There are estimates that millions of Americans use anabolic steroids in ways not intended by their manufacturers. Often, these users are individuals who are seeking to add mass and pack on muscle. These illegal steroids, however, have severe impacts on the health of users. Many of these occur in the short-term, but others may take years to develop. These dangers of abuse are well-known. But what happens when you stop taking illegal anabolic steroids?
The Dangers of Illegal Steroids
Illegal anabolic steroids have several side-effects which range from the annoying to the life-threatening. Shorter-term side-effects which are commonly experienced by users include:
- Decreases in sperm production
- Testicular shrinkage
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Prostate enlargement
- Gynecomastia (man boobs)
- Hair loss
- Oily skin
Beyond the short-term side effects, steroids also offer long term dangers, including liver failure, cancer, enlarged heart muscles and heart failure, and the possibility of HIV from sharing needles.
What Happens if You Stops Taking Illegal Anabolic Steroids?
While the effects – both long and short term – of steroid use are scary, so too is the sudden stopping of their use. When an illegal steroid user stops or reduces their dosage, they might experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is the body’s struggle to cope when a drug it relies on is suddenly withdrawn from the system. In illegal steroid use, these withdrawal symptoms are the result of a lack of available testosterone from regular production.
Common symptoms of steroid withdrawal include:
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
- Stomach pain and cramping
- Weight Loss
- Decrease in blood pressure
While these symptoms are usually not life-threatening, many who experience steroid withdrawal report severe depression and anxiety which sometimes result in suicidal thoughts or actions.
Fortunately, There is A Better Way!
Illegal anabolics offer many more drawbacks than benefits to users. Besides being incredibly damaging to the body, they are also illegal, and users and sellers are subject to arrest. What then, can those looking to pack on mass or muscle do to see the results they crave?
Legal steroid alternatives offer the benefits of illegal anabolics, but without the harsh side effects. Legal steroids are created in the lab to closely to mirror illicit anabolics but use natural ingredients and compounds designed to work with the body – not against it. This natural balance means that legal steroid alternatives have minimal side-effects and are safe to use. Legal steroids often lack the altered C-17 carbon configuration (17-α-alkylation) found in most illegal anabolic steroids, meaning they are much less toxic to the liver.
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Keeping The Muscle On And The Fat Off Post-Diet
Dropping or completing a diet plan doesn’t have to mean ditching your results. You still want to maintain all of the muscle you spent those months building. And, don’t worry, it is entirely possible to remain as healthy, fit and happy as you were when dieting. Learn how to successfully transition from a strict eating regimen to a more moderate, post-diet life.
The End Of Your Diet
You counted down the days, swore off bad habits, watched the needle on the scale steadily drop, and you reached your weight-loss goal. Congratulations! You can go ahead and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, you earned it! After weeks of fending off cravings, withstanding hunger pangs, and pre-packing healthy meals, your hard work has paid off.
Now what? The first thing crossing your mind might be, “Let’s eat!”—namely the greasy, fried, overly sweetened foods you banished for months. You can certainly loosen the reins a bit, but not too much. Otherwise, your transformation may be for naught. Not only do you risk regaining the weight, but you also put your health at risk.
Not sure how to transition from a strict diet to a maintenance plan? No problem. Ease into this new lifestyle with our top four post-diet tips for a smooth transition to healthy, maintenance-style eating.
Slowly Increase Your Calories
The first thing you want to do is slowly increasing your caloric intake over the next few weeks. Don’t immediately start eating 2,000 calories after a steady 1,200 calorie diet and expect to do fine. To lessen the likelihood of regaining body fat, bump your calorie intake up by 100-200 calories per week until you’re at maintenance level. The only exception: short-term dieting. If your diet only lasted a week or two, recovering from metabolic adaptations should be minimal.
Expect Some Digestive Stress
If you dieted for a month or longer while decreasing your carbohydrate intake, you can expect to experience some digestive distress when adding certain foods back into your diet, such as grains and potatoes. Many people often mistakenly think they’ve somehow developed an insensitivity to a particular type of carbohydrate (such as gluten).
In reality, their body has just cut back on the enzyme production needed to break these types of foods down. Give your body a chance to catch up and return enzyme production to normal. Once that occurs, digestive issues should decrease or go away. If you still experience problems after 2 to 3 weeks, look into digestive enzyme supplementation support or consider reducing your intake of certain foods.
As you transition to eating at maintenance level, make sure to stay active. It’s the only way to build and maintain muscle. Some people make the mistake of increasing their food intake and decreasing their exercise frequency or intensity, which can be a bit too much all at once. Remember, if you start eating more and moving less, you run a higher risk of weight gain. Instead, focus first on increasing your calories. However, you shouldn’t abandon all exercise. Even if you just want to maintain your body weight, a regular exercise program is still incredibly important for your overall health.
Add Nutrient-Dense Foods To Your Diet
When it comes to choosing which foods to add back into your diet, favor healthier items. Some people add back in all the junk food they used to eat, which sets bad habits back in place. While indulging here and there is fine, focus on adding back clean, calorie-dense foods you might have cut out while dieting.
Foods such as nuts, healthy oils, fatty varieties of fish, rice, pasta, potatoes and higher-sugar fruits could top the list. Enjoying these once-off-limits foods will give you far more bang for your buck than pizza, chips and creamy pasta. Keep it healthy and at a happy medium. You’ll not only feel better, but you’ll look better as well.
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If you’re wondering “can steroids impact life expectancy?” we’re here to help. Keep reading to better understand the long-term effects of taking steroids.
The Impact Of Steroids
While there is a lot of hysteria surrounding steroids, there is actually very little scientific evidence to back up many of the claims about their negative side-effects. This, in part, is due to the fact that steroids in the United States are illegal and therefore more difficult for researchers to study. But it’s also because people dramatically exaggerate just how bad steroids are for you. The first important thing to understand about steroids is that when they are used properly, they are shown to have effectively zero impact on one’s life expectancy.
Steroid abuse, however, is something else entirely. The constant use of steroids over a long period of time, on the other hand, does have some serious negative health implications.
Steroid Life-Expectancy Study
Researchers in a now-famous study on steroid use gave a group of mice a continuously administered low-dose of anabolic steroids via an implant that administered the substance automatically. The mice were about two months old when they were first given their first few doses. In human terms, they were young adults who had just gotten their driver’s licenses.
The researchers kept the implants in the mice for 6 months, after which they removed them and then watched what happened to the mice in the following year. The experiment lasted a total of 20 months. Lab mice can reach an age of about 26 months. So the experiment stopped when the mice, in human terms, were in their sixties. The researchers had divided the mice into three groups. The mice control group was given an implant that didn’t administer anything
Another group of mice was given a “mild” dose of anabolic steroids. If we’re talking about testosterone cypionate, then the human equivalent of the dose the mice were given would be about a couple of hundred milligrams a week. (i.e. Low dose)
The third group of mice was given their steroids cocktail in a dose that was about four times that given to the Low Dose group. (i.e.High Dose)
At the end of the experiment, 12% of the mice in the control group had died. Of the mice that had been given a low dose of steroids, 33% had died. Of the mice that had been given a high dose of steroids, 52% had died.
How To Keep Healthy On Steroids
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to steroids is that they are meant to be cycled! You should not take steroids all the time the way you take your multivitamin. This means that you should only be on steroids for a period of 8-12 weeks at a time followed by a post cycle and then a significant amount of time off (i.e. “clean”). If you stick to this, you are sure to either completely eliminate or, at least, seriously mitigate any negative side-effects that steroids may have on your health.
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Losing weight while keeping your muscles requires patience and planning. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here’s our guide for how to maximize your diet for a shredded physique.
Focus On Fiber
Eating more fiber and cutting down on carbs are two of the most important things you can do on your journey to get shredded. Eating more fiber can lead to increased satiety, lower insulin levels, and greater weight-loss success. This is the major benefit of a low-carb/high-fiber dieting approach. This is something of a revelation for some weightlifters because traditionally they have been told to be carbivores. But over the past decade or so things have changed and sports doctors and fitness enthusiasts alike have begun to recognize the enormous benefits, both in terms of energy and fat-loss, of a reduced carb diet.
Don’t Skip Carbs Completely
No carbs at all means no ready energy. So it’s okay, and actually good, to increase your carb intake on days where you’re lifting hard or very physically active. The less impactful carbs that are found in sweet potatoes may be eaten one to two times per week and post-workout.
Eat More Protein
Everyone knows that protein helps your body build muscle. What everyone doesn’t know is that a high protein diet can also help you lose fat. It does this in two ways. First, by increasing your overall muscle mass, which your body requires more energy to maintain. Your body, in other words, burns more fat if and when it has more muscle mass. And second, eating more protein will increase satiety and decrease hunger.
Don’t Skip Meals
You can’t “save up” calories. People looking to lose weight sometimes take the dramatic step of skipping meals entirely. This is a bad idea. Your body needs food to burn more calories. It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. If you skip meals, your body thinks it’s starving, and the liver starts to produce more glucose and this results in insulin resistance. This is all a recipe for more fat storage when you do eat.
The Ideal Diet
Okay, so fewer carbs more fibers and proteins? Ah! Feeling confused. Let’s make this simple. Throw out that old food pyramid. Your diet should consist of 40% lean protein, 30% healthy fat (such as olive oil, nuts, and avocados), and 30% fiber-dense carbs.
Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is another popular style of eating that has been around for centuries but has only made its way into the fitness world in the past couple of years. This way of eating is characterized by shortened time periods in which you consume your food followed by extended periods of fasting.
The most common style of intermittent fasting calls for 16 hours of fasting followed by 8 hours of “feeding.” Those using this style of eating often find it almost impossible to eat the same amount of food in the 8 hour window as they would normally. This, obviously, leads to weight loss and usually significantly more energy.
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