Signs Of Steroid Use: What To Look For

Tell-tale Signs Of Steroid Use

Steroids and bodybuilding are arguably synonymous with each other, at least, steroids and professional bodybuilding are.

We all know that many bodybuilders use steroids in order to enhance their physiques and their athletic performance in general, and truthfully, placing all of the emphasis on bodybuilding is incredibly unfair, as countless other sporting disciplines also have very real steroid problems.

Baseball has been plagued with its fair share of issues in the past, as has professional wrestling, and even cycling, as you just need to think of Lance Armstrong and take a look at the whole debacle there.

Steroids have a certain stigma attached to them that many believe is unfair if truth be told, and in reality, these people have a point.

Doctors actually prescribe forms of steroids for a whole host of illnesses and ailments, and nobody bats an eyelid, yet if a bodybuilder admits to taking steroids, everybody freaks out.

As mentioned, not only do steroids help build insane amounts of muscle, they also enhance athletic performance in the process.

If you were to look at Lance Armstrong in his prime, he hardly had the physique of pro bodybuilder, and that is perhaps one of the reasons why he never raised any suspicions.

At a glance, he was a young, fit, and healthy individual with a slim and toned physique, just as you’d expect a cyclist to look.

He was not a huge hulking great bodybuilder with arms the size of most people’s torsos, and veins popping out all over the place.

It can be difficult to spot the signs of steroid use and steroid abuse in some people, although there are definitely things you can, and should, look out for, especially if you’re concerned that somebody you know and care about, may be abusing steroids. Here’s a look at a few tell-tale signs of steroid use.

The “Growth Gut”

Although back in the golden era of bodybuilding I.E the 70’s, when Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Mike Katz, Ed Corney, and Franco Columbo, etc, all ruled the roost, steroids were still used, as admitted by Arnold himself in ‘Pumping Iron’, it’s safe to say that steroids and dosages back then, were far less vast and potent than they are now.

If you compare 70’s bodybuilders with pro bodybuilders today, there are some pros today, that make pros like Arnold in his prime, look average. So-called ‘mass monsters’ now rule bodybuilding, in which individuals standing less than 6 feet in height, can pack on as much as 300 pounds of solid muscle.

When you are comparing bodybuilders on stage now, with bodybuilders back then, you’ll notice that bodybuilders back then, had small, lean, and narrow waists, and would often hit vacuum poses.

Today, many bodybuilders have distended guts that make them look pregnant.

These guys aren’t fat, however, they’re the result of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) abuse.

Now, before anybody gets clever, we know that HGH isn’t a steroid, but you can bet that if an individual has a large distended gut and they happen to be big and muscular, they will be stacking their HGH with various forms of steroid.

Growth guts are caused as the growth hormone literally makes their internal organs grow inside of their bodies, so their major organs swell up and cause the stomach and gut to stick out, making the individual look pregnant.


Acne is another tell-tale sign of steroid use, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be found on the face either. In fact, most steroid abusers will suffer from, what is known unofficially as “bacne” (pronounced Back-Knee) in which they find their backs literally covered with very nasty looking acne.

When most teenagers are not long into puberty, they will find their faces getting spotty, which is due to the fact that testosterone levels are at their peaks.

Testosterone causes acne as one of the major side effects, due to the fact that it affects the sebaceous glands.

Some steroids are designed to help increase testosterone production, whereas others actually cause low testosterone levels as one of their major side effects.

To counter this, some bodybuilders will inject artificial testosterone into their bodies, which can then cause acne breakouts all over the body.

Testosterone is the dominant male sexual hormone that plays a key role in muscle growth and repair, so most builders will be on insanely high amounts of Test.

Stretch Marks

As you know, steroids can help build muscle, in fact, steroids can help build an insane amount of muscle.

What’s more, steroids can help build insane amounts of muscle in a very short period of time.

When we lose weight, or gain weight quickly, as the skin doesn’t have a chance to adapt to these changes, it is forced to stretch in the case of weight gain, which results in stretch marks.

If you notice somebody looking muscular, with stretch marks, this is a sign that they build their muscles quickly, which may have only been possible due to anabolic steroids.

Signs Of Steroid Use


Many steroids actually result in increases of the hormone known as Estrogen, which is the female equivalent of testosterone.

Men naturally have estrogen present in their bodies, just as women naturally have testosterone, but the amounts present naturally are very small and don’t cause any real side effects.

Steroid use, however, can cause surges in Estrogen production in the body, and one of the main side effects of this is gynecomastia, in which fatty tissue is deposits on the chest, especially the nipple, causing the man to begin to grow breasts.

When increases of testosterone are introduced into the body, a process known as ‘aromatization’ occurs, which results in the testosterone being converted into Estrogen.

Gynecomastia can cause the pecs to look flabby, especially around the nipples, which can also look puffy.

Some steroid users run PCT (Post Cycle Therapy) to counter the effects of aromatization, but those that haven’t been far more likely to suffer from gynecomastia, which can be so bad that the only way to fix it can be through surgery.

Huge Shoulders And Traps

Although some people naturally have large shoulders, generally, when you see individuals that have just started using steroids, their shoulders and traps will become much bigger than they were previously, and they may even become disproportionately bigger in comparison to the rest of their body.

If an individual suddenly develops “boulder shoulders” as they are often called, this may be another sign of steroid use.

Of course, you can build large and rounded shoulders naturally, but if you notice these changes quickly, or if a person has huge shoulders and traps in comparison to the rest of their body, they could very well have used steroids.

Increases In Mass

Obviously, another huge one of tell-tale signs of steroid use and abuse, is when a person suddenly becomes much bigger and muscular than they were before.

Steroids have an incredible effect on the body, and the amounts of muscle they can build in a matter of weeks is absolutely amazing.

If somebody is literally getting bigger by the week, or if they’re freakishly large anyways, they could very well have steroids to thank for their increases in muscle mass.

Related post: Prohormones Vs Steroids.
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Shredded Physique

Hello, and welcome to Shredded Physique, I’m Reda EL, Entrepreneur, Iron addict and personal trainer, and also, the owner, creator, moderator, author, and basically everything else around the website.

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