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Steroids (Part 1).

Oh boy, here we go.

This has got to be the number one question I'm asked at the gym: what can I take to get better results?

I have to start with a few reminders:

- I am not a doctor nor am I a healthcare professional.

- I do not condone illegal behavior.

- I do not condone abuse of illegal or legal drugs.

- I do not condone taking a prescription drug without a prescription or medical supervision.

What would I recommend: education. For everyone. I mean everyone, even doctors, because in my experience doctors are not taught much about anabolic steroids except that "they're bad" and there's no appropriate use for them. I have had a couple of extremely well educated doctors discuss anabolic steroids with me along with their experiences of being shunned by other doctors because of their views.

It disappoints me that a category of drugs that's been around for over half a century, manufactured by publicly held companies for a plethora of medical and physiological conditions is so poorly understood and stigmatized by healthcare experts.

In my personal experience, within the course of two years I have had five doctors stop me before departing from appointments to ask me to teach them about anabolic steroids. And it always goes the same way, "Hey, uh, I've started working out and I was wondering if you think maybe I should take some test. Would that work?" Seriously. Doctors asking me for medical advice.

I'm not going to delve too deeply into the science of steroids but instead give a brief overview...

Steroids are biologically active organic compounds with four rings arranged in a specific molecular configuration. Steroids have two principal biological functions: as important components of cell membranes which alter membrane fluidity; and as signaling molecules.

SOME steroids are anabolic. That is to say, they promote muscle growth. The most commonly known naturally occurring anabolic steroid in both men and women is testosterone. Testosterone (and sometimes we'll just call it "test" in this article) plays a role in a bunch of physiological functions. Testosterone is not the only anabolic steroid; there are a number of naturally occurring and manufactured anabolic steroids.

So for the purpose of brevity, through the rest of this article I'll use "steroids" in place of "anabolic steroids" since that's the purpose of this article.

Let's get one thing straight: steroids alone will NOT make you more muscular. If that were true, you'd see huge guys and gals all over the place. Why? Because anabolic steroids are pervasive. Anabolic steroids are the number one abused category of drugs by both male and female high school students. Steroids are advertised (legally) online, on Facebook, to men over the age of 40 as "TRT" or Testosterone Replacement Therapy.

Some commonly asked questions:

How do anabolic steroids work? Anabolic steroids do two things: (1) increase the production of proteins in the cells in order to increase the rate of muscle-cell reproduction and (2) increase the body's production of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). If you recall middle-school biology class, ATP is what carries oxygen in the red blood cells in order to provide energy throughout the body.

Will steroids make my penis smaller? No. Depending on what steroids you take and in what amount, steroids may temporarily decrease the size of your testes, but they will not change the size of your penis.

Will steroids make my clitorus bigger? Maybe. Depending on what steroids you take and in what amount, anabolic steroids may permanently enlarge the clitorus. Some women may also experience enlargement of the Adam's Apple and deepening of the voice.

Will steroids make me go bald? Maybe. Depending on your body's response to steroids, you may produce more Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and depending on your sensitivity to DHT, you may experience hair-loss. And in turn, this depends on your body's sensitivity to DHT.

Will steroids make me sterile? Most men who take steroids will have decreased levels of sperm production because the body's feedback loop is faked into believing it's already released too much testosterone. As a result, the body may shut down its own production of testosterone, Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). Many men will take other medications when coming off of a steroid "cycle" (or period of time using steroids) in order to reactivate the body's own production.

So if steroids won't make me a swole beast on their own, what do I need to do? You need to work out hard and eat right. Now that we understand how they work, it's pretty obvious how they're most helpful: recovery. Steroids will help the body recover faster from tough workouts and assist the growth of more muscle.

That's all for today. Stay tuned for future articles about steroids. If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer--just log in and leave them in the comments section below or email me at

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