At one point or another, we’ve all walked down the street and, seeing an extremely muscular man, nudged our friends and mumbled something like “Steroids, definitely.”
Usually, however, this is just guesswork based on the size of somebody’s muscles and their physique in general. When asked to expand about what made us assume somebody was using steroids, we’d be hard pushed to say exactly what the signs of steroid use are.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to tell if someone is on steroids, as well as the symptoms of steroid use.
Hopefully, in the process, you’ll be able to get a strong idea of the sort of downsides illegal anabolic steroids can have, too!
The obvious ones
It’s not particularly difficult to tell when somebody is using steroids and experienced great success. One Harrison Pope, a professor at Harvard Medical School, developed something called the Fat Free Mass Index, of FFMI, after studying people using steroids and measuring results against bodybuilders from decades gone by, when steroid usage was less common.
What the Fat Free Mass Index does is provide you with an insight into your physiological limit by taking into account your height, weight and current body fat percentage.
Also Read: Legal Steroid Alternatives That Work Fast
Pope’s study found that, among the clean bodybuilders of yesteryear, a FFMI score of 25.4 was the average. For context, the average man is around 18. It stands true to this day: mid-twenties is around the limit for modern bodybuilders, and anything above this will easily arouse suspicion.
In practice, what this means is that if you see somebody who has a very low body fat percentage yet is noticeably more muscular than pre-steroid era bodybuilders, they’re… probably juiced.
The not-so obvious ones
An FFMI below 25 doesn’t necessarily mean somebody isn’t on steroids, however. In 2011, Pope conducted a study that found the average FFMI among steroid-using bodybuilders to be 23.3, which is only marginally above the FFMI of clean bodybuilders, who averaged at 22.8. For people in the study who also used human growth hormone, the average was 26.2.
Therefore, the people you see in the street who are so visibly jacked that your brain immediately yells ‘are they on steroids!?’ are probably on more than just steroids.
Also Read: The Best Steroids For Weight Loss – Steroid Comparison
The study also found a difference in the spread of muscle between steroid users and clean bodybuilders. Steroids target certain muscles and make them more pronounced than others, particularly your lats, traps, pecs, your upper arms, and your delts.
Anybody you see with disproportionately vast lats has more than likely had a little help.
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How to spot a steroid user: Undesirable effects
Learning how to tell if somebody is taking steroids means learning to recognise the side effects. For example, users of AAS, or anabolic-adrogenic steroids, may experience undesirable effects such as a deepening of their voice due to thickening of their vocal cords. They’re derived chemically from testosterone, which means that as well as building muscle, they can cause masculinizing characteristics.
Another side-effect of using steroids is that, because your body is being given so much extra testosterone, it shrugs off the responsibility and stops producing its own. This has a range of effects across the body, but is most commonly known to impact men… downstairs.
Their testicles shrink, is what we’re getting at. That said, you can’t really wander into a changing room and take a peek at somebody’s undercarriage to determine whether they’re juicing steroids. It’s frowned upon, oddly enough.
The loss of testosterone in the body of somebody using steroids can cause their breast tissue to increase as production of estrogen. In addition, testosterone can be replaced with other chemicals by your body, namely dihydrotestosterone, which can cause baldness and a swelling of the prostate.
Long term effects of steroid use
It used to be assumed that after ceasing to use steroids, your body would return to normal and alongside production of testosterone, your moods would be back to normal. This isn’t necessarily the case, however. For many steroid users, after stopping usage, many people have been found to suffer from muscle wastage, fat increase, insomnia, depression, mood swings and exhaustion.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, ex-steroid users are often sterile for months or even years after they stop using.
For doctors, these are often giveaways that a male has been using steroids: testicles which have shrunk and a low sperm count. Acne is always a giveaway, as it is commonly caused by steroid usage. That’s not to say there aren’t other explanations, of course, but paired with the physique type detailed above, it’s a reliable indicator.
The best way to tell if someone is using steroids
If you want to find out if there are any steroid guys in your gym, the best way to tell is by watching their body over the course of several weeks and months. If they pile on muscle mass, or if they maintain an impossibly ripped physique with no changes, that’s a solid indicator that steroids are at work.
It’s not the fastest or easiest method of finding out if somebody is on steroids, but it certainly is a better option than asking for a peek at their gonads.
Also Read: First Steroid Cycle – Beginners Guide to Safe Steroid Cycling
Of course, you can always try a more daring approach: ask the person you suspect of being on steroids about steroids. They’ll either be super cagey, or they’ll open up with a ton of knowledge way beyond that of even many medical professionals. It comes with the territory.
Are steroids worth it? Spoiler alert: Nope!
Why would you want the scary side effects of illegal steroids, with the potential to shrink your testicles, cause depression and make you go bald? You wouldn’t. But there is another way.
If you want to be jacked without all the many side effects of steroids, use Brutal Force. An all-natural steroid alternative, our legal steroids and SARMs have zero side effects, boosting your energy levels naturally, while also shortening your recovery times.
It’s to get STACKED, get LEAN and get BRUTAL with your workouts.