Anabolic Steroids - An Introduction
Testosterone was often referred to as the "male" hormone, because it is responsible for developing some of the male characteristics such as lowering of the voice and hair growth, and because the male body produces much more of it than the female.
Testosterone in the male is produced mainly in the testis, a small amount being produced in the adrenal. It is synthesized from cholesterol. The regulation of its production may be simplified thus: the hypothalamus (part of the brain) produces gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) which acts on the anterior pituitary to increase the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). LH acts on the Leydig cells in the testis, causing them to produce testosterone. FSH, together with testosterone act on the Sertoli cells in the testis to regulate the production and maturation of spermatozoa. Testosterone in turn acts on the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary to suppress the production of GnRH, FSHand LH, producing a negative-feedback mechanism which keeps everything well-regulated. The small amount produced in the adrenal (in both sexes) is regulated by secretion of adrenal corticotrophin hormone (ACTH), also secreted by the pituitary.
Testosterone, and its metabolites such as dihydrotestosterone, act in many parts of the body, producing the secondary sexual characteristics often male: balding, facial and body hair, deep voice, greater muscle bulk, thicker skin, and genital maturity. At puberty it produces acne, the growth spurt and the enlargement of the penis and testes as well as causing the fusion of the epiphyses (through its conversion to estrogens), bringing growth in height to an end. It plays some role in maintaining the sexual organs in the adult, but only a low concentration is required for this.
The normal production of testosterone in the adult male is 4 to 9mg per day. The normal plasma concentration is 22.5nmol/l, of which 97% is protein bound. Most is excreted in the urine as 17-keto steroids, but a small amount is converted to estrogen's.
The history of steroids
Steroids was developed in the 1940s in Germany and used experimentally on their troops during World War II, the drugs ability to stimulate tissue growth and protein synthesis lead them to believe that the drug might be beneficial to treat burn victims and towards other war accidents. The drug was never such a big success, because other drugs with fewer side effects were discovered, and the legal use of steroids still seems to be declining.
The legal use of steroids
Steroids are used for treating anemia, because of it's ability to increase the production of red blood corpuscles (red blood cells). They are also used for treatment of leukemia, cancer mammae, and at times steroids are also used for general strengthening therapy. Steroids have also been tried in combination with other drugs as a means of helping AIDS patients.
Why use steroids?
Enhanced recuperation / Reduced recovery time Strength increases Reduced body fat Enlarged muscle size Many of these effects are only temporary, which means that once you get off steroids most of the gains disappear. As mentioned before steroids causes water retention, so steroid users will gain mass very quickly, but most of it will be water not muscles.
This will put the body through a lot of stress, loosing and gaining weight in cycles. The more positive sides of steroids are that they seem to be able to suppress the body's production of the stress hormone cortisol after exercise. Cortisol is actually a muscle tissue destroyer, so by keeping the levels of cortisol down reduces muscle damage and allows for faster recuperation. So the steroid user might be able to train more frequent.
Another major effect of steroids is the increased stimulation of the protein synthesis by increasing the amount of nitrogen in the body, more protein available to the body means that the environment for muscle production is better.
A lot of steroid users report that the steroids help them lower their body fat levels, the reason for this is not clear, but some feel it is because of an increased metabolic rate. Others claim that oxidation of fat is increased because the steroids promote mitochondria growth in the cells.
Oral vs. Injectable
Injectable steroids are longer lasting in the body, but therefore they can be detected in your body for a longer period of time, so athletes that are likely to be doping tested have shifted from using injectables to orals.
The problem with orals however, aside from the fact that they are not as long lasting, is that they put a lot of strain on the liver as they must be processed there. Larger quantities are also needed as a lot of it is broken down before it enters the bloodstream.
How to Inject Steroids
All oil based and water based anabolic steroids should be taken intramuscularly. This means the shot must penetrate the skin and subcutaneous tissue to enter the muscle itself. Intramuscular injections are used when prompt absorption is desired, when larger doses are needed than can be given cutaneously or when a drug is too irritating to be given subcutaneously. The common sites for in tramuscular injectons include the buttock, lateral side of the thigh, and the deltoid region of the arm. Muscles in these areas, especially the gluteal muscles in the buttock, are fairly thick. Because of the large number of muscle fibers and extensive fascia, (fascia is a type of connective tissue that surrounds and separates muscles) the drug has a large surface area for absorption. Absorption is further promoted by the extensive blood supply to muscles. Ideally, intramuscular injections should be given deep within the muscle and away from major nerves and blood vessels.
The best site for steroid injections is in the gluteus medius muscle which is located in the upper outer quadrant of the buttock. The iliac crest serves as a landmark for this quadrant. The spot for an injection in an adult is usually to 7 1/2 centimeters (2 to 3 inches) below the iliac crest. The iliac crest is the top of the pelvic girdle on the posterior (back) side. You can find the iliac crest by feeling the uppermost bony area above each gluteal muscle. The upper outer quadrant is chosen because the muscle in this area is quite thick and has few nerves. The probability of injecting the drug into a blood vessel is remote in this area. Injecting here reduces the chance of injury to the sciatic nerve which runs through the lower and middle area of the buttock. It controls the posterior of each thigh and the entire leg from the knee down. If an injection is too close to this nerve or actually hits it, extreme pain and temporary paralysis can be felt in these areas. This is especially undesirable and warrants staying as far away from this area as possible.
THREE ACCEPTABLE SITES FOR INTRAMUSCULAR INJECTIONS ARE SHOWN BELOW
If the gluteal region cannot be injected for some reason, the second choice would be the lateral portion of the thigh. Usually, intramuscular injections in the thigh are only indicated for infants and children. The vastus lateralis muscle is the only area of the thigh that should be injected intramuscularly. This site is determined by using the knee and the greater trochanter of the femur as landmarks. The greater trochanter is the bony area that you can feel where the femur joins the pelvic girdle. The mid portion of the muscle is located by measuring the handbreadth above the knee and the handbreadth below the greater trochanter. Injecting into the front of the thigh or inside of the thigh is extremely unwise. These areas contain nerves as well as a number of blood vessels.
WHAT TO USE FOR INJECTIONS
It is important to choose the proper syringe for the administration of injectable anabolic steroids. The principle components of a syringe include a cylindrical barrel to one end of which a hollow needle is attached, and a close fitting plunger. The most acceptable syringe for injecting anabolic steroids is a 22 gauge 1 1/2" or 23 gauge 1" apparatus with a 3 cc case. This length allows for penetration to reach deep inside the muscle tissue. Shorter needles, 5/8" or 1/2" are usually not sufficient for intramuscular injections and occasionally leave a portion of the Injection in a subcutaneous area which will cause a swell between the skin and muscle as well as impaired absorption. The gauge size of a syringe represents the needle quote s diameter. The lower the gauge number, the wider it is. A 27 gauge needle is very thin. An 18 gauge is quite wide; it is often referred to as a cannon. The 22 and 23 gauge needles are not so large that they are difficult to insert, yet are large enough for solutions to easily be propelled through them. The use of insulin needles is not acceptable; they are simply too small. Usually, insulin pins are 25 to 27 gauge and only a 1/2" long with a 1 cc case.
There are a number of steps that should be understood in order to complete a safe and proper intramuscular injection. First off, before handling any needles or vials, the user should take a thorough shower. Next, an alcohol swab should be used to clean the injection site and another alcohol swab should be used to clean the rubber stopper on top of the vial which will be drawn from. Then, take a brand new syringe out of its wrapper, remove its plastic top, draw about 2 ccs of air into it and insert it into the vial. Inject this air into the vial; this creates pressure within the vial and makes it easier to draw out oil based preparations. Then, turn the vial upside-down and slowly draw out the oil until you quote ve overdrawn at least 1/4 cc. For example, if someone was going to take a shot of 1 cc, they should pull out approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 ccs of liquid, then tap the side of the case to help get the air bubbles that were drawn into the syringe to come to the top. At that point, the excess 1/4 to 1/2 cc could be injected back into the vial and the needle removed. Then, hold the syringe needle-side-up and continue to tap it to encourage all the air bubbles to come to the top of the syringe. Now, take another clean syringe, remove it from its sterile package and unscrew the needle from the syringe. Exchange the brand new needle for the one that has just been injected into the stopper. By using two needles for every injection, you can take advantage of using the full sharpness of the pin. The needle does suffer some dulling when it is pushed through the firm rubber stopper on a vial. It is important not to touch this needle before the injection. It should not come into contact with a counter top, your fingers, nor should it be cleaned with alcohol. This needle is sterile and should not be touched. At this point, once again swab the injection site with alcohol, then press the stopper of the syringe holding it needle-side-up, until the slight air bubbles that are at the top are pressed out. Once a bead of oil has appeared at the top of the needle, allow it run down the surface of the needle which provides lubrication.
At this time, take the syringe and hold it like a dart. Use the other hand to stretch the skin at the injection site and simply push the sharp clean needle in. After inserting it deep into the muscle, pull back on the stopper for a few seconds to make sure it does not fill up with blood which would indicate that the needle had been injected into a blood vessel. Providing there is no blood present in the syringe, slowly press the stopper down until all the oil is injected. Then, quickly pull the needle out and take another alcohol swab and press firmly on the injection site. This will minimize bleeding, if there is any, and by firmly pressing on the injection site and slightly massaging it, some of the soreness may be eliminated. It is important that the liquid is not injected too quickly as this causes more pain at the site during the injection and in the proceeding days.
After this procedure has been completed, return the plastic caps to shield the needles and make sure they are discarded properly.
To avoid discomfort and excessive scar tissue at the injection site, it is not wise to inject more than 2 ccs of solution per shot. It is also not prudent to use the same injection site more than twice a week (once a week is preferred).
All potential steroid users should first understand the positive and navigate effects associated with steroid use. If it's your first time, you should probably use only one steroid. The most popular is nandrolone deconate, commonly known as Deca-Durabolin. It is considered to have the best result to side effect ratio. Because it is an anabolic steroid and has no significant androgenic properties, it does not convert to estrogen or DHT. When using a steroid that has high androgenic effects, it is imperative to use an anti-estrogen toward the end of the cycle to prevent side effects associated with extremely high estrogen levels such as gynecomastia. The biggest factors leading to negative side effects is the use of a fake steroid, improper use of a steroid, or not being able to recognize the side effect when it is in its early stages. Please read over the side effects area before using any type of steroid.
Beginners Deca-Durabolin Cycle
A common one steroid cycle for a novice would be to inject 200-400mg of Deca once per week for 8 weeks. When combined with a healthy high protein diet, a person can expect to put on a good amount of size and strength. The results a person gets are dependent on a few things like diet, exercise routine, and rest. A beginner should start with about 200mg/week, and no more than 400mg/week.
Beginners Deca and Dbol Cycle
Another good beginners cycle is the deca and dbol cycle. Which would be 200-400mg of Deca-Durabolin once per week and about 15-25mg of Dianabol each day for about 6-8 weeks. It is a good idea to spread the dianabol out over the course of the day to allow more stable levels of the drug to enter the system (i.e. one 5mg tab every few hours during the day).
Test and Deca Cycle
This is a good basic mass building cycle for an intermediate steroid user. An effective dosage for an intermediate would be about 500mg of testosterone each week (i.e. Sustanon, Testosterone Cypionate, Testosterone Enanthate, etc...) and 200-300mg of Deca-Durabolin each week. It is a good idea to have 2 injections per week because of the volume of oil. For example, inject 1cc of Sustanon 250 and 1cc of Deca-Durabolin every Monday and Friday for 8 weeks.
Test and EQ Cycle
Similar to the Test and Deca Cycle listed above except use Equipoise in place of Deca-Durabolin.
Test and Winny Cycle
This is another good cycle for an intermediate steroid user. An effective dosage for an intermediate would be about 500mg of testosterone each week (i.e. Sustanon, Testosterone Cypionate, Testosterone Enanthate, etc...) and 25-50mg of Winstrol each day. There is an private steroid company called "International Pharmaceuticals" (IP) that makes 50mg Winstrol tablets (the standard is only 2mg or 5mg tabs). These are ideal because they are fairly cheap and a lot easier then frequent winstrol injections or choking down a couple dozen tabs each day. If you can get these I highly recommend them.
EQ and Winny Cycle
This is a good cycle for people who are interested in losing bodyfat while maintaining muscle size and strength. An effective dosage for an intermediate would be about 400mg of Equipoise. I recommend using something like "Ttokkyo Equipoise" which has 200mg per cc. This is way you can take all 400mg in one injection per week. Along with 50mg of Winstrol each day. There is an private steroid company called "International Pharmaceuticals" (IP) that makes 50mg Winstrol tablets (the standard is only 2mg or 5mg tabs). These are ideal because they are fairly cheap and a lot easier then frequent winstrol injections or choking down a couple dozen tabs each day. If you can get these I highly recommend them.
Post Cycle Therapy
After all steroid cycles men should use Clomid to help restore natural testosterone production in the body. Testosterone boosting supplements such as Tribulus Terrestris are also helpful in raising natural testosterone production. About 1-2 weeks after your last injection you should take 50mg of Clomid each day and 500mg of Tribulus Terrestris twice per day for 3 weeks.
Some people also like to load up on Creatine after a steroid cycle to help maintain their gains and prevent a post cycle crash.
Types of Steroids
Below we've compiled a list of some anabolic steroids, including their relative potency and some other info. Sometimes, the names of steroids can be confusing to a newbie. This is because you have the chemical name, the various brand names, and the slang or street names for each product.
For example, methandrostenolone is known to most people as Dianabol, but you probably hear it referred to as D-bol. Of course, you'll likely be using the veterinary version called Reforvit-B, whose street name is Reffie or Reffie-B. Got all that? Don't worry, the more you read the more you get used to all the terminology. To help you out, I've listed the chemical name as well as a few of the trade names for each 'roid.
Fluoxymesterone (Halotestin, Stenox)
This is a 17-alpha alkylated steroid. In other words, it's been altered in order to withstand the liver's "first pass" metabolism to a better degree, i.e., the liver doesn't inactivate the stuff before it can exert its effects. Without this alkylation, you'd need much higher concentrations to get results, as is the case with any 17-AA. Anyhow, this steroid appears to have a lower affinity for the AR, but can agonize the receptor at higher dosages.
As far as "real world" effects, fluoxymesterone has a reputation for increasing strength to a large degree. However, gains in muscle mass on this steroid aren't very great. In clinical settings, dosages range from 2.5 mg to 40 mg a day in divided dosages. However, bodybuilders have been known to use from 30 to 80 mg per day. It has a half-life of approximately 9.2 to 10 hours. (I'll talk about why knowing about half-lives is important later.) Oh yeah, and it doesn't aromatize. This means it's not likely to convert to estrogen, the female hormone. In the real world, that means the risk getting gyno (***** tits, i.e. breast tissue growth in males) is small to nonexistent.
Methandrostenolone (Dianabol, Reforvit, Anabol)
This 17-AA steroid was the first to be introduced to athletes in the 50s. Bodybuilders caught on soon after, no doubt. It's aromatizable, and therefore can increase estrogen levels. Since it doesn't bind very well to the AR, it's thought that it works by antagonizing the effects of catabolic glucocorticoids.
D-bol has a great reputation for increasing both size and strength to a pretty good degree. While the half life isn't readily available in the literature, it can be assumed through deductive reasoning that it's around four to seven hours. Bodybuilders typically use around 25 to 100 mg per day depending on whether it's used alone or in conjunction with another steroid (a practice called stacking).
This steroid is also17-AA. It can't aromatize and doesn't bind very well to the AR. Consequently, it's likely to exert its anabolic effects in a similar fashion to that of methandrostenolone. In other words, it affects glucocorticoids in a beneficial manner.
Another benefit may be its ability to antagonize or block progesterone from binding to receptors. Progesterone is one of the reasons why certain anabolics cause water retention.
Stanozolol has a great reputation for increases in strength as well as moderate increases in muscle mass. Actually, these "moderate" gains are rather impressive, considering that this drug doesn't cause much water retention. In clinical settings, typical dosages are between 2 to 6 mg daily. In order to see desired effects, bodybuilders typically consume between 25 to 100 mg daily. While I can't locate any literature on its half-life, based on its molecular composition it would seem to have a slightly longer half-life than most of the other orals. I'd say it's likely to be in the range of 7 to15 hours.
Oxandrolone (sold as oxandrolone powder or Oxandrolona)
This is yet another 17-AA. It won't aromatize but appears as though it will bind to the AR as long as the dosages are high enough. It has a reputation for increasing strength gains, as well as having a "hardening" effect. This is supported somewhat, as oxandrolone was shown to reduce subcutaneous fat to a greater degree than Testosterone. Whether this is an inherent property of all 17-AA steroids or an effect that's unique to oxandrolone, I'm not sure.
Oxandrolone, along with most of the other synthetic steroids, are thought to be equally (if not more) anabolic than Testosterone on a milligram per milligram basis, while minimizing androgenic side effects. Oxandrolone was shown to have approximately six times the anabolic effect of methyltestosterone in human subjects, following oral doses. Oxandrolone may also increase the number of skeletal muscle androgen receptors.
In clinical settings, dosages have ranged from 1.25 to 80 mg per day. Bodybuilders may take anywhere from 25 to 160 mg per day. The half-life is approximately nine hours.
Methenolone Acetate and Enanthate (Primobolan)
This steroid doesn't aromatize and can either be ingested via the acetate version or injected via the enanthate. This steroid does bind rather well to the AR and is known for its mild gains in muscle mass. Still, considering that it'll cause next to zero water retention, these gains are rather good. (Note that some bodybuilders think certain steroids work better based solely on the weight they gain. In actuality, they could be just retaining a lot of water along with the muscle gains. These are the same guys who think they "lose" a lot of muscle after their cycle is completed, when they actually just lost much of the water they'd been holding.)
Clinical dosages that are commonly seen with methenolone range from 10 to 20 mg daily, sometimes a little higher for the oral version. For the enanthate version, dosages are usually 100 mg every two to four weeks. Bodybuilders typically use 400 to 1000 mg a week. The half-life appears to be very similar to Deca, perhaps slightly shorter. So with this in mind, I'd say the half-life would be around five to seven days.
This 17-AA steroid can't aromatize, but has been known to have progestenic properties and thus, can cause water retention. It has a great reputation for increasing muscle mass and strength to a large degree. It's also thought to have a very high anabolic/androgenic ratio.
The typical dosage in clinical settings is one to five milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. So, a 150 pound person would consume anywhere from 68 to 341 mg per day. However, the higher dosages aren't employed that often. Bodybuilders typically consume around 50 to 150 mg per day. While I can't find info on the half-life in the formal literature, it would seem it's similar to that of stanozolol. Obviously, this isn't a hard fact, but the half-life should be right in the neighborhood of 7 to15 hours. Only God and Bill Roberts know for sure.
Testosterone Enanthate, Cypionate, Propionate, Suspension (commonly called "T")
This steroid can aromatize and binds well to the AR. It's well known for its ability to produce great gains in muscle size and strength, provided that the dosages are high enough. It does cause quite a bit of water retention and has quite a few side effects when compared to the other anabolics.
Clinical dosages vary, but cypionate and enanthate are both injected every two to three weeks at dosages of around 200 to 300 mg. Propionate and suspension aren't preferred as they don't provide that long of a sustained release. Bodybuilders typically use around 500 to 1,000 mg per week. The cypionate ester has a half-life of around eight days. Enanthate is just slightly shorter and propionate is quite a bit shorter. By the way, Testosterone in a suspension has a half-life of only 10 to 100 minutes.
Nandrolone Decanoate and Laurate (usually referred to as Deca)
This steroid binds very well to the AR and doesn't aromatize. It can produce moderate gains in muscle mass with little water retention. However, it, like oxymetholone, can be progestenic leading to water retention when higher dosages are used.
In clinical settings, dosages are around 50 to 100 mg every three to four weeks. Bodybuilders use around 300 to 800 mg per week. The decanoate ester has a half-life of six to eight days and the laurate ester commonly seen in veterinary products has a slightly longer half-life.
How to Construct a Cycle The dosages should be determined after evaluating two things: one, what results you'd like to see and two, which drugs you're stacking. There are other factors to consider, but for the sake of simplicity we'll stick with these two for now.
Regardless of what type of results you're looking for, it would be wise to stack two drugs that work through different mechanisms in order to get a synergistic effect. For instance, you'd get better results by stacking nandrolone with stanozolol as opposed to nandrolone and oxandrolone. This is because nandrolone and oxandrolone both bind to the AR. I've given you a few examples of stacks below. I'll give a quick review afterward.
Stack 1: Nandrolone, 450 mg per week along with 50 mg per day of stanozolol
Stack 2: Nandrolone, 450 mg per week along with 50 mg per day of methandrostenolone
Stack 3: Oxandrolone, 40 mg per day along with 50 mg per day of stanozolol
Stack 4: Testosterone enanthate, 500 mg per week along with 50 mg stanozolol or methandrostenolone per day
Stack 5: Testosterone or nandrolone, 500 mg per week with 50 mg oxymetholone per day
Stack 6: Methenolone, 600 mg per week with 50 mg per day stanozolol
Let's take a closer look at the first stack. You'd inject 450 mg on day one and then six to eight days later another 450 mg and so on. The stanozolol (or any oral) would yield the best results when spread out as evenly as possible in order to allow the drug to remain in the bloodstream throughout the day.
Also, by knowing the half-lives of drugs, you can figure out, to an approximate level, how much of the drug is currently active in your body. So, if on day one you injected 450 mg, then on day seven or eight you should have around 225 mg that's still active. When you inject another 450 mg, you then have approximately 675 mg of nandrolone in your body at that moment. However, that number then begins to slowly decline in an instant. By simply applying the half-life, you can figure out just how much of the drug is still in your bloodstream.
As a quick note, half-lives can vary depending on a number of factors, and this is why most texts give you a range, like four to nine hours. One such thing is the size of the person. Generally speaking, the larger the body mass of the person, the shorter the half-life is going to be. While some guys will only ingest oral steroids on the days that they work out, you don't necessarily have to do this. Remember, you're recovering on those off days, so why not help accelerate the process?
The oxandrolone and stanozolol stack above (#3) would be for those who are "needle phobic." However, this particular stack shouldn't be used for too long, because the 17-AA are the steroids that are most associated with liver damage.
As far as how long to stay "on" and how long to go "off," here's my take: It really depends on what your goals are. I mean, if you want to gain 35 pounds in two months, then chances are you won't be able to cycle off and still attain that goal. If, however, you're keeping safety in mind and would only like to gain something like eight to twelve pounds, then a two to three week "on," followed for four to six weeks "off" cycle will suffice.
The Safest and Most Effective Cycles
The safest cycles would include, of course, the safest steroids, for a short period of time. The most effective cycle, on the other hand, is generally going to include the most risks. Such is the nature of steroids; the most effective stuff is also the most "dangerous," so to speak. Also keep in mind that there's no perfectly "safe" or risk-free steroid. One particular steroid may not give you gyno, but may be tough on the liver. Another may not be tough on the liver, but may increase the risk of your hair falling out. See what I mean? This is the "give and take" of the steroid game.
Below is an abbreviated list of the safest and most effective steroids in my opinion. "Gains" is basically defined by how much muscle mass you'll put on. Side effects include the risk of liver damage, gynecomastia, water retention (edema), and possible hair loss.
Steroids Side Effects
Risk of liver damage
Hair loss, edema, gyno, liver
Edema, hair loss, gyno
*As with all anabolic steroids, methenolone will cause some inhibition of your own Testosterone production and may cause some testicular atrophy, i.e. your balls may shrink a little. (They usually return to normal after you discontinue use, however.) You can greatly reduce these effects by simply using something like clomiphene (Clomid) both during and after the cycle.
How to Avoid Side Effects
Side effects seen with steroid use include gynecomastia, alopecia (or hair loss), acne, and edema or water retention. Most of these can be avoided or the risks can at least be minimized. To prevent gyno, either use non-aromatizable steroids or nolvadex/clomiphene. Alopecia can be helped by using finasteride (Propecia). Acne can be helped by keeping your skin clean, using an over-the-counter product containing salicylic acid, and avoiding the more androgenic steroids.
Water retention can be avoided somewhat by closely monitoring sodium intake as well as sticking to non-aromatizable steroids. (Excessive sodium intake usually leads to excess water retention whether you're juicing or not.) As far as minimizing liver damage, simply don't use 17-AA steroids, and if you do, don't use them for prolonged periods of time. In truth, most of the horror stories you hear about steroid side effects come from people who didn't do any research and didn't put any thought or planning into their cycle. Still, there are risks.