There are those who have no problem with people or themselves using steroids. If you’re a bodybuilder, there are competitions that allow the use of such aids like the NPC and IFBB. Steroid use is rampant in other forms of exercise and competition as well including professional sports and Crossfit. Whether you’re for or against steroid use, you can’t outrun facts. The science behind steroids or other performance enhancing drugs will make most people turn away, but for those committed to a look or level of performance, they understand the risks and move forward anyways. I’m going to break down steroids and PEDs in a pretty simple and quick manner.
What Are Steroids?
Anabolic steroids popped up in the early 1900’s, and they are a synthetic substance that is similar to testosterone and promotes muscle development. Since it is related to male sex hormones, specific hormonal and physical traits occur in those who take them.
Types of Steroids Popularly Used
Since we are a women’s site, we’ll focus mostly on the top steroids used by women: Anavar, Primobolan, Winstrol, HGH. Anavar has been labeled the official woman’s steroid, since it is easily tolerated and when used responsibly, protects a woman’s feminine appearance. Primobolan is popular because it is a mild but efficient fat burner and can be used by women in small doses. Winstrol is a cutting agent that most bodybuilders will use during the pre-content prep. And finally, HGH (human growth hormone) can be used to build muscle and aid in muscle recovery. If used irresponsibly, all of these can cause virilization which is the increase in sex differences (facial hair growth, deepening voice, etc). CrossFitters will use some of these drugs to aid in muscle recovery because of the demanding training schedule they maintain. Others will use these for muscle growth, and finally, the majority of women will use these to lean out while maintaining muscle.
The Negatives of Steroid Use in Women
OK, we understand the different types of steroids and why they are used, but lets address the side effects and why so many people have negative views of steroids. Since steroids are related to male testosterone, the side effects on women can be broken down into three categories: Hormonal, Physical, Emotional. Although hormonal and emotional are linked, we’ll separate them for this listing
Physical: Hair growth, or baldness, acne, deepened voice, masculine appearance, clitoral growth. (yes, you read that right)
Emotional: Mood swings, anxiety, depression, hostility, irritability. Because dealing with it once a month isn’t good enough for some people.
Hormonal: Shifts in menstruation, lighter or non-existent periods, heavier periods…periods.
Why Take Steroids and How it Effects the Industry
While there aren’t many, there are some positives for those who take steroids responsibly. Many women have found that, if they are competing, they lose some of the muscle they’ve worked incredibly hard for during the off season, in preparation for the stage. Our lack of testosterone (in comparison to men) means that while it is more difficult to build large muscle, it can be easier for us to lose it during those stretches of cardio. There are plenty of professional bodybuilders/crossfitters/athletes who take a performance enhancing drug and still look/sound/feel feminine and are healthy. They are also aesthetically awesome and lean.
Here is the kicker: most of you follow them on Instagram or Facebook and don’t realize it. No one said that steroids were only for the muscle bound bodybuilder like Iris Kyle. Bikini models and competitors alike take steroids to maintain a lean and cut figure. When it is your job, or you’re trying to make it your job, you’ll do what you need to in order to maintain a certain look. That is why while many people steer clear of steroids, there are those who benefit from it and you’d never know.
How does that effect the industry though? By setting standards that many can’t attain. For those who are just starting out and looking to lose large amounts of weight, you may have a certain pro athlete in mind. You diet and train and lose pound after pound. Then you begin to tone and strengthen and your arms and legs are starting to look amazing. Then you seemingly plateau because you don’t look as ripped as your fit idol. The motivation can start to wane and you find yourself deflated over the inability to achieve a look so many recognized people have. If they all look that way, you should be able to as well with enough commitment to your nutrition and exercise, right? You may never be able to tell if your favorite bikini pro takes low doses of Winstrol to help her stay ultra lean, and that little nugget of truth can be detrimental to your fat loss motivation. No one should have to disclose if they take any enhancements, but those who are looking to someone for motivation should always be well aware that their body could look strikingly different from their “idol’s” when all is said and done. Whether you take or don’t, be sure to be responsible and make either choice for yourself and for nothing else. At the end of the day, its your face you have to look at in the mirror, masculine or not 🙂