So who uses Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids and PIED's?

'Natural' athletes 'v' Steroid using athletes - you won't find a more passionate and longstanding arguement. On one hand you have the guys who state that steroids allow them to take their bodies to the next level and on the other the Natural guys who state that permanent gains can only be made through hard training, good clean diet and non banned supplements. More and more people are turning to steroids looking for quick results in the gym. One major concern is that more and more young men are accessing Needle Exchange Services for injecting equipment. Some of these men are as young as 18 years old and have only recently started training. So who uses AAS and PIEDs?

Steroids and performance enhancing drugs have ben used in sports since humans first started competing against each other. Everyone wants the edge over their opponents. In the page 'Steroid History' we discuss how the competitors in the ancient Olympics experimented with herbs and animal extract to attempt to enhance their performance. In more recent times, athletes from various sports have used steroids and other performance enhancing drugs to cheat their way to success. Some of the most infamous cases in recent times include:

Dwain Chambers is an British sprinter who has had success on the European and World stage. He has competed at several Olympic Games, World Championships and European Championships. In 2003 Chambers tested positive for Tetrahydrogestrinone or THG and was banned from competing in athletices for 2 years. He was also banned from competing in the Olypics for life and stripped of the medals he had won since 2002.

Dwain Chambers has attempted to return to athletics and now models himsef as a clean, reformed athlete and wore an anti drug t-shirt in Valencia with the slogan 'Just Say No'.

In his book race Against Me, Dwain disclosed further details about his past drug use and claimed that steroid use was rife through-out athletics and even went as far as saying that he estimated that half of the American Athletes at the Beijing Olympucs had use illegal drugs.

Steroid and Performance Enhancing Drug use has always and will always exist in high level and elite sports. Agencies such as UK Anti Doping are always looking at methods to eradicate the use and ensure everyone competes on a level playing field.

One of the concerns that is reported from needle exchanges, substance misuse services and gyms across the country is the increased use of steroids by casual body builders, weight lifters and athletes. Increases in the media portrayal of muscular males such as Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnston, Tom Hardy, Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Sylvester Stallone have lead to young males chasing this image and continually looking for short cuts.

Asthetics

Some individuals use steroids for aesthetic purposes. They will want to get that muscular look with more definition and a reduction in body fat. For the majority of people new to steroid use this is the main reason for experimenting with steroids. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, services are reporting an increase in young males acessing their services for sterile equipment to strart injecting steroids. What is interesting is that these men have only recently strated attending the gym at taking exercise seriously (in one case a matter of 2 weeks). They have not allowed their bodies time to starting changing in the way they would like, they have not considered the impact their diet has on the bodies ability to build muscle and loose body fat, they have not considered the use of legal supplements, and they certainly have not considered the dangerous effects steroid use can have on their vital organs. In all cases diet and training regime should be the first topics of discussin for someone looking to build muscle and loose body fat. The use of safer supplements (similar to those sold at Holland and Barrett or GNC) should be explored prior to steroid use even becoming an option.

Functional Users

Some people use steroids for functions purposes where increases in strength and size may be a benefit. This may include ceratin professions such as security staff who may find the increase size a factor in getting regular work and ensuring the safety of others in settings such as nightclubs, pubs and festivals.

Casual gym goers may also use steroids for increases in strength. They may not be concerned with an aesthetic appearance but may desire the ability to lift heavier weights and so will use steroids to reach these goals.

Gym Environments and Sub Groups

Gym environments and body building cliques are highly competitive and provide additional friendship groups that an individual may otherwise not be able to access. These 'closed' groups can provide a group identity where steroids are the norm. A newbie to the gym or group may feel pressure to use steroids or other PIEDs to ensure acceptance into the group. Established members of the group may be able to provide 'advice' on steroids that the newbie finds interesting and becomes intrigued in the benefits of using steroids. It is aways worth noting that just because someone else does it that does not mean they are doing it correctly. Gym changing rooms are not the ideal sterile environment to be injecting steroids.

On the other side of the fence are the established gym users who become intimidated by new, young people who thy see as a threat to their dominance in the gym and so start using steroids to ensure they stay ahead of potential threats.

Pre-steroid checklist!

Before steroid use is considered an individual must explore the folloing areas:

Training regime
speak to an experienced Personal Trainer and ensure you are not wasting your time in your sessions.
Diet
ensure your diet is correct to ensure muscle building and fat burning is optimized
Rest
give your body time to rest and re-build. It's as important as your gym time.
Supplements
if the above 2 are not providing the results you desire explore the use of sports supplements.