These are some of the side effects of abusing steroids and muscle enhancing drugs on a personal level...
Written by Marv of One Step at a Time Fitness and Recovery
“On Cycle” Effects 1
-Insane strength and muscle gains (I would gain up to 20-25 pounds. I peaked at over 220 pounds total).
-Increased fat burning (I got as low as 8% body fat still without knowing how to diet properly as I thought you had to eat “clean” all the time and calories didn’t matter).
-Increased endurance (Depending on what drugs or research chemicals I was taking).
-Increased hunger (depending on what research chemicals I was taking and what my goals were)
-Ability to eat massive amounts of food and not gain lots of body fat (could eat 3,500-4000 calories per day easily with little fat gain, with all the way up to 6,000 calories per day without totally becoming fat).
-Increased confidence and “alpha male” feeling. I would walk in a room and feel like I could take everyone on.
-Improved energy levels despite massive drug and alcohol use (Depending on what drugs or research chemicals I was taking).
-Increased sex drive and sexuality. I swear my privates were bigger (but yes testicles will shrink if you stay “on” too long or cycle too aggressively).
“On” Cycle Effects Negatives
-Increased acne (big time “back-ne”).
-Bloated face and water retention.
-Temporary hair thinning (luckily male pattern baldness does not run on either side of my family).
-My blood pressure would rise due to the thickening of my blood (hematocrit level would rise as verified by bloodwork).
-My good cholesterol (HDL) was ravaged to extremely low levels both during and after cycles.
-Trouble sleeping and night sweats.
-Reduced endurance (depending on what drugs I was taking).
-Joint pain due to “dryness” which got so bad I would sound like a child playing with packing paper when I simply walked (depending on what drugs I was taking).
-Lethargy and fatigue (depending on what drugs or research chemicals I was taking)
“Coming Off” Cycle Effects 1
-No more needles!
-This is hard to describe but after about 2 or 3 months on a good strong “cycle” you just feel “burned out.”
Negative “Coming Off” Cycle Effects
-Emotional roller coaster even with using proper Post Cycle Therapy (PCT).
-Loss of the majority of muscle gains.
-Loss of strength or endurance.
-Loss of sex drive and sexuality (impotence in your 20’s sucks!).
-Don’t handle the massive amounts of food as easily anymore (duh!).
-Negative thinking – I would not say I was depressed as a result of coming off of steroids, but I definitely was “in the dumps” for weeks at a time.
-Blood levels are just way out of whack (increased liver enzymes – which yes I recognize my alcohol and drug use played a huge part in this, and cholesterol always messed up).
Other Long-Term 1
-I regain my size easily.
-I have more “muscle memory” than most people since at one point I was large and muscular (although it was “synthetic muscle”). This means I can regain my size much quicker than most people after a period of not training even when staying natural (as well as being far more vascular that your average natural guy).
Other Long-Term Negatives
Soft Tissue Damage
As we start to train with weights, not only are we strengthening our muscles, but we are also strengthening our tendons and ligaments. Steroids, for the most part outside of a few specific drugs, only strengthen muscles and can even weaken our tendons and ligaments. This increased muscle strength can outpace tendon and ligament strength which is a prime scenario for injury.
I suffered several soft tissue injuries, that today I am convinced were caused by this imbalance. Some of those injuries are chronic and I live with pain every single day in several key joints on my body which limit my daily activities and hobbies… Hell even my professional career.
It may be the steroids, or it may be the near 10 years of addiction to a variety of substances, but I lost a good 1-1.5” on my penis-size. No lie and no shame as this is my reality and I hope this fact alone scares potential steroid users off.
As I mentioned above, I introduced hormones that created “synthetic muscle” with less than 2 years of training time under my belt so I permanently limited my genetic potential. I will never be as big as I could have been at my natural best had I not touched these drugs so early in my lifting “career.”
Long-Term Hormone Issues
My natural testosterone production is permanently altered. I have actually had low testosterone since the age of 25 years old, with my highest total test level never once breaking 300 ng/dL. To put that into perspective at that age I should have been anywhere between 800 and 1,000 ng/dL total testosterone. Having such low testosterone brings about a whole other slew of medical problems and increased risks.
As full disclosure, I started a true Doctor monitored Testosterone Replacement Therapy protocol (TRT) using compounded cream a few months ago, as I am not ready to use needles in fear they will be a trigger for me. When taking my blood they measured my total testosterone levels at just 147, 146, and 136 ng/dL for 3 successive blood draws at 30 years old. Going on TRT was a very hard decision to make, one that I took well over 2 years to decide; but various blood levels showed no improvements and other risk factors started to surface so I decided to start this treatment. It’s taken a lot of reflection and talking with my support group, sponsor, and prayer; with which I ultimately decided to take care of my health and start a very cautious protocol with a doctor who is fully aware of my past.
If I were to ever abuse the cream it would constitute a relapse for me given my past, and I have several safeguards in place to ensure this won’t happen (in reality to abuse the cream would mean bathing in it every day for weeks on end which just isn’t possible, but you get the point; I am taking no chances).
I started this treatment using extremely low amounts of transdermal cream in an effort to bring my testosterone to a 800 ng/dL target level (well within the natural range) and see not only I how feel, but also how I mentally react to increasing my levels more than 4 times than what they were for the majority of these past 5 years.
So yes, for the remainder of my life I will have to use an outside source of testosterone; which means a life-long out-of-pocket medication costs and continual out-of-pocket lab costs plus any corrective course of action deemed necessary based on my lab reports. FUN STUFF! (not!)