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The Hardbody Look
Photo: Andreas Thies
Teen steroid abuse grew dramatically between 1991 and 2001 – at a faster rate than that of any other drug. For teenage girls it tripled. Why? Because steroids seem to promise good looks.

Anabolic and androgenic steroids –  ‘roids, juice, hype, or pump – are drugs that mimic male hormones, especially testosterone. Steroids encourage cell growth – especially muscles.

Some guys use steroids to build muscle. Athletes juice themselves to bulk up and gain strength. Gals that use steroids do not look like All-Pro football tackles, though. Steroids have different effects on gals than guys.

What is the up side? Well, some gals – those into competitive sports – take steroids for the same reason as the guys. The increased muscle steroids produce gives a competitive edge. There are other reasons, though.

The hardbody look is in for the gals, as well as guys. You get that look by spending hours exercising each day. Or you take ‘roids. Steroids tighten up muscles and reduce body fat. Guys get bulging muscles. Gals get curvier when building muscle – where the guys notice. 

Downside of Steroids 

The downside? Steroids can give you an athlete’s body with a 50-years-old’s heart. Steroids encourage arteriosclerosis – the build-up of fat inside your arteries.  Start using steroids in high school, and before you graduate from college your plumbing might be as clogged as that of a middle-aged man.

If your liver holds out. Anabolic steroids encourage the liver to develop tumors and blood-filled cysts. Liver cancer seems a high price tag for a hard body – or athletic trophies.

Steroids weaken your immune system. You are more likely to catch the latest bug sweeping your school, be sick longer, and get sicker. Imagine missing that important track meet because you feel too sick to get out of bed. Especially when kids that do not mess with steroids get a 2-day case of sniffles, instead.

Anabolic steroid use also stops growth. Your body is programmed to stop growing once you finish puberty. When your hormone levels reach a certain amount – anabolic steroids mimic male hormones – you body thinks that you are an adult, and stops growing. Think going through life in a thirteen-year-old’s body is the pits at eighteen? Imagine what would be like in your 20s and 30s.

Steroid use often causes depression. It can also trigger violent and erratic behavior – ‘roid rage.”

Some problems hit women harder than men. You might not be able to have children in the future – ever. It also tends to cause baldness. It makes guys go bald, too, but guys carry off the chrome-dome look better than gals. Not that you will be hairless. Steroids can promote hair growth over the rest of your body.

Some problems – mood swings and severe acne – go away when you stop using steroids. Most do not. Your bad heart, short height, bald head, and hairy body are yours for keeps.

Gains from steroid use are temporary. The weight loss, sleek muscles and extra strength last only as long as you are taking steroids. The longer you take steroids the more chances you are taking of doing yourself a permanent hurt.

Exercise and a sensible diet are a better prescription for an attractive body than steroids. A positive self-image helps, too. Be happy with who you are.

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Written by Mark N Lardas, copyright 2006, Mark N. Lardas, all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from Listen, January 2006. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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