Legal steroids, also known as multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements,These are over-the-counter supplements. They’re meant to help with bodybuilding and improve workout performance and stamina.

But do they actually work? And are they safe?

Yes and no. Some are perfectly effective and safe. But others can have deadly consequences.

Let’s look at how to recognize a legal steroid from an illegal one, what precautions to take if you plan to use legal steroids, and what other proven methods you can use to build muscle and strength.
What exactly are legal steroids?

“Legal steroids” is a catch-all term for muscle-building supplements that don’t fall under the category of “illegal.”

Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are synthetic (manufactured) versions of the male sex hormone testosterone. These are sometimes used illegally.

People who have muscle wasting or testosterone production disorders can take these hormone supplements for their condition if prescribed by a healthcare provider.

However, some athletes and bodybuilders illegally use these steroids to boost muscle mass or performance.

Some legal supplements do have science on their side and aren’t entirely unsafe. But others may be completely ineffective or even cause harm.

Here’s a brief overview of which supplements may be fine to use in small doses and which to avoid.


Creatine is one of the most well-known performance support options. It’s a naturally occurring substance found in foods like fish and meat. It’s also sold in many stores as a muscle-building supplement.

Creatine has numerous documented benefits:

Studies found that weightlifters who used creatine showed nearly three times as much growth in muscle fibers, doubled overall body mass, can help build strength in your legs than those who didn’t use creatine.
Research has also found no long-term health effects of using creatine.
Look out for any extra ingredients in supplements that may have side effects or cause allergic reactions.

Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)

MMP is a blend of creatine, betaine, and dendrobium extract that’s often sold as Craze or various other names.

This supplement is relatively safe to use. However, it doesn’t result in the muscle-building claims this drug’s marketing copy might lead you to believe.

Study found that participants who used it for a 6-week training period reported higher energy and better concentration, but no increases in body mass or overall performance.

As with other OTC supplements, look out for additional ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or long-term health effects.

Dimethylamylamine (DMAA)

DMAA has been found in numerous muscle-building and weight loss supplements, but it’s not safe. Any product that contains it and markets itself as a dietary supplement is illegal.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released numerous warnings to consumers to steer clear of DMAA and its various forms in OTC supplements.

Using DMAA can lead to one or more of the following complications:

narrowing of blood vessels
increased blood pressure
shortness of breath
feeling of chest tightness
irregular heartbeat
heart attack
neurological disorders
mental health conditions

Alternative ways to build muscle mass and strength

Here are some alternative, healthy ways to build muscle that don’t require any possibly harmful steroid or supplement use:
Come up with a good weight-training routine

Learn about the different muscle groups in your body. Alternate between training of your chest, arms, abs, and legs. Improve your repetitions and techniques over time as you become more comfortable.

A consistent, challenging routine will show you much better results than taking steroids and overworking your muscles.

Follow a healthy, muscle-friendly diet

Fill your diet with foods that help build lean muscle rather than just bulk. Many of these foods are low in unhealthy fats and simple carbohydrates. Instead, they’re high in:

amino acids
healthy fats

Your diet can include foods like:

lean fish like tuna and salmon
Greek yogurt

Work with a personal trainer

It’s OK if you feel overwhelmed by how much time and thought you need to put into bulking up or if you’re not seeing the results you want. In this case, working with a personal trainer may help.

Consider hiring a certified personal trainer (CPT). Read their reviews to ensure they have proven success and a reasonable rate for your budget, so you can stick with it even when you feel like giving up.

Planning and recording your workouts and personal fitness goals with an app can be a quick, easy way to make sure you’re staying on track.

Over time, having detailed records of your progress can give you a more tangible sense of how far you’ve come and how close you are to achieving your goals.


Anabolic steroids are synthetic, or human made variations of the male sex hormone, testosterone. The correct terminology is ‘anabolic-androgenic steroids’. Anabolic refers to muscle building and androgenic refers to increased male sex characteristics. The main function of anabolics is to enhance the process of metabolism and assimilation of those substances that go to the construction of tissues of a living organism, with simultaneous weakening of metabolic reactions associated with the disintegration of complex organic substances. Steroids stimulate protein metabolism. Anabolics activate a positive nitrogen balance, which also activates mineral metabolism, delaying the body the necessary potassium, phosphorus and sulfur for protein synthesis, which contributes to calcium retention in the bones.