Friday, July 3, 2015

Bodybuilding, ECA, and Other Drugs

Let's be honest: bodybuilding and certain types of drugs just go hand-in-hand. They always have and most likely always will.

Let's start with the obvious: anabolic steroids. These powerful drugs are synthesized versions of testosterone, the male hormone. Using these will promote muscle growth and strength far beyond your genetic potential. Steroids allow you to train more intensely and recover more quickly than would be possible training naturally. They also shift the body's physiology to favor muscle mass over fat mass. That's why "enhanced" athletes will always have an easier time building and keeping a great deal of muscle mass even with a very low body fat level.

I'm not saying that anyone who uses steroids will immediately look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. But you cannot deny the reality that these drugs make a huge difference and give the user a significant advantage over a person who is not using them.

But the drugs don't stop with steroids. It seems human growth hormone is also commonly used. The research on HGH is controversial because it doesn't seem to do much on its own. But when combined with steroids it definitely makes a difference.

Insulin is another commonly used drug in bodybuilding. This powerful anabolic hormone is often used to help the athletes build more muscle buy accelerating the shuttling of nutrients into muscle cells. But using insulin, just like many other drugs, can be very dangerous.

But let's not forget fat loss drugs. One of the most commonly used compounds is clenbuterol. This stimulant is known for its ability to give a two to three week "turbo boost" to your diet and fat loss program. It is popular for those who want to use something that will help them through a crash diet.

That leads us to one of the all-time favorites: the eca stack. Bodybuilding just wouldn't be the same
without everyone's favorite stimulant combination! Ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin have multiple properties that any bodybuilder would love. It gives you an incredible boost in energy, which will add intensity to your workout. Ephedra, in fact, became a popular pre-workout ingredient in the 90's. It was included in supplements like the original Ultimate Orange, which was very popular years ago. The ECA stack also significantly reduces your appetite. As you can imagine, this is extremely helpful for someone who is doing some kind of pre-contest diet. Appetite suppression is very helpful when you are on strict calorie requirements and trying to reach single-digit body fat levels. But the benefits don't stop there: this stack also slightly increases one's metabolism, which helps offset the effects of training and living on low calories. If you combine all these properties you understand why the ECA stack has been a stable of bodybuilders for decades.

Another pharmaceutical weapon in the bodybuilder's arsenal is diuretics. These can help get rid of the last bit of water underneath his/her skin and help the muscle definition really show through. But this is also one of the most dangerous practices among professional bodybuilders. A lot can go wrong when you use and/or abuse diuretics, and fatalities have occurred.