Bodybuilding and Steroids


The use of anabolic steroids for bodybuilding is one of the escalating trends in that body builders undertake to achieve an exaggerated physique. The Anabolic steroids are the synthetic versions of the testosterone found in the male hormone. They have two primary effects when consumed by human beings. Firstly, Thorne affirms that it has the masculinizing effect which causes a sporadic increase in weight. Secondly, it increases the anabolic activity of the body making an individual to have more strength hence preferred by professional bodybuilders in weight lifting and muscle flexing sports activities. Steroids usage is illegal in many countries but the consumers still manage to get them from illicit sources which have increased their availability in the market.

There is also the confusion that the anabolic steroids are the same as the corticosteroids which are usually the prescription for asthmatic and skin disorders by patients. Lemeham and Miller acknowledge that this misconception is absurd and requires intensive informative campaigns to help the users differentiate the purposes of the two substances. Thomas discuss the increased use of these steroids have detrimental effects on the body hormones and the general health of the users. Apart from damaging the sensitive body organs like kidney, the use of steroids affects the hormonal growth of the users tremendously. This essay critically examines the bodybuilding and steroids usage in the context of the modern society.

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Active Ingredients

In some embodiments, the pharmaceutical composition of the anabolic steroids entails the active ingredients that are described as the pharmaceutically active ingredients. Therefore, it comprises the neomycin hydrocortisone and the polymyxin B. It is also explicitly revealed that the pharmaceutical composition and methods of the present invention are suitable for use as active ingredients. The combination of water soluble and insoluble compounds is also used in the manufacture of some of the steroids meant for muscle building. 

How Steroids Work

Steroids work by stimulation of the brain which sends the chemical signal to the testes which produce more testosterone. The testosterone then enters the blood cells and work together with the anabolic steroids to increase the activity of the natural testosterone from the testes. The brain also plays an integral role in detecting the amount of testosterone available in the bloodstream and regulates it through a special feedback system. The existing steroids taken by an individual are usually metabolized in the nucleus and taken from the cell to the liver where they are disintegrated. At this point, they are taken to the bile and excreted in urine through the kidneys. 

The amount of excretion varies one androgen to another and can be detected during the sport testing activities. It because the liver rapidly destroys the testosterone rendering them useless as an oral anabolic agent unless they are integrated some other radical actors. However, for steroids meant for oral use, a chemical group is usually included in the molecule to allow easy absorption in the stomach. This aspect makes it possible to bypass the destruction from the liver that would make them useless. Therefore, the duration of the testosterone increases and more active substances reach the muscle for increased productivity. 

According to Lemeham and Miller (n.d.), there is no specific research conducted to investigate the specific amount of steroids that the bodybuilders should use for a bodybuilding training program. However, the available information is for exclusive medicinal use and the expectations are not the same as those used in gaining weight. Nonetheless, it is critical to note that taking a large dose of steroids is not recommended for body builders. As a matter of fact, a lot of steroids does not have the same effects as those recommended for medicinal use. An increase overdose of the steroids only makes excess steroids be spread around the body and has adverse effects on the overall health of an individual. Thomas discusses that many athletes take an overdose of the steroids in a desperate attempt to double the effects. However, this attempt only increases the side effects and no significant benefits. Therefore, Locks and Richardson confirm that using a correct diet and engaging in an active training program is more beneficial than taking the steroids. 

Benefits of Using Steroids

The use of steroids increases the strength of the muscle both scientifically and anecdotally. Lemeham and Miller (n.d.) study illustrates that the drug has a performance enhancing capability that increases its intrinsic value. The study also reveals that testosterone enanthate which is the most commonly abused steroid increases the cyclic performance of the body builders. Furthermore, the same study revealed that the results of the increase in the energy levels and muscle strength could be experienced in a period of 6 to 12 weeks of usage.

Steroids also increase the body size of the users which has a large financial return to the competing bodybuilders. The healthy weight trainers recommend the use of steroids in controlled quantities for maximum body size. This effect is due to the drugs ability to increase the bicep girth and the quadriceps circumference. The steroids can also cause tightness in the abdomen which the contemporary society describes as ‘six pack’ indicating the fat reduction. Another study reveals that steroids are beneficial to the healing rate of the users. The study affirms that professional athletes with injuries prefer using steroids to boost their healing rates and hasten the recovery process. 

Side Effects

The use of muscle stimulating drugs has significant side effects to the body and steroids have no exception in this. The primary cause of the side effects of using steroids is connected to having an unusual reaction after an excessive consumption. Thorne points out that the usage of a specific amount for one person may be safer but the same amount can be dangerous when used by another person. Acne is one of the most identified side effects of using steroids in larger quantities. Acne is mostly evident on the skin of the users that requires immediate termination of steroid usage when observed. Users also tend to develop a fine follicular rash over the trunk after 3 to 4 weeks of usage. However, an immediate termination using the drug makes follicular dermatitis disappear. According to Lemeham and Miller, such infections can be minimized by maintaining a cleaner skin surface and avoiding dry skins. It is also paramount to avoid using oily substances and ointments as it may make the condition worse. 

Another common side effect is gynaecomastia which affects the breast making them sore and enlarges the mammary glands. This effect is due to the level of chemical change in the testosterone that is triggered by a process called aromatization to. The breast section becomes sore because the male hormones are converted to form the female sex hormone know as estrogen. As the usage continues, fatty tissues also build up around the same section hence swelling. Lemeham and Miller discuss that secretion of a smelly fluid can be experienced when the nipples are squeezed. The intervention for this problem is surgery and immediate termination of steroid usage.

The continuous usage of steroids can also be detrimental to the health of the liver. This aspect is because the steroids alter the normal functioning of the liver because of the added molecules on the steroids that make it bypass the disintegration in the liver. Thorne (2009) reports that there are cases of peliosis hepatica; a condition where the presence of blood-filled sacs appear in the liver for people using the steroids. Liver tumors are also another risk factor for this condition because of improper functioning of the blood vessels in the liver. 

Another potential effect of the steroids consumption is the tendon damage. As a matter of fact, anabolic steroids do not strengthen the tendons but the muscles where the tendons are attached. The most affected parts are the bicep tendons where tendon rupture occurs. The rapture may be partial or complete because of the expansion beyond their elastic ability. 

The steroids also affect the male's libido. It is because anabolic steroid suppresses the formation of the pituitary hormones that affects the normal functioning of the testis. Therefore, the overall sex drive of the athlete is lowered and can also lead to permanent impotence. The cases of insomnia have also been reported for the heavy users of the drug. 

Attitude of People in Society towards Steroid Usage

The body builders who depend on the anabolic stimulants are also victims of stigmatization in the society. Fussell discusses that the risk of stigmatization is closely related to the subcultural affiliations of the athletes. Therefore, the maligned perspective that all the builders irrespective of their experience with steroids affects their self-esteem in the society.

The society tends to suspect their peculiar looks that are not natural and discriminate them. In such a situation, risk becomes manifold and can have adverse consequences to the self-esteem of the athlete. Additionally, the society has the tendency of associating the self-administering steroid users the same as the other hard drug users such as heroin and marijuana. According to Thorne, the contemporary society believes in a post-traditional order where the building of self in the broader institutionalized context has to be made reflexively. Therefore, the cultures that have significant affiliations with religion is against the use of steroids in all forms. For instance, the Christians perceive their bodies as the ‘temple of God’ and taking drugs intentionally to alter the normal performance is ungodly. Therefore, this point of view appears traumatizing to the athletes and body builders using steroids for muscle stimulation.

Locks and Richardson also discuss that the use of steroids induces different types of aggression that may be detrimental to the peaceful coexistence in society. For instance, the user's aggression may take the form of indirect hostility, physical assault and negativism. They may also exhibit resentment and irritability which can lead to increase animosity in young people. There are also cases of young adolescent using steroids to instill a premature growth to satisfy their ego. Therefore, this aspect makes them become a nuisance to other people within their age groups and cause the increase in violent activities.

The youth also tend to take steroids due to the availability of information regarding the benefits of steroids on the internet and the mainstream media. This aspect has sparked deliberations from critics in the media who argue that the availability of steroids is a catastrophic menace in the society that should be curbed. 


In conclusion, this study reveals that the use of steroids have more negative impacts and should be discontinued for a healthy life. The study also recommends the use of dietary and exercise as the ultimate solution for gaining a healthy weight and increased athleticism. The study further reveals that the society has a patronizing attitude towards the athletes using steroids for enhancing their muscles. This aspect is due to the aggressive behavior of the users after using the drugs. Finally, the paper reveals that the information in the media also plays an integral role in informing the public about the steroids. 

May 26, 2020 in Informative
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