How much of an advantage is taking anabolic steroids in term of developing muscle mass and strength have over those who don't? Turns out loads! (However there is a big draw back with potential health issues and ethics in sports).
This study by Bhasin et al gives an insight of they advantage people who use steroids have on building lean muscle and improving strength. The results are staggering.
The study showed that those who took steroids increased their lean muscle mass and built strength, without any training whatsoever. Even more than those who did training alone!
The men injected with testosterone and did no exercise had an increase of 3.2 kg in fat-free mass! This is even more lean muscle mass than the guys who did exercise alone (increase of only 1.9 kg of fat free mass).
The guys who used testosterone and exercised gained 6.1kg of lean mass on average over the 10 week study!
• Men in the no-exercise groups, given testosterone had greater increases than those given placebo in muscle size in their arms & legs & greater increases in strength in the bench-press and squatting exercises.
• Supraphysiologic doses of testosterone, especially when combined with strength training, increase fat-free mass and muscle size and strength in normal men.
In this study the men were “only” injected with 600mg of testosterone. A lot of people who use steroids will take much higher doses and will often “stack” steroids, taking multiple forms simultaneously & other steroids to help increase muscle mass, build strength and alter body composition. So these results may only be the tip of the iceberg.
The authors of the study emphasise that “the results in no way justify the use of anabolic–androgenic steroids in sports, because, with extended use, such drugs have potentially serious adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, prostate, lipid metabolism, and insulin sensitivity.
Moreover, the use of any performance-enhancing agent in sports raises serious ethical issues.
I would like to add that no way am I suggesting people should take steroids to build muscle and strength (as pointed out there maybe health consequences and ethical issues in certain quarters) and it is not something I do myself.
Nor am I taking a dig at people who take steroids its peoples own free will (unless it is drug cheats in sports and other certain ethical issues). This is to highlight that people who take steroids will have a big advantage for gaining muscle mass and strength over those who don't.
A few areas I am concerned about is
1) Health consequences-
Extended use, such drugs have potentially serious adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, prostate, lipid metabolism, and insulin sensitivity.
Other Side effects anabolic steroids may elicit because of the androgenic properties of the drug include-
Hirsute changes including-
Facial hair growth, deepening voices, and clitoral enlargement may occur in women using anabolic steroids. These changes may not reverse upon discontinuation of the drug. Acne- Both men and women may experience an increase in sebaceous gland activity
Gynecomastia (breast tissue swelling) in males may result from the increased oestradiol produced as a result of the steroid's metabolism. Male pattern baldness. Testicular atrophy and decreased sperm production.
2) The unfair advantage drug cheats have in sport.
Look at the results the guys who trained and took no testosterone gained 1,9kg of lean mass. Compared to the guys who took testosterone and trained who gained 6.1kg of lean mass and had significant increases in strength. This gives the guys who took steroids a massive advantage over the ones who didn't take any steroids. Imagine two sports people similar skill level, train just as hard as each other, but the other one gets a massive advantage because they took steroids. This is not just a little advantage this is massive and give that athlete an edge physical condition and performance.
3) Trainers, fitness models and magazines selling an impossible dream- Giving out their workout and diet plans from people who are on steroids and making out it is the diet and workout plans alone that got them their body shape, when they also had a little extra help...
Jamie Miller- Personal Trainer
UK Fitness Personal Training
Fitness, Nutrition and Personal Training