Steroids – the most popular and yet the most secretive and controversial word in the world of bodybuilding and fitness. Every now and then we hear about how rampant steroid use has become in mainstream sport of bodybuilding even in India. The fact is that steroids have become so common and are so easily available that even an average gym goer has started relying on steroids for faster results. Hence, you can only imagine how widely its use is prevalent in the world of bodybuilding where people are always eager and ready to go to any extent to make their bodies achieve the unachievable.
Athletes admitting steroid use:While most of the users try to keep it a secret so that they can claim to be “All Natural Bodybuilders”, there are few big international athletes who have openly accepted that they have taken chemical assistance at some point in their career. Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted using steroids, however; experts have stated that Arnold’s use of steroids was negligible as compared to the athletes today. The legend – Ronnie Coleman has accepted taking steroids illegally and so have Flex Wheeler, Jay Cutler, and Dorian Yates. A point to be noted here is that athletes like Arnold or Ronnie had the strong genetics for bodybuilding. They did not use steroids to build muscles. They relied on it to maintain their muscle which is a brutal requirement of this sport. It goes without saying that these builders have sweated their life out to get where they are.
We are not saying that every athlete who has reached the top has relied on steroids. We are not trying to tarnish the sport and their sportsmanship in any way. We are here trying to help you spot a steroid user from the lot so that you can understand what steroid does in short and in the long run. This will also help you in choosing the correct idols for your future aspirations. Here are the five ways that can help you identify a steroid builder:
1) What the gut?
If you have been following bodybuilding events, you might have seen that a number of big players have an unusually big gut. It has been termed as the GH Gut or Growth Hormone Gut and it is a possible indication of steroid use. We have even covered a article on how all the top new age bodybuilders are having the GH and it does not look aesthetic at all.
Bodybuilders rely on regular doses of the Growth Hormone as it helps in fat loss and size gain. It is mostly coupled with Insulin. These are not steroids hence, not illegal and therefore are widely used especially by Olympians who need sizeable bodies to stay in the game. GH supposedly increases the size of the abdominal organs and as well as the layer of visceral fat around them which lead to the abdominal protrusion. In addition, constant use of medically-unrequired insulin tends to increase the muscle sensitivity abnormally leading to increased abdominal size. Since, organ enlargement and visceral fat cannot be avoided; GH Gut is not a mark-down criterion in bodybuilding – although it certainly looks unappealing to the viewers.
It is a valid argument that an athlete who his loading himself up constantly with GH and Insulin to get that size will definitely have access to steroids too.
2) The V-Shape Upper Body
A V shape upper body is the typical body structure of athletes who tend to go for ripped muscles and small waistlines. A lot of hard work is required to achieve this PROPORTIONATELY. When this V structure starts looking imbalanced – steroid abuse could be the possible culprit. An imbalanced upper body means that your pecs, lats, traps, neck, and shoulders look highly muscular and ripped but your lower body i.e. thighs and calves look lesser or under-developed. This happens because lower body naturally develops slower as compared to the upper body. When loading steroids, the upper body muscles that have more receptors for steroids as compared to the lower body develop even faster. Hence, steroid use affects your upper body more.
So, if you see someone with an exceptionally carved out upper body but a poor lower body then it is very likely that the results are lesser due to work out and more due to steroids.
Now, please keep in mind that not every athlete with a perfect V is a steroid user. There are hard working players out there who maintain their structure with healthy workouts and diets. Also, some gymers do not opt for legs and simply focus on upper body. Hence, be observant but do not jump to conclusions.
3) Acne and Stretch Marks
Interestingly, the muscles that develop faster with steroids i.e. those in the upper body are the ones that are acne prone too. We mentioned above that the upper body muscles have more androgenic receptors and the concentration of testosterone around these muscles is, therefore, high. Testosterone is one of the primary reasons behind acne. It makes the oil glands super active leading to an acne breakout. Hence, when on one hand, steroid helps in developing your muscles; it can make your skin highly acne prone too.
Your skin starts showing stretch marks when it is subjected to expansion far greater than its natural capacity to expand. This is why pregnant women get stretch marks on their bellies. Athletes who use steroids experience rapid muscle growth in the upper body. This fast pace is not supported by an equally fast-paced skin growth causing the appearance of stretch marks. These are more prominent around the biceps, pectorals, and upper lats.
Now, it is also a person’s genetic that can make him acne prone. If the face is equally spotted then it is safe to assume that the person is born with an acne prone skin. However, if the face looks clean but the ripped muscles in the upper body seem acne prone then there could be a steroid play involved.
4) Male Breasts
Yes, steroid abuse can make you develop male breasts. When caused naturally this condition is called Gynecomastia. It is a common observance in almost 70 percent of young adolescent boys and it is temporary is most. However, when this is seen in bodybuilders who carry tits along with their ripped muscles then there is definitely foul play involved.
Yet again, an excess of testosterone is the main culprit. As we all know, it is the male sex hormone i.e. it gives men their peculiar characteristic. Likewise, estrogen is the female sex hormone. Men naturally carry both the hormones but they have 20% more testosterone than women. Some amount of testosterone is converted to estrogen within the body which is required for hormonal balance. However, when you supply the body with an excess of it via steroids, more is converted to estrogen leading to abnormally high levels of the female hormone. This is why athletes relying on steroids start showing male breasts.
Just one piece of advice, be careful when you go breast-staring to spot steroid abuse.
5) Sudden Unexpected Transformation
We have said this time and again, bringing about a change in your body takes time. If you want to get results with hard work, healthy diet, and a living, then you will take some amount of time to achieve that. Hence, when you see someone, successfully making a massive change to his body, gaining muscle mass and ripped muscles, in just a month or two then trust us, this is not natural neither normal. Steroids are popular because of their quick and impressive results. There are people who succeed in making large transformations to their bodies naturally but it takes a lot of efforts and a lot of time.
Next time you see someone flaunt an impressive body, before being impressed, check out how he achieved it.
To be honest, it is impossible to say for sure that the person is abusing steroids just by looking at him. Only proper blood tests can give you a confirmation. These five ways will help you to at least ascertain a possibility of steroid use. Hence, don’t be eager to pass on the verdict by just observing one of these criteria in an individual. If you see 3 or 4 signs together then yes, then your suspicions might hold a solid ground.
Lastly, steroids may help you achieve your target faster but they definitely take away from you a very important thing – Your Health. We say it is better to achieve healthier results rather than faster. What do you say?