Look away if you don't like needles!
For those of us who love to go to the gym, albeit somewhat sporadically, the sight of guys with killer bodies it can be easy to feel a bit disillusioned. Amazing physiques like you see splashed all over your Instagram feed can be a bit demoralising when you realise how much work you have to do to even come close to the bulging body beauties on display.
How do they work?
Steroids are basically synthetic testosterone that can either be ingested or injected directly into the muscle. Testosterone naturally occurs in men’s bodies (women’s too but less so) and is produced by your testicles. It affects everything from bone density to sex drive to puberty to hair growth. The reason people use steroids is to enhance their performance or in the case of gymming, put on more muscle mass quicker and drop fat.
Are there side effects?
There sure are! As with any sort of drug, it depends on how much you do and your own constitution. Courses usually last about 10 weeks and then it’s recommended you stop so your body can regulate its natural production of the hormone testosterone. Whilst your muscles balloon, this can affect your joints as well with a multitude of issues.
That's a lot of effort or a lot of steroids
There’s also a little thing called ‘roid rage’ where you have a short temper followed by emotional outburst. As well as this there is the possibility of the onset of adult acne which can get quite bad on your back or face. It’s a myth that your cock gets smaller but because your balls aren’t making as much testosterone (when you inject it, the body thinks you have too much so stops naturally making it) they can get smaller.
As mentioned earlier, in order to regulate the hormone, you are supposed to come off it after a course but that has its own problems. Coming off steroids can play havoc with your mental state, sometimes leading to a deep dark depression and a loss of libido.
How common is it?
It is estimated that over a million people use steroids in the UK but the real figure is likely much higher simply because most people don't want to talk about it or see a doctor, even when they eventually get health the health problems mentioned above.
The problem is that having a big muscly physique is hugely desirable in the gay world and has been for decades. As social media blew up and with the onslaught of reality stars flaunting these impeccable bodies, they are seen as the epitome of what a hot guy looks like.
Love Island's Harley Judge has a body that lads aspire to
In much the same way as young girls can start to feel very self-conscious looking at perfect Instagram bodies, guys are now feeling that they need to be stacked in order to be hot, popular or famous. Whilst of course you can do that naturally with diet and regular work outs, it takes dedication and steroids are seen a s quick fix. UK Anti-Doping even released a statement to coincide with the winter series of Love Island back in January this year. Whilst the average age of steroid users is early twenties, that’s shown signs of changing as well. With the likes of botox, fillers etc, it’s now in our culture to be fitter, look better and stay younger.
What are the legalities?
This is a bit of a grey area. Anabolic steroids are a class C drug and it’s not illegal to have them for personal use. It is illegal to import them if you plan on supplying or selling them, including giving them to friends. This can carry with it an unlimited fine and up to 14 years in prison. So you have to ask yourself, is that quick fix perfect body worth it when it can be achieved the right way.