If you are the average Joe, then life in the gym can be a bummer. You are following a meticulously crafted workout routine to the T. It’s been months since you have smelled a pizza. Everything that you are eating is defined by their macro nutrient content. So, a typical lunch for you is 40% lean protein, 30% complex carbs and 30% fat. (If that sounds uninteresting, you better not hear what the actual ingredients are.)
Despite acting like your taste buds don’t exist and slogging your ass off every single day, you gain a paltry 7 pounds of muscle in a year.
And then there’s the big guy in the gym who gets to click the selfies with the babes. The one who claims to be ‘all-natty’ and looks like a meat truck. It seems that all he needs to do is breathe to gain muscle. Within a year, he gains 32 pounds of lean muscle and his body fat percentage is 6.
Like I said, life is a bummer unless you decide to use gear.
But anyone with a little bit of common sense and some amount of respect for his body would decide against using anabolics to get jacked. Not at the cost of a wrecked up endocrine system, a puckered liver that’s slowly graduating towards cirrhosis, Type II diabetes, Atherosclerosis, Pulmonary Embolism, the list can go on.
If you are one of the sane ones, then you’ve always wanted to know if there are any steroid alternatives that can replicate the results of roids safely without causing some of these side effects that we mentioned.
Let’s find out
Understanding the difference between Steroids and Steroid alternatives
To better understand what qualifies as a steroid alternative, it is important that you know what anabolic steroids are.
Everybody knows that they are used to gain an ‘edge’in many types of competitive sports and to build insanely huge amount of muscle in very little time by bodybuilders.
But what is an anabolic steroid and why is it called so?
Anabolic Steroids are synthetic offshoots of the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone is the fundamental building block of the male characteristics in the body. It is responsible for two different functions, the Androgenic functions like growth of hair, growth of genital organs and deepening of voice and the anabolic functions like building endurance, lean muscle mass and bone mass.
Bodybuilders use steroids primarily for the anabolic effects like the increase in protein synthesis, building of cellular tissue, blockage of the effect of cortisol (less muscle breakdown) and an increase in the production of ATP, which is the fuel you need to build more muscle.
In simpler terms, a bodybuilder on steroids has a body that is primed 24/7 to build lean muscle mass and burn fat. They can sleep the whole day without lifting a single dumbbell and still gain muscle.
In fact, a study by ‘The New England Journal of Medicine’ (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199607043350101 ) proved this very fact. A group of 10 people who did not exercise or have a controlled diet but were given weekly injections of 600 mg of testosterone enanthate gained 7 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks.
That’s right folks! 7 pounds of muscle. That’s about what a natural bodybuilder would gain in 6 months to a year with vigorous training and an exceptionally clean diet.
The ‘Edge’ is a significant one.
Steroid alternatives are supplements that aim to mimic the effect of various types of anabolic steroids without causing the side effects. To be honest, that’s a tall claim. Because like we mentioned earlier, any synthetic steroid puts your body into muscle mode 24/7.
The question is, can any supplement come even close? If yes, then what are these supplements?
In the early 1990s, when Anabolics were getting a bad rap due to the constant media exposure and the rampant use of steroids in the Soviet Union, a new type of drug entered the market, when ingested into the body would get converted into a steroid.
These were called Prohormones or Anabolic Precursors and they were not covered under the ambit of the Steroid Control Act of 1990. So, a lot of bodybuilders switched over to using these Steroid Alternatives to ensure that they were not doing any illegal, but continuing to get the same results as anabolic steroids.
While Prohormones are not as effective as anabolic steroids are, they certainly do come close.
For example, DHEA, which is the only Prohormone that is still legal to be sold in the US gets converted into Testosterone in the body.
Androstene also gets converted into Testosterone upon ingestion.