Below we have the answers to some basic questions which are commonly asked by those new to steroids. Although nothing is set in stone, the answers given should help educate anyone who is thinking about going down the “assisted” route.
Steroids are derivatives or synthetic forms of the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone has the ability to cause increases in muscle size and strength.
Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) cause anabolism via increased protein synthesis within muscle cells, and also have androgenic properties which can bring about masculine characteristics to the user. Testosterone also has the ability to aromatise via interaction with the aromatase enzyme, thus convert to the female hormone, oestrogen. Excessive oestrogen levels can bring about unwanted related side effects such as water retention, increased fat storage, and gynecomastia, which are explained in more detail later on.
The above side effects are dependent on the steroid in question. Many have different anabolic and androgenic properties, and also have different aromatising abilities, including some that do not aromatise at all.
The steroid(s) you choose to take will depend on your goals, and acceptability to possible side effects. From this you can research into the possible steroids that may be of interest to you, including methods of administration, dosages, and effects they can have on the body.
Oral steroids seem appealing to many when they first start out, with the thought of needles being “dirty” or painful to the user. The decision to take steroids should not be taken lightly, and the discard of injectable compounds because you are scared of needles may be regarded as knee-jerk. Injectable steroids can often be a lot less stressful on the body, with many orals being 17-alpha alkylated so the steroid is able to survive the first pass of the liver. This places stress on the liver (as the orals are hepatotoxic), and therefore dosages and duration of use should be minimal compared to the injectable versions so not to cause damage. It is worth noting that excessive dosages of some injectable steroids can cause issues with the kidneys, although on a whole moderate use is usually a lot less stressful compared to orals. Milk thistle is often used when taking oral hepatotoxic steroids in the hope of protecting the liver somewhat; also ALA and Liv-52 are often supplemented. Orals are usually taken more frequent due to the half-life of the compound often being a lot less compared to oil based injectables, thus the daily dosages are often split in the hope to stabilise the concentrations in the blood.
Injectable compounds often need to be administered in much less frequent intervals, with oil based esterified products resulting in blood concentrations staying elevated for a longer time period. Water based compounds often have to be injected on a daily basis to maintain blood levels.
The gluteus maximus, otherwise known as your back-side, is a common choice for injections as it is a big deep muscle. This is a good choice for a beginner steroid user.
When we inject we want to inject intra-muscularly, i.e. into the muscle. We do not inject into the vain, as this can result in serious implications, even death.
Following good injection practices we can greatly reduce the chances of implications such as abscesses.
See injection preparation and execution for details.
Use of anabolic androgen steroids can result in premature closing of the growth plates. It would also be unwise to use steroids when your endocrine system is in an important stage, as we do not want to cause any implications which may affect you in the long term. For these reasons it would be wise to only start steroid use if over the age of 21/22.
Age is only one parameter of gauging if steroid use is wise, however. It would not be effective for someone who has only been training for a few months to starting using anabolic steroids. Gains have not been exhausted naturally, and knowledge in the vital components of training and nutrition will likely be limited. Anabolic androgen steroids are not magic pills, the vital components have to be in place to make and maintain gains from a cycle.
If you are in the stage of your training journey when you wish to embark the assisted route then you should already be familiar with the requirements of nutrition and training, whether on cycle or not.
This will also obviously depend on your goals.
Do remember to keep calories high throughout the post cycle period also, to minimise catabolism. It would unwise to follow a bulking cycle immediately with a natural cut too, as this can be catabolic and rob you of your gains made from the cycle. Leave a good few weeks before deciding to cut to give your body time to maintain the gains made.
Esters are the chain of carbons attached to the steroid to bring about a delayed released from the injection site into the bloodstream. Shorter chain esters will require more frequent injections than longer chained esters, such as propionate which is injected every couple of days to maintain concentrations in the blood. Longer chain esters, such as enanthate will bring about a situation where concentrations can stay elevated for a couple of weeks, however many choose to inject the compound bi-weekly, in the hope to maintain levels.
Many will choose to use the likes of testosterone enanthate for their first course, with fewer injections needed on a whole compared to shorter chain esters. 500mg of testosterone enanthate each week, split in two 250mg injections per week (on Monday and Thursday), will bring about very decent results for a first timer.
The advantages of a shorter chain ester however is the fact concentration levels will quickly drop after the compound is ceased. This can be beneficial if unwanted side effects quickly become apparent to the user, which could be the case when using a compound which you have not yet used.
The time you inject in the day makes little difference when dealing with most compounds. A few hours difference each day will make little impact with esterified compounds. Many may prefer to inject in the morning time so that they are active during the day so that the oil may be able to disperse better within the muscle, thus hopefully resulting in less discomfort. Having a hot bath or shower, and massaging the site after injection may also aid with this.
Many orals have short half-lives, therefore splitting the dose over the day makes sense to help maintain blood levels. In the case of dianabol this may be every 4 hours, or with anavar it may be split bi-daily. It is often preferred to take the oral with meals to avoid stomach discomfort.
Anti-Es is the shortened term used to describe anti-oestrogens, drugs that go about trying to avoid and reduce the chance of experiencing estrogenic side effects. With many anabolic androgen steroids ability to aromatise via interaction with the aromatase enzyme, which converts the steroid to oestrogen, a situation can arise where excessive oestrogen levels are present within the user. Oestrogen is the primarily female hormone, thus its side effects can be undesired in the male athlete. Increased fat storage, the build-up of subcutaneous fluids and gynecomastia being common related side effects from excessive oestrogen levels.
We have drugs such as nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate) which competitively binds to oestrogen receptors, thus blocking oestrogen from exerting its effect. This however does nothing to actually reduce the amount of oestrogen present, rather just temporarily blocking its effects from taking place. On the other hand, the likes of proviron and anastrozole are known as anti-aromatases, which will halt or significantly reduce the aromatisation occurring.
Some levels of oestrogen are thought to be beneficial to the user, it’s only when excessive levels are reached that we start to notice these undesirable side effects. It is therefore wise to conclude that we should only include the use of anti-oestrogen if a) the users starts to notice side effects, b) the length and dosage of steroids being used requires it, c) the user is prone to such side effects, or d) the user has pre-existing conditions.
Some steroids do not aromatise, therefore use of an anti-oestrogen is not needed during the cycle if no aromatising drugs are being used. The requirement of PCT is always present however.
As you can probably tell, I cannot give you a precise answer! The dosage, drugs used, length of cycle, reaction to the drugs, lifestyle parameters, nutritional intake, training employed, cycle experience, and genetics will all play roles in the overall outcome.
All we can do is try to maximise the results of the cycle by using the drugs effectively and safely, employing spot on training and nutrition protocol, and resting properly.
Gyno or gyne, are shortened terms used to describe the condition known as gynecomastia. This is the formation of glandular tissue under the breast, and is usually the result of excessive oestrogen levels.
Early symptoms can include puffy and/or itchy nipples, and the formation of small lumps under the nipple. The employment of an anti-oestrogen is advised in such circumstances, as established gynecomastia will usually only be able to be reversed via surgery.
Acne is a common androgenic side effect. Some compounds are worse at aggregating acne in users, with prone users usually deciding to avoid such compounds and opting for a milder alternative.
Treatment with anti-bacterial creams such as ones that contain Benzoyl Peroxide may aid in reducing acne. If the problem persists then a visit to your GP may be best, with the employment of an antibiotic course being successful in some cases.
Some may opt to source the drug accutane, with its powerful effects of reducing the activity of the sebaceous glands which produces the oily substance sebum, therefore ceasing the action at its root. Accutane (also known as Roaccutane by manufactures 'Roche') is a very potent drug however, and its use should not be taken lightly. The drug has been linked to various side effects, including mental health issues, and suicide. Many users however just notice the usual drying of the nose (and therefore nose bleeds), dry skin, ears and eyes, and maybe dry joints. Accutane is often not easy to obtain on the black market, and its price often reflects this.
The use of strong androgens will likely bring about a state of increase in libido in many users. The use of proviron can often counteract the effects of sexual disinterest if this does occur for whatever reason, however.
Only use a trusted checked source before parting with your money. As you can appreciate, we can go no further into this aspect in this article.
PCT, or post cycle therapy, is the employment of drugs post cycle to try to aid restoring the user’s natural testosterone production, so that we reduce the catabolic state post cycle to help maintain gains made on cycle.
Nolvadex and clomid are commonly used drugs during this stage for their ability to increase LH in the male body.
Read the post cycle therapy article.