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Among countless sensationalized, exaggerated, simply incorrect horror stories reported by the mainstream media that equate steroid use with hardcore drug addiction - this decade-old report from HBO is one of the very best, most objective pieces on anabolic steroids and how dangerous they actually are.
I highly suggest you watch it - especially if you have just began your research on anabolic steroids.
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#1 Steroids will shrink your penis.
Although even most uninformed people know this is a myth, a small percentage of people who have never used or researched anabolic steroids ignorantly still keep this myth alive.
Steroids have no negative effect on penis size whatsoever.
Whoever made this rumor in the first place probably misconstrued the possibility of your balls shrinking with the introduction of exogenous testosterone, with a guy’s entire manhood in general. Basically there is no need to delve further into the issue. You can safely go on gear (steroids) without worrying about your dick shrinking.
If anything, higher testosterone levels provide for increased erections and blood flow that might temporarily make your penis look bigger.
But largely - there's no effect whatsoever.
If you are interested in a hormone that may help increase your size -
This popular ignorant myth has been around for decades - especially among the 'anti-male' crowd.
Basically, people think steroid users, if slightly provoked, will enter massive rage spells or sporadically break into uncontrollable heated tantrums when nothing happens.
Think of the transformation of the Hulk and you will get an exaggerated idea of how a lot of people truly think steroids will make you behave.
No, if you take steroids you aren’t going to walk over to your neighbor's house and murder him because his car alarm woke you up.
This is a ridiculously exaggerated myth, however, there is a slight truth behind it.
Studies have shown clear associations between testosterone and aggression.
However, the truth behind it is, that steroids only AMPLIFY your current personality type. Similar to alcohol, if you are already prone to violent behavior or do impulsive crazy shit, taking steroids can pronounce this behavior.
On the other hand, if you are a chill guy who doesn’t get set off easily, taking steroids WILL NOT make you a lunatic with a short temper. The majority of guys report a "sense of well-being" that comes with having high levels of masculine hormones.
If any, most of the mood alterations will occur AFTER your cycle, when your testosterone is low and starting to come back to baseline. This is more likely to be a feeling of "glumness", fatigue or disinterest rather than rage or angry.
Me in College (2006) - and when Facebook first came out
#3 Injectable steroids are more dangerous (and hardcore) than oral steroids.
People generally seem to think injectable steroids are more dangerous because they require a syringe and needle - this is incorrect.
The reverse is true.
Injectable steroids, with a few exceptions, are safer than oral steroids.
Unlike oral steroids that can somewhat affect your liver when they are being metabolized, injectable steroids enter the bloodstream and have virtually no potential for toxicity.
Although oral steroids are '17 alpha-alkylated' steroids that are designed to pass through the liver - some metabolites still come in contact with the liver as they metabolize.
While you shouldn't have any problems whatsoever if you are taking reasonable doses for reasonable amounts of time (and not consume alcohol) - oral steroids, to some extent, are all toxic to the liver. (but so is alcohol - that also "causes" liver failure)
Some are more toxic than others, but they all have been associated with elevated liver values (specifically, GGT).
Injectable steroids, as we said, completely avoid the liver and are not hepatotoxic at all.
Now, I am not saying that orals are "bad". In fact, in moderation they are great additions to a cycle (with an injectable testosterone base) and are usually a huge help to "kickstart" your cycle because the injectables haven't yet 'kicked in' during the first 4 to 6 weeks.
I am just saying that it is a myth that oral steroids are "less dangerous" than injectables - the complete opposite is true.
#4 Steroids will give you male pattern baldness.
This general statement is not true, and is very dependent on each individual’s genetics.
If you are genetically prone to male pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) - most steroids will accelerate your hair loss.
If you are not - it won't.
Steroids will not "make you have hair loss".
If you have been around the Good Looking Loser community for a while - you already have probably noticed how a great portion of this website is dedicated to hair loss.
Simply put, if you are genetically predisposed to hair loss, it is irrelevant if you take steroids or not; you will eventually start to lose your hair. Steroids will just accelerate this process.
Think of it like this, if you are destined to be bald by 60 with your natural testosterone levels, you will inevitably go bald. However, taking steroids will just get you there faster.
This is obviously dependent on what type of steroids you take, dosages, duration, etc. But if you aren’t predisposed to hair loss, consider yourself lucky, as steroids will likely have minimal effect on your current hairline.
There are certainly ways to combat hair loss from steroids and we discuss that in our hair loss forum.
For more information on anabolic steroids and hair loss, please see-
#5 Steroids will give you female breasts. (ironically - you can easily get a prescription for female hormones if you want to become a woman - but you will have a difficult time getting male hormones if you need them)
This is similar to how steroids do not "give you" male pattern baldness if you don't have it.
If you are genetically prone to estrogenic side effects (most people are) - you have the potential to develop gynocomastia (gyno, female breast tissue) if you don't know what you are doing or don't take preventative measures to keep your estrogen (largely, E2) levels in check.
The two most popular compounds are-
Nolvadex - which prevents excess estrogen from attaching to receptors and forming breast tissue
Arimidex - which directly decreases estrogen levels (there is another more expensive compound called 'Aromasin' that doesn't mess with lipid levels that some like)
Nolvadex prevents gyno from forming, Arimidex kills estrogen so it doesn't get a chance to form gyno.
Different mechanisms, two ways to prevent gynecomastia.
Good Looking Loser prefers Nolvadex because having high-normal levels of estrogen is beneficial to your strength, joints, recovery and overall gains. (Chris rarely would take either - he is not very prone to estrogenic-related gynecomastia; high progesterone, another hormone that can form gyno, would affect him however)
You DO NOT want to completely destroy your estrogen levels.
#6 Steroids can and will make you a freakshow.
This is probably the biggest myth of all.
When an uneducated, usually wimpy, person sees a 300-pound powerlifter or a ripped person, the first thing that comes to their mind is-
“he uses steroids...”
"he's on the juice..."
Not even a particular steroid, just the word “steroids,” in general.
They assume that a 300-pound powerlifter or a 250-pound ripped bodybuilder is the prototypical example of the average person that uses anabolic steroids.
The reality is - professional bodybuilders, competitive heavyweight powerlifters, WWE wrestlers and other various "freaks" represent less than ~.001% of steroid users.
Steroid use, particularly responsible steroid use, is way more prevalent and way more beneficial than the average pencil-neck knows.
First of all-
There is going to be a massive difference between a person using a steroid such as testosterone at an Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) dose (~125mg/week) to enhance their quality of life and another person using gigantic doses of testosterone (4000mg/week) and multiple other steroids for aesthetic purposes.
However, both of these individuals are technically "using steroids".
You think the old man who is on HRT so he can still get his dick hard -- is going to look like Mr. Olympia because he "uses steroids"? Hell no!
Simply using steroids will not just automatically blow you up with one hundred pounds of muscle overnight.
Second of all-
In addition, what most people (even those with a good Anabolic IQ) fail to realize is that two other drugs entirely are responsible for the "freak" physiques.
These two drugs are what create real freaks, used in combination with steroids.
These compounds are vastly more important than most people think. Achieving a freaky current day professional bodybuilder physique IS ABSOLUTELY NOT POSSIBLE without these two drugs.
Steroids only do so much.
Without insulin, HGH, IGF-1 and other similar growth peptides - you will never get close to modern day "freak" status. At best, you will achieve the aesthetics of "old school" bodybuilders that didn't use hyperplasia inducing growth factors.
"New School" (left) vs. "Old School" (right). Many people feel that high doses of HGH, IGF, Insulin, etc. has ruined bodybuilding aesthetics.
#6 Steroids can and will kill you.
It can be argued that there has never been a single confirmed death attributed to the sole use of anabolic steroids in healthy adult males. The same cannot be said for alcohol, cigarettes or nearly every other drug.
To be fair, however, we recognize that anabolic steroids (like ANY drug) can be an additional catalyst to premature death in individuals that have PRIOR physical and/or psychological problems.
If someone has an undiagnosed heart condition and abuses steroids such as Anadrol (notorious for raising blood pressure) - his risk of having a heart attack is certainly increased.
If a wrestler with preexisting emotional problems, a history of violent behavior toward family members, significant brain trauma, opiate and cocaine addiction/dependency - abuses steroids - he might be more likely to do something stupid.
Overall, however, it is a ridiculous generalization that "Steroids can and will kill you".
Anytime a bodybuilder, athlete or WWE wrestler dies, people assume - it’s because of the steroids.
There are far more deaths from over the counter medicine than from steroids.
The truth behind it is that if steroids are abused, the side effects can have a snowball effect, which may down the line lead to health complications that could result in death. This is usually only an occurrence amongst those who are completely negligent to their own health though, and won’t even get simple blood work done every few months to assess their state of health.
#7 You can take steroids once and you’re jacked for the rest of your life.
Super-physiological doses of steroids can take you to, above, and then well beyond your genetic potential.
That is why we use them for the most part. Still, the gains from steroids can be very temporary.
The only reason you can sustain a greater amount of mass than you would normally be able to is due to the amount of the drug being active in your body, above and beyond what your body would naturally output on its own.
Once you gain beyond your genetic lean body mass potential, you will begin to lose the muscle if you don't increase your hormone levels to support the additional tissue.
This is why every competitive bodybuilder will "cruise" on low(er) doses of anabolic steroids in order to maintain the additional muscle that their body would otherwise not support. (in order to pass drug tests - athletes tend to cruise with HGH and not steroids)
So, for all those guys who say, “I just want to do one cycle and then I’ll never sauce again.”
If you are above your genetic potential on gear, you can fully expect to drop all that muscle you gained eventually when you are off, relying on your body’s natural hormone output to sustain the excess lean body mass.
Your genetics and your body’s natural output of testosterone (and HGH) will determine how long it will take to drop the muscle. It may take months, it may take a year, I can’t say, but it is certain that you definitely can’t maintain a physique above your genetic potential without some schedule of drug usage to maintain your gains.
So, if you think you can just take one cycle of Testosterone Enanthane and Dianabol to gain 20 pounds and then you will have the body you have always wanted and you are set for life, think again. Once you are beyond your genetic potential, you will have to increase your baseline hormonal profile to keep the mass.
#8 Steroids are addictive drugs
Technically, per definition, they are not.
There is no physical dependency that is developed from taking steroids.
If you miss your bi-weekly testosterone shot you aren’t going to start going into hellish cold-sweat withdrawal like you would if you missed your 5-times-a-day heroin dose.
There are addictive qualities though and these are mostly, if not entirely, psychological.
In most cases, you will feel absolutely wonderful while you are on steroids.
It's a great feeling to gain quality mass, when your bench just went up drastically or when people are complimenting you about how strong and good you look.
The feeling and the external feedback, while superficial, increases your confidence and certainly gives a sense of well being.
When off cycle, and some gains are lost, depression can ensue if the user cannot mentally cope with losing their progress.
As a result, these types of people usually succumb to the mental addictiveness of steroids and get right back on again.
Patience is a virtue with steroids, and effective rest time and attentiveness to your body’s health must be addressed at a higher priority than making your gains in the gym.
At the risk of appearing like a pussy, I, Good Looking Loser, can attest to psychological dependency from anabolic steroids.
I don't use them anymore and going to the gym isn't all that fun. I never thought I wouldn't LOVE training. It's almost like going to a bar and not drinking or going to an amusement park and not getting on the rides.
In order to be beat this - I keep my workouts really short (30-35 minutes) and do something fun such as playing basketball afterward. It's not easy. I went to the gym only 30 times last year. Training on juice was a lot of fun, but my priorities are definitely elsewhere these days.
#9 Guys with very vascular physiques are always on steroids
This is one of the dumbest myths of all and is pretty prevalent among teens.
They see a guy in the gym, and if he has veins running like a road map all over his arms they assume he is on gear.
In reality, vascularity is highly dependent on individual genetics and the amount of body fat on a person.
Some people seem convinced that if you take gear, somehow veins that weren’t visible will just explode out from you and be very prominent.
This is not the case, and if you aren’t a naturally vascular person, steroids won’t do much for vascularity in a body with a high body fat percentage.
Ironically, the same people that think all ripped (low bodyfat) guys are using steroids - don't think that a 300lb. powerlifter that bench presses 600lbs is using steroids.
"He's just a big country boy."
Or something like that.
At least 3 times a year, some kid will ask "what steroids" he needs to need to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club. Pitt's character is 6" and 160lbs at about 8% BF in perfect lighting. Nothing EVERYONE can't do naturally.
#10 All steroids do pretty much the same thing
This is relevant to what I referred to earlier when a person thinks about a bodybuilder.
The first thing that comes to mind is they use "steroids".
Most people aren’t even aware there are countless different types of steroids available; they just think of "steroids" as some general drug that you administer and you will automatically explode.
There are 32 types of AAS (Anabolic Androgenic Steroids). While others can be found, they are exotic and very rare.
As the name suggests, anabolic-androgenic steroids have two different, but overlapping, types of effects.
Anabolic, meaning that they promote muscle cell growth or 'hypertrophy', and Androgenic, meaning that they affect the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics.
Some steroids cause heavy water retention (Dianabol and Anadrol). This can lubricate your joints and help you avoid injury when lifting heavy weights in the off-season (Deca, for example). Hence, these drugs are usually allocated into off-season protocols.
Some steroids give hardening effects due to their lack of aromatization (conversion) to DHT (Masteron or Winstrol for example), which is useful for pre-contest or "getting ripped" regimens.
Basically, while all different types of steroids will aid in muscle gain during the off season or maintenance during pre-contest, they each have a unique drug profile that must be taken into account to best accommodate your individual goals.
This is all the more reason to DO YOUR HOMEWORK before using ANYTHING.
"25 Myths About Anabolic Steroids" continues here-