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To Steroid or Not…

We are at a time where all anabolic steroids are banned substances to the degree that in many cases it is even considered worse than street drugs like cocaine and the likes.

Considering that anabolic steroids are in its pure form normal testosterone which already is flowing in our veins and which define us as men, it somehow raises an eyebrow about what is going on here?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe the successful road for making lasting lifestyle changes lies not in anabolic steroids neither in diet drugs. It lies in changing your lifestyle in such a way that your body performs optimal to grow muscle (or lose fat) without applying such substances.

I make a claim: 99% of all competing bodybuilders take anabolic steroids. In fact most of all the seriously competing athletes (of all sports) take anabolic steroids or banned substances. Take a peep into some fitness forums or just read some “unoffical” reports of the olympic games or talk to those in the mix.

It is not a matter of wrong to use it, but rather a wrong when you get caught out.

Plus it is VERY easy for these athletes to use it and not get caught out. I’ll explain later.

So the controlling mechanism to stop the steroid abuse is failing miserably. This makes the testing and catching out of guilty parties a farce. I honestly feel sorry for people who get caught out with testing and now must face the brunt of the world while just about all the other athletes are just continue juggling their use of anabolic steroids.

Yes, no other athlete should have an unjust advantage over the other, but the fact is the system is failing miserably.

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But, what make it “wrong”, and is it really “wrong”?

There are many sides to the story and I am not gonna settle the bill with just this one article…but to fitness enthusiasts I would like to shed some light on certain aspects of anabolic steroids.

I make another statement: You are doing much more harm to your body by taking a diet pill than by taking an anabolic steroid in its purest form (testosterone). Overdosing on diet pills (even over the counter medication) might even kill you where no person has ever died from a SINGLE dose of steroid overdosing or abuse.

The reason why non-athletes use a diet pill is because they want to look better…exactly the same reason why non-athletes use anabolic steroids. The testosterone in its pure form is a natural substance for the body, the diet pill is not!

But the anabolic steroid is considered illegal and by using this natural product you can end you up in jail.

There are reasons why we are in this situation. So many teenagers and people started using steroids that it led to lawmakers trying to apply methods to control it. But in the effort to control it, it was made illegal.

Double standards are being applied and it is not solving the problem .

If you’re a fitness enthusiast it is important that you are aware of exactly what an anabolic steroid is.

Let’s look at some key anabolic steroids and facts surrounding them:

There are two groups: 17-Alpha steroids and the non-17-Alpha steroids.

The 17-alpha steroid is what creates the stir in the media. They are potentially harmful and since they are the cheapest and often in pill form, they get abused by youngsters without knowing the harm it can cause.

The main problem of the alpha 17 steroid is that it is hepatoxic. (The liver cannot easily break the steroid down before it is released in to the blood stream.) The liver has to work harder to break down these steroids.

Examples: winstrol, anavar/oxandrolone, dianabol, halotestin.

The non-17-alpha steroids has much less side effects with some having nearly no side effects at all (primobolan). This often get’s overlooked in discussion about steroids. When the media refer to steroids, they nearly always refer to the alpha 17 steroids. But they are uneducated in the matter.

Examples of non alpha 17 steroids: testosterone propionate, testosterone enanthate, equipoise, primobolan, masteron.

With abusing even non-alpha-17 steroids there will be side effects as with any other medication getting abused. But by using low recommended dosages it is generally very safe.

 

Teenage abuse

A danger that teenagers are unaware off, is that any anabolic steroid will disrupt your HPTA function which means zero fertility and shrinking testicals (depending on the steroid used of course) while on the steroid cycle.

With some anabolic steroids there is almost no effect on the HPTA axis (Primobolan & anavar) but with just about all the others (in both groups) this is a normal effect of the steroid because the body realizes it does not have to produce its own testosterone anymore. (remember the testes…are the testosterone factories.)

It is not such a big problem as it sound since when discontinuing the steroid the HPTA axis will normalize by itself and the testical size will get back to its original size. However what youngsters don’t realize is that if they are continuing too long on the steroid and don’t give the HPTA axis regular intervals to recover (3 months on, 3 months off), they can permanently damage their sperm production and become infertile. This is a real threat and young guys must truly be aware of this – it is not something to be trifled with.

Anabolic Steroid users should strongly consider to follow a post cycle treatment program to help normalize the testosterone production of the testes. This typically involves Nolvadex or Clomid (to stop the estrogen backlash until the testosterone levels has been normalized again – take about 3-4 weeks) and in severe cases HCG injections to stimulate the testes to produce testosterone again (but be carefull since overdoing the HCG can cause the “bitch tits” problem).

I spoke to my medical doctor (a fitness enthusiast himself) and he mentioned that one of his patients, a teenage rugby player, told him that he was the only person in his team who is not using steroids.

So there is real reason the be concerned…

Another problem that youngsters don’t realize, is that testosterone help stop bone growth (a natural function of testosterone), meaning, it stop you from growing taller. So if you take it before the age of 25 you are speeding up your process of halting your growth. Growth continues to occur at a slow pace until the age of 25. The ONLY steroid that does not halt bone growth in youngsters “seems” to be anavar (which at high dosages or long cycles can damage your liver but with shorter cycles generally safe).

Let’s quickly delve into some of the other possible side effects of anabolic steroids that is often listed in the media:

  1. Liver damage (quite possible with extended use of alpha 17 steroids, very unlikely with moderate use of non alpha 17 steroids).
  2. Loosing hair – become bald. (unfortunately the more testosterone you have in your system the quicker you will loose your hair…that is the fact and this does NOT mean ALL bald guys is steroid users! They are just very virile!)
  3. Acne (Can be a problem with high dosages of anabolic steroids in both groups – very dependant on the specific steroid used).
  4. High blood pressure. (Only a problem when higher dosages are used – but some steroids are more prone to raise blood pressure than others. Primobolan and Anavar, for example has nearly no effect.)
  5. Shrinking testical size (That can happen but will be restored as soon as anabolic steroid is discontinued)
  6. Bitch Tits” (Some men is prone to fat around the nipples and that will make them more susceptible to get this condition on anabolics. It is normally a result of stopping a steroid cycle abruptly and not tapering off the usage which result in the “bitch tits” or when the backlash estrogen gets too high during a anabolic cycle.)
  7. Steroid rage. (If you were a bastard before steroid use you will just be a bigger one on it. If you were a nice guy before, you will still be a nice guy on it…this is just a myth.)
  8. Hardened Arteries. There is no denying that steroid abuse will result in a degree of hardening of the arteries. Many research studies have proven this. But the practicality of this is that, a bodybuilder/fitness enthusiast with moderate anabolic steroids use (and not more than 2 short cycles per year) is by his fitness and lifestyle choices MUCH healthier (with less damage to the body) than a person who smoke, uses alcohol and is overweight, all of which none (overweight/smoking/drinking alcohol) is prohibited by law. It really is a completely double standard system and law makers try to use the anabolic steroids harmful effects as the reason for the laws, but conveniently give no attention to MUCH more harmful abuses and lifestyles and that results in the huge problematic anabolic steroid black market usage.

 

What effect does an anabolic steroid have?

An anabolic steroid is NOT a wonder pill as many are thinking. If you take it you will add a few kilogram (3-5kg) of muscle, but that muscle will still be covered in fat and will still be loose and not well-formed. To get a body worth looking at NOTHING helps but hard work training and diet!

Another class steroids (like Trenbolone, Primobolan, Winstrol, Anavar) can help shredding fat while keeping muscle. But the same hold here. If you do not eat correctly and train hard during the process there will be little changes. Training and eating right is, and ALWAYS will be, the key, not anabolic steroids. Steroids helps and can do wonders but not in the absence of focussed training and dieting.

 

The route that should have been taken to control steroids:

By making steroids illegal a whole underground black market has been established. For many decent people who enters this territory it means breaking the law to use it or even just have it in your possession. Breaking the law once, makes it so much easier to do it again for something else. It creates an environment not conducive to create a law-abiding society.

A MUCH better solution (with much less double standards) would have been to put the various steroids according to their danger levels in different classes of medication with the least dangerous class being available over the counter but controlled dispersion (meaning monitoring the amounts and durations dispensed on a national database per person to prevent abuse.)

In its purest form it is less harmful than diet pills and over the counter medication…it should be treated that way.

 

Why can athletes use it and get tested negative?

Any anabolic steroid in oil suspension (which need to be injected) is still detectable in your system for up to 8 months, sometimes even longer. Athletes use the pill form of steroids which in most cases is undetectable within a week. Even some injectables steroid that is suspended in water instead of oil quickly leaves the body without traces.

 

DO I APPROVE OF STEROID USE?
I believe nothing must replace the act of living healthy with a structured training regime and focussed diet plan. I am against the abuse of anabolics and can only see a place for anabolics where natural test levels are low and/or a person wants to shed serious fat. I can only support very light and safe cycles within the constraints of above.
My personal story is a long one and not the average one about anabolics.
After I was attacked at 40, my prognosis was not good (few years to live), the doctors had me for a few years for a few months per year on Somatropin (growth hormone). This was done in an effort to help stimulate healing and growth of my badly damaged internal organs (especially kidneys and liver) and also combatting side effects from medication.
I had a big battle with the doctor and believe anabolics would be the better option, so I did a serious personal research project on anabolics and growth hormone to try to disprove the doctor. He won the battle, but I gained a very good skill set on all things anabolics and growth hormone.
Since age 50 my doctor put me on TRT therapy (Nebido , 1 a month inejection. dose equals to 200mg test per week) when my test levels dropped to the min levels. Anabolics steroids in general is pretty much a no-go zone for me due to my kidneys functioning only at 50% since age 40 and also serious problems with my liver.
Be under no misconception – when your natural testosterone levels falls below minimum values it poses a serious health risk (various scientific studies have confirm this): heart problems, serious depression, no energy, restless, fatigue, impotence and no interest in sex amongst other. It is CRUCIAL that a male (especially older individuals) must regularly ensure that their testosterone levels are checked and healthy. When one substitute low testosterone levels with external testosterone in natural form and do not exceed maximum allowed testosterone levels then virtually no side effects are experiencing because the body sees it as and treat it as normal. However if you start it will be a lifelong treatment. It should be rather closer to the upper values and not close to the minimum values. Due to the political incorrectness of even mentioning testosterone to a medical doctors some of them have a totally skewed view about administering TRT…I would rather not say how I feel about doctors like that! Find yourself one you can work with…traditionally doctors specialising in treating athletes, fitness/sports injuries are more open to start TRT treatment when needed.

Regarding gaining serious size with anabolics.

To gain serious size, one must also do serious anabolic cycles. The mild use of anabolics will never bring serious size but will keep slowly adding quality muscle. Mild use can even promote health but serious use can, and will have a negative impact on short and long-term health. I am not supporting the use of any type of heavy cycle simply due to health risk. The only cycles I support and will be ready to coach people on are very mild and very safe cycles. It will not have dramatic effects but will still have positive effects nonetheless.
But anabolics will be meaningless if you are not dedicated with your diet and training. Diet and training is the core aspect for any great body.
A healthy body WILL respond greatly to correct diet and training without the use of anabolics – ALWAYS remember that!
Now if you HAVE to do an anabolic steroid cycle then at the very least choose from the safer options, meaning non alpha 17 steroids and only certain one’s in this group.
It is never perfectly safe but 1 short cycle like the one below should do minimal damage…but ALWAYS under a doctors supervision so that at the very least he can monitor you liver, cholesterol, kidneys and bloodpressure/heart rate.

A Typical safe cycle

If u want to venture the anabolic route no matter what, NEVER do it without a doctor monitoring the following:

  • fasting cholesterol,
  • liver (ALT & AST),
  • kidney and
  • blood pressure values.

The blood work must be done BEFORE you start, after 6 weeks and at end of cycle.

Blood pressure and resting heart should be monitored every evening.

Sports Doctors are much more open to the idea of anabolics due to the type of clients they treat. Make contact with one of them and ONLY do your cycle under their supervision. And LISTEN to what they say. They have a great deal of experience in this field.

The following cycle of anabolics is considered one of the safest and can be done for a cutting or building phase.

For 12 weeks:

Every day:

  • 40 mg Proviron in morning and 40 mg Proviron in evening (tablets). This results in more free testosterone available in your system and also provide a more lean and hard look to the muscles. (NEVER exceed 160 mg per day)

Every 2nd day (all injectables – make sure u follow injection protocols to the letter!):

  • 50mg Testosterone Propionate in cutting phase – every 2nd day. NEVER exceed 200mg per week. Do NOT use the enanthate variant. It stays too long active in the body (14 days) in case of complications (fast heart rate, high blood pressure, water retention).
  • 100mg Trenbelone acetate – every 2nd day. Can be exchanged with Primobolan Depot, Equipose (100mg every 2nd day) at same quantities.
  • ADD 100mg Masteron Propionate from week 7 to week 12 – every 2nd day. This provide a hardening effect to the muscles but must only be used when bodyfat levels is below 10%.

Testosterone Propionate is used because it is only bio-available for 4 days in body, so If there are any complications (water rentention, fast heart rate, blood pressure) then it can be brought quickly under control by lowering dosage or stop taking it altogether.

Masteron/Primobolan/Equipose/Trenbelone Acetate is considered very safe anabolics at low dosages and can help protect muscle in a low calorie environment. It has anti-estrogen properties which helps counteract the estrogen side effect of Testosterone propionate.

None of these anabolics are known for liver toxicity or placing pressure on kidneys, but it is always advised that 4L to 6L water must be consumed per day while on cycles. They are not known for high blood pressure problems either (except potentially Testosterone Propionate in higher dosages and maybe Trenbelone). But be aware – ALL anabolics will raise your bad cholesterol, some more than other. Although these are considered mild it will still have an effect. Therefor NEVER do a cycle unless you had your cholesterol checked and it is within normal parameters.

Be very careful with Testosterone (prop or any other variant). Increasing the dosage can result in severe increases in blood pressure, heart rate and water retention. Therefore always start with the minimum suggested dosage and monitor your body’s reaction carefully. Although testosterone is safe for the body, too much of it can have severe side effects, like with anything in life!

Post Cycle Treatment (PCT)

ALL anabolics will to various degrees shut down your own testosterone production. Especially Testosterone Propionate. Generally it is not a problem if you follow 3 simple rules:

  • Stick to recommended dosages.
  • Do not do your cycle for longer than 12 weeks.
  • Do a PCT program at the end of your cycle.

 

There are varying degrees of PCT protocols treatments that will depend on the quantities anabolics used in your cycle.

PCT for high quantities anabolics used:

  • Day 1-10: HCG at 500iu per day and Proviron at 100mg per day
  • Day 11-15: Nolvadex at 60mg per day
  • Day 16-20: Nolvadex at 40mg per day
  • Day 21-30: Nolvadex at 20mg per day
  • Clomid at 150mg per day.

PCT for low to medium quantities anabolics used:

  • Day 11-15: Nolvadex at 60mg per day
  • Day 16-20: Nolvadex at 40mg per day
  • Day 21-30: Nolvadex at 20mg per day

 

It is again emphasized that the above undertaking MUST be done only under a doctor’s supervision accompanied by all the necessary blood work. Choose a doctor that specialises in sport related injuries/treatments. They are much more open to the idea of anabolics and although they can never prescribe an anabolic they will be prepared to work with you and monitor your health while you are doing cycles.

Get yourself a home blood pressure monitor machine and measure your blood pressure and resting heart rate every evening. And if u still want kids or u are under 35…steroids is a no-no!

Happy training without steroids!

Gert Louw

 

Misinformation is skewing the truth. Controlled human studies should be performed in order to put to bed all the myths and fallacies that surround anabolic steroid use and in order to take away the stigma associated with the use. Anabolic steroids have their place within sports and other recreations. But just like any other drug, they should not be abused. Be safe.

Gert&Janu