Whether you want to get into bodybuilding as a hobby, to look good, or to participate in the sport competitively, one thing is clear. Growing that much muscle will not be easy.
For this reason, you need to be ready to work hard, have a solid workout plan, eat right, and yes-get all the help you can get.
For most, this help comes in the way of steroids.
What are Anabolic Steroids?
Do you ever wonder how weightlifters get so bulky? Well, some gain the muscle from a strict workout and diet; others use steroids to help the process along.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids, also known as anabolic steroids, are used by bodybuilders to increase strength and muscle mass.
Testosterone, a hormone created by the body, is also an anabolic steroid hormone.
This naturally produced hormone has two functions in the body:
- promote muscle building
- developing male traits such as a deep voice and facial hair
The steroids taken by athletes are synthetic modifications of testosterone.
Why Do Most Body Builders Use Steroids?
The main reason why this is because it helps one attain their bodybuilding goals that much faster.
The primary way it does this is by enhancing muscle growth. Steroids help the body bulk up in response to physical training by mimicking the same effects natural testosterone has on the body.
The other benefit is muscle damage protection. Steroids help prevent muscle damage during a rigorous workout. They also help athletes recover much faster after a session. This means they can work out harder, consistently, and more frequently. This, coupled with the proper diet, helps the bodybuilding process.
Cycling, Pyramiding, and Stacking
Steroid cycling is a process where users take multiple does over a duration, before pausing and starting over again.
Normally, the first cycle spans 4 to 8weeks, though they can be as long as 6 to 16 weeks before a break, followed by weeks of minimal or no doses. Once you learn to listen to your body, you will be able to tell when your body normalizes from the effects of steroids.
The main reasons why athletes do this is to;
- Reduce adverse effects from continuous use
- Prevent detections (for competitive athletes who get tested periodically)
- Ensure optimal performance during competitive periods
- To slow down your body tolerance levels for steroids.
Other more specific cycles are broken down as follows:
Dianabol cycle: This can last eight weeks, where you use 30mg for the first 5 of the eight weeks.
Start post cycle therapy after this.
Winstrol cycle: this takes eight weeks as well. However, you take 50 mg the first five weeks before post cycle therapy for the final three weeks.
Testosterone enanthate cycle: this cycle spans 15 weeks where you take 500mg of testosterone enanthate daily for the first ten weeks. You then break for two weeks before proceeding into post cycle therapy.
On the other hand, stacking is where athletes combine different steroids, say injectable, and pills. People also mix longer and shorter-acting steroids.
While there is no science to back this up, the premise is that the different forms interact differently, heightening their efficacy.
For example, users will stack Testosterone Enanthate and Dianabol for a 15-week cycle. This is done because Dianabol is lighter and stacking with testosterone ananthate delivers fasters results.
Here, you can take a weekly Testosterone Ananthate dose of 500mg and 30 mg Dianabol daily.
You can also do a 17-week cycle where you take a weekly 500mg dose of Testosterone Ananthate for the first ten weeks with Nandrolone Deaconate.
The third common method is pyramiding. Here, users begin with low doses and increase frequency until they reached a peak. This is typically at mid-cycle.
They then gradually reduce the dose to zero. Pyramid cycles will last 6 to 12 weeks. Athletes then stop usage at this point and continue with their workout regimen.
The belief is that following this routine helps the body’s hormonal system to recuperate and the body to adjust to higher doses. Again, this is not evidence-backed.
Safe Steroid Use
If misused, synthetic steroids can be dangerous. You also need to use whichever type you pick correctly in order to gain the full benefits.
For example, while you might assume that taking higher doses than recommended will help you achieve your goals faster, doing so only saturates your muscles. It also exposes you to adverse effects.
Here are some tips to ensure safe use:
- Use lower than the recommended dose. This also minimizes negative side effects
- Prevent permanent muscle damage by not injecting steroids directly into calf muscles, pectorals, and biceps
- Avoid injecting the same spot on your body repeatedly
- Limit yourself to cycles of between six weeks and ten weeks. This rests your endocrine system, liver, and kidneys
- Do not share injecting equipment. This helps minimize your exposure to Hepatitis C and HIV.
- Cut off diuretics like alcohol, caffeine as well as drugs like amphetamines when using steroids
- Inject using newly opened syringes and ensure to sterilize the area
- Discuss steroid use with a doctor. Your doctor can measure certain parameters and overall health conditions to clear you for their usage
Why Do I Need a Post Therapy Cycle?
Whenever you introduce a synthetic hormone, your body senses the excess production.
It then ceases the production of natural hormones. As a result, the user may experience adverse effects such as breast swelling, high blood pressure, and impotence.
Post therapy cycles ensure you take a break from synthetic hormones so that your body can produce them naturally. That’s the first purpose.
The second one is that post-therapy cycles also help you maintain the gains made during any one cycle.
All in All
If you are set on using steroids for bodybuilding, educating yourself about it is an excellent move. Once you have done this, work out a diet and exercise regimen to complement the steroids.
At the end of it all, even with steroids, it will still take a lot of hard work and dedication to bulk up.