Steroids have the exact opposite problem from supplements. Like all other drugs, steroids are tightly controlled by the FDA and must undergo exhaustive tests to prove that they work and do not cause harm – sounds pretty good, huh? I wish supplements had the same scrutiny. Once upon a time, steroids were legal but in 1970 the government came out with the Control Substance Act which classified steroids into schedule III making it illegal to possess without a valid prescription. Doctors can legally prescribe it only under very limited situations and doctors who write too many prescriptions come under very close scrutiny by the DEA so don’t bother asking your doctor for a recreational prescription. I’m not going to lie to you, steroids DO work, and they work well, otherwise Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire wouldn’t have used them. If you happen to live in a country where steroids are legal then you could do them under the close supervision of a doctor and it would be much safer than using untested, potentially dangerous supplement – and more effective too. Trouble is, in USA and Canada they are quite illegal. Many people make the mistake of thinking of steroids as just another supplement because they are so widely available at school and at the gym. They are not, steroids are illegal. Many gym goers don’t realize this but it IS illegal to posses even small, personal quantities - the jail term for a first time offence is 1 year. Its not just dealers who go to jail!


  • Stunted Growth. When teens take steroids, their vertical growth can stop permanently – even if they cease the steroids. Bone growth stops at puberty and the way the bones know they are at puberty is by all the hormones. If you artificially raise the hormone level by using steroids, the bones think its time to seal their ends and stop growth. This is a proven effect as steroids are often given to children who have undergone organ transplants to prevent organ rejection and these kids growth is stunted by feet (not inches). The question is how much steroid does it take to stop a teens growth?

  • Stretch Marks. Permanent purple, pink stretch marks in the skin. This is very, very common with steroid users. Here is a video showing some nasty stretch marks. Common places: between the pec and the shoulder, on the arms, on the quads. These stretch marks will never go away. The skin can only grow so fast and when steroids cause the muscles grow un-naturally fast, they skin just cant keep up and it basically tears causing the pink/purple lines. You can hide these stretch marks with that really dark fake-tan paint the bodybuilders paint on before contests which is one of the many reasons they use the tan-paint. As far as I know the only way to permanently get rid of these steroid caused stretch marks is cosmetic surgery, a very expensive proposition.

  • Distended Stomach. Here is a video showing the “pregnant bodybuilder” effect. This is very,very common in pro bodybuilding circles but not so common with casual users. My guess (just a guess) is that this only occurs at insanely high doses. Those steroids make everything grow, not just your muscles. All your intestines and internal organs grow too. When someone taking lots of steroids relaxes, their belly is HUGE – like a barrel or pregnant woman. Of course they can suck it in and flex it for a photo shoot but when they relax, its nasty. My guess is that this effect is not reversed when the steroids are stopped, the distension is probably permanent.

  • Acne and Blotchy skin. Purplish blotches all over the body, looks really weird. This is a very, very common side effect. The blotches can look like faint bruises or a bad zit that might be surfacing soon. The blotches are faint but noticeable. The acne is much worse than normal teen acne, it can be over the whole body in places not normally found on teens. The blotchyness should disappear when the steroids are discontinued but the acne can lead to permanent scarring. This is one of the many reasons that pro bodybuilders paint their bodies so dark with the tan-paint, to hide their horrible skin.

  • Puffy. Like a big marshmallow. One common side effect of some steroids is water retention, and lots of it. Youtube is filled with water-retaining puff-monsters. This is another reason why steroids can raise your blood pressure, but I digress, we are only talking about cosmetic effects. The puffiness goes away when the steroids are discontinued.

  • Gyno. I wont pretend that I understand the chemistry of this, and honestly, its not that important. Many steroids end up getting converted to estrogen (hormone found in high concentrations in women) in the male body. Well with that estrogen running around in the body, things start to happen that normally only happen to women. For example, fat deposits start accumulating in the nipple area – gyno. This is a fairly common, and embarrassing side effect and the only way to remove the problem is with surgery. Note, this is not to be confused with big pecs. You can have huge pecs, but not gyno. For example, here are the huge pecs of Johnnie Jackson, he does NOT have gyno. Gyno is a fatty lump that is only in the nipple area, a little breast sitting on top of your pec so to speak.

  • Hair Loss. I wont pretend I understand this one either but its the same underlying causes as gyno.
  • Fat gain. Some steroids as a side effect seem to cause increased appetite which leads to overeating and rapid fat gain. There is a reason that pro bodybuilders have an “off season” and make a big deal of their “bulking and cutting” technique. Lets not use euphemisms, ‘bulking’ is getting FAT, plain and simple. Pro bodybuilders don’t do it by choice, its a side effect of the steroids.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on steroids. My knowledge is second hand from watching experiences of those around me and from reading numerous books by the steroid guru Dan Duchaine, of course those books are now 25 years out of date. Just as a side note, Dan Duchaine died very young as was in jail for many years because of his steroid activities – his guru status came at a steep price.

Well, how do I get huge then?What to do? Steroids might possibly be safe when used under a doctors supervision, but that’s not possible in America and Canada because they are illegal. Supplements are legal and some give you a slight edge but most are completely untested and tainted with toxic heavy metals. So what a person to do? Give the old fashioned way a try: hard work, dedication, careful nutrition, and lots of time. If you want to try supplements, do research and find ones that will actually help then make sure that it has the USP Verified mark. If you are really bent on being 250lbs of solid muscle, I would advise moving to a country where steroids are legal and do it under the very close supervision of a doctor.
My stance on supplements isn’t going to make me popular as everyone wants that magic pill that lets you get huge and ripped in time for summer but I haven’t come across it yet. The risk/benefit tradeoff is yours to make but gather as much information as you can before making it, become an expert and know what you are taking and why. Don’t take supplements just from anecdotal stories you hear at the gym.