Sometimes, bulking feels like the easy part. Who doesn’t want to eat a whole bucket of chicken? But then summer rolls around, and before you know it, you’re smack-bang in the middle of cutting season. It can be pretty hard to tone up all that mass you’ve gained, and even harder to lose the flabby bits. Which is why a lot of bodybuilders turn to steroids, or steroid-like compounds. For cutting, one of the most popular is clenbuterol. But what impact does it have on your body?
First off, let’s talk about what the hell it even is.
What is clenbuterol?
Clenbuterol (or clenbuterol hydrochloride) is a sympathomimetic amine. It’s mostly used as a bronchodilator by people with breathing disorders, but it’s become popular for its off-label use as a weight loss drug. Clenbuterol (often referred to as ‘Clen’) is a powerful fat-burning compound. After some A-listers like Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Victoria Beckham were said to be using Clen, it exploded in the mainstream media as LA’s secret of the super skinny.
Although clenbuterol isn’t a steroid, it’s often classed as one due to its popularity with anabolic steroid users. Like most steroids, it’s illegal to buy over-the-counter, but is still frequently used by bodybuilders to help during their cutting cycle. One of the side effects of clen is that it raises your body’s core temperature, which in turn increases your energy expenditure. This means your body burns more calories, and can help when bodybuilders are looking for muscle definition whilst they’re cutting.
Clen is extremely powerful, and was originally used in animals to boost the growth of lean muscle mass. Some countries still use it medicinally to treat horses, but horses who consume Clenbuterol aren’t classed as fit for human consumption. What’s that say?
The most commonly abused brands of clenbuterol are Clenovet, Dilaterol and Ventipulmin, which are all meant for veterinary use. So, as you can imagine, the side effects are pretty dodgy when it’s abused by humans. (Farm animals shouldn’t abuse it either, but they tend to not be that active on the bodybuilding scene.) But just how much can it screw up your body?
Here are the five dodgiest Clen side effects you need to know about:
1: Uncontrollable trembling
We know Clen works because of the manipulations it creates in the nervous system. This means that uncontrollable shaking, especially of the hands, is an extremely common side effect. Don’t take this lightly either. They can be pretty uncomfortable shakes to say the least.
As Clen is a stimulant, don’t be surprised if you find getting to sleep a bit of a nightmare (no pun intended). The very reason it’s good for fat-burning is that it keeps activity levels in the body high, so it’s certainly not going to help you sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, preparing food and making it to the gym don’t seem as luxurious any more. You might just find that your enthusiasm runs out very quickly.
Clenbuterol works by increasing your core body temperature, usually by about half a degree or just over. The increased temperature stimulates fat cells and increases the rate at which we break down triglycerides to form free fatty acids. This may sound great, but at the same time your body tries to regulate itself at around 37°C (98.6°F), which means that it has a little bit of cooling down to do. Of course, this will lead to you sweating to cool the surface of the skin.
4: Muscle cramps
If you use Clenbuterol, you may be increasing the amount of potassium and taurine you lose in your urine. This can result in painful muscle cramps. They’re like the muscle cramps you get along the bottom of your foot that make your big toe stick up, but ten times worse. Ouch!
5: Palpitations − or even a heart attack!
If the above hasn’t shocked you enough already, then this will. Any drug, unless prescribed by a medical professional, that has the ability to cause irregularities in the heart should be approached with caution. Clenbuterol is essentially caffeine’s bigger, badder brother in terms of its stimulating effect, and all it takes is a miscalculation of doses and you could give yourself a heart attack.
Any stimulant can be dangerous, but Clenbuterol is one of the most powerful. One miscalculation could cause you to burn up from the inside or send you into cardiac arrest. To make things worse, it seems like people venture straight to the big, bad, black market drugs before exploring safe alternatives such as Clenbutrol first. It doesn’t make sense when you think about it, does it?! When your health has gone, you can’t always get it back.
The take-home message is clear with Clen. This drug tampers with the nervous system and the heart. People visit doctors all the time looking for solutions to some of the problems that Clenbuterol can cause, even when they’ve never used it. To put yourself in that position is counterintuitive, especially given that you can still achieve the results you want with the tools you have available to you. If you take anything, go for a safe alternative. Be safe − not sorry.
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