Understanding How Steroids Work
I am not going to get into the ethical, legal, and moral issues of steroids. I'm writing this to open your eyes to a New and Powerful Outlook, a bodybuilding epiphany, that will enable you to gain weight and muscle safely.
I'm going to be using a "tree" analogy in a moment, but first understand some bad news. It's a scientific fact, that genetics play a large role in our historical physical development. Of course environment is also important, and while geneticics vs. environment is debatable in mental development, physical potential is large genetic. Depending on your parents, there is a limit as to how strong you are going to be.
Take Arnold Schwarzenegger for example. Arnold at 19 was already big as a house. Arnold's father was a tall man with a barrel chest, and Arnold's sister was big for a woman. They all had in common thick bones, and unusual height. This obviously save Arnold a genetic advantage over a skinny guy, because he was already twice as big, without having trained that much!
Everyone has a different genetic upper limit. Many scientists believe the average person has the potential to triple their starting strength. If I am a skinny guy at age 16, who can do a max bench press of 140 lbs., I can expect to ever top out at 420 lbs, if I train hard for many years. Likewise if I Arnold, and can bench 225 lbs. at 16, I might someday bench 675.
Of course we're talking here about the absolute limit, with everything working out right. Few will obtain their maximum genetic potential, because of injury, improper training, poor eating habits, or just lack of desire, to pursue such a goal.
So what does all of this have to do with how to gain weight and muscle? Let's imagine that your body is a tree. The steroids will make you big and strong, but the tree will only grow so high. No matter how many steroids you put in, the tree has reached it's senior genetic potential. Some climb faster, depending on the type and quantity of the steroid, but never higher.
Once you reach the upper limits of that tree, no matter how powerful the anabolic steroids, if you're starting off super skinny, you're not going to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. Any more than Miss Piggy, sashaying in heels, will look like Raquel Welch. Your body has upper limits, just like the tree.
I'm just being honest here. For you young guys, especially, just starting out in bodybuilding, do not be tempted to start steroids as a solution to how to gain muscle and weight. Be aware of the role genetics play in your prospects.
Very few people possess the requisite experiences needed to become a champion bodybuilder. You have to be born with the right bodily proportions to give you superior leverage, special muscle fibers, correct muscle length, etc. Training can not change this.
Not to beat a dead horse, but my point is, do not jeopardize your health, if you have always been the proverbial 90 lb. weakling. Of course you can triple your strength with proper training, and be far above average. Maybe win some local bodybuilding contests. But you're not going to be able to overcome genetics. As Clint Eastwood would say: "A man's got to know his limits."
For those of you that could bench press 300 lbs. in high school, with no problem, and seem to have the right genetics, I would still dissuade you, from risking the deleterious effects, of anabolic steroids. While it is true that most bodybuilders seem to recover from the bad side effects once the steroids are discontinued, there has not been that much research on long term effects. If you had some kind of disease that the steroids might ameliorate, I would say go for it. But do not treat yourself like a lab monkey, just to accomplish something you can do with natural training.
You can always try different steroids, but no matter how fast you climb, you always ever top out. Now let me digress a little and go into the scientifics of steroids. I realize this may be a little dry, but I want to give the reader a good general idea of how stereoids work. So now that the perfunctorys are over, let's start at the beginning.
Steroids Are Dead End Solutions
If a individual abuses drugs, it is the undesirable effects that must be minimized. Any doctor will tell you the most efficient way to use drugs, is to get the most out of the least. The fly in the buttermilk is, trying to minimizeize undesirable side effects is hard to do.
Metabolism is the production, maintenance, and destruction of tissue and energy. The building (myotropic) processes we call anabolism. Breaking down processes are referred to as catabolism. For our purposes, anabolic steroid effects are those involving synthesis of protein for muscle growth and reparation.
Hormones are regulatory chemicals produced by various organs, glands, or tissues. Hormones coordinate growth, tissue repair, reproductive cycles, and other physical and mental processes. The male hormone testosterone, has two main functions: 1. Androgenic – Stimulate development and maintenance of male secondary sex characteristics (facial hair, deep voice, distribution of fat, and other male features) and 2. Anabolic – development and maintenance of the larger male musculature.
Here is the term anabolic steroids, which are synthetic chemical compounds. that mimic anabolic effects. and minimize androgenic effects. By tinkering with the hydrocarbon molecules of testosterone, a anabolic-androgenic ratio is reached. called the therapeutic index.
There is little solid research indicating the therapeutic indices of drugs, calculated by animal studies, are applicable to humans! Even if there exists such a human table, factors such as diet, training, variable drug doses and administration, and most important genetic drug response, nullifies the usefulness of such indices.
HOW STEROIDS WORK
Once anabolic steroids enter the bloodstream they find their way to muscle cells where they act on the genes responsible for protein synthesis. Similar to testosterone, the steroids attach themselves to specific receptor sites inside the cell, where DNA is stimulated to direct ribosomes, to manufacture greater amounts of protein.
Because steroids work synergistically with vitamins and minerals to facilitate the protein synthesis, supplements are usually taken with the steroids. A need must be present in the organism for protein synthesis to occur. This need is natural in anemic or malnourished individuals. with healthy athletes the need is produced by extremely heavy weightlifting.
The problem comes when not all of the anabolic steroid molecules reach the cell receptors. Those molecules float around in the bloodstream until broken down either the liver or while still in the bloodstream. These by-products are believed to cause the unwanted side effects, although not in ways currently understood. Attempts by scientists to solve these problems have in turn caused additional side effects.
Reported Side Effects of Anabolic Steroids Gym talk has been quick to describe this effects, and many people from first hand experience know what they are. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but the main side effects are listed.
Liver Function Alterations – Scientists are not sure of the long term effects of steroids on the liver. The short term effects are reversible. when anabolic steroids are discontinued. Although toxic hepatitis can be brought about if the steroids are continued.
Cardiovascular System Damage Anabolic steroids can interfere with blood clotting as well as the metabolism of glucose, triglycerides, and cholosterolis leading to artery plaque (atherosclerosis). Anything affecting glucose can also be dangerous to diabetics or prediabetes.
Steroids seem to keep the liver from breaking down cortisol, and since cortisol is considered a stress hormone, it enables one to train harder. Impairment of the cardiovascular system seems to be the largest risk of all the reported side effects.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) Elevated blood pressure, which often timescompanies anabolic steroids, over a long period, can lead to cardiovascular disease. Many athletes report greater water retention when on steroids. Fluid / electrolyte balance is thought to be related to hypertension. This can be caused by steroids effect on the adrenal cortex. The adrenal cortex helps maintain electrolyte balance. Steroids increase both potassium and nitrogen levels, which can increase blood pressure. Blood pressure appears to return to normal once steroids are discontinued, but the long term effects are not known.
Increased Aggressiveness Testosterone is known to be a major factor in higher levels of aggressiveness in men than women. Criminals locked up for crimes of violence show higher levels of testosterone than nonviolent offenders. This can cause family problems, especially in body builders, training for contests, using large amounts of steroids.
Connective Tissue Damage Beginners on anabolic steroids often times increase their strength so fast that the muscles are able to grow faster than the tendons and ligaments. This is why beginners should put in a year of heavy lifting, before trying power lifting.
Weight Loss, Infection, Muscle Loss after discontinuing Steroids – Once steroids are discontinued, the body is not back to normal in testosterone. This results in negative nitrogen balance, which keeps sufficient protein from being synthesized. Also joint soreness is common, which is caused by excessive training, during negative nitrogen imbalance. This can last as long as three months. It is probably best to gradually cut down on steroids to give the body time to adjust.
Anabolic steroids will give you extra motivation to train harder and better. The steroids work to make you bigger and stronger. However no one really understands the long term effects. Why be a guinea pig?
Why not learn a superior method of training in the first place? Quiz time. What is the most POWERFUL drug? WHOLE FOOD! You need to know what to take for your pre and post workout meals, nutrient timing, and meal design. You can mimic the effects of steroids using just diet and training.
To sum up this article. You are limited by genetics in how strong you can become. Anabolic steroids can only make you as strong as your genetic potential. But because of the undesirable side effects, you may want to substitute the old fashioned strongman way of training, for the high tech steroid approach. Natural training is truly superior to steroids for long lasting healthy effect. You can also reach your genetic potential by natural training.
For those who are just starting out body building, here are 10 of the best bodybuilding foods for gaining weight and building muscle. Oranges, Milk, Turkey, Broccoli, Carrots, Bananas, Potatoes, Beans, Whole Grains, and Flat Fish. Try to have your vegetables steamed or raw. The potato should be baked with the skin. If you have to put something on it, use a butter substitute. Bake the fish. Additional foods to add would be canned tuna, peanut butter, raw unsalted, unroasted nuts, boiled eggs, oat meal. Drink ice cold distilled water.
To gain weight, and build muscle, your exercises should be the hardest, not the easiest. Think quality over quantity.
Your basic exercises should be compound movements (work both legs or arms at the same time), therefore use barbells. You should do squats, deadlifts, dips, chin-ups, leg raises, bench presses, military presses, and the clean and jerk. Do one or more sets for 4-6 reps each. When you can do six reps add weight. Do not waste your times doing hundreds of reps for the stomach. These big muscle exercises work your stomach, while burning calories.
Take a two minute break break between sets. Use a stopwatch. Record your workouts. When you lift a weight aim for two seconds up, pause, lower slowly for 4-6 seconds, pause, and repeat. Try to keep the weight workout time at no more than 45 mins.
A good rule of thumb for choosing exercises, is to look around the gym and ask your self what are the exercises everyone seems to avoid. These will end up being the hard ones, but the ones that work. You seldom see people doing chin-ups, squats, deadlifts, or clean and jerks. The bench press, military press, leg rises, and dips you see a few do. Even then it is usually with a half hearted light weight attempt. Most people are either reading a magazine on one of the cardio machines, or sitting down on a machine doing 12 super fast reps with half the weight they should be using. Sad but true.
Workout three days a week, with a day of rest in between. Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. You should include a 1/2 hours of cardio on your days off, or after your weight workout. Good cardio choices would be interval sprints, running, swimming, and jump rope. Also stretch for 1/2 the amount of time you lift weights.