The question of to what degree steroids can reduce workout recover time is impossible to answer in general because there are a variety of factors that affect this answer.
For example, how much you weight, how much muscle you have, and what type of steroids are you will make a difference to the answer.
Before we get into what steroids can do for your recovery time, you need to understand, if you don’t already, that it is illegal to take steroids without a prescription of your doctor.
In addition, your doctor cannot prescribe you steroids in order to boost your workout benefits; there has to be a medical reason for the steroid use.
Why do doctors prescribe steroids?
There are several medical reasons that a doctor might prescribe steroids.
For example, a pituitary malfunction in boys would prompt a steroid prescription as would the absence of testes in men (usually due to removal because of testicular cancer).
In addition, steroids are often prescribed to men and women who have been in comas for a long period of time and have experienced muscle degeneration.
It is also prescribed to cancer patients that have experienced muscle degeneration due to their chemo.
In every single medical case, doctors only prescribe steroids in the levels that could or should be produced by the body naturally. Any doctor who prescribed more than that would come under scrutiny by their medical board.
With all that being said, steroids do provide some benefits to men and women who want to build muscle. This benefit isn’t just in muscle building; it is for muscle recovery as well. The problem is, the side effects and overuse of steroids outweigh the benefits, which is why steroid use is illegal.
How do steroids aide in muscle recovery?
Simply put, steroids block the production of cortisol. Cortisol is what the body produces when the body is under stress. Cortisol acts as an anti-inflammatory and can actually slow down the needed recovery time of muscles. As such, blocking the cortisol can decrease your recovery time.
However, blocking cortisol from developing can be dangerous in your body. Cortisol is responsible for:
- Metabolizing the glucose in your body
- Regulating your blood pressure and keeping it down during stressful situations
- Helping to release insulin in your body when your body needs it
- Boosting your immunity levels
- Alleviating pain
While a low dose of steroids will not produce long term negative effects from blocking cortisol, it is rare for someone who is using steroids for body building or working out to use a medical dose of steroids. Typically their usage goes far beyond that, which can be dangerous.
If the body continually doesn’t product the cortisol that it needs you could develop diabetes, become ill frequently, be more prone to pain and so on.
Do steroids aide in muscle development?
There is some conflicting information about the benefits of steroids and muscle development. If you look at past users and the shape that their bodies are/were in, there is certainly something to be said for steroid use in this department.
However, clinical studies don’t show the same results, at least not consistently. In addition, steroid use doesn’t appear to make you faster, stronger or more athletic, something that is the goal of many athletes that use steroids.
It is important to note, however, that in a majority of studies, steroids do show benefits in people who have degenerated muscles due to surgery, illness and so on. However, there appears to be no benefit for those with degenerative muscle diseases. One area that steroids seem to help is to reduce body fat. Right now there is no medical explanation for this benefit; but it exists.
What are some of the side effects from using steroids?
First of all, if you take steroids while you are still growing, you may stunt your growth. Steroids can cause liver tumors, enlarged heart, aggressive behavior, increased acne, stretch marks, male pattern baldness, facial hair in girls, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, infections and more.
Some weightlifting sites will suggest that these side effects are minimal or aren’t experienced by many people; however, this simply isn’t the case. Long term use of steroids affects everyone who uses them to some degree. Yes, it is worse for some than other but the bottom line is that the dangers outweigh the benefits, especially if you are self medicating! In order to get more energy and stamina for workouts, many weight trainers use more natural supplements or energy drinks.