Steroids and Performance Enhancing Drugs: An Overview

Bodybuilder holding syringe containing steroids

Steroids have been a controversial topic since the early 20th century when they were first discovered. The reason steroids are so popular is because of their extreme muscle building abilities – but this comes with many drawbacks and side effects.

Read on to find out how steroids work, what effect they produce, and why they are banned in different sports around the world.

What are steroids?

Steroids, also known as anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), are a type of synthetically-produced hormone that can be taken orally or injected to increase muscle mass. (1) They work by increasing the production of proteins in cells, which leads to increased muscle size and strength.

Steroids have many medical uses but they’re often taken by athletes and bodybuilders to increase muscle mass.

These drugs have been used since the 1930s for medical purposes, such as treating people with low testosterone levels and stunted growth due to various conditions. However, they became popular among athletes in the 1950s when it was found that these substances could help them gain more muscle mass than what would normally be possible through training alone.

There are different types of steroids used for various purposes. Some people use them to treat diseases like AIDS or cancer, while others take them for their performance-enhancing effects.

The use of anabolic steroids has been banned by most major sporting bodies since 1975, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), because their use gives athletes an unfair advantage over others who do not take them.

Types of Steroids

There are three types of steroids: anabolic, corticosteroid, and sex hormone-related drugs.

  • Anabolic steroids – promote protein synthesis which increases muscle mass as well as bone density while reducing fat stores in the body.
  • Corticosteroids – reduce inflammation by decreasing immune system activity in response to injury or illness.
  • Sex hormones – regulate sexual characteristics such as production of sperm cells by males for reproduction purposes, etc.

Steroids may also be classified by how they are administered:

  • Oral – taken by mouth.
  • Injectable – hypodermic injections.
  • Topical – transdermal creams.

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What Are the Benefits of Taking Steroids?

Some benefits of steroid use include:

  • Improved performance in sports competitions.
  • Increased strength and size gained from weightlifting workouts.
  • Increases in lean muscle mass due to higher protein synthesis rates.
  • Reduced recovery time between workouts.
  • Faster healing rates from injuries sustained during exercise. (2)

There is also evidence suggesting that AAS may reduce osteoporosis risk factors (like bone density loss and fractures caused by falls) while improving mood disorders, like depression or anxiety. However, there are also side effects associated with steroid use, including liver damage and high blood pressure, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before taking any type of drug or medication.

How Do You Use Them?

Using AASs on a continuous basis can result in issues such as tolerance, and it could even result with the body stopping its own testosterone production. Some individuals do use AASs long-term, but others attempt to decrease any potential side effects by adopting a specific pattern of use.

Some examples include:

  • Cycling: Involves taking a steroid in cycles of 6-12 (referred to as the “on” phase), followed by 4 weeks or more off.
  • Stacking: Stacking is done by combining different types of steroids, or adding other supplements with the AAS in order to maximize the effectiveness of the steroids.
  • Pyramiding: When the user gradually increases the dose to a max dose, then decreases the amounts.
  • Plateauing: When a user alternates, overlaps, or substitutes a different steroid to prevent the development of a tolerance.

However, there is no hard evidence that these techniques decrease the inherent risks associated with steroid use. (3)

Dangers, Risks, and Side-Effects

If you are considering taking steroids, it’s important to know the risks beforehand because they will affect your body in different ways, depending on how you take them and for how long. Steroids can lead to a number of serious health problems including:

  • Heart disease
  • Liver damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in mood such as aggression, irritability, depression or anxiety (4)

Some of these conditions can be life-threatening or even fatal if not treated in time. Some side effects are reversible while others are not.

It is important to understand that there are many dangers associated with steroid use before making any decisions about your own health. The long term consequences may be irreversible and could lead to death if left untreated.

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Commonly Used Steroids

There are are over 30 different types of anabolic steroids currently found on commercial websites. A few are only used for medical reasons, such as Nebido. Other steroids, such as durabolin, have both medical and performance-enhancing uses.

And some, like Dianabol, have no therapeutic use but are taken by bodybuilders and athletes.

Different types of steroids are taken for different purposes:

  • Bulking steroids for building muscle mass
  • Performance enhancing steroids for strength and stamina
  • Cutting steroids for decreasing fat
  • Enhancing recovery rate, healing, and metabolism.

Here is a list of the most popular steroids that are commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes, including their benefits and side effects.


Anadrol is a synthetic steroid that has been used by athletes and bodybuilders to increase muscle mass. The drug was first synthesized in 1964 by John Ziegler, who was working for Ciba Pharmaceuticals at the time of its discovery.

Anadrol can be taken orally, injected or applied topically. It is available in both oral and injectable forms.

The drug has been banned by many sports organizations because of its potential to enhance performance and increase aggression. However, it can be prescribed legally in some countries for certain medical conditions, such as HIV/AIDS or cancer cachexia (wasting syndrome).

Side effects may include high blood pressure, acne, hair loss and an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Other side effects may include liver damage, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), fluid retention (which could lead to heart failure or kidney problems), as well as other serious conditions such as stroke, or even death, due to organ rupture if not treated promptly enough.

Do not use this medicine if you have prostate cancer or breast cancer because it may cause these cancers to grow faster than they would without treatment with this drug. If you experience any serious side effects while taking this medication contact your doctor immediately!


Anavar is a popular synthetic anabolic steroid that has been used by athletes and bodybuilders for decades. It was first synthesized in the late 1960s and has been widely used ever since.

Anavar is used to increase strength, muscle and bone mass, fat loss, and vascularity. Anavar is one of the most popular steroids among female athletes because it does not produce as many side effects as other drugs.

The drug is a favorite of bodybuilders because it does not cause water retention or increase estrogen levels, which can lead to gynecomastia (breast development) in men. This drug also can improve cardiovascular health by reducing LDL cholesterol levels.

Side effects may include high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack or stroke, liver damage, acne, hair loss, headaches, insomnia, and irritability.

Athletes who take this medication should also make sure they are eating enough protein to maintain their muscles and avoid any potential nutritional deficiencies caused by low calorie diets. They should also drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration during workouts or competitions.


Clenbuterol is a potent bronchodilator and sympathomimetic agent with some anabolic activity that has been used for the treatment of asthma and other breathing disorders. It is also an effective weight-loss drug, with some athletes using it to build muscle mass and burn fat.

Clenbuterol is was originally used as a decongestant, but its side effects in this application led to the withdrawal of many products from the market. In some countries it remains available only through veterinary channels, such as Mexico where it is marketed under the trade name Ventipulmino (injectable) or Broncoterol (nasal inhalation).

The benefits of clenbuterol are its ability to increase lean body mass, reduce fat stores, improve aerobic capacity and enhance performance in endurance sports such as cycling or running. Clenbuterol can also be used by people who have difficulty sleeping at night because it increases wakefulness during the day.

There are many side effects associated with clenbuterol use including insomnia, headaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Other risks include heart palpitations or tachycardia (an abnormally fast heartbeat), high blood pressure and increased risk of cardiac arrest due to sudden death from arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)

There have also been reports of death due to clenbuterol abuse. This drug should not be taken without medical supervision from a doctor who can monitor your progress while you take this medication.


Dianabol, also known as D-bol or DBOL, is a brand name for the synthetic anabolic steroid Methandrostenolone and has been used for decades by athletes and bodybuilders to increase muscle mass. It was first synthesized in the 1950s and it remains one of the most widely used anabolic steroids on the market today.

This drug can be taken orally without injections or other painful methods of administration. This makes it easier to use than many other steroids on the market today.

The benefits of taking this drug are increased strength, size, and endurance during workouts. Users have reported significant gains in muscle mass over time when using this product.

However, there are many risks associated with use, including liver damage, acne, baldness, increased aggression and irritability, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and kidney problems. Long-term use may cause testicular atrophy (shrinkage) or infertility.

If you take this medication without medical supervision it could result in serious health consequences that require hospitalization such as heart attack or stroke. Use of this medicine should not exceed 6 months at a time unless supervised by a physician because of the risk of addiction to the drug which may lead to withdrawal symptoms if discontinued abruptly after prolonged use.


Deca-Durabolin (Nandrolone Decanoate), also referred to as “Deca”, is a long-acting injectable androgenic (anabolic) steroid that has been used in the medical field for over 50 years. Introduced by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in 1962, this drug is use in the treatment of chronic wasting conditions, osteoporosis, and to stimulate muscle growth in malnourished or underdeveloped patients.

The benefits of taking Durabolin are numerous and include increased muscle mass, enhanced strength, greater bone density, and improved body composition.

The risks  such as liver damage or heart disease.

However there are risks associated with taking this medication which are mostly related to its use as a performance enhancing drug rather than medical use. These include side effects such as acne, fluid retention, increased risk of heart disease, liver damage and high blood pressure.

Use should be limited to short periods of time due to the potential risks associated with long-term use.

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Sustanon is a a brand of injectable anabolic steroid that contains four different types of testosterone (testosterone propionate, testosterone phenylpropionate, testosterone isocaproate and testosterone decanoate). It also includes the ester acetate as well as the esters stanozolol and nandrolone.

Originally created to treat men with low testosterone levels, it has been used by athletes and bodybuilders for decades. Sustanon is also used to treat conditions like anemia, breast cancer, and AIDS.

The benefits of taking this drug include increased muscle mass, enhanced athletic performance, improved bone density, and an increased sex drive. Sustanon should be taken by mouth in doses of 50-100 mg per day for men or 25-50 mg per day for women.

Some side effects may include acne, hair loss on the scalp and body hair growth. Other possible side effects are high blood pressure, liver damage or liver tumors. Women who take this drug may experience male pattern baldness or deepening voice changes. Men can experience shrinking testicles while taking this drug which could lead to infertility problems later on in life if not reversed with surgery after discontinuing use of this drug.

Other side effects may be possible depending on the dosage and duration of use. Consult your doctor before using this medication if you experience these symptoms while taking it.


Testosterone, also known as “test”, is the most widely used steroid for bodybuilding and performance enhancement, and forms the core of most steroid cycles. It’s a hormone that helps build muscle and increase strength, and it can be used for either cutting or bulking.

There are three major types testosterone steroids:

  • Enanthate – Can be used for bulking because it adds lean muscle mass while not retaining water weight as much as other drugs in its class do.
  • Cypionate – Typically used by people who are cutting because it has less water retention than other types of testosterone.
  • Propionate – Can be used for both cutting or bulking cycles due to its short half-life (the time it takes before the drug leaves your system).

Enanthate can be used to add lean muscle mass, while cypionate and propionate are more commonly used for cutting cycles. Additionally, enanthates can be used to cut fat during the bulking phase.

Testosterone is the most popular bodybuilding steroid because it has a high anabolic rating (100), but it does come with some side effects, like acne, hair loss, increased aggression, an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, gynecomastia, an enlarged prostate, excessive red blood cell production (polycythemia), and the potential for developing sleep apnea.

Another problem with using test is that post cycle therapy will probably be required after use in order to maintain natural levels of testosterone in your system.

Testosterone is often cycled for 10-12 weeks at 500-600 mg per week if you’re an average weight individual between 165-200 lbs.


Trenbolone is a potent anabolic steroid that has been used in veterinary medicine to increase muscle mass, appetite, and red blood cell production.

It was first introduced for human use by Parke-Davis in 1962 under the trade name Finaplix H. The drug is typically injected twice per week with doses of 50-200 mg.

The benefits of trenbolone include increased muscle mass, improved strength, and fat loss. Trenbolone can be used to enhance bodybuilding or athletic performance due to its ability to promote strength gains without any water retention or fat accumulation.

However, it does not produce significant increases in size when compared to other compounds such as testosterone cypionate or enanthate.

Side effects can include heart disease, liver damage, and aggressive behavior. It can also cause infertility in both males and females.

Other side effects may include insomnia, depression, anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure, and gynecomastia (male breasts).

This medication may decrease natural testosterone production, so supplemental testosterone therapy will likely be needed while taking this compound; however there have been no studies done on how much supplemental testosterone would need to be administered since trenbolone is only available as an injectable product and not orally.


Winstrol is a synthetic anabolic steroid that is used to build muscle and strength. It can also be used as a performance-enhancing drug in sports, such as bodybuilding, weightlifting, or other types of competitive athletics.

Winstrol is an oral, injectable or topical form of the drug stanozolol. It has been shown to increase lean body mass, decrease fat mass, and promote weight gain in humans.

The drug also helps improve athletic performance by increasing the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells in the bloodstream.

The benefits of Winstrol include increased strength, endurance, and lean muscle mass, as well as improved recovery time and reduced fat mass. This means you will have more muscle definition and less body fat when using this drug.

You may also experience improved bone density with use of this substance due to its ability to increase red blood cell production which helps carry oxygen throughout the body.

However, there are some side effects associated with taking Winstrol, including acne, hair loss (in women), high cholesterol (due to increased testosterone levels), liver damage, testicular shrinkage and gynecomastia (breast growth). Although not life threatening, these side effects should not be ignored, so it’s important for athletes who take this drug to monitor their health closely while on it.

Use should not exceed 4 weeks without consulting a physician due to risk of side effects including heart attack or stroke.

Legal Steroid Alternatives

Legal steroids and legal PEDs are a category of supplements that mimic the effects of anabolic steroids and offer many benefits without any unpleasant side effects. These products typically come as pills or tablets formulated with natural ingredients, but they don’t have quite as much potency to them like actual anabolic steroid does.

There are several safe and legal natural steroids that can be purchased online. These supplements have been proven to work extremely well – some even providing more than a 250% increase in muscle mass in as little time as 4 weeks!

If you’re serious about getting maximum results from your bodybuilding or athletic efforts but don’t want to risk the unpleasant health complications that can occur when taking performance enhancing drugs, then there are a few reliable companies we recommend where you can purchase legal steroids.

These include:

We recommend these manufacturers because they have demonstrated to use only high-quality ingredients, safe and effective formulations, provide excellent customer service, and have a high user satisfaction rating.

For more information and details, see our list of the best natural legal steroids.

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