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MMA and anabolic steroids. The difference between a sting and knockout.

MMA. A combat sport that incorporates all of the most effective martial arts into one combat science. An MMA fighter needs the best of both (or all) worlds if he is to be a champion in this era. No longer can a fighter dominate in MMA unless you are an all-round fighter. If you can only wrestle, someone will eventually knock you out with a strike. If you can only box, someone is going to take you down and ground-pound you back to your childhood. All of those hours of pad work for nothing. So, now more than ever, does the ultimate fighter, require the ultimate athletic advantage. This is where anabolic steroids and PED come in to the equation. Let’s take a look at some of the athletic requirements an MMA fighter needs and how anabolic steroids and other PEDs can help. Before we begin, there is this consensus that these drugs only give the fighter an edge. An edge? Perhaps an edge of a Samurai sword. Make no mistake, if an MMA fighter incorporates these drugs at the right dose and time, it can mean the difference of win or lose.

Power. Anabolic steroids are known to increase strength, thought to be through a number of mechanisms; not only via increased nitrogen retention alone. There is something about the addition of an androgen that helps muscles to fire harder and faster. As a physical concept, power requires both a change in the physical system and a specified time in which the change occurs. Anabolic steroids change this system.

Strength: Force = mass x acceleration. Anabolic steroids can increase the type of functional mass a fighter requires, which is skeletal muscle. Aside from the bare minimum for healthy function, there is nothing advantageous about having excess adipose tissue in the fight game. It is almost always an advantage to meet your weight class, with a lean physique—and anabolic steroids can greatly help. Of course, there are successful champions over time who have had questionable physiques, but the question remains as to how much better they could have been if they had paid better attention to their physical condition? The acceleration component from the force is also assisted by anabolic steroids. It is not quite known how anabolic steroids help fast twitch fibres fire even faster, but the phenomenon is well known by athletes who require speed. This is evident by the many sprinters who have been busted for anabolic steroids in top level competition.  By the looks of some of their physiques, one would have to question immediately whether or not most of them were taking something banned to improve performance. And so, with increased force comes increased knock out power. The difference between a “sting” and a KO is only a small fraction and anabolic steroids can absolutely provide that crucial advantage.

Recovery: This component is perhaps the biggest advantage with anabolic steroids and other PEDs for an MMA fighter. Anabolic steroids and other PEDs allow a fighter to train longer and harder. If you think about it like this. Imagine a fighter was in camp before a fight and a combination of anabolic steroids and HGH allowed him to train an extra hour per day. Over 7 days, that is 7 hours and over 7 weeks? You begin to see how these hours add up. More time for a fighter to drill, drill, drill—and drillers make killers. An MMA fighter has to juggle the learning process of several martial arts and somehow progress within them all and recover in between. 1 hour extra per day is a conservative figure I chose as an example. I can testify for these compounds allowing a fighter often many more hours per week to train while recovering sufficiently. How these anabolic steroids and other PEDs assist in recovery comes from a variety of mechanisms. Increased nitrogen retention, sure. A less considered advantage is what happens to an athlete who is natural and trains this hard? It is very common for endurance athletes and fighters to have low testosterone levels due to the excessive load they put on their bodies. Even replacing testosterone via testosterone replacement therapy could have significant advantages for an MMA fighter. HGH is known to help liberate joints, improve sleep, improve energy and improve just about everything a recovering athlete would like. Make no mistake, recovery is massively sped up by the use of anabolic steroids and other PEDs and I still believe recovery is the most underrated element in the science of producing a high-performance athlete. Most high-performance athletes are mentally tough and are known to push way past the pain barriers of normal people. This is part of the reason they got to where they are, but also can contribute to their body breaking down. A catch 22 of sorts. How many athletes do you know who have missed opportunities due to an injury? Even ended careers? It should be noted that insufficient recovery is also associated with decreased cardiovascular fitness, strength and the ability to recover further. Once an injury snowballs to a chronic stage, it is significantly harder and slower to recover. Prevention is the best cure and these drugs are big players in the preventative treatment for serious athletes.

Endurance: A fight is often won or lost on the foundation of cardio. How often we see the ‘better’ fighter lose to the victor because they gassed out too early. It happens often—very often. There are many compounds that can increase VO2 max (fitness) by increasing red blood cell production and/or oxygen delivery. Exogenous testosterone use itself is known to increase erythropoiesis, but it does not stop there. EPO, blood doping, ITTP and other AAS such as boldenone are all favourites when wanting to increase VO2 max.

Aggression: Androgens increase aggression levels through a number of pathways; synergistic with other hormones. Aggression does not mean rage, so I’d like to put a stop to the ‘roid-rage’ myth before that discussion ignites again. Aggression can be channelled into calculated and rational places. Aggression is a good thing for even the most placid athlete. Aggression is not to be confused with irritability, anxiety or other mood changes certain anabolic steroids and PEDs can contribute to some users who are prone. If you are experiencing any negative side effects such as these with any medication, you should consider other options or cease use. Trenbolone for example, is famous for altering mood in a negative way in some users, although I believe the number of users who will experience severe mood changes with Trenbolone is relatively low. It just so happens that the internet is often a breeding ground for negative confirmation bias. The minority speaks loudest.

More power, strength, recovery, endurance and aggression. Anabolic steroids and PEDs go together very well in the sport of MMA. We will begin to see an increase in PED users within this sport as the sport grows more popular and more competitive. Drug testing organisations get stricter, but chemists will always find a way to bypass their testing methods. Thankfully, unless you are a top athlete, it is unlikely you will experience the type of testing Jon Jones does. A discussion for another day maybe? How to beat a drug test? On the menu for tomorrow will be a specific list of anabolic steroids and PEDs that are my top picks for an MMA fighter. If I write anymore today, I might as well turn this blog into an article. There is just so much more to discuss.


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