A Brief Look at the History of Performance Enhancement Drugs
Before Performance Enhancement Drugs were constantly criticized by the general public, their many benefits were all that people could talk about. Not many seem to know that steroids were born due to the aggressive competitiveness between Russia and the USA back in the mid-1900s.
In order to dominate the Olympics (in the late 1930s and early 1940s) Russia developed -for the first time in history- a synthetic form of testosterone propionate that allowed their athletes to beat the competition. The USA responded by creating the first-ever form of synthetic Dianabol (methandrostenolone).
Due to their wide success, anabolic steroids gave birth to an entirely different universe of possibilities within the athletic field. In no time, research on PED’s led scientists to create and develop different types of synthetic substances that would later transform the way humans looked at competitive sports.
After years of constant success, it was clear the anabolic steroids came with a very expensive price. Initial tests on steroid users showed serious decline within different aspects of their health. Depression, Anxiety, Hair Loss, Prostate Enlargement and Reduced Testicle Size were only the beginning of a long list of side effects that were generated from the constant abuse of Performance Enhancement Drugs.
Performance Enhancement Drugs in Bodybuilding
Competitive bodybuilding has always been the poster image for steroid use and a perfect example of their many benefits and negative side effects. Even though the war on steroids began somewhere along the 1980s – before then, it was pretty easy to get way with using performance enhancement drugs; especially if you lived in the USA or Europe.
Back in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, anabolic steroids were a lot stronger than what’s available today; they were also unrestricted and their side effects were unknown at the time. As bodybuilding began to grow in popularity and made its way into the homes of millions, people quickly dreamt of having a body like the ones in the muscle magazines.
As the 80s and 90s rolled around, steroids became a public enemy of the U.S. government, only for them to be subsequently banned from general use. Competitive Bodybuilding peaked in the 90’s and 2000’s, only to decline in popularity shortly after. Bodybuilding still has a pretty big cult following, but its popularity in the mainstream has become pretty small.
What’s funny is that steroid use is a lot more pronounced now than it ever was, yet bodybuilding is constantly talked about in a negative light. Even though steroids are used in sports and the entertainment industry, bodybuilding received all the heat because of its extreme image. When people were looking to point the finger at the risks and side effects of steroids, bodybuilding would always be the frontrunner.
Anabolic Steroids in the Mainstream
We know that competitive bodybuilding is a sport that needs anabolic steroids in order to survive; fans of the sport know that, and so does the general public. What is truly incredible is the fact that steroids are probably even more popular outside of bodybuilding. The fitness industry is a perfect example of this.
Even though fitness was born through bodybuilding, it quickly separated itself from it and transformed itself into an independent monster. When I hear people talk about fitness, a million different things come to mind. The fitness craze has spread way beyond people's expectations, reaching even the smallest corners of this planet. Nowadays, millions of people are caught living a fitness lifestyle without even knowing it.
There's a slight chance of you thinking that I'm crazy by saying this, and even though it's probably true, am I really that wrong? Yoga pants, “healthy diets”, beach bodies on social media, gym selfies, and athletic clothing are just a few of the many fitness trends that are dominating the world. In today's society, everyone wants to be “fit, muscular, and toned” without working too hard at it, which then leads them to -you guessed it- trying anabolic steroids.
The fitness industry is a thousand times bigger than the sport of competitive bodybuilding, and so is the steroid use. It doesn’t take long to do some quick online research and look at the countless amounts of posts and transformations of current and aspiring steroid users that don’t fall under the bodybuilding category.
Are Anabolic Steroids Dangerous?
I’m going to finish this article by touching up a little on the real dangers of anabolic steroids and a couple of things that a lot of people don’t talk about. No matter how you slice it, any type of Performance Enhancement Substance will have a negative effect on the human body. The damage, just like the benefits that these artificial substances can cause, will highly depend on the individual’s genetic makeup.
It’s a common misconception among beginner athletes to think that they will eventually reach the top of their desired sport if they choose to use anabolic steroids – but, they’re wrong. Even though steroids can drastically transform the human body’s look; the end result will vary from person to person. The negative side effects are no different and tend to show themselves in different ways.
A lot of people suffer “minimal side effects” such as hair loss, acne, depression, and anxiety – while others can go as far as suffering from insomnia, decreased libido and infertility, shortness of breath, organ failure, and even death. So yeah, at the end of the day steroids can help the average person build muscle and lose fat, but is it really worth it? I personally don’t think so. Steroids are extremely dangerous, not to mention that they’re illegal for a reason.