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Ditch the Steroids for Healthier Ways to Pump Up

Ditch the Steroids for Healthier Ways to Pump Up

Men and women are still abusing steroids—despite their numerous health risks.

Hans and Franz, the Austrian bodybuilders (Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon) on SNL, started each sketch with their tag line: “We want to pump . . . you up!” Those characters first appeared in 1987 and it was, says the National Drug Abuse Institute, the decade when many everyday jocks started using steroids to enhance their muscle mass. Now, almost 35 years later, despite what’s known about the serious health risks of medically unnecessary anabolic steroids (heart disease, stroke, organ failure, mood swings, delusions, addiction, and in men, reduced sperm count, erectile dysfunction (ED), baldness, and breast development), many guys and some women still abuse these drugs.

A new study presented at this year’s European Society of Endocrinology meeting found 70 percent of men using anabolic steroids for athletic enhancement know the risks and use ’em anyway! In the U.S., among high school students, 4.9 percent of boys and 2.4 percent of girls have used anabolic steroids at least once. And 1 percent of older guys, 18 to 34, are estimated to have used them.

Our Rx for top (pumped) physical form: Dose yourself with aerobic interval training for 60-plus minutes five days a week, strength-training three-plus times a week for 30 minutes, a diet with lean proteins (the American College of Sports Medicine recommends you eat between 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight in conjunction with physical activity to build muscle mass), healthy fats, whole grains, and nine servings of fruits and veggies daily. That’s how you can health . . . you up!

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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