First of all, not everyone you meet in the gym uses juice. The fact that someone is really muscular and is able to bench press in excess of 450 lb (approx. 204 kg) does not mean that person is on steroids. This being said, there are always telltale signs a person is taking steroids.
“The question is – how do you spot these signs?”
Before we get into those signs someone is using steroids you have understand that this post it’s not about shaming steroid users, far from it, this article is actually aimed at dousing the general misconception that every bodybuilder and in fact in some cases anyone putting in work in the gym must be hooked on some performance enhancing drug of some kind. So let’s begin shall we!
5 telltale Signs a Person is taking Steroids
#1. Pot Belly:
While middle age spread is an inevitability for some when you get on in age. Having a protruding belly especially as a bodybuilder with huge muscles and even abs is kind of an indication that the person is on Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
Technically, HGH is not actually a steroid, but they are known to be used in steroid stacks and offer users a number of benefits similar to steroids. “GH Gut” is the gym name given to the pot belly of people who use HGH and it is also one of the signs a person is taking steroids.
#2. Excessive Acne:
Another one of the signs someone is using steroids is excessive body acne. While acne is really a condition that affects a large majority of people well into adulthood, with steroid use the prevalence of acne especially throughout the body is more common.
The reason for the high concentration of acne in persons using steroids is mainly due to the increase in testosterone levels. Testosterone is known to greatly influence the function of the sebaceous glands leading to increased breakouts particularly on the shoulders and back.
#3. More Stretch Marks:
Spending time in the gym pumping iron will give you some serious muscles and when you back this up with steroid use, then your muscular gains will be off the charts. However, with huge muscles stimulated by steroids come stretch marks and lots of them.
The truth is, as your muscles expand, so also does your skin. Where your skin does not expand sufficiently to accommodate the rapid muscle gain caused by steroid use, then stretch marks will inevitably appear. So if you want to spot someone who is using steroids, then check out their stretch marks.
#4. Male Boobs:
That’s right, one of the signs a person is taking steroids is the emergence of male boobs. Gynecomastia as male boobs are medically called occurs when a person (male) has a high level of estrogen in their body compared to their testosterone levels.
Men normally have as much as 20 times more testosterone than women while women have about 5 times more estrogen than men. But where synthetic testosterone is used this steroid goes through the process of aromatization in the body and then the testosterone is converted to estrogen.
So the increased usage of exogenous testosterone over an extended period of time will lead to higher levels of estrogen which causes users to develop male boobs. To prevent gynecomastia, male bodybuilders should commit themselves to a post cycle therapy (PCT) program at the end of anabolic steroid use.
PCT involves the use of drugs like clomid to restore the natural production of testosterone by the testicles and adrenal glands which would have ceased upon the start of steroid use. PCT will help in reducing estrogen levels in male bodybuilders and prevent negative side effects from steroid use, such as male boobs.
#5. Rapid Muscles Mass Gain:
Now not everyone with big muscles uses steroids, there are some people that are naturally endowed and with a proper diet and a workout regimen, their muscles can get really big. However, there are those with almost comical muscle mass achieved in a short period of time. These types of individuals are almost certainly using steroids.
Typically, a bodybuilder not on steroids may struggle to achieve 1 Ib of lean muscle mass on a weekly basis relying only on a good diet and a rigorous workout. But with steroid use it is not unusual for bodybuilders to gain between 20 to 30 Ib (approx. 9.07 to 13.6 kgs) of lean muscle mass in a couple of months. So one of the signs a person is taking steroids is rapid muscle mass gain.
These are five obvious signs someone is using steroids, but there are other signs to look out for. Another telltale sign is where a person’s muscle mass is disproportionate to their size. In order words, the individual has more muscles than is normal on a small body frame.
There are also other signs that may not be so obvious, for example small testicles. While it is not advisable for you to think about the size of the testicles of bodybuilders or any athlete in a gym, having small testicles is a surefire sign of steroid use. This is caused by the natural production of testosterone by the testicles ceasing because of the introduction of external synthetic testosterone.
When the natural production of testosterone stops, the testicles which are responsible for this production will shrink in size as a natural response to being inactive. Fortunately, this shrinkage of testicles is a temporary condition that would be rectified naturally with time after a steroid cycle comes to an end.