Bodybuilding for women: is it safe?
More and more women are getting into weight training. Which is amazing!
It is becoming more understood that weight training will not lead to the bulky and masculine physique that many women fear, but instead will promote muscle strength and firmness, and help with fat loss. Many women are experiencing the benefits of regular weight training, which is why it is rapidly gaining popularity amongst females. Not to mention the psychological benefits of weight training, such as reduced stress and an increased sense of well-being.
With that being said, many women do aim to develop a larger muscle predominant physique. Although this is deemed undesirable by society at large, it is something that everyone should support and celebrate.
With more women striving to achieve the physique they desire through weight training, the demand for performance-enhancing substances and supplements is rising. There are thousands of supplements out there on the market that have different purposes and functions in the body. From protein powders, which act as a dietary supplement, supporting muscle repair, to anabolic steroids, which unnaturally alter your hormone levels in favour of muscle growth and fat loss.
Although you will experience faster and more dramatic results from under-the-counter performance-enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids, you can expect side effects from these largely unregulated substances.
SteroidsWhen steroids are not prescribed by a medic, they are illegal and largely unregulated. It is common for doctors to prescribe or administer steroids to treat a range of conditions, including asthma and COPD. However, the steroids ‘misused’ to build muscle mass and strip fat are a different type of compound to these medicines and require post-cycle therapy to combat the hormonal imbalances they cause. Despite the side effects associated with anabolic steroids, they are still popular amongst the health and fitness community. However, taking anabolics can cause serious side effects and lead to addiction.
Side effects & anabolic steroids
The side effects associated with steroid use are much more severe and undesirable in women than men, as anabolics are designed to mimic the effects of the male hormone testosterone. Regular steroid use in men can lead to reduced sperm count, ED, baldness, breast development, severe acne, as well as a host of other symptoms. For females, anabolics can increase facial hair growth, deepen voice, reduce breast tissue, and can cause hair loss, severe acne, period problems, and lead to a swollen clitoris.
Additionally, both men and women who take anabolic steroids can develop or be at increased risk of heart attack or stroke, liver or kidney problems, high blood pressure, blood clots, and high cholesterol. As well as psychological or emotional side effects, such as; aggressive behaviour, mood swings, manic behaviour, hallucinations/delusions, and paranoia.
Safer & Legal Hardcore Supplements
All anabolic steroids are dangerous to take, especially for females, however some are milder than others. For example, Trenbolone, Deca-Durobolin, and Dianabol are very strong steroids that usually come with a host of side effects, especially androgenic effects, which is the development of male characteristics, which is typically undesirable for females. Anavar and Winstrol are sometimes preferred by women who are eager to increase muscle mass and reduce fat, as the androgenic effects of these compounds are less severe and usually reversible.
If you’re a man or a woman and you’ve been put off anabolic steroids due to personal experience, other people or research, but want to experience similar benefits to these compounds without the side effects, these compounds do exist.
Prohormones & SARMs are different to and weaker than anabolic steroids, and although they can produce powerful results in terms of muscle strength gains and fat loss, their side effects are much more unlikely, mild, and rectifiable. For example, German Pharma OSTAMAX is a popular and mild SARM, that is suitable for men and women, which increases strength and lean muscle mass and reduces body fat in a matter of weeks. It is recommended for women to keep to the lowest effective dose when using this compound, which is 10mg. Some women prefer to take 10mg every other day to further reduce the risk of side effects.
Post-Cycle Therapy (once you’ve finished your cycle)
Due to the effects that anabolic steroids have on natural hormone secretion, men are strongly advised to implement post cycle therapy. This process is designed to increase natural testosterone production following suppression and to prevent testosterone from turning into excess estrogen. However, the PCT compounds required following a cycle of anabolics, such as Clomid and Nolvadex, have their own side effects and are not advisable for women, as they are anti-estrogen.
To help re-optimize hormonal levels following a cycle of anabolic steroids, women should aim to finish their cycle at the end of their menstrual cycle. As this is when natural estrogen secretion is at its highest. This natural production of estrogen will act as post cycle therapy. This applies for Anavar (anabolic steroid) and Ostamax (SARM) alike.