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The Health Risks Associated With The Use Of Anabolic Steroids
By: Rick Mitchell

Anabolic steroids are classed as illegal drugs and are banned by most legitimate sports organizations. There can be no disputing the fact that testosterone boosts the development of muscle mass and aids sporting performance. Equally there is no doubt that its use can adversely affect the health and wellbeing of users.

The androgenic properties of testosterone can affect the body in many ways but often users see these as inconveniences that can be treated by using other drugs. The most common side effects of testosterone supplementation include the following:

1. Testicle shrinkage - the body responds to testosterone overload by reducing its own production of the hormone. This causes the testicles to shrink due to lack of use. When steroid usage stops, the testicles will grow again but they could take at least six months to return to normal size.

2. Addiction - despite some users trying to convince themselves otherwise, the use of steroids can result in physical and psychological addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe with muscle shrinkage, weakness and loss of libido.

3. Growth of breast tissue - this affects roughly one third of male steroid users. It is caused by the conversion of some excess testosterone into the female hormone estrogen. The breasts usually disappear when use of steroids ceases but in some cases they are permanent and may require surgical removal.

4. Baldness and skin conditions - excess testosterone can be converted into DHT, a hair unfriendly by-product that is responsible for male pattern baldness and oily skin.

5. Pain, bruising, infection and scarring may result from careless or incompetent injecting.

Some people have died as a result of steroid abuse and even those who adopt a careful, pragmatic approach have to accept that these health risks are unavoidable. My advice is, follow the natural route and use nutritional supplements to boost the anabolic process.

About the Author

Rick Mitchell is the creator of the website that provides guidance and information to athletes at all levels of bodybuilding experience. Go to Bodybuilding Advice to learn more about the issues covered in this article.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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