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Common Myths and Misconceptions About Steroids

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There are so many myths and misconceptions that are continually being spread and perpetuated via the media – and others – with regards to steroids, that there’s a need for a lot of clarifications. This little item will not answer all the questions that people may have, nor can these words be considered the end all/be all on the subject. But we have to start somewhere.

Consider this as more of a FAQ that attempts to correct some of the major mistaken beliefs with regards to the vast subject area known as “Steroids.” So here goes….

1) Steroids Work. There is no doubt that steroids work. And by “work” I mean that, when used properly, they will make anyone and everyone – yes, anyone and everyone – better at any physical task. Steroids won’t “give” a person a skill that they don’t have. However, someone like a Major League Baseball player will become a better and more dangerous hitter on the juice. Why? Short answer: they make you stronger and help you recover quickly from training and competition. Of this there is no dispute.

2) Steroids Do Not Have to Make a Person Bigger. Too many people continue to say that they wouldn’t use steroids – or don’t think certain players use – because they don’t want/have big muscles. There are a whole host of steroids that – when used properly – do not result in “getting big.” Using Rafael Palmeiro as an example, the allegations are that he used a drug called “Stanozolol,” also known as “Winstrol.” Winstrol is a drug that – in the vernacular – people use for “cutting,” or “getting ripped,” which gives the user a lean but muscular appearance with little water retention.

The strength gains from using this drug are less than from using some of the more potent androgens, but would be extremely beneficial and appropriate for a baseball player, with the added benefit of not adding size. Getting too big could attract all kinds of unwanted attention to a Big Leaguer these days. The problem is – and Palmeiro found this out the hard way – this drug is easy to detect.

3) There’s Not a Lot of Research That Backs Up the Efficacy of Steroids. That would be correct. And big deal. Like it or not, the vast majority of “research” that has been conducted on what drugs work, how they work, how to take them and any other tidbits of info with regards to steroids, their use and the outcomes has been conducted in basements, garages and gyms over the past 40–plus years. And the people who have been conducting this “research” aren’t your typical white-coat and beaker types either, but are your body builder/power lifter gym rat types. Oh sure, there is some legit research out there on the subject, but this research doesn’t deal with the real world realities of steroids and their use. This research deals with – and must operate within – the parameters set by the ethical constrains of the real world and of the Hippocratic Oath. Athletes who want to cheat for fame and vast riches don’t care for such things.

“People With Dirty Hands” are the true experts when it comes to steroids, their use and misuse. The guy in the lab can tell you why steroids are bad for you, but they aren’t the experts when it comes to telling us why and how certain steroids work. Not on the scale that pertains to athletes who cheat.

The “Good Guys” have their hands tied as the ethical standards that they must abide by prevent them from being able to study steroids in a way that would lead to the understanding – from a “hard science” standpoint – of how they work for athletes and others who want to use them. And here’s why.

Steroids, when used by those looking to improve their performance, are used in quantities that far exceed the approved clinical doses, and are used for purposes outside of the intended. Not to mention that several different steroids are used simultaneously – known as “stacking” – as well.

To keep this as short as possible, legit science will never be able to study the effects of steroids on human subjects that mirrors the way they are used in the real world. Legit science will never allow humans to be subjected to massive doses of multiple kinds of steroids – or any other performance enhancing drugs – used simultaneously for any purpose. These kinds of experiments have been, and are still being, done in the bathroom stalls in gyms. And the results can be found all over the Internet.

4) Steroids Are Bad For You. From a common-sense standpoint this is a certainty. Not a lot of true hard data exists on this subject either, but the indications are there. There is legit evidence that exists that shows that even at clinical doses steroids can have some negative side effects. Multiply these clinical doses exponentially, and add other steroids into the pot, and you are cooking up a very dangerous brew indeed.

And again, legit science will not allow studies to be conducted with the purpose of injecting people with steroids to find out at what point they may drop dead or get some form of cancer.

On this count the “People With Dirty Hands” aren’t as nearly as forthcoming as they are with their info with regards to how great steroids are. For this “bad news” you have to lurk around the Internet where you can find all kinds of obituaries of young guys – gym rats, power lifters, body builders, pro wrestlers – who have died from heart or liver problems. And while the “Dirty Handers” have no problems accepting the anecdotal evidence when it comes to how to use and the “positives,” they are in denial when it comes to many of the negative outcomes of their “experiments.”

5) Steroids are Cheating. See above. Using steroids fits the definition of the word “cheating.” Don’t try spouting the garbage that the steroid issue is strictly a matter of people doing what they can do to improve themselves. When jobs and salaries are at stake, or when records are broken, to use the self-improvement rationale is to ignore reality and is intellectually dishonest.

Don’t get distracted by the smoke screen created by many of the player’s sycophants that steroids weren’t specifically banned so therefore, and somehow, players can’t really blamed for using.

This is surely among the worst rubbish ever used for “steroid justification.” Steroids have been illegal for years. Apply this same logical dishonesty to other illegal activities that aren’t expressly banned by pro sports leagues and you’ll see why this form of justification is ludicrous.

And ask the guys who’ve lost jobs, money and/or records to steroid users if they feel cheated. The guys who didn’t win the MVP awards that Ken Caminiti and Jason Giambi did win lost out on – were cheated out of – money, fame and a place in the history books.

If you’ve been paying attention you’ll notice that not one of these baseball players has come out and said that they were just taking advantage of the advances in modern medicine and treatments in order to improve themselves. Quite the contrary, as these cheaters have gone to great length to cover up their actions and have disputed the findings when the cheating was discovered.

6) Forget Education. Have A Zero Tolerance Policy For Those Who Get Caught. Athletes who face a very real possibility of being banned from competition will be much less likely to cheat than those who are just educated with regards to the “dangers” of steroid use. The biggest “danger” associated with steroid use that a player should be concerned with is a lifetime ban from competition if they get caught using. If an athlete is cheating to compete, tell them that they won’t be in a position to compete if they get caught cheating.

The “Anti-Steroid Education Policy” should have two points; 1) Using steroids is cheating and 2) If you get caught using steroids you will be banned from competition. That’s it. There’s no reason to get into the health risks. Look at the effort that has been undertaken to keep people from smoking – people still smoke don’t they?

Understanding these basic six issues will go a long way in the quest for people to better understand the “steroids in sport” issue. Once people start “getting it” we can progress to discussing the deeper and more complicated problems that are involved.

Edit: BMcK

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About Sal Marinello

  • Albanesse

    Good post and to the point. I have been going to gyms for over 20 years and to be honest I have always seen it around me. Just last week I overheard a kids asking some older guys about juice and what to stack. The kid has bulked up a lot in about 3 weeks and is now looking for new cocktails to get even bigger. Never understood the goal of getting bigger and bigger and then when off the juice shrinking to half your size and getting hurt ’cause you are still trying to lift like an elephant.

  • It is cheating. If you use it and get caught – DON’T COMPLAIN!

  • sal ma

    To Albanesse: Good observation…and watch these kids as they turn into idiots because of the drug use. The mental effects of the juice create a person who cannot deal with being smaller…so even if they didn’t intend to stay on for a long period of time, they wind up doing so.

    I’ve known guys – not friends, but guys who worked out in gyms that I belonged to – who when they went off the drugs would either train at another gym where no one knew them or would wear long sweatshirts and sweatpants ALL THE TIME regardless of the weather so they could hide their loss of size.

    In a bizarre example of behavior, I knew a guy who was off at the time of his wedding, but was so freaked out at the prospects of being photographed at less than his biggest wore a full heavy sweatsuit under his tux. If you looked close enough in the photo you could see the rolls of material.

  • barry

    i crave steroids!

  • I understand that it is vital to keep steroids out sports. But what about those who only use steroids for personal development and compete only with themselves? In these cases I think it is up to the user to decide what is cheating and not.

  • john

    dude steroids suck balls

  • Duran

    I really don’t see how we could say “using steroids is cheating”.Why? Because it gives someone an unnatural advantage? Other pro athletes can have that same advantage as well. Doesn’t creatine monohydrate or beta-alanine do the same things with unnatural concentrations being administered? I think the only reason they are so looked down upon is because they work and they work very well. If steroids are cheating then so should using “natural” supplements at unnatural concentrations.

  • a person

    i dnt think steroids good for your body and really womans dont need to take it because they look like man’s and thats not pretty at all….

  • a person

    why use steroids and you could get into a gym some where and not be rising your life in any kind of way because there are many…and much you can die from or have heart problems…do better and stop using steroids b/c its shorting your life time.

  • DK

    All the people who actually do steroids end up with life long health problems and then want to complain about it or about there weight loss. I mean if you’re gonna do then you got to except the consequences that it bring with it

  • TM

    None of you are experts, and neither am I, but you must understand that not all people have all the adverse effects that the media portrays of steroid use. I’ve never used steroids in my life, but I have done pretty extensive research on the pros and cons and actual physiology of AAS. Although I agree that AAS should be banned from Sports, I don’t believe it should be illegal in the US either. If someone can OD on over the counter sleep medications or pain relievers, and can’t overdose on AAS, why is AAS so bad? If someone asked me to swallow a bottle of asprin or a bottle of methandrostenolone, I’ll pick methandrostenolone every day (hint you can’t actually die from taking a full bottle of methandrostenolone, but you can die from taking a full bottle of asprin). Cigarettes are legal, alcohol is legal, you can buy asprin and sleep medications over the counter. The key is moderation. I’m sorry but Dk you obviously don’t know shit. Not all people end up with life long problems. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a long time steroid user and he’s perfectly healthy now. The trick is moderation and how you come off of the drug. If you use serms and natural test boosters, you can completely skip the estrogenic effect on the body after completion of AAS, and your testicles, HDL, heart and liver, “roid rage” (which only happens to about 7% of steroid population found in study)will all go away. Learn the facts, don’t just listen to writers blindly.

  • waaaawaaa

    love how the word cheating comes up with steroids all the time. the large majority of users are not professional athletes. they use them to improve there health and appearance. yea they have side effects but all modern medications do. approximately 600 ppl a year die from just tylenol use. either way the whole argument centers around its use in sports, but the fallout is that the laws created affect ppl who have no interest in using them for sports. the reality of it is that no one wants to debate about the topic, they have already made up their mind. steroids are bad, steroids are cheating, its taking the easy way out, those are the comments i hear all the time, coming from ppl who are just repeating what they heard or saw on tv. and we all know everything that is on the tv is true right? lol

    as far as claims of ppl who use them are guaranteed life long medical problems. well thats a line of bull. the governor of california is a perfect example of this not being true. as well as all professional bodybuilders. you dont see all of them suffering major problems and their dosages are through the roof in a lot of cases.

    they can be used safely but when ppl are forced to learn how to do it in their basement or from some dude who they dont even know then yea accidents and incorrect usage will occur and lead to problems.

  • tae

    It is comical that people want to claim all of the “harms” associated with steroids. You need to realize that many of these “harms” are avoidable when taken properly. Only abusers are the people that are harmed by steroids. Some states are legallizing marijuana, and people are talking about steroids? More “harm” can come from pot than steroids…