Hey, there fitness fans.
Thanks for stopping by.
Today we’re going to be looking at the obvious signs of steroid use.
We’ve all seen that big and jacked guy in the gym, warming up with your 1 rep max, veins like hose pipes, face redder than a beet, and training with such intensity that you feel he may keel over and enter cardiac arrest at any moment.
He’s constantly there, lifting heavy ass weights, chugging protein shakes, wearing clothing that looks two times too small because of his gains, and then there’s you.
You’ve been lifting for years upon years and have barely noticed any real improvements in your physique at all.
It seems as if no matter how hard you train, or how clean your diet is, you just can’t seem to make any progress on your quest to get jacked.
Don’t worry, however, as you’re not alone.
Most people that workout regularly has the same problem, because they choose to train naturally.
Anabolic steroids will get you big and jacked if you use the right ones at the right time.
You can’t just inject yourself and sit on your rear end eating twinkies all day and expect to get swole, because it doesn’t work like that.
If, however, you use steroids, you train regularly and intensely, and make sure you’re eating right, the gains will quickly appear.
But what are the obvious signs?
How do you spot somebody that is riding a bicycle (running a steroid cycle)?
Well, let’s find out.
Table Of Contents
Before we start looking at some obvious signs, we first need to cover ourselves legally and ethically.
Anabolic steroids are dangerous, and if they’re abused, they’re more dangerous than ever.
We don’t condone or recommend their use, but in the same breath, we certainly don’t judge those that do use them.
The bottom line is that people are going to use them to build muscle one way or another, and so we’d much rather that they used them safely and responsibly instead.
That’s why we’re here to provide as much info about steroids as possible.
So, let’s look at some obvious signs.
People seem to think that spotting an anabolic steroid user is simply a case of looking for any big and jacked dude and that’s that.
The truth of the matter is that things are a lot more complex than that.
You see, there are countless steroids out there, with each one doing a different job.
Some steroids build muscle, while others burn fat.
Some steroids cause you to become bloated, while others dry you out.
Steroid users don’t necessarily need to be huge, just as they don’t necessarily need to be ripped either.
Skinny-fat guys that weigh less than 200 pounds could be using some form of anabolic steroid, you just don’t know.
Here are some obvious signs for you to look out for:
One of the best ways of telling if somebody is using, or has used, anabolic steroids, is to check out their gains timeline.
Basically, you see what they looked like when they were smaller, and compare them to now, while taking into account how long it took them.
Remember, it can take years to build even a couple of pounds of muscle naturally, yet if you have a guy suddenly ballooning up from 180 pounds to 230 pounds in a year or two, this is a fairly obvious sign that he could be using steroids.
Powerful steroids can allow people to add as much as 30 pounds of muscle to their frames in just a few weeks.
To build 30 pounds of muscle naturally would take years.
Basically, if a guy in decent shape suddenly becomes huge and jacked, this could be due to anabolic steroids.
Okay, this next one isn’t technically a sign of steroid use, but rather human growth hormone use.
The thing is, that HGH and anabolic steroids are actually normally used together, so if a person is on HGH, normally they are also on steroids, such as Sylvester Stallone and Vin Diesel cases.
The human growth hormone is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that is very anabolic.
This means that it plays a key role in the growth and repair of muscle tissue.
The problem is that the body doesn’t create enough to really provide any real benefits in terms of muscle growth and repair.
This is why bodybuilders often inject HGH for men into their bodies.
When used in conjunction with anabolic steroids, HGH yields very impressive muscle gains.
The problem is that too much HGH in your system can cause your internal organs to swell up and expand in size.
This means that organs in the stomach and abdomen begin to swell up and push against the abdomen, causing men to look as if they’re pregnant.
Their stomachs can look swollen and distended, even if they’re sitting at 4% body fat with shredded ABS, such as Helmut Strebl's case.
If you see a fairly jacked guy with a distended gut, this could be due to a ‘growth gut’ caused by too much HGH.
Another thing to look for when it comes to anabolic steroid use and/or abuse is acne.
You see, steroids can cause fluctuations in a person’s hormone levels.
Steroids stimulate glands in the body known as the sebaceous glands.
These glands secrete a substance known as sebum, which is thick and waxy.
A little of this is fine, but if too much is secreted, it can cause pores in the skin to become blocked.
As you know, blocked pores result in spots and breakouts of acne.
Commonly steroid users will have a few spots on their faces, but mainly the acne will be located on the back, traps, and rear delts.
In fact, people call this condition ‘Backne’ because of the acne breakouts found on a person’s back.
Now, not every steroid user will suffer from acne because some varieties only cause low amounts of sebum production.
If, however, you come across a big, jacked, spotty dude with a distended gut, he could very well be on steroids.
Another fairly obvious sign of anabolic steroid use is when an individual suddenly builds themselves a huge set of 3D delts and traps.
Some people naturally have big traps and deltoids, and some focus on these body parts when training in the gym.
If, however, you come across a person with unnaturally large deltoids and traps, this could be a clear-cut sign of anabolic steroid use.
This is due to the fact that the deltoids and Trapezius muscles have a large portion of androgen receptors in the body.
This means that when steroids enter the system and muscle growth begins to kick in, the deltoids and traps respond most favorably and respond first to the training.
Assuming a person is indeed using steroids with androgenic properties, the delts and traps will respond very impressively to what they are taking.
Have you ever had a shower or bath that was just a bit too hot, so that when you get out you’re sweatier than when you went in and you look as if you’ve been sitting in the sun too long because of your pink skin?
If so, remember this pink-skinned look because it is yet another fairly obvious sign of steroid use.
You see, when a person takes steroids often they cause increases in blood pressure levels.
This alone can sometimes be dangerous as high blood pressure can provide a wide range of health and fitness dangers.
As a result of high blood pressure, a person’s skin can turn a pinky/red color and can have a distinctly flushed look.
This is due to an increase in core body temperature and the body trying to regulate said temperature.
They will also almost certainly sweat more than average, which is again due to the increase in temperature.
Some steroids out there are used by bodybuilders when cutting and dieting down for a show, whereas others are used for bulking up and building muscle mass in the off-season.
Some steroids, therefore, are not suitable for dieting down because the idea on show day is to reveal a ripped and vascular physique, not a bloated swollen washed out one.
Strong steroids used for bulking can cause water retention and bloat.
This can cause the physique to look bloated, and also the face.
Ever noticed how you look swollen and bloated after eating salty food because sodium promotes water retention?
Well, imagine this at its very worst with some types of steroids, and that’s what you get regarding bloating.
In the off-season, bodybuilders have been known to retain as much as 20 pounds of water, giving their muscles a washed-out look and causing their faces to look swollen and puffy, like pufferfishes almost.
So, if a person looks swollen, yet bloated, potent steroids could be to blame.
To spot this next sign of steroid use, you will need to see an individual with their shirt off, unless the gyno is very bad.
Gynecomastia is a common side-effect of steroid use and is caused when testosterone in the body goes through a process known as aromatization.
When this occurs, the testosterone is converted into Estrogen.
Estrogen in high levels in the body can result in a process known as gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia is basically where men begin to grow breast tissue, just like women.
More often than not they will simply develop puffy and swollen nipples, though, in some more extreme cases of gyno, men have been known to develop breasts just like women’s.
Gyno is one of the most obvious signs of steroid use, and to make matters worse, it can’t be naturally reversed.
Some people seem to think that gyno can be reversed simply by losing weight and perhaps doing more exercises that focus on the chest.
In reality, the only real way of getting rid of gyno is to undergo surgery.
This is painful, expensive, and requires a fair amount of recovery.
Gyno can, however, be avoided through post cycle therapy, though a lot of amateur steroid users often overlook the importance of PCT.
People say that steroids shrink the penis.
This is not true.
What do steroids do, is cause the testicles to shrink?
Using steroids can cause a person’s natural testosterone production to shut down completely, which is partly due to the fact that steroids cause the testicles to shrink.
You see, steroids cause huge spikes in testosterone productions, plus some people inject test as well.
The body then panics because there is too much testosterone in the body and it doesn’t know what to do.
In an attempt to keep testosterone levels regular, it causes the testicles to shrink in size so that they stop producing testosterone.
This not only affects natural testosterone, but it can also affect fertility and libido as well.
Generally, people with the highest amounts of testosterone in their systems will see the testicles shrink the most.
Unless you’re very intimate with the user in question, you probably won’t spot this sign of steroid use yourself, but trust us, steroids do cause shrunken testicles.
Finally, through HGH and fluctuations in hormones, another one of the obvious signs of steroid use is an enlarged jaw.
If a person’s jawline suddenly becomes enlarged and changes shape, this could be due to anabolic steroid use.
Some people naturally have large jaws anyways, but if somebody’s jaw begins to change shape, along with their physique, this could be down to steroid use.
Reda is an ACE Certified Nutritionist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and bodybuilder with 11 years of experience. He's been published on many influential websites such as lifehack.org, Wealthy Gorilla, Good Men Project and more.