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Steroids in the Fitness Industry

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In weightlifting, there are various goals that many people aspire to accomplish. Whether sculpting an ideal physique or increasing one’s strength to their absolute limit, in their fitness journey, one tool above all else can be used to quicken the pace, anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are a drug that many use to help them achieve their fitness goals. In this age of social media, this may prove detrimental to the minds and bodies of the youth, as it can cause physical problems and provide an unattainable unnatural physique.

 

What are anabolic steroids? Anabolic steroids are a synthetic version of the male hormone testosterone. Anabolic steroids are mainly prescribed by doctors to treat people who have deficient amounts of testosterone in their bodies. There are many benefits to using anabolic steroids. For example, people who suffer from muscle atrophy can use steroids to help counteract it. Additionally, anabolic steroids can increase libido in men with low levels of testosterone. Another benefit of anabolic steroids is increasing power, strength, agility, and speed. "How Anabolic Steroids Make You Stronger – And How They Destroy You" explains how anabolic steroids work and how they cause increases in muscle growth. The article also states that anabolic steroids break down and bind with androgen receptors, molecules made to bind with natural testosterone produced by the human body. Once the steroid and receptor molecules are activated, the production of proteins in cells increases, ultimately increasing muscle mass. 

 

Having an excess of testosterone in the body can cause an imbalance in your hormones. This can result in oily skin, acne, hair loss, and cysts. Another side effect of steroids is the development of breast tissue (gynecomastia) and the shrinking of testicles (testicular atrophy). When men use anabolic steroids, they control their hormones, which stops the androgen production in the testicles. Anabolic steroids can negatively affect a person’s cardiovascular system as well. Steroids can cause high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, stroke, and artery damage. Steroids can increase the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and decrease the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). An increase and decrease in these levels can cause fatty substances to be deposited inside the arteries and disrupt blood flow. 

 

In this age of the internet, social media can, unfortunately, be a tool that can lead to more young individuals using steroids. On apps such as Tiktok, which has over one billion downloads, young individuals see these physiques and can be influenced to use steroids. Furthermore, the internet can significantly increase accessibility to anabolic steroids. Since steroids can be obtained without a prescription and off suspicious websites, steroids have become more accessible. 

 

There are many fitness influencers such as Bradley Martyn, Larry Wheels, and Christopher Bumstead. They all show signs of using steroids and other muscle-enhancing supplements. Bradley Martyn is a famous YouTuber, Instagrammer, and Tiktoker with over 4 million followers across all his platforms. As Bradley does promote a healthy lifestyle and ways to become healthier, his journey to achieving his current physique has some holes. At 6 foot 3 inches, Bradley only weighs 260 pounds and has deficient body fat. His physique is extremely difficult to achieve without the help of external supplements. In addition, Bradley only competes in non-drug tested competitions, indicating that he uses performance-enhancing drugs. Larry Wheels, a record-holding bodybuilder, also uses steroids. Unlike Bradley Martyn, Wheels has been open about his steroid usage and explains how he cycles through them. These influencers and stars have a significant following of young supporters. By doing steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs, they indirectly tell their followers that to obtain their physique, steroids are essential. 

 

The fitness industry is great as it promotes living a healthy lifestyle. However, many of the top bodybuilders in the industry show body/physique transformations that are difficult to achieve. These influencers use anabolic steroids to help them build muscle quickly and have that Hollywood body. Young aspiring bodybuilders may blindly follow their favorite influencers and take anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids can be beneficial when used for their prescribed medical purpose, but when misused, they can produce adverse side effects. 

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Sources:

https://www.verywellfamily.com/anabolic-steroids-statistics-teen-drug-use-facts-2609070

https://medlineplus.gov/anabolicsteroids.html

https://gizmodo.com/how-anabolic-steroids-make-you-stronger-and-how-they-1704251441

https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-libido-5084040

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