When you think of anabolic steroids, you likely think of bodybuilders who want to grow massive muscles and gain incredible strength. However, in terms of sports, it’s possible to use steroids for far more than just performance enhancement. In fact, it’s common to use steroids in recovery from significant injury, too. Studies have proven them effective, and many athletes still rely on them today.
Why do Athletes Recover more Quickly?
If you put a professional athlete next to an everyday Joe with the same sports-related injury, the athlete will recover from his or her injury far more quickly. There’s a simple explanation for this, and it all comes down to the athlete’s unique metabolism. The term anabolism describes a physical state during which energy feeds muscles and other tissues in your body to repair them. When you can enhance your body’s anabolism, your muscles can build more quickly, and this means you can recover more quickly, too. Even athletes who have never used steroids in recovery will heal more quickly simply because they have trained their bodies to put more energy into muscle growth and repair.
Simply put, individuals who are fit and who exercise regularly will heal from an injury more quickly than an individual who is not in shape at all, and it all comes down to his or her metabolism. Athletes’ bodies can maintain their anabolic states longer and more efficiently than others.
Using Anabolic Steroids in Recovery
A 1999 study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine looked at various steroids in recovery. This study focused on the effects of both corticosteroids and anabolic steroids on muscle tissue. Those responsible for the study conducted experiments on rats with muscle contusion injuries. They provided some of the rats 20mg/kg of nandrolone decanoate, or Deca Durabolin, and they gave other rates methylprednisolone acetate, which is a corticosteroid.
After two days, the group receiving corticosteroids had noticeable improvements in twitch response and strength. At day seven, this was no longer the case in the corticosteroid group, but no effect at all had been noticed in the group of rats being given Deca Durabolin. Finally, at day 14, the results were startling. The rats who had corticosteroids showed complete muscle degeneration – the opposite of the effect noticed on day two of the study – while the rats who received Deca Durabolin displayed incredible healing via stronger twitch and improvements in muscle strength.
This study is relevant because it helps to sway the social stigma that surrounds steroids in recovery and shows that they are, in the long run, even more beneficial than the corticosteroids that are still commonly prescribed for injury recovery today. Per the study, anabolic steroids “may have an ethical clinical application to aid healing in severe muscle contusion injury, and their use in the treatment of muscle injuries warrants further research.”
The Most Common Steroids in Recovery
Out of the 32 common anabolic steroids, only a handful are beneficial steroids in recovery, and the most popular anabolic steroid given to athletes is Deca Durabolin. It’s been clinically shown to improve bone mass, build muscle, and even repair cartilage and tendon alongside muscle tissue. The chart below shows a common cycle used in steroid recovery.
|Weekly Timeframe||Weekly Deca Durabolin||Weekly Testosterone|
*While some athletes will be healed to the point of “normal” at around the 10-week mark, others may need to continue their cycles for as long as three months. At doses this low, an extended cycle is considered safe. Remember that the goal here is not to build muscle, burn fat, or boost strength – it is to enhance the body’s anabolic state and stimulate the repair of cartilage, muscle, tendons, and bone.
Equipoise and Steroid Recovery
The nandrolones like Deca Durabolin are by far the go-to steroids in recovery, but Equipoise (boldenone) is often just as effective when it comes to healing soft tissues. It is even better than Deca when it comes to boosting the production of red blood cells, and this increased blood volume also increases the oxygen and nutrients being delivered to the injured area. When these injured tissues have more access to the proteins, oxygen, and nutrients they need to heal, repair, and regenerate, healing is vastly improved. In fact, Equipoise got its start as an equine drug for this very same reason – it was (and still is) given to thoroughbreds worth millions of dollars to help them heal more quickly and perform at their peak in every race.
How to Dose Steroids for Healing and Recovery
Because anabolic steroids in recovery aren’t considered socially acceptable, and because they aren’t usually prescribed by doctors, the information you’ll find about how to dose them appropriately is mixed. There are two ways to use steroids in recovery. The first involves low-dose steroids over longer periods of time, which is discussed in the section about Deca Durabolin above, but the other involves higher-dose steroids in shorter cycles, which is said to kickstart the healing process even better.
For example, forum participants may recommend using 400mg of either Deca or Equipoise a week, along with testosterone replacement, for a period of about eight to 10 weeks. During short cycles like this, these same individuals also recommend supplementing with a solid glucosamine and chondroitin product, which provides the necessary building blocks to repair tendons and ligaments alongside muscle tissue.
What about HGH?
Last, but most certainly not least, there is evidence to suggest that HGH may be just as powerful as anabolic steroids in recovery – if not more so. Doctors in major hospitals around the world, including those at the Mayo Clinic, will often prescribe high-dose HGH to patients who have suffered traumatic injuries or burns to help them heal. Doses usually range from 8IU to as much as 16IU daily – more than any athlete should ever take unless under the direct care of a physician. Studies have found that this can improve the healing process tremendously and lessen the time patients spend in the hospital recovering.
Steroids in recovery are quite popular, especially among amateur athletes and bodybuilders who want to heal and get back to business. Though there is always the potential for side effects, steroid recovery is typically safe when these products are used according to guidelines.