"I have a friend I go lift with and train occasionally who wants to begin using AAS. I was very upfront with him about my thoughts on it but he always seemed to have more and more questions about using. Eventually I decided to write up my overall thoughts on the matter, and so I figured now that I have I’ll post it here as well. While it won’t be anything new to the vets, I think it can help a lot of people who are on the fence about jumping on, or who have just decided to start using. I start off with a bit of a warning, and then go into my experience with various compounds and methods. Feel free to add any thoughts/opinions.
Expectations: Gear clearly works, but don’t expect magic. Many people on gear look like they’ve been lifting for just a few years (I probably fall into this category after my recent flare and 2-3 month run with corticosteroids) and even those who look great often don’t look that much better than they did before. I knew one successful coach who competed at 150 (short guy) naturally and after 2 years of blasting up to 2g and using GH he was 200lb in the off season BUT competed at 165. Looked great but that’s a lot to put your body through for a net 15lb, and at least he competed and coached so it could make sense but for many it won’t. Also I say “net” because it’s easy to get “big” and bloated on gear but for bodybuilding purposes it’s about how much you keep once you get lean again. After 3 years on, and now being on just 100-125mg TRT, I am also about 15lb heavier at the same leanness (was more as you know but I may have ended up losing that eventually anyway), and for someone who doesn’t compete or anything it probably wasn’t worth it…especially when you consider it’s unlikely I was completed maxed out with my natural potential so if I stayed natural I probably could have put on another 5-7lb in those 3 years, making the net difference about 10lb or so. Noticeable to me but not worth the 3 years of stress, 20+ blood tests, other medical tests to ensure health, a few thousand dollars in gear + ancillaries + health supplements, etc.
Blood work / Tests: As mentioned I have gotten extensive blood work over the years along with a liver/kidney ultrasound, EKGs, echocardiogram, MRI, etc to ensure I was staying healthy. This may seem extreme but it allowed me to find out more specifically how each compound I took affected me as well as to find out how I was doing overall from the gear. It was these more invasive tests that got me to come off gear for good, as I would not have known there was an issue just by going by how I “feel”. If it wasn’t for these tests I’d probably be blasting and cruising for many years to come. Yes on cycle some blood work will often be negatively affected but you should still be aware of how significant it is, what is causing it, and how it will affect you long term. AND blood work will not tell you everything. You will not see adenomas, lesions, cardiac issues, etc from blood work. I am luckier than many in terms of side effects but also worse off than many, and I’m now constantly worried now about damage I may have done to my liver and heart long term. You never know where you will end up on that spectrum. I do think the general public over exaggerates the risks of AAS but I also think many forum goers largely underestimate the risks. My EF is currently 50.7% according to the cardiac MRI and I am taking everything I can to increase that. You don’t want to unnecessarily add that stress to your life.
*That is my warning and I do not recommend most people go on gear unless they compete or it will significantly help them in life e.g. as a coach, athlete, etc…but I understand some people will do it anyway and everyone has their own reasons so that’s fine but hopefully they can stay healthy. Given my extensive testing mentioned above I’ll state what trends I noticed from my 3 years on.*
T3: I technically have “subclinical hypothyroidism” but can get by without T3. If one can diet without it then I would recommend doing so. For 5-6 years cheating on my diet wasn’t even a thought. I wanted to of course but never even entertained the idea because I would never do something to blatantly hurt my goals. When I introduced T3 that seemed to change. I’ve always had a big appetite but at 75-100mcg my hunger was so insane I would wake up at 2-3am and just be unable to sleep unless I ate something. Constant cravings and looking for excuses to binge. I think it also provided a false sense of a buffer i.e. “oh I can eat this and just take more T3” “I don’t have to do cardio, I can just take T3” which of course is not healthy mentally or physically. Not to mention that unless you’re on quite a bit of gear it can cause rapid muscle loss. When I took it with orals I just saw great fat loss (but again, abused it in my opinion) but even while still on 300-500mg Test I lost muscle very quickly when taking high doses of T3. If one does take it I would just keep it at 50mcg to keep their FT3 at high-normal and have that be it. No need to taper off thyroid meds when coming off, just make sure you keep diet very tight as your natural levels are recovering. For me, this took about 3 weeks if bulking and 5+ weeks if cutting. I would not recommend coming off and trying to recover natural levels mid-cut…wait until you can add the necessary calories.
AIs: I don’t have too much to say here except that both Arimidex and Letro worked for me. People say letro crashes HDL but I think any AI can do that and personally my HDL was still 45-50 while using letro and having E2 < 15 while Test was very high, so I think that’s not necessarily something to worry about. I’ve also seen some knowledgeable people say an AI can only reduce E2 by ~50% based on studied but again I’ve found this to be completely untrue as I’ve used even moderate amounts of AIs to bring my E2 from 80+ down to <15 (i.e. barely detectable). Aromasin seems to be the one people claim has the least side effects, but is also the one I’ve found to be most often faked.
Test: Almost no negative effects on my blood work except for a rise in LDL at high doses, but also probably one of the mildest effects in terms of true muscle gains. Significant bloat and before my gyno surgery (pubertal gyno) it seemed like my nipples were puffy proportionate to how much Test was in my system, even if E2 was tanked. Conversely I had a few times where E2 was high but Test was low and I had almost no puffiness or bloat. Overall ‘relatively’ safe.
Tren: Solid results but nowhere near as good as orals. Additionally it also crashed my HDL and raised my liver enzymes, though it didn’t raise liver enzymes as much as the orals did. I would save this for people who are really serious and competing. It has been linked to an increase in prostaglandin production, potential increased risk of Alzheimer’s, “trensominia”, “tren cough”, impaired liver function, the cholesterol issues I mentioned (though this is not exclusive to tren), etc. It is also the one compound that gave me additional gyno, though this seemed to go away when I came off and took high dose AI.
Deca: I only tried NPP for 5 weeks and bloated like crazy, as I do with most compounds (many don’t). Pretty good gains though. If I was continuing to cycle I would like to use this compound, but the studies I’ve seen on it being harsher on HDL than Test, and hardening blood vessels 11x more potently than Test always deterred me.
Mast: Blood work was OK with Mast, I only ran it once and honestly barely noticed anything at all from it running it up to 700mg. I didn’t seem much drier (though I was still around 12-13% body fat) and my hair looked noticeably thinner….and this is the only compound that ever seemed to cause that. Some people love it but it’s probably the last compound I would choose to take as it seemed to be all side effects and no benefits for me.
Equipoise: Another very mild one. Noticed no negative effects on my blood work up to 700mg or so, including no real issues with my hemoglobin/hematocrit, but those are typically low for me anyway. Blood pressure was always fine too. Having said that, I can’t say I noticed any substantial benefits from it either and since I never did an EQ only cycle I can’t say for sure how much it added compared to just Test. Additionally the mild chest pain I mentioned seemed to be a bit more noticeable on EQ but that could largely be because that pressure only seemed to develop at the end of my 3 years of cycling and at the end I was only doing Test+EQ….the pressure may still have arisen with other cycles.
Superdrol/clones: BY FAR the strongest compounds I took. My first cycle I gained 16lb and 1 inch on my arms in 3 weeks eating just slightly above maintenance. Even when I lost those gains and did an injectable cycle later (so same starting point) the progress wasn’t even close. Unfortunately, they also seem to have by far the most deleterious health effects. One of my blood tests showed crazy high liver enzymes (as in 10x the high normal limit). I finally worked that out with proper liver support (mostly liv52 and milk thistle) but they still always tanked my HDL. Additionally, given what I said about my net results over the years I don’t think these results were very permanent, they would often either go away post-cycle if I tried to diet afterwards or even if I kept bulking up afterwards with injectables things would tend to stall out. If I have 1 regret with my AAS use it’s not the fact that I tried gear in general, it’s being excessive with my orals (and my T3). I got stuck in this situation because I kept getting underdosed gear, but I knew that at least the orals were legit and I could count on them, so despite the negative health effects I just wanted something I knew would work, so I kept using them. Which leads me to….
Sources/Sponsors: This is hugely important. I stayed with the same crappy sponsor who has now been banned after scamming a bunch of people, but I stayed because I knew there was at least some gear in it and I would just double the amount I injected to make it equivalent. I did this because he had an easy payment method (GreenDot) and I was concerned that other sponsors may be completely fake altogether. I ended up getting in with a top sponsor on the board and was very pleased with their gear (actually it was a bit overdosed, which can have its own problems)….I wasted a lot of time with b.s. gear and may have been less healthy in the long run since, as I mentioned, it led me to counting on orals. Speaking of wasting time…
Blasting & Cruising: In my opinion this is necessary for most to make real progress. And by cruising I do not mean 500mg Test. For me it was just legit TRT at 100-125mg. I tried the standard 8-12 weeks cycle + PCT and equivalent time off plan, and after 1.5 years I came in the same weight. I was slightly bigger (talking 1/2in on my arms here so nothing crazy) and slightly stronger but same weight and waistline and nothing like you would expect from someone’s first 1.5 years on gear. My gains in the next year were far far better even with the same doses and less orals. I may have been blasting a little more (2/3 of the year as opposed to ½) but the biggest difference was that I didn’t have these ridiculous crashes and hormonal swings post cycle, I just went to my TRT dose and that was it. I would lose some water weight but often I would keep getting stronger for a bit and then level off. I would even come off for 3-4 weeks post cycle to allow levels to decrease even faster but the point being I didn’t just let things crash completely and try to recover natural levels. Also for those who think that just means I did PCT incorrectly that’s not the case. My PCT would bring my levels up to 600-800ng/dl whereas my natural levels of Test are ~450-500ng/dl and my TRT levels are 550-750ng/dl. I believe the biggest difference was just keeping things stable as when I switched to blasting and cruising I netted +12lb of muscle in the following year. It was +15lb on cycle but still +12lb even months later when I was on TRT for a while and the water weight was gone, at the same waistline/leanness. Major difference. Some people can making cycling and PCT work but for me it didn’t.
training on Gear : The main difference here is that one can handle more volume when on cycle. I very much agree with DC/Dante’s thoughts here, not necessarily using his routine specifically (I haven’t done it yet) but what he says about making progress in the long run and adding strength. I have seen many people go on a cycle and do their pump work, not caring about the weights, etc. and yes they grow but they grow only because of the steroids…when they come off they lose everything. While no one can keep all of their gains when they come off it seems those who focused on solid strength progression keep the most. For example if I go on gear and gain an inch on my arms by increasing my barbell curl from 8x105 to 8x135 and then come off and it goes down to 8x125 I’m still going to have kept much more of that arm size then someone who keeps the weight roughly the same but just focuses on all these random techniques. Focus on true progress in the weight room. I would also highly suggest bulking and cutting even with the use of AAS (bulking to me = gaining weight/muscle slowly, not getting fat eating random junk) over trying to just recomp as I feel most of the progress seen while recomping on gear will just undo itself when you come off. I made more progress the year before using gear while bulking and cutting and focusing on strength progression than I did in my first year on cycle while hovering around the same weight and focusing on, what I would call, lesser methods .
That’s about it. I will again emphasize how important it is to focus on your health here. I’m glad I “got it out of my system” in my 20’s (after training naturally for 5 years), as I really do not agree with those who say to wait until 30+, because the older you get the more susceptible you will be to the deleterious effects (unless of course by waiting that long you come to the conclusion it’s no longer something you want to do). If you are going to do it I’d say start with one moderate cycle (Test or Test + EQ/NPP), see not only how you react during but also how much you keep after the cycle and you will have a good gauge of your response and ability to make long term progress from assistance."
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"Just like being really tall or having a handsome face, conditioned muscle will distinguish you from the other guys. It makes you stand out in a positive way, and is a way to get women to notice you."
"Being tall, handsome face, confidence, money, abs, social status will bring you more ass than being an bloated meathead.
I know some guys who got really, really large but their face and personality isnt there, still cant land chicks."
Last edited by tmj on Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.