This is the scenario: a guy, say age 21, becomes serious about gaining muscle. He’s 5′ 10″, 7″ wrists, 9″ ankles, average genetics for muscle size-and-proportioned. He’s played sports, but never done more than an occasional resistance workout. Now, he begins a good training-eating-and-resting program. With his genetics, he has the potential for naturally gaining 45 pounds of lean mass if he stays consistent with progressive training/proper eating for a continuous 3 to 4 years.
But, about three months after beginning his training, he starts taking steroids. He does three steroid cycles in the following 18 months, and includes proper post-cycle therapy. That entire time, he’s continuing to consistently train and eat properly. Before the end of two years, he’s gained 45 pounds of lean mass (which with steroids, by the way, is not necessarily typical but neither improbable). At that point, he permanently quits using steroids, but he does continue properly training and eating for another two years. At the end of four years, he carries the same 45 pounds of lean mass.
"Steroid" is the name given to a chemical compound with a specific structure. In everyday speech, the term steroid is applied to several medications that share this structure; however, these medications have very different uses. Anabolic steroids are a class of drug that mimic the effects of male sex hormones called androgens which stimulate muscle growth and secondary male sex characteristics. They are often abused by bodybuilders and other athletes to build muscle mass and so should be used with caution. When prescribed, oral steroids should be taken as directed. If you come across extra pills that haven't been taken, and are unsure if they are steroids, you can identify the pill based on its physical appearance, information on the bottle, or by consulting a professional.