One of the facts of life is that people will try everything to look their best. Whether it’s flattering clothes, makeup, exercise, or — in this day and age — uploading overly-filtered photos to social media, people, by default, will do things to appear more attractive to others.
Of course, there are evolutionary reasons for this, and, of course, we won’t bore you by discussing each, but even children know there are benefits to looking conventionally attractive. Indeed, some studies have shown that not only can babies tell the difference between someone who’s attractive and someone who isn’t, they can also often be observed to prefer the former.
Granted, some don’t care about how they look or how they present themselves to others, but generally, they are the exceptions not the rule.
The same can be said for users of anabolic steroids. Whether it’s to build muscle, increase athletic performance, or lose weight, among the primary motivations for people to use them is to improve themselves, cosmetically or otherwise.
The problem, however, is that few subjects are talked about with so much prejudice and spite as anabolic steroids. To make matters worse, it’s the people whose job it is to provide the public with reliable information that are perpetuating the most inane lies.
We’re not saying anabolic steroids carry zero risks. But, certainly, stretching the truth or lying about those risks for the purpose of dissuading people from using anabolic steroids doesn’t help.
To help you cut through the BS and anti-steroid propaganda, we’ve created a roundup below of the most overly-perpetuated myths about anabolic steroids.
It’s a Death Sentence!
This is one of the most persistent myths about steroids. While it’s true that overusing steroids, mixing them with certain drugs, or taking them under certain medical conditions, can kill, it’s not true that steroids per se will kill. It’s more like irresponsible use of steroids can kill you. But can we really expect anything less from any other drug apart from, oh I don’t know, vitamin C?
You’ll find medical journal after medical journal talking about the dangers of steroids while citing individual users who’ve succumbed to them. The fact is that most of these people were clearly overusing. Funnily enough, one study I’ve seen listed down ‘steroid use’ as the cause of someone’s death only for readers to eventually learn that the ‘steroid user’ in question actually committed suicide.
The short of it is that there’s a dearth of evidence that shows using steroids in the right dosages and cycles will lead to death. The evidence available only really says that being a knucklehead when it comes to using steroids can lead to death — but anyone who wasn’t born yesterday knows this.
Look, I don’t want to downplay the risks. There are risks involved when using steroids, most of which can be mitigated by common sense. But to imply that taking steroids is no different from taking slow-acting cyanide pills is just inane.
Steroids Decrease Stamina and Endurance
We’re not sure who first started perpetuating this myth, and why it’s a myth that persists despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary.
As a matter of fact, steroids increase stamina and endurance. And because of the decades of research done on anabolic steroids, we already understand the different mechanisms of action by which this occurs.
In 2001, one study done on mice revealed a 41% increase in running endurance after they were injected with anabolic-androgenic steroids. To be sure, we’re not mice, but ask anyone who’s used anabolic steroids to boost performance and they’ll confirm what’s been clear all along — steroids do improve stamina and endurance. This is because anabolic steroids increase the production of red blood cells in the body, as well as hemoglobin levels, which in turn increase oxygen circulation. Endurance, after all, is really just the measure of the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to the tissues that require it.
While many surmise that food is the primary fuel for the body, that distinction actually belongs to oxygen. It is oxygen, not food, that is the biggest source of energy for the body, and oxygen levels are positively correlated with strength, stamina, and endurance. So more is better in this regard; the more red blood cells the body has, the more oxygen it can use — and the more oxygen one’s body can use, the more strength, stamina, and endurance it will have.
If You’re a Woman, You’ll Look Like a Man!
This is not so much a falsehood as it is a very misleading statement. Yes, anabolic-androgenic steroids have virilizing effects, and yes, using too much can turn Barbie into Arnold Schwarzenegger, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
What I mean by this is that there are anabolic steroids available in the market that women can use to increase muscle mass and boost performance without getting the dreaded virilizing effects. Anavar, for instance, is an anabolic steroid that is considered “female-friendly” precisely because most women who take it don’t experience virilization. Of course, this isn’t to say virilization can’t occur. The fact is that a steroid like Anavar can still produce male-like changes in women who take inordinate amounts of it.
As long as a woman limits herself to the recommended doses and keeps her cycle lengths short, she should be fine taking a compound like Anavar.
Some anabolic steroids like Dianabol and Trenbolone, however, are designed for more advanced users and are highly virilizing, so women looking to avoid virilization shouldn’t use steroids like these while bulking up.
If You Take Steroids, You Won’t Need To Work Out!
Hell no. You’ll still need to work out if you want the steroids to have any effect on your body. Nobody should think that they can simply take steroids in lieu of working out and then be lying on the couch all day eating potato chips and chugging soda. You might as well have not taken steroids if that’s what you intended.
Steroids aren’t some magical pill that will give you a Greek god’s body while you relax. The fact is that you will still have to put in the effort, week after week.
To be sure, you’ll have significantly more gains working out with steroids than without, but you will still have to work out.
You Will Damage Your Liver!
This is another one of those misleading statements about anabolic steroids that just won’t die. Yes, you can damage your liver if you act like a knucklehead and take steroids with wild abandon. But again, this needn’t be the case.
In contrast to oral forms of steroids, injectable forms of steroids don’t pass through the liver and therefore don’t induce liver toxicity. Of course, this isn’t an invitation to take too much of it. Too much of anything can be dangerous, steroids are no exception. But the point is that as long as you don’t overdo it, take the necessary precautions, and opt for injectable forms of steroids, you should be able to completely avoid stressing your liver out.
You’ll Develop a Micro Penis!
Veteran steroid users can readily tell you that this isn’t true. What is true, however, is that your testicles can shrink. If you like having big cajones, don’t fret, because they will go back to normal after your cycle — assuming your cycle is nothing crazy, that is.
The reason for the ball shrinkage is quite simple. Juicing up means supplying your body with testosterone-like hormones. Your body’s natural response to the oversupply of testosterone is to shut down normal testosterone production, which normally takes place in — yes, you guessed it — your balls.
Again, this is not really something to worry about, granted you’re not taking more than the recommended doses. The size of your… ahem… balls will go back to normal after your cycle once testosterone production normalizes.
You’ll Make Yourself Suicidal!
The evidence for this is tenuous, at best, but what we can say for certain is that anabolic steroids in the right doses and cycle lengths won’t turn you into a suicidal maniac — or, you know, just suicidal in general.
Anyone who gives the literature on this a long and hard gander will realize that most of the ‘suicidal’ people who blame steroids for the sorry state of their mental well-being have had a history of mental imbalance. Did steroids exacerbate their condition? Perhaps it did. Needless to say, there’s not the direct connection that anti-steroid propagandists claim there is.
In fact, in the right doses, steroids have been shown to have positive effects on mood. It’s worth mentioning that the unpleasant side effects of steroids are almost always because of steroid misuse and abuse, and there’s no reason to think that the same can’t be said for steroids’ negative emotional effects.
Gains Disappear After Roid Use!
No, not true. You can expect to lose any kind of muscle gain if you stop working out and sit on your butt glued to your phone for extended periods.
To be sure, stopping steroid usage will make bulking harder, but you’re not necessarily going to lose all that you’ve gained while on steroids if you continue to work out and eat right. Those muscles you’ve expended so much energy and so much money on steroids to get won’t evaporate into thin air just because you decided to quit using. They will still be there, and the choices you do next, or the routine you keep after, will determine whether they stay or go.
You Will Lose Your Hair!
This is another one of those things people say about steroids that aren’t entirely true. Baldness, or more specifically, Male Pattern Baldness, is largely determined by genetics. If your dad is bald, or you have a family history of baldness, then you’ll likely be bald by a certain age. That’s just the way it is.
Will steroids speed up baldness? Given that steroids are, for the most part, synthetic male hormones, it’s not unreasonable to think it will. After all, it’s DHT, the by-product of testosterone, that causes male pattern baldness. So presumably more DHT in the body can speed up the balding process.
It definitely makes logical sense that steroids can speed up the balding process, but if you do end up balding, this means that you’re genetically predisposed to balding to begin with. If you aren’t, then count yourself lucky, because it’s unlikely that steroids will do anything to your hair.
Of course, nobody wants to be bald earlier than is necessary, so it isn’t exactly a great thing that steroids can speed up the balding process. Don’t fret, however, because there are many things you can include in your cycle to mitigate this unwanted effect. There are over-the-counter and prescription options such as Propecia and Finasteride to help you avoid balding while on anabolic steroids.
You’ll Stunt Your Growth!
I’ve heard this told to teenagers a million times but I have yet to see hard evidence that this is true. Don’t get me wrong, I’m open to being mistaken here, but so far the evidence is nil. Indeed, Arnold Schwarzenegger himself admitted to using steroids since he was a teenager — the man is 6’2.
But why should anyone disbelieve what many medical professionals say on account of one anecdote? — I hear you saying. Look, hit me with the data and I’ll believe it. But what I’ll say about this, for now, is that it’s weird all one hears on the topic is that it’s what “medical professionals” say. Well “medical professionals” at one point (around the ’50s, to be exact) claimed that the gains from anabolic steroids were just water, too. Of course, we know — like we knew then — that the claim is ridiculous. You don’t believe they said this? Well, you can google it — I’m not making this up.
The fact of the matter is that, if you’re a teenager, you’re not supposed to be taking steroids to begin with. But if you, for some reason, want to bulk up in your teens, well, first, we’d advise that you stop, but if you don’t want to, then at least stick to lower doses and short cycles, or at least wait until you’re tall enough, just in case the rumor about steroids and stunted growth is true. But we bet it isn’t.