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Using Steroids - FAQs Part 1

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  • Using Steroids - FAQs Part 1

    Q. How much weight can someone expect to gain during the first cycle of steroids?


    A. Provided dosing is sufficient, a steroid user can expect to make the most significant progress during their first cycle. Although this will vary from person to person, it is not uncommon for someone to gain 20 pounds of weight or more during a first cycle of AAS use. Some of this may be water retention, although a solid gain of more than 10-15 pounds of muscle mass is possible.


    Q. Are the gains from steroid use temporary?


    A. Yes, and no. Steroids can help you do two basic things with regard to muscle growth. First, they can allow you to more rapidly reach your genetic limits for muscle growth. Provided you continue to train actively, eat properly, and use an effective PCT program, you should be able to maintain at your genetic limit indefinitely. So in this regard, the early gains do not have to be temporary.

    Later, steroids can allow you to push well beyond your genetic limits. It is important to emphasize this, as extreme physical development cannot be maintained long-term without the repeat administration of anabolic substances. The body will always revert back towards its normal metabolic limits once AAS are removed. In this context, some of the gains will not be permanent.

    Steroids do permanently alter the physiology of your muscles by adding more cellular nuclei. With higher nuclei content, each muscle cell can manage its volume more efficiently, which allows more rapid expansion. Even after a long period of complete abstinence from training and AAS, the nuclei remain. This may provide a “muscle memory” effect, allowing you to reach your genetic limit (perhaps a slightly extended limit) faster than if you had never used AAS in the past. So in this regard, there are lasting benefits beyond the temporary increase in muscle size itself.


    Q. Can steroids make me look like a professional bodybuilder?


    If you have the underlying genetics to allow for this extreme muscle growth, this may be possible with a lot of hard work and dedication. Genetics are a big factor in determining the ultimate limits to your physique, even in an enhanced state. Many people use steroids and look very big and impressive because of it, but very few users are able to make it to the stage of a professional bodybuilding show.


    Q. How dangerous is an isolated cycle of steroids?


    A. Anabolic/androgenic steroids are among the safest drugs available, at least in a short-term sense. Fatal overdose is not reasonably possible, and the negative health changes such as alterations in cholesterol, blood pressure, hematocrit, and blood clotting (among other things) are very unlikely to manifest in serious bodily harm or death after an isolated cycle. There are rare deaths from such things as stroke and liver cancer in short-term abusers, but such occurrences are statistically extremely rare in light of the millions of people that use these drugs. If you had to comparatively rate the acute risks of AAS abuse, they would be slightly higher than marijuana, but far less than virtually all other illicit narcotics.

    Q. How dangerous is long-term steroid use?


    A. The long-term use of steroids for non-medical reasons can be a unhealthy practice. It has been difficult, however, to quantify the exact risk. The main issue is the fact that AAS abuse can promote heart disease, the number one killer of men. Heart disease is a slow progressive disease, which may build for decades without symptoms. Steroid abuse may accelerate the silent process of plaque deposition in the arteries, and also induce other changes in the cardiovascular system that can increase susceptibility to stroke or heart attack. If death finally occurs, however, it will be difficult for a medical examiner to pinpoint AAS as the cause; too many variables play a role in the etiology of cardiovascular disease. The vast majority of deaths where AAS have contributed go unreported for this reason. The exact mortality rates of long-term steroid abusers have, likewise, been difficult to calculate. It is especially important to closely monitor cardiovascular disease and other health risk factors if long-term steroid use is a practice you will follow.


    Q. Can steroids be used to enhance an athletic career safely?


    A. The non-medical use of AAS by definition cannot be defined as a safe practice. However, it can be argued that anabolic/androgenic steroids can be used with high relative safety, even over a period of many years. The guidelines of steroid harm reduction are important to minimizing the negative health effects of these drugs. Provided an individual follows these guidelines and is careful with drug selection, dosages, and durations of intake, follows a diet low in saturated fats, cholesterol, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, actively trains with both resistance and cardiovascular exercise, and uses cholesterol support supplements such as fish oils and others during all cycles, it may be difficult in many cases to argue high tangible health risks. It takes a great deal of involvement and planning to use AAS in this manner, which is always advised.


    Q. What are the safest steroids for men?


    A. Testosterone, whatever the form, tends to be the safest steroid for men. When the dose remains within the moderately supratherapeutic range, alterations in cardiovascular risks factors are noticed, but not extreme. Some of this has to do with the beneficial cardiovascular effects of estrogen in men.


    Q. What steroids will not cause hair loss?


    A. For those with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, all anabolic/androgenic steroids are capable of accelerating the process. Slowing the onset of this during AAS use requires a focus on reducing relative androgenicity in the scalp. This can be accomplished with the use of predominantly anabolic drugs. Alternately, moderate doses of testosterone can be used with finasteride, a drug that reduces DHT conversion (and androgenic amplification) in the scalp. Still, those genetically prone to hair loss can have problems with any steroid, and are always advised to limit dosing, drug intake durations, and monitor effects on the hairline closely.


    Q. What are the safest steroids for women?


    Women are generally most concerned h the virilizing (masculinizing) effects of anabolic/androgenic steroids.

    The least virilizing agents are not in any way whatsoever those with the highest relative anabolic to androgenic effect, such as nandrolone, oxandrolone, turinabol, and methenolone. Anabolic/Androgenic ratios, while a useful measure to scientists, have little to no carryover in terms of virilization potential in women. In fact, nandrolone—despite having an androgenic rating of only 37—is extremely virilizing in women.”

    Care must always be taken, as all AAS are based on male sex steroids, and as such they can cause masculinizing effects in women.
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