Monday 27 November 2017

6 Completely Overlooked Reasons Not to Take Steroids

Let’s be honest – performance-enhancing drugs are everywhere. From elite athletes to social media celebrities to the bro at your local gym, steroids are the norm. The question is should YOU use them? I’m not here to tell you what you should do. I’m not here to judge those who choose to take them. I’ve never touched a steroid in my life and I have no intention to. I don’t train or coach people who use drugs. However, too many people make decisions without having all the facts. If you are thinking of taking steroids, read this first! 
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1. You will like them too much
Many people try steroids out of curiosity. They think to themselves, “I’ll just try a cycle and so I can see what they are like.” That one cycle then turns into 30 years. Why? Testosterone is a wonderful hormone. It helps you build muscle, burn fat, be confident and feel fantastic. Who wouldn’t want that? This is why I try to naturally keep my testosterone as high as possible with training, nutrition and getting as much asleep as a father of four young children can. Personally, I know that if I was to inject a super-human amount of testosterone into my body (and based on what others who have used steroids have felt and experienced), I would enjoy it too much and not want to stop. 

2. You will be viewed as a cheater
The big philosophical question that comes up with drugs in sports is, “If everyone is doing it, is it really cheating?” I’ll let the philosophers wrestle with that one. However, regardless of your personal opinion of performance-enhancing drugs, the majority of society still sees it as cheating. What is the reason you are doing your thing in the first place? Whether you want to play elite sport, dominate on the lifting platform or just get jacked for the beach, one of your underlying reasons is that you want the respect and admiration of others. However, because society still sees steroids as the cheater’s easy way out, your accomplishments mean nothing to them if they find out you used drugs. 

Now, you are smart enough to know that steroids don’t automatically make you great. There are plenty of steroid users who are not impressive. Steroids allow you to train harder, longer and recover quicker, but you still have to have a strong mind and you still have to do the work. I believe that if there were no steroids, the same people would be champions because winning still requires insane amounts of discipline and hard work to go along with great genetics. However, in the mind of the average person, the value of your accomplishment plummets if they know you used drugs.

3. You only get one chance to claim “lifetime-drug-free”
While gains quickly dissolve post-steroids, people still view you differently if you have used drugs. Should they? I don’t know, but they do. Don’t shoot the messenger. 

4. You won’t learn how to train drug free
As a trainer for almost 20 years and one who been lifting for almost 30 years, I’m very frustrated with the lack of advancement in the field of strength training. Sure we have some new technologies, but there have been VERY FEW advancements (especially if you study the history of this field – many “new techniques” are just recycled old ones). Why? Too many scientists take the easy way out and do research with untrained beginners. In addition, more advanced lifters often resort to drugs when the newbie gains fizzle out. As a result, we have a serious knowledge gap for the advanced, drug-free lifter. 

By choosing not to use steroids, you force yourself to research, experiment and find answers to keep making progress. This greatly enhances your knowledge about effective training. 

5. You get low natural testosterone 
This is one is a more well-known problem, but still needs to be included. When you start injecting large amounts of testosterone into your body, your body reduces its own natural testosterone production. This means that when you come off the steroids, you have lower than normal testosterone levels. This is not good for your biceps, your belly fat or your health. Now you need hormone replacement therapy for the rest of your life just to have normal testosterone levels. 

6. You don’t know the end of your story 
If your mind is set on using steroids, you can find case studies to support your decision. Yes, there are guys out there who have used steroids long-term and don’t seem to have the commonly associated health problems. What gives? Of course things like intelligent use, doctors guidance, dosage and clean needles factors in. However, another issue is individuality. We all have different genetic strengths and weaknesses. As a result, we are all more or less susceptible do different things. You may have problems or you may not. You have no idea how your story will end. Are you willing to take that chance?

Bonus Reason: Longevity 
This last reason is just my observation - so take it for what it is worth. One of the things that I have noticed is that many of the lifting and bodybuilding greats from when I was a teenager and young adult are not doing so well now. Some of them are dead, some have had hip replacements and most are not in great shape today. Of course, this can be due to the fact that they took their sports to the extreme level. However, the drugs allowed them to further exceed natural human capabilities and beat themselves up even more.

To some people, this is worth it. They care more about winning a title than they do about enjoying great health, performance and body composition for a lifetime. The question is - is it worth it for you?

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