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How Steroids Work


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So, according to my very limited understanding of steroids, I've come to believe that they allow for abnormally fast muscle re-growth after workouts. In other words, steroids can't artificially contribute to muscle mass; they just allow for artificially fast muscle recovery.

Then I see the Mysterious Case of Big Papi, who's turning in one of the biggest dropoff seasons in MLB history. As I understand muscle growth, even if he was intimidated by investigations into steroid use and completely stopped all related activity, the mass that he had already built up wouldn't deteriorate for years, simply because muscle mass goes away pretty slowly. I thought this was a pretty universal biological truth, but given all the accusations that are being lobbed at Ortiz this season, I want to make sure. Don't any muscle gains attributed to steroids take years to break down?

(Disclaimer: A search revealed a number of steroids threads, but they were all about who took them, not about how steroid-created muscles work on a biological level.)

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But those muscles that are built through lean body mass deteriorate quicker without the steroids in a persons system. They are more prone to injury because their body isn't used to not having the steroids there to continually help rebuild/repair them.

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Yes, the gains made while using steroids typically will not deteriorate as long as those muscles continue to be used. The old saying "use it or lose it" is particularly true when talking about muscle groups.

That being said, it all depends on what type of steroid was used (there are hundreds) but a lot of steroids like testosterone propionate, testosterone cypionate, deca durabolin, and many many others increase the strength of the user given how much muscle mass they have, and that strength isn't always kept but most of the mass gained is, as long as the user continues to work out.

In other words, when on a cycle the user has more strength than they would when not on the cycle even if their muscle mass is the same.

Steroids also assist in recovery like you mentioned (which helps sports performance), protein synthesis, and many other things that can effect performance.

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