pill form.
Though some people tend to think that oral steroids are less-potent than injectable, in reality it is often the exact opposite.
What Is A Steroid Cycle?
So, now that we’ve looked at how do anabolic steroids work, and at some of the most popular steroids for bulking and cutting, we’ll now look at what a steroid cycle actually is.
Basically, when a person describes ‘cycling’ steroids, they are describing using a number of steroids for prolonged duration of time in order to see the best results.
For example, some cycles could be 8 weeks on, 4 weeks off, and 8 weeks on again.
Whilst some cycles can consist of multiple steroids, others can simply refer to the prolonged use of just one steroid.
What Is A Steroid Stack?
When we look at steroid stacks, it’s important to distinguish between a cycle.
A steroid stack is when a user will use multiple steroids at once.
The idea here is the increase the potency and effectiveness of the steroids, so as to see more impressive results.
Many steroids work very well in conjunction with one another, plus some actually acts as catalysts so that they make other steroids in the stack more efficient.
Commonly, most steroid stacks consist of a combination of injectable and oral steroids.
How Much Muscle Will Users Gain?
This is impossible to answer for certain because there are too many factors to consider.
To begin with, we have no idea how much muscle a user will gain because we have no idea which steroids they are using.
For example, if a user was using Winstrol, muscle growth would be kept to a minimum and would be far smaller than a user who was using Tren and D-Bol perhaps.
Not only that, but genetics are also important because genetically some people will simply respond more favourably to steroids than others and will therefore build more muscle.
Diet and training are also critical components because a user who is slacking off in the gym, and barely eating, will obviously not build as much muscle as a user who is training their butt off and eating a healthy, balanced, high protein diet.