In sports, athletes are always pushed to hit harder, move faster, and be stronger, so turning to steroids seems like an easy choice to improve performance.
But illegal steroid use brings its own dangers such as death or paralysis. For those considering steroid use, the question should be: what price is someone willing to pay for that much of an enhanced physique?
Physical effects are only part of the story, though. Steroids cause a wide variety of mental side effects that can be devastating, including depression, mood swings, dizziness, paranoia, rage, and insomnia. Combined, all the effects of steroids can lead to an over-enlarged heart, liver failure, and premature death.
Steroid use: oral versus injectable
Those who consider taking steroids usually have a problem with injectable steroids because they have problems injecting themselves. The theory is that injectable steroids are safer because they do not have to be digested, but with steroids it is rarely that simple.
While proven that oral steroids are harder on the liver, the reason is that oral steroids have a shorter “half-life” (the time they stay in one’s system) than injectable steroids.
Oral steroids only last 3-5 hours per pill, meaning they need to be taken several times a day putting a huge amount of stress on liver function. But injecting steroids has its own problems; for beginners, the possibility exists that they may miss the target area and wind up injecting the steroids into a tendon. This can lead to a blood clot—and if not caught in time, will lead to death.
Even though steroid use has been proven to enlarge one’s heart and reduce good (HDL) cholesterol while cranking up bad (LDL) cholesterol, the big draw is increasing muscle size. Many athletes who compete on a regular basis find themselves attracted to the idea of simply taking drugs to enhance performance, and wind up pumping steroids into their bodies for that perceived advantage and a better chance to win.
In 1988, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson beat American sprinter Carl Lewis in the 100-meter dash with an amazing time of 9.79 seconds—but his urine tested positive for steroids. His record was nullified and he was stripped of his medal, his prestige, and his honor. Even without evidence yet of long-term effects, Johnson’s career has been destroyed through use of steroids.
Some weightlifters and bodybuilders go past perfection into something else entirely by using steroids; bodybuilder Gregg Valentino has become infamous for his unnaturally large 27-inch arms, and while he has become famous, some have labeled him a freak. When steroid use can cost someone 20 years or more of their life, lifting naturally is the better way to go. With dedication and proper nutrition, a lifter will not only build a healthy, natural body but feel better about themselves as well.
I enjoy reading about improving my physique and write about muscle building, shredding fat and supplements that give you that little edge over your competitors.
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