3 Natural muscle-building tips to replace steroids

Anabolic steroid use in professional sports is illegal, not only for the unfair advantage competitors gain through unnatural muscle building, but because of the potential…

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You don’t need steroids to build muscle fast. (Shutterstock)

Anabolic steroid use in professional sports is illegal, not only for the unfair advantage competitors gain through unnatural muscle building, but because of the potential for serious health consequences resulting from use. Many athletes, particularly those who haven’t made it to the big-time yet, don’t realize there are ways to increase muscle without having to turn to illegal substances.

Part of the appeal of anabolic steroids is their ability to generate muscle mass quickly, and for this reason athletes risk their lives and abuse anabolic steroids at up to 100 times the intended dose.

SEE ALSO: From steroids to cancer: The Lance Armstrong connection

The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates such irresponsible substance use can cause kidney impairment or failure; damage to the liver; and cardiovascular problems including enlargement of the heart, high blood pressure, and changes in blood cholesterol leading to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack (even in young people).

So what can someone do if they want to build muscle mass fast? Here are some non-life threatening options.

3 Easy ways to replace steroids

1) Take in most of your calories from carbohydrates

simple carbs

A complex carb or a simple carb: Do you know how they affect your health? (Shutterstock)

Susan Kleiner’s, author of “Power Eating,” explains building muscle puts an intense demand on the body and people who don’t properly supplement calories won’t see desired muscle gain. To achieve the fastest muscle gain, most of the calories in a diet should be from carbohydrates.

“To build a pound of muscle, add 2,500 calories a week.,” she writes. “This means introducing extra calories into your diet. Ideally, you must increase your calories by 500 to 1,000 a day. But do this gradually, so you don’t gain too much fat. What I suggest to strength trainers in a building phase is to start by introducing only 300 to 350 calories a day for a while. Then after a week or two, increase to 500 calories a day. As long as you are not gaining fat, start introducing 1,000 extra calories into your diet daily.”

Research suggests individuals who increase calories with carbohydrates gained more muscle mass over a set period of time compared to individuals on steroids eating a high-fat diet.

2) Do compound exercises.

Hip Flexion at the gym

This might be something you do at the gym when you sit at the leg machine, but you can do a scaled-down version just sitting at your office chair. (Shutterstock)

While isolating single muscle groups will build muscle, your body will build it faster if you use multiple muscles while working out. Men’s Fitness reports the more muscles used in an exercise, the more testosterone released into the body. Testosterone is important for building muscle mass quickly, and is the base reason why people take anabolic steroids.

3) Sleep more.

Without enough sleep the body suffers

Without enough sleep, the body can’t properly build muscle. (Shutterstock)

One major flaw many athletes have with their training schedules is lack of sleep. The body won’t properly build muscle if it doesn’t have time to recover, and recovery means more than just taking a day off. Getting enough sleep to balance out a rigorous training schedule will result in more muscle mass, faster.

“Deep sleep patterns may mean the difference between big anabolic gains and none at all! Both bodily repair and anabolic growth occur only during quality rest, and when deep sleep patterns become routine,” writes Dr. William Misner from Hammer Nutrition.

Though many athletes want a quick and easy fix to build fast muscle, the health risks of anabolic steroid abuse are not worth the gains.

SEE ALSO: Benefits of deadlifts for women: Deadlifting risky but worth it

To be an athlete means to be in peak physical condition, something only achieved when the body is in a natural, balanced state. Anabolic steroids won’t do this, but knowing some important, natural muscle building tips will.