Skip links

What is Gear in Bodybuilding? Should You Use It?

In the bodybuilding community, ‘gear’ typically means anabolic steroids or performance-enhancing drugs—key tools for those who want to maximize muscle growth and strength. This article breaks down “what is gear in bodybuilding”, how it’s used, and the realities of its role in the quest for an exceptional physique.

Key Takeaways

  • In the context of bodybuilding, ‘gear’ refers not only to equipment but also to anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs used to expedite muscle growth and enhance performance.
  • Anabolic steroids function by increasing protein synthesis and inducing muscle fiber hypertrophy, leading to notable gains in muscle mass and strength, but they come with significant health risks, including organ damage and cardiovascular issues.
  • Utilizing gear involves ethical and legal considerations, with unauthorized possession of anabolic steroids being illegal in many places and the use of performance-enhancing substances considered unethical in sports due to the unfair advantage they offer.

Unveiling the Meaning of Gear in the Bodybuilding Realm


What is Gear in Bodybuilding

In the world of bodybuilding, ‘gear’ isn’t just a reference to your workout equipment; it’s a term that bridges the gap between natural bodybuilders and those who seek an edge. In essence, ‘gear’ refers to substances like anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), which are commonly used to boost muscle growth, strength, and overall performance.

The reason many bodybuilders turn to these substances is to fast-track their progress. Their goal is to quickly increase muscle mass and strength, which are the key objectives of using gear.

The Muscle-Building Mechanism of Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids, also known as muscles steroids, might seem like magic pills for muscle growth, but there’s a whole science behind how they work. These substances, derivatives of the male sex hormone testosterone, are a type of steroid hormones that attach to specific proteins within the cells of muscle tissue known as ‘androgenic receptors’. This interaction initiates the activation of genes on the cell’s chromosomes responsible for the production of muscle tissue proteins, including amino acids, leading to an increase in protein synthesis.

Protein synthesis plays a pivotal role in muscle development. By stimulating protein synthesis, anabolic steroids help increase the production of muscle-building proteins. This process is particularly beneficial for intense workouts, as it supports muscle growth and reduces muscle breakdown.

But that’s not all. Anabolic steroids also contribute to cell growth in muscle tissue by inducing hypertrophy, which involves the enlargement of existing muscle fibers and the formation of new ones. This process can lead to significant gains in muscle mass and strength.

The impacts of anabolic steroids extend beyond temporary boosts. Immediate effects feature a rapid increase in muscle strength, enabling more regular and extended training sessions. In the long term, anabolic steroid usage can result in significant enhancements in lean leg mass, muscle fiber size, and overall muscle strength.

The Spectrum of Bodybuilding Gear: From Steroids to Supplements

doping in sports

The term ‘gear’ in bodybuilding is not just confined to anabolic steroids. It spans a diverse range of items, including:

  • Resistance bands
  • Lifting straps
  • Performance-enhancing substances
  • Various nutritional supplements

Each type of gear serves a unique function and purpose. Understanding their potential benefits and risks is vital for making informed decisions.

Related: Supplements

Legal and Illicit Avenues for Acquiring Gear

When it comes to acquiring gear, bodybuilders have both legitimate and illicit avenues. Legitimate methods include:

  • purchasing over-the-counter in specific countries
  • obtaining prescriptions where necessary
  • procuring items such as protein powders, supplements, workout equipment, and even bodybuilding software and apps.

However, the darker side of the bodybuilding world involves unauthorized means of obtaining gear. This includes:

Understanding the potential health risks linked to these illegal channels, such as blood clots, liver damage, and other severe health issues, is extremely important.

Gym Gear vs. Gear Steroids: Understanding the Difference

While gym gear and gear steroids both fall under the gear umbrella, they are fundamentally different. Gym gear generally refers to the physical equipment and accessories used during workouts, such as:

  • lifting belts
  • lifting straps
  • wrist wraps
  • knee sleeves
  • ankle straps

These accessories assist weightlifters in managing heavier loads, reducing the risk of injuries, and ultimately facilitating muscle development.

On the other hand, gear steroids or simply ‘gear’ commonly denotes anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. These substances have an anabolic effect on the body, promoting muscle growth, increasing lean muscle mass, and enhancing strength. Most anabolic steroid users refer to these substances as ‘gear’ within the bodybuilding community.

Nutritional Supplements: Support for Natural Muscle Growth

Beyond the realm of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs, there’s another type of gear that supports muscle growth naturally – nutritional supplements. Protein, creatine, and collagen are among the many supplements that can enhance muscle growth, providing a safe and effective alternative to more controversial methods.

While these supplements can support muscle growth and recovery, it’s worth noting that they may also lead to potential side effects. These can range from minor side effects such as stomach pain and nausea to more severe ones like weight gain and acne. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen.

Recognizing the Signs of Anabolic Steroid Use

So, how can you tell if someone is using anabolic steroids? One of the most obvious signs is rapid muscle growth. Anabolic steroids, when used in conjunction with strength-training, can enhance muscle size through hypertrophy and the creation of new muscle fibers.

Another telltale sign of anabolic steroid use is a reduction in body fat. Steroids can impact the body’s metabolism and the distribution of fat, leading to a leaner physique.

Increased vascularity is another possible side effect of anabolic steroid use. Yet, it’s important to bear in mind that high doses of anabolic steroids may pose a risk of cardiovascular issues.

The Perils of Performance Enhancing Drugs

Potential dangers of performance enhancing drugs

While performance-enhancing drugs can indeed offer a shortcut to muscle growth and strength enhancement, they come with a hefty price. The physical side effects of anabolic steroid use encompass a variety of issues, including:

  • Facial and body hair growth
  • Acne
  • Baldness
  • Deepening of the voice in women
  • Breast development in men
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of heart attacks and strokes
  • Mood swings and aggression
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Addiction

Serious injuries and health risks are also associated with the use of these substances.

Additionally, performance-enhancing drugs can have a profound effect on mental health, possibly leading to volatile aggressive behavior, mood swings, and heightened vulnerability to mental health conditions.

The long-term consequences of using performance-enhancing substances can be significant, encompassing physical and mental side effects, serious injuries, and legal ramifications. Furthermore, there’s a risk of consuming tainted or mislabeled products, which could further impact long-term health.

Alternatives to Anabolic Substances: Building Muscle Naturally

For those interested in muscle building without the use of anabolic steroids, numerous natural alternatives exist. Adequate nutrition is essential for natural muscle development as it provides the necessary building blocks for muscle growth and repair.

High protein foods such as:

  • chicken
  • salmon
  • Greek yogurt
  • skim milk
  • beans

are some of the optimal food sources for promoting natural muscle growth. Additionally, nuts and seeds are beneficial for providing healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates.

However, building muscle naturally requires more than just proper nutrition. It also involves regular strength training, adequate recovery, and a positive mindset. It’s a process that requires patience and commitment, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

Navigating the Ethical and Legal Landscape of Gear Use

The use of gear in bodybuilding isn’t just a physical or health concern – it also carries ethical and legal implications. Unauthorized possession of anabolic steroids without a prescription is unlawful in many jurisdictions and can lead to federal charges, carrying penalties of up to one year of imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

On the ethical front, the use of performance-enhancing substances is generally perceived as unethical within the sports community because it provides users with an unfair advantage. This is considered a form of cheating, which goes against the spirit of fair competition.

Whether you choose to use gear or not is a personal decision. However, considering the potential health, ethical, and legal implications is of utmost importance. Remember, the ultimate goal of bodybuilding should be to improve your health and fitness, not compromise them.

Read More: Supplements Hub

Understanding the Importance of Progressive Overload


In the realm of bodybuilding, the term ‘gear’ carries a much deeper meaning than just workout equipment. It spans across anabolic steroids, performance-enhancing drugs, and even nutritional supplements, all aimed to enhance muscle growth and performance. However, the use of these substances is not without its risks. It’s essential to understand the potential health, ethical, and legal implications before deciding to incorporate any form of gear into your bodybuilding journey.

Bodybuilding is not just about physical strength or an impressive physique. It’s about discipline, dedication, and a commitment to health. Whether you choose to use gear or pursue a natural route, remember to make informed decisions based on your individual goals and circumstances.


What is gear slang for in bodybuilding?
Gear is a common slang term in bodybuilding for anabolic steroids, which can come in forms such as tablets, capsules, or injectable liquids. Anabolic steroids are classified as performance and image-enhancing drugs (PIEDs).
What is gear for weightlifting?
Weightlifting gear includes essential equipment like dumbbells and barbells, with optional items such as weightlifting belts, wrist wraps, and gloves. These additional gear can provide support and protection during weightlifting.
What is the difference between gear and natty?
Natty bodybuilders tend to have shortened careers due to training injuries, while those on gear have greater bone density and quicker recovery but face undeniable damage from steroids. In short, being jacked comes with a cost.
How do anabolic steroids work?
Anabolic steroids work by attaching to specific proteins within muscle cells, initiating the activation of genes responsible for the production of muscle tissue proteins, resulting in increased protein synthesis, muscle growth, and strength.
What are some signs of anabolic steroid use?
If you notice rapid muscle growth, reduction in body fat, and increased vascularity, these may be signs of anabolic steroid use. Be aware of these potential indicators.