Steroids are a widely discussed topic in the weight lifting and bodybuilding world. If you’re trying to pack on muscle, chances are you have at least thought about using steroids—especially testosterone—to help supercharge your workout and get better results.
However, there is some stigma surrounding steroids and some negative stories about them. Plus, they sort of hover between legal and illegal because there are definitely some unsafe and risky steroids out there. And if not used properly, they can cause harmful side effects.
That’s why it’s so important to do your research and learn everything you can about steroids before you decide whether or not they are right for you.
In this guide, we’ll talk about human growth hormones and anabolic steroids, with a special focus on testosterone. You’ll learn what they are, how they work, and how you can increase your levels to get the most results out of your workouts.
We’ll also give you some information about when, why, and how to start using supplements to boost your levels.
Steroids are naturally occurring hormones in the body. There are many different steroids in your body that help regulate different processes. They control everything from your metabolism and immune system to water retention and hair growth.
When we think of steroids, most of us probably think about the synthetic ones that are used as medications and supplements. But they are actually naturally occurring. For example, the testicles in men and ovaries in women are where testosterone is produced.
So what is testosterone? Testosterone is responsible for both bone and muscle mass as well as body hair. Because of this, a lack of testosterone will make building muscle difficult and also put you at risk for osteoporosis as your bone density will be weakened.
Since it is one of the steroids responsible for muscle mass, many bodybuilders and other athletes will use it to help take their workout to the next level so that they can get more (and faster) results.
Another important steroid is the human growth hormone (hgh) which is produced in the pituitary gland that helps your body reproduce new cells to replace older, failing cells. In this way, it also contributes to muscle and bone growth because it helps build new cells here as well as the rest of the body.
Because of this, many athletes will use hgh tablets or hgh shots to help give a healthy boost to their workout and pack on more muscle. Growth hormone naturally decreases with age so using growth hormone supplements becomes especially important as you get older.
Anabolic steroids is a term that refers specifically to the manufactured forms of hormones like testosterone and human growth hormone. They were developed to help treat various conditions—especially ones which are caused by a deficiency in the natural version of the hormone like low t.
But they are also used by some healthy athletes to help pack on muscle more efficiently. When used by healthy adults, caution is needed to make sure you don’t overdo it since there can be negative side effects when used excessively or incorrectly. We’ll talk more about this later in the article.
Testosterone is important but not everyone wants or needs to jump straight to medical solutions to boost their testosterone levels. For those with low T, testosterone therapy is necessary (see more on this below).
However, for those with normal levels just looking to pack on some extra muscle and get more out of their workout, you may consider a few natural methods to increase testosterone before you decide whether or not you’re ready for testosterone shots or supplements.
Because your body naturally produces testosterone on your own, there are a few natural ways to stimulate testosterone production.
So, with that in mind, learn how to increase testosterone through dietary changes and other natural methods:
Historically, fat has gotten a bad rap. We often make the common (but false) assumption that eating fat makes fat. But this is not true. Fats contain many important nutrients that your body needs and these nutrients are broken down and absorbed to build healthy muscle (as well as skin, hair, etc.).
By healthy fat, we mostly mean unsaturated fats but moderate saturated fats are also good for you. Basically, healthy fats are everything EXCEPT:
So, with that clarification aside, why does healthy fat help with testosterone levels?
Studies have shown that high fat diets—we’re talking 50-70% fat here—are associated with improved testosterone levels. And more importantly, LOW fat diets—which are often recommended as “healthy”—are associated with measurable drops in testosterone levels.
This makes sense if you think about it. The strongest and most muscular and powerful species in the animal kingdom are those who eat almost exclusively protein and fat (think carnivores like wolves, lions, etc.).
Some great sources of healthy fat include:
Both vitamin D and zinc have proven to be essential to maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Vitamin D is also known as the “steroid hormone” because your body needs it to produce testosterone.
Zinc is a mineral that has shown to directly affect testosterone levels. A zinc deficiency can cause a significant drop in testosterone levels and increasing zinc in your diet can lead to dramatic improvements in a matter of weeks.
The absolute best way to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D is through sun exposure. There are supplements that can be helpful if sun exposure is not possible (like in winter or while on certain medications). However, if you are able to choose between the two, always choose sun exposure.
The standard recommendation is 20 minutes of sun per day. But it depends on the time of day and how much of your skin is actually exposed. If it’s not peak hours or you only have a small amount of skin exposed, you’ll need more than 20 minutes.
And don’t worry, you can (and should) use sunscreen. Sunscreen does not block your skin’s ability to produce vitamin D at all. And it DOES protect your skin from the harmful rays from the sun so you can get your vitamin D without increasing your risk for skin cancer.
As many as 45% of adults are not getting enough zinc in their diet. So that means it is very likely you are not getting enough and if that’s the case, your testosterone levels are definitely not as high as they could be.
Getting enough zinc can easily be done through a healthy diet, including foods like:
Unfortunately, zinc is very sensitive to heat so cooking these foods can dramatically reduce the amount of zinc you actually get out of it. So try to stick to raw or lightly cooked meals—sushi lovers will be happy to hear that! And if you’re not a fan of raw meat, focus on yogurt, cheese, and milk.
The good news is that strength training already helps naturally boost testosterone levels. The more you use your muscles, the more your body realizes that it needs to ramp up its efforts to build even more muscle to meet the demands your placing on it.
To maximize the effectiveness of your routine for testosterone levels, follow these tips:
You have probably heard plenty about the negative effects of stress on your body. It releases a hormone called cortisol. In normal doses, this hormone helps keep you alert and ready. But if you are often stressed out, it places strain on your system and starts to actually block testosterone.
We know this can be tough advice to follow. The more you learn about how terrible stress is for your body, the more stressed you get about it. But it is important to be aware of and to take active steps to reduce your stress levels so that you can increase your testosterone levels.
Unfortunately, what relaxes one person doesn’t always work for another. Some people swear by meditation while others find it impossibly dull and insufferable. So there is no single de-stressing technique we can recommend for you. But here are a few tips:
Sugar is one of the worst things you can eat. It wreaks absolute havoc on your metabolism and blood sugar levels. But it also sends your insulin levels sky high and high insulin levels directly lead to decreased testosterone levels because the insulin stops the testosterone from working.
So even if you are taking testosterone supplements, a sugary diet is going to severely limit the effectiveness of those supplements. That means that no matter what you need to cut out sugar (or at least drastically cut down how much you consume).
This can be more difficult than you think because there is hidden sugar in a lot of foods. It’s not as simple as cutting out sweets because some manufacturers load sugar into foods you might not expect it to be in (like bread, canned veggies, etc.).
You need to read labels on everything. And you should also focus on eating a whole foods diet of fresh ingredients with nothing added as much as possible.
If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth, you can curb your intake by increasing the amount of healthy fats in your diet. Not only do healthy fats help boost testosterone (as mentioned above), but a diet rich in fats will actually help to decrease your cravings for sweets because your body feels more satisfied and nourished. Plus, fatty foods are very flavorful so they satisfy your craving for rich, flavorful foods.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein which is the main ingredient in building muscle. This particular group of branched chain amino acids (leucine, valine, and isoleucine) has been shown in some scientific studies to help reduce damage to your muscles caused by your workout routine.
As most strength trainers and bodybuilders know, muscles naturally tear and experience some breakup during a workout routine. This is part of the process of building muscle. The old must tear because it triggers a repair process that builds up even more muscle than was there before.
However, too much damage can force you to take long rest periods between workouts as you wait for the soreness to go away and the muscle to repair. So ramping up the amount of BCAAs in your diet is a great way to speed up the repair process so that you can fit in more workouts without the risk of causing serious damage.
Upping your BCAA intake is especially important if you plan to follow the advice above about shortening rest periods. While it’s important to push your body to go farther, it’s also important that you do this safely because serious damage could force you into taking an extended break and that will kill the progress you’ve been working so hard to achieve.
You can boost your BCAA intake by eating more foods like:
You will also see supplements for BCAA on the market but you should use these with caution. When BCAA is free form (not embedded in food), your body absorbs it very rapidly and this can mess up your metabolism and destabilize blood sugar levels.
To be on the safe side, stick with BCAA rich foods and if you do take a supplement, be very conservative with doses and always take it with a full meal to help slow down the absorption rate to a safe level.
By about 30 years old, your testosterone levels naturally begin to decline. Even if with the perfect diet and exercise level to maintain them, you can’t always fight off this simple fact of growing older.
This is where a testosterone enhancer can really make the difference. The gap that you can’t seem to fill no matter how much you stress about making the right diet and exercise choices can be safely and effectively bridged by supplementing.
This is similar to taking a vitamin supplement when you are struggling to get enough of the nutrient through your diet. Just as it becomes more and more important to take calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis as you get older, testosterone and other anabolic steroid supplements can be extremely beneficial to maintaining your health throughout your life.
Having low testosterone is a major limitation on your ability to build muscle. You could eat all the protein in the world and it still wouldn’t make up for not having enough testosterone to make use of it.
So let’s take a look at the symptoms so you can see whether or not you might be dealing with low testosterone.
While it is certainly a problem in women as well, men produce (and need) much, much more testosterone than women do. This makes low testosterone in men more dramatic and more noticeable. Check for the following low testosterone symptoms:
Women can also suffer from low testosterone. Although they need much less than men do, they do still need some and if they aren’t producing enough, it can lead to disruptive symptoms like:
Unfortunately, less research and testing has been done for testosterone treatments in women. And getting too much testosterone can cause undesirable effects in women so supplements can be a risky venture.
If you’re a woman and considering testosterone treatments, consult your doctor and definitely start with much lower doses because you don’t need nearly as much to reach stable levels as men do.
You also need to keep a close watch on the symptoms and side effects to make sure it isn’t adversely affecting you in any way. Read more about the effects of testosterone and other steroids on your body in the next section below.
There are many benefits to using steroids to supercharge your workout and get great results. But there are also some potential risks when used incorrectly (or when you buy from a disreputable source and don’t know the quality of your product). So let’s talk about the different effects steroids can have on your body (the good and the potentially bad).
When you buy high quality steroids and use them in a safe and smart way, they can have many positive effects including:
When you don’t do your research and end up buying low quality steroids or you use them incorrectly (or excessively), you put yourself at risk for some serious problems including:
As you can see, there are some serious risks that can be associated with steroids. Because of those risks, it’s extremely important to buy testosterone and other steroids from safe, legal sellers who guarantee the highest quality.
Even after buying high quality and safe steroids, you still need to make sure you are using it properly. You want to maximize the positive, muscle building effects while minimizing the negative effects. So here are a few tips for taking depo testosterone and other forms of supplement:
So, as you can see, taking anabolic steroids like testosterone or human growth hormone can be an excellent way to take your workout to the next level and pack on the kind of muscle mass you have been working so hard to get.
However, there are definitely important considerations you need to make before you decide to supplement. There are risks when buying steroids, especially online and there are risks even when you have safe, high quality steroids if you don’t make sure you are using them correctly. So make sure you are well-informed before you start adding any kind of steroid supplements to your routine.