I will preface this post by saying that regular weight training is one of the best things you can do for your health and physique. With that said, I’ve been to enough bodybuilding events including Olympia to know that there is no muscle industry without steroids. This applies to both men and women.
Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) refers to a class of hormonal drugs that promote anabolic (tissue building) and androgenic (secondary male sexual characteristics) effects. Different drugs predominate in one area or the other, but all AAS promote both of these effects to some degree. Keep in mind that bodybuilders also take drugs such as Human Growth Hormone (HGH), Insulin, and Diuretics (the final water loss before a show to create that shrink-wrapped look).
There are “natural” organizations, but natural really means “clean”. Clean means you can pass a drug test. The physique industry is synonymous with steroids like Irish pubs are synonymous with booze. You can’t have one without the other. The smallest (size-wise) Mr. Olympia ever was Frank Zane. He won the Mr. Olympia at less than 200 lbs. but he was not natural. He might not be a steroid monster like the pros of today, but he was certainly juicing, at least with mild anabolics.
Fat Free Mass Index (FFMI) — Maximum theoretical muscle mass
The Fat Free Mass Index is supposedly the most amount of lean body mass that a drug-free bodybuilder can attain. In my opinion, however, not all athletes with a high FFMI of 24 or 25 (fitness models, for instance), got there without chemical assistance.
Prohormones — Steroids without side effects?
Utter nonsense. If the medication is not working on the androgen receptor (increasing acne/oily skin, aggression, and accelerated genetic predisposition expression of male pattern baldness), it’s not promoting anabolic effects, either (muscle-building, bone density, decreased fat mass).
Creatine — Most effective muscle-building supplement
Creatine is not a hormone, but a fuel source for working muscles. Energy is created for short-burst muscle activity in the breakdown of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate = 3) to ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate = 2). Creatine donates a phosphate group (+1) making more fuel available for muscle cells. I’ve personally gained 9 – 10 lbs. of lean mass by loading creatine. It’s cheap–a six-month supply of high-quality creatine monohydrate (Creapure) is only 30 bucks. However, you should check with your doctor to see if creatine monohydrate supplementation is safe for you.