Steroids are a very powerful class of drugs. They can create wonderful improvements for the human body and they can also help people eliminate symptoms of hormonal deficiencies. There is a wide variety of steroids, but the ones we are going to be talking about today are the ones that people use for working out.
Workout steroids are typically known as anabolic steroids. Most of these steroids are androgenic, which means that they affect your body’s balance of testosterone. Testosterone plays a huge role in the human body, and that is why steroids can have such significant effects.
However, it’s important to understand that if you are a healthy person, your body is already regulating the amount of testosterone it produces. Interfering with this balance goes against your body’s natural order. This is not always bad, which is why some people can use steroids responsibly without seeing any negative side effects.
Overusing steroids, though, or using them in a manner other than how your doctor tells you, can have some catastrophic effects. These side effects can include:
- an enlarged forehead,
- shrinking of the testicles,
- increased aggression or irritability,
- mood swings,
- the growth of breasts,
- increased chance of developing cardiac problems …
- … and, yes, weight gain.
Side effects don’t usually manifest if you are using your steroids properly. However, in today’s world it is all too easy to use them improperly. That’s why the side effects of steroids are becoming more and more commonly reported. They can be bought online, from irresponsible retailers who don’t provide proper safety information. Online steroids could also contain a mixture of compounds – you never know.
So why do steroids cause weight gain?
Steroids can cause weight gain for a couple of reasons, and neither of them are particularly healthy. In addition to speeding up the rate at which your body produces muscle, steroids make you extremely hungry. You might think at first that this is good, given the fact that your muscle growth is enhanced. You’re going to need more calories and protein, right? Right, yes, but steroids tends to make you hungrier than you need to be, even when you’re working out. This is a sure-fire way to start gaining weight.
The other main reason that steroids cause weight gain is because they can promote fluid retention. You know those bodybuilders you see sometimes at the gym who just look kind of … puffy? That’s fluid retention at work.
Obviously, holding on to more fluid than your body needs is going to cause you to gain weight. Steroids can cause fluid retention because of the impact they have on the balance of sodium and the other electrolytes in your body. Electrolytes are vitally important for our bodies to maintain a proper state of hydration and to process fluids.
In addition to causing us to gain weight, fluid retention can also cause problems on its own. In particular, fluid retention can intensify problems associated with high blood pressure, which many steroids already cause.
How to avoid gaining weight on steroids
The first and foremost thing that you should do is keep an eye on your total calorie consumption. This probably means that you’re going to have to keep a journal and write down everything that you eat. Seems excessive? Consider the alternative. What’s worse, having to keep a journal, or having to gain a dozen unnecessary pounds of water weight?
In addition to keeping track of what you eat, you’re also going to have to moderate your diet. You can’t eat refined carbohydrates, like pasta or white bread. Refined carbohydrates are also known as empty calories. All they really do for your body is cause a blood sugar spike. Considering steroids also have a tendency to make you more sensitive to blood sugar spikes, it’s exceedingly dangerous to eat refined carbohydrates while you’re using them.
Refined carbohydrates also cause problems because they’re digested very quickly. This means that you’re going to be hungry again much sooner than you would be if you ate a meal with quality protein and complex carbohydrates.
One of the best ways to prevent yourself from overeating is actually to eat more often. Hold on, I know that sounds like a contradiction. What you should do – what everyone should do – is eat a whole bunch of small meals throughout the day, instead of three big meals. This way your body will have a consistent stream of nutrients flowing through it. As long as you watch your calories, this is a much better and healthier way to live.
Another important thing to remember is that you need to drink a lot of water. Not only is water necessary to hydrate you before, after, and during a workout, but it helps to fill your stomach up. The more water you drink, the less you’re going to feel like stuffing yourself when you’re not actually hungry .
Reducing fluid retention
Honestly, as a bodybuilder, your appetite isn’t what you should be primarily concerned about. Since you’re working out already, you are less likely to be susceptible to weight gain from eating too many calories. The main thing that you need to worry about is fluid retention. How can you reduce fluid retention?
One recommended solution for preventing fluid retention is to eat a diet that’s rich in potassium and doesn’t have a lot of sodium. Sodium, as an electrolyte, promotes fluid retention, while potassium reduces it. You shouldn’t be consuming more than 2 grams of sodium on a daily basis, but many Americans consume upwards of 30 grams of the stuff daily.
Your best bet is to start eating low-salt and salt-free foods. You can also eat potassium-rich foods like bananas, apricots, tomatoes, spinach, and baked potatoes. Baked potatoes – particularly sweet potatoes, which are infinitely healthier than their starchy white cousins – are also great sources of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs, unlike refined carbs, are slowly digested and can provide long-lasting energy while keeping you full for a long time.