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Rightly or wrongly, Anabolic-Androgenic steroids, and other muscle-building drugs, play a large role in today's ultra-competitive sporting arena, by helping to create the type of physique seen onstage at both the professional and amateur bodybuilding level.
Granted, a good physique can be built without their use, but for those who choose to take their physical development to new heights, drug use, in conjunction with adequate training and dietary practices, is often viewed as the answer.
Certainly at the pro level, steroids are used, indeed required, to compete on an equal footing with ones peers who are taking similar substances to gain that all-important edge.
As bodybuilding evolves, it seems the race to perfect all muscle-building components is intensifying. This includes the inclusion of a multifarious array of anabolic substances in ones program, in addition to the refinement and utilization of the usual training and nutritional practices.
In addition to Androgenic-Anabolic Steroids, we are seeing an increasing reliance on insulin, HGH (Human Growth Hormone), diuretics, and even synthol (an injectable oil used to add volume to the muscles) in the general bodybuilding world, and at the professional level in particular.
In the first instalment of 'Steroid Undercover', my professional bodybuilding source (a competing IFBB pro bodybuilder) gave a broad overview of his experiences and observations as a steroid-using athlete.
Given the rampant misuse of anabolic drugs and the gung ho attitude many have toward doing whatever is necessary to build the body of their dreams, it is important the right advice is presented so these people can make better-informed choices.
The professional bodybuilder featured in this article is known as a responsible user of anabolic drugs, and has created his physique through the intelligent use of these substances. If more of the pros spoke out, there might be less confusion and more healthy debate on the issue of drug use in sport. This article is intended to get a few more facts on the table. Enjoy.
I understand you are back on a cycle. How long have you been on the cycle and what are you taking now? Any changes to your usual program?
Yes, I am three weeks into my new cycle. I am taking Testosterone Cypionate, Anadrol 50, and Deca Durabolin. I am taking Cypionate, another type of test and one of the main injectable forms in the US, as opposed to my usual Sustanon intake. The reason I am doing this is to shock my body's steroid receptors, as the last time I took Cypionate was more than two years ago.
What have been the changes to your size and strength since beginning your new cycle?
I have put on some good mass and am a lot stronger since I began my new cycle.
Could you give examples of some of your lifts now as compared to when you were on an off-cycle?
My bench press is 405lbs for three reps now, whereas before it was 315lbs. Military press is 250 lbs now for three reps, up from 200lbs previously. My one-arm rows are 170 lbs for six reps now. Before they were 125 lbs. Deadlift is currently 495 lbs for 4 reps now, up from 405 lbs on my off-cycle.
What are your current mass building goals? Are you finding you are getting bigger with each new cycle?
I want to go up to 120 kg (265 lbs) in the next few months, before I start my diet for my next show. Yes, I have been getting bigger by at least two to four pounds with each new cycle.
How many additional pounds of muscle do you hope to add to your physique before your next show?
I am up to 240 lbs now, at roughly three weeks into a new cycle. I am hoping to put on 25lbs more before I start dieting for my next show.
It sounds like you are getting some great results, but I know steroids aren't for everyone. Is there a particular age where steroids are safest? Would you recommend younger bodybuilders between the ages of 16 to 22 use them, or would you discourage their use among this age group?
I do not know if there is a particular age where steroids are safest, but I am strongly against teenagers taking them. This is because during the teen years they produce the highest amount of testosterone naturally.
Steroids have also been shown to halt the growth of adolescents prematurely due to possible epiphyseal fusion (bone fusion, which prevents the continuation of growth at the bones end plates) (1).
When would be the best time to take steroids? Under what conditions would you recommend anyone begin a cycle? Do they, in your view, need to build a base first and/or have several years training experience?
One should not think about taking steroids until he or she has a few years of training under their belt. If one reaches a plateau, usually no matter what he or she does in terms of nutrition, training and natural supplements will work sufficiently to enhance growth. If their health is excellent, and it is recommended they do a blood test before each cycle, only then should he or she consider doing their first cycle
What are the risks inherent in taking steroids, or any other anabolic drug, for those who do not have the requisite background knowledge and level of experience?
The potential risks are damage to the liver and kidney, if taken in mega dosages and over a prolonged period of time - stunted endogenous testosterone production, which is reversible when steroids use is discontinued, high blood pressure, due to excessive water retention, and acne.
What other anabolic substances do you take in addition to the steroids you have listed? What effects have these had on your development?
I also take HGH (human growth hormone) and insulin together with the steroids I have listed. HGH, in my opinion, is the most powerful anabolic substance I have ever tried. I gained almost 15 lbs of muscle and lost some fat on my waistline in about five weeks, when I first touched this stuff. It is amazing: I was a lot stronger and my physical wellbeing had improved tremendously.
Like you, many pro bodybuilders take human growth hormone and insulin in addition to anabolic-androgenic steroids. For the bodybuilder, what are the direct benefits of taking each of these drugs?
HGH is a protein produced by the pituitary gland and stimulates the liver to produce somatomedins, which build muscles and facilitate fat loss. Insulin is a hormone used by bodybuilders to increase the uptake of amino acids into the muscle cells, which leads to growth. It is a widely used potent anabolic hormone.
What Is The Pituitary Gland?
A small oval endocrine gland attached to the base of the vertebrate brain and consisting of an anterior and a posterior lobe.
The secretions of which control the other endocrine glands and influence growth, metabolism, and maturation. Also called hypophysis, pituitary body.
What are your thoughts on Synthol? Have you used it, or do you currently use it?
I have never taken and will never take synthol. No way am I going to inject posing oil into my muscle just to make it bigger. It looks so fake with those lumps and bumps and that defeats the purpose of bodybuilding. It is not what a true bodybuilder should look like, proportioned and symmetrical with enough mass.
Do you think there is a point where using steroids, insulin or GH can be counter-productive? How much is just enough for your purposes?
I am sure if anything is abused, there will come to a point where it is counter-productive. I will take the stuff I have listed merely for the purposes of competing at the highest level, in the professional arena.
I am taking them cautiously and intelligently, and I am also giving myself some time - two to three years - to achieve my goal of competing at 25lbs heavier, and ripped, proportioned and symmetrical. I do not want to be another mass monster and I don't think I need to abuse my body by using drugs excessively to get to my goal.
In your view, is the any truth to the belief that various "Bodybuilding drugs" can distort the physique, causing ones natural symmetry to be thrown out of proportion?
Sure. The infamous bloated gut is caused by excessive intake of HGH over a long period of time.
Thank you so much for your time and honest insights. To conclude, what would be your main message for the bodybuilder wanting to begin their first steroid cycle? What do they need to first consider for safety?
Take it slow and be patient. Taking more does not necessarily mean better results. Learn more about the stuff you are planning to take, there is some great advice on the Internet. Make sure to train harder when you are on the juice. They are not magic pills.
Training, nutrition and getting adequate recuperation is just as important if you want to obtain the physique of your dreams in the shortest time possible. Also, make sure to do a medical check-up to ensure you are healthy before starting your first cycle.
Steroid Forum Discussions:
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David Robson and Bodybuilding.com in no way condone or encourage the use of Anabolic/Androgenic steroids. This article is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only and should not be used as a reference guide. AA steroids are legally available only by prescription.
NIDA: National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2005). Info facts on Steroids (Anabolic-Androgenic). [Online]