What are Steroids and How Do They Work?

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, & The Rock, t hese are just some of the names in Hollywood that we associate with being big and jacked. Outside of Hollywood however, there are currently more musclebound individuals than ever before – many of whom are plastered all over Instagram. Whether you’re looking to idolize your on-screen Hollywood heroes, or simply to build a physique comparable to some Insta-trainer you saw on social media, if you want to make some serious gains, going the natural route is a damn sight tougher than using steroids (you find more on steroids Vs Natural bodybuilding). The plus side is the fact that it is so, so, so much safer. There’s much said about steroids, especially by ignorant individuals who wouldn’t know their Dianabol from Anavar, but what’s the deal with gear? What are steroids, and how do they work? Well, that’s what we’re going to be finding out in today’s article.

Legal disclaimer – Before we can look at what steroids are and how they work, we need to clear the legalities up first. Steroids are very, very dangerous, not to mention illegal, and we don’t recommend anybody use them. The risks are simply too great. We live in the real world, however, and we know that people will always use them despite knowing the risks. In this instance, we’d much rather they did so safely, which is the purpose of this article today. We want to educate and provide unbiased advice and info about steroids and how they work.

So, what are steroids?

Steroids are these magical creations sent down by the Gods of Iron to help us get swole and jacked, right? Well, not exactly. Steroids do work incredibly well if muscle growth and fat loss are your goals, but there is a heck of a lot of science to get our heads around when it comes to understanding what they are and how they work. In the human body, especially in men, testosterone is the dominant androgenic hormone. Androgens are responsible for sexual characteristics. It also happens to be a hormone with hugely anabolic properties. What does this mean? Basically, it means that it plays a vital role in helping people to build muscle. What does testosterone have to do with androgenic anabolic steroids? Basically, testosterone is the hormone from which all steroids are based. All AAS are created in a lab and are basically synthetic versions of this very hormone. In the 1930s, medical experts created compounds which were found to boost muscle mass in lab animals. These drugs were created to help treat humans with muscle-wastage, and other similar ailments. By the 1950s, an oral steroid known as Dianabol was dispensed for medical purposes. Soon however, people in perfectly good health started experimenting with this drug, as they heard stories about increases in muscle mass, strength, and athleticism. More and more derivatives of testosterone were created, which meant more and more anabolic steroids were on the market. Many of these drugs soon became used for athletic purposes and were legally prescribed to athletes. Eventually, questions regarding safety and sportsmanship arose, and these drugs became banned. Steroids can be injected, or they can be swallowed orally. There are many different types of steroid out there, with each one behaving differently. Some steroids are so powerful that one 12-week cycle could potentially help a person gain 40 pounds of muscle or more. Others are much weaker and are more for burning fat and preserving lean tissue.

How do steroids work?

It’s easy to sit back and claim that steroids do this, and steroids do that, but how exactly do they work? Well, all steroids have an identical four-ringed carbon structure. When scientists altered the compounds chemically however, they found that different alterations provided different effects. Some steroids for example, were created to pack heaps of muscle mass and size onto a human body, while others burned fat and simply sped up recovery. Some caused heaps of bloating and water retention, while others helped bodybuilders to lose water and dry out. Steroids primarily work by binding to androgen receptors in the body. Once the steroid of choice has bound to the androgen receptor, it basically ‘re-programs’ the receptor and tells it to initiate a greater level of protein synthesis. This is the physiological process responsible for muscle growth and repair, so the more protein synthesis we enjoy, the more muscle we will build. On top of that, some steroids also bind to these receptors and help to increase levels of glutamine synthetase, which helps prevent muscle tissue breakdown. This helps to preserve muscle tissue and prevent muscle catabolism. Combine these two effects together, and you have the perfect recipe for some truly awesome gains.

Will steroids build muscle no matter what?

Depending on which steroids you take, it is possible to increase your muscle mass through anabolic steroid use, without actually picking up a weight and working out. One study lasting 10 weeks, found that a simple course of testosterone enanthate each week, increased muscle mass by as much as 7 pounds by the end of those ten weeks. Does that mean you should take gear and sit on your backside? No, it does not. If you clean up your diet, eat right, use the right supplements, and train intensely and regularly, you could pack some serious muscle mass onto your physique, while burning fat, getting stronger, and increasing your stamina and endurance in the process. You should always, always run post cycle therapy after any steroid cycle, no matter how “weak” the cycle was.


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