As is the case with pretty much any modern medical/medicinal phenomenon these days, confusion seems to rule the day when it comes to usage of steroid, too. All manners of claims and counter-claims have been made regarding the effectiveness of anabolic steroids and whether or not they really enhance our bodybuilding efforts in any significant manner.
So, in this ‘steroid facts’ article we will primarily deal with this question—how effective steroids really are. More precisely, I would like to cite a few studies and researches conducted in recent times by reliable authorities and the results found therein and for the rest, you can arrive at your own conclusion.
Let us start with a research conducted at the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science. According to the report published, the researchers divided forty-three men in four groups: testosterone with exercise, testosterone without exercise, placebo without exercise, and exercise only. All of the subjects followed a standardized diet and performed bench presses and squats three times a week for an overall total of 12 sets of 6 reps. The amounts of weights the subjects lifted varied in each workout session. At the end of 10 weeks, the researchers measured muscle size by MRI whereas one rep maximums were used to determine strength.
Here are the results they found:
On an average, the exercise-only group gained 4.5 lbs of muscle.
The testosterone-only group gained 6.5 lbs of muscle.
The testosterone-plus-exercise group gained 13 lbs of muscle.
Yes, you have read it right.
The people who were using steroids only and doing no exercise whatsoever gained more muscle than the exercise-only naturals. And the guys who were both into steroids and weightlifting gained close to three times more muscle than the ones who were weightlifting only.
Now, some may try to explain it away by arguing that the results that are registered here are as lean mass are, in actuality, increased water retention in the muscles. But, there are also other studies which clearly demonstrate that anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) do result in a significant amount of muscle fiber growth.
Take this one for example—a case-study conducted with a professional bodybuilder. The bodybuilder in question worked with researchers for a year, and for all but a month of that duration, he was on testosterone. During this period, he gained as much as fifteen pounds of muscle. Now, you will know that that is an amazing number for an elite bodybuilder with years of proper weightlifting behind him. There is a limit to how much muscle you can gain naturally and the deeper you go into your weightlifting career, the fewer becomes the amount of annual muscle gain. One shortcoming with the study is that it does not mention the dosages used, which obviously would have been more enlightening.
Now, do not get us wrong. All these studies and steroid facts are not mentioned here with an intention to encourage steroid use. Anabolic steroids do come with a number of negative side effects, so it is only normal that many people will try to steer clear of steroids and stay natural. The only problem is that there are also people who do use steroids and yet claim to be natural. The upshot of such tendency is that this can discourage people who want to keep away from using steroid since they may feel like that they do not have the right genetics or body structure to achieve the kind of body they want and may eventually give up working out altogether. The thing to understand is that you can build only so much lean muscle naturally (which is not negligible by any account) and if somebody appears to have jumped that ceiling, you can rest assured that they are ‘using’—no matter what they claim!