Anabolic steroids are among the most frequently used drugs in all types of athletic competition and are most often associated with bodybuilding. Many people outside of bodybuilding, and even those who are involved in one way or another in bodybuilding, assume that the massive bodies displayed by elite competitive bodybuilders are largely the result of anabolic steroids and other anabolic drug usage, such as growth hormone and even insulin. And it's true that steroids do play an important part in helping to produce the freakish level of muscular size and definition often seen in bodybuilders, both male and female. Of course, it takes more than just using steroids to reach the pinnacle of bodybuilding competition. Factors such as favorable genetics, response to exercise, and nutrition also play major roles. Still, while you can achieve a remarkable level of muscularity dependent on genetic response to just exercise and nutrition, the odds of building a physique that allows you to compete in current national and professional bodybuilding contests without using steroids is nearly impossible.
The term"steroids" appears to confuse many people, particularly those in the mass media, who often refer to substances such as creatine and clenbuterol as "steroids." They are not. The term "steroids" refers to a particular structural configuration that is based on a cholesterol precursor. In short, all steroids are produced from the raw material of cholesterol. As such, cortisol, DHEA, estrogen, aldosterone, activated vitamin D, and others are all legitimate steroids, but they are not anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids refer to compounds originally developed in 1934 with the advent of methyltestosterone. They are structurally manipulated forms of testosterone, itself based on a precursor of cholesterol. In producing anabolic steroids, the basic testosterone structure is modified to resist rapid breakdown in the liver. For example, if you ingested unmodified testosterone orally, liver enzymes would degrade it within minutes. In contrast, the half-life of the oral anabolic steroid, fluoxymesterone, trade name, Halotestin, is 9.2 hours. This means that it takes the body 9.2 hours to break down half of the initial dose of Halotestin. The "golden age" of anabolic steroid development began in the mid-1950s and continued to the mid-60s. These steroids were developed by major pharmaceutical companies, with the goal being to produce a drug that elicited mostly anabolic effects minus androgenic effects. The androgenic effects refer to such processes as penis development, hair growth, and to such negative effects as prostate enlargement, male pattern baldness, and acne. Anabolic means "building" and emphasizing the anabolic aspects of testosterone, which was the goal of the scientists who formulated anabolic steroids, meant increasing muscle protein synthesis, increasing bone mass, and other "building" effects. While the goal was always to formulate a purely anabolic steroid drug, this goal was never achieved. All anabolic steroid drugs retain androgenic effects, which is the primary cause of side effects associated with the . . .