Provided dosing is sufficient, a steroid user can expect to make the most significant progress during their first cycle. Although this will vary from person to person, it is not uncommon for someone to gain 20 pounds of weight or more during a 6-8 week period of AAS use. Some of this may be water retention, although a solid gain of more than 10-15 pounds of muscle mass is possible.
Yes, and no. Steroids can help you do two basic things with regard to muscle growth. First, they can allow you to more rapidly reach your genetic limits for muscle growth. Provided you continue to train actively, eat properly, and use an effective PCT program, you should be able to maintain at your genetic limit indefinitely. So in this regard, the early gains do not have to be temporary. Later, steroids can allow you to push well beyond your genetic limits. It is important to emphasize this, as extreme physical development cannot be maintained long-term without the repeat administration of anabolic substances. The body will always revert back towards its normal metabolic limits once AAS are removed. In this context, some of the gains will not be permanent. Steroids do permanently alter the physiology of your muscles by adding more cellular nuclei. With higher nuclei content, each muscle cell can manage its volume more efficiently, which allows more rapid expansion. Even after a long period of complete abstinence from training and AAS, the nuclei remain. This may provide a “muscle memory” effect, allowing you to reach your genetic limit (perhaps a slightly extended limit) faster than if you had never used AAS in the past. So in this regard, there are lasting benefits beyond the temporary increase in muscle size itself.
If you have the underlying genetics to allow for this extreme muscle growth, this may be possible with a lot of hard work and dedication. If you are like the vast majority of people, however, steroids will not be able to make you look like a professional bodybuilder. Genetics are a big factor in determining the ultimate limits to your physique, even in an enhanced state. Many people use steroids and look very big and impressive because of it, but very few users are able to make it to the stage of a professional bodybuilding show.
Testosterone, whatever the form, tends to be the safest steroid for men. When the dose remains within the moderately supra-therapeutic range (such as 200-400 mg of an injectable testosterone ester per week), alterations in cardiovascular risks factors are noticed, but not extreme. Some of this has to do with the beneficial cardiovascular effects of estrogen in men. Also considered fairly safe are the common injectable steroids boldenone, nandrolone, and methenolone. Isolating your use to these drugs is recommended over using the full spectrum of oral and injectable steroids.
Women are generally most concerned with the virilizing (masculinizing) effects of anabolic/androgenic steroids. The least virilizing agents are those with the highest relative anabolic to androgenic effect, such as nandrolone, oxandrolone, and methenolone. Care must always be taken, however, as all AAS are based on male sex steroids, and as such can cause masculinizing effects in women.
For those with a genetic predisposition to hair loss, all anabolic/androgenic steroids are capable of accelerating the process. Slowing the onset of this during AAS use requires a focus on reducing relative androgenicity in the scalp. This can be accomplished with the use of predominantly anabolic drugs such as nandrolone, oxandrolone, or methenolone. Alternately, moderate doses of testosterone can be used with finasteride, a drug that reduces DHT conversion (and androgenic amplification) in the scalp. Still, those genetically prone to hair loss can have problems with any steroid, and are always advised to limit dosing, drug intake durations, and monitor effects on the hairline closely.
Anabolic/androgenic steroids are among the safest drugs available, at least in a short-term sense. Fatal overdose is not reasonably possible, and the negative health changes such as alterations in cholesterol, blood pressure and blood clotting (among other things) are very unlikely to manifest in serious bodily harm or death after an isolated cycle. There are rare deaths from such things as stroke and liver cancer in short-term abusers, but such occurrences are statistically extremely rare in light of the millions of people that use these drugs. If you had to comparatively rate the acute risks of AAS abuse, they would be slightly higher than marijuana, but far less than virtually all other illicit narcotics.
The long-term use of steroids for non-medical reasons can be a significantly unhealthy practice. It has been difficult, however, to quantify the exact risk. The main issue is the fact that AAS abuse can promote heart disease, the number one killer of men. Heart disease is a slow progressive disease, which may build for decades without symptoms. Steroid abuse may accelerate the silent process of plaque deposition in the arteries, and also induce other changes in the cardiovascular system that can increase susceptibility to stroke or heart attack. If death finally occurs, however, it will be difficult for a medical examiner to pinpoint AAS as the cause; too many variables play a role in the etiology of cardiovascular disease. The vast majority of deaths where AAS have contributed go unreported for this reason. The exact mortality rates of long-term steroid abusers have, likewise, been difficult to calculate. According to one population-based study, steroid abusers had a 4.6 times greater risk of early death from all causes including suicide compared to non-users. It is unknown, however, how applicable this number is to the full steroid-using population. It is especially important to closely monitor cardiovascular disease and other health risk factors if long-term steroid use is a practice you will follow.
The non-medical use of AAS by definition cannot be defined as a safe practice. However, it can be argued that anabolic/androgenic steroids can be used with high relative safety, even over a period of many years. The guidelines of steroid harm reduction are important to minimizing the negative health effects of these drugs. Provided an individual follows these guidelines and is careful with drug selection, dosages, and durations of intake, follows a diet low in saturated fats, cholesterol, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, actively trains with both resistance and cardiovascular exercise, and uses cholesterol support supplements such as fish oils and Lipid Stabil during all cycles, it may be difficult in many cases to argue high tangible health risks. It takes a great deal of involvement and planning to use AAS in this manner, which is always advised.
No, this is not necessary. Anabolic/androgenic steroids all work primarily by attaching to and activating the same receptor. As such, you do not gain anything by switching to a new compound that works via stimulating the same receptor. If tolerance were induced by one AAS compound, it would be extended to all compounds. The plateau effect that is noticed 6-8 weeks into most cycles is poorly understood, but likely related to the new metabolic limits placed on muscle cells under the influence of a certain AAS dosages, not insensitivity to AAS. Classic down regulation does not occur with these drugs, and even if it did, rotating steroids would not prevent it.
Testosterone promotes muscle growth. At the same time, it may suppress fat gain. Muscles burn far more calories than fat tissue. Lack of muscle thus puts people at a higher risk of eating too much and storing the excess calories as fat. In fact, some researchers believe that reduced muscle mass is the primary reason deficiency leads to weight gain in men. On average, obese men have 30% lower testosterone levels than those who are normal-weight. Belly fat contains high levels of the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen, the female sex hormone. This explains why obese men have higher estrogen levels than normal-weight men. So testosterone or its derivative anabolic steroids will help you gain muscle tissue and get rid of that unwanted fat even though anabolic steroids do not directly involved in the mechanism. Without a proper diet and cardio exercises to loose or control your weight, anabolic steroids’ benefit for fat loss will be pretty much limited.
Due to the use of anabolic steroids, natural testosterone production is suppressed. The rate of suppression is dependent on the steroids being used and to a degree the total doses, but it is generally significant. Once the use of all anabolic steroids comes to an end, natural testosterone production will begin again on its own. However, this assumes there was no prior existing low testosterone condition or severe damage caused to the HPT during anabolic steroid use due to improper practices. While production does begin again on its own, it is a very slow process. There will be a period of very low testosterone levels and often the symptoms associated with such a condition. Such symptoms cannot only be bothersome, but they often cause the steroid user to lose a lot of the muscle mass he’s gained due to cortisol now becoming the dominant hormone in testosterones absence. For this reason most steroid users will implement a PCT plan in order to enhance recovery. This will speed up the recovery process. It will not return your levels to normal on its own, but it will ensure you have enough testosterone for proper bodily function while your levels continue to naturally rise.
When it really comes down to it – steroids are steroids. Whether you are using injectables or orals, you are using steroids. Just 2 different delivery mechanisms. The reason you get to keep more gains with the injectables, is that they stay in the body for longer, in a more stable way, and you can use them for longer because they are not liver toxic. Otherwise, the muscles gained are just the same. Orals (most) are liver toxic and should be kept to shorter cycles 6 – 8 weeks max. Costs tend to be much higher per mg than injectables and you don’t know exactly how much the passes the liver and actually gets into your blood stream. Injectables are most accurately dosed and are priced better than other two options per mg. Obviously requires you to either self shoot or have someone inject you. Infections and abscesses are two of the common problems with injecting but over time you learn how and where your body takes it best. It’s a matter of personal choice and of course, what you have access to.
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