Those of us who spend our time dispensing free advice on the internet for no other reasons than altruism and self-importance are called upon to interact with all kinds of lifters – from the adamantly natural to the blatantly assisted.If you, like many others, are uncomfortably on the fence, how do you know when you’re ready?
I’ve wanted to write this for a long time, and really struggled with it because, as a woman, I will never even use most of the substances I’ll mention below. Even if I did, with no “boys” to turn back on I have no need of post-cycle therapy. Still, as if through osmosis, I seem to have learned a smattering of “Steroidese” by simple virtue of having spent time immersed in physical culture.
When a young man joins an online community and asks “The Question” under the false security of imaginary anonymity, he is running a gauntlet of experts, trolls and predators who are all similarly cloaked.
Amidst jeers of “steroids don’t make you big”, “you’re too young”, “fix your diet first”, “fix your training first”, and of course “max out your natural potential first” there are also the invariable “I did my first cycle at 15 and I was fine” and “eating is overrated” posts that range from inappropriate through inaccurate and all the way to downright dangerous.
I will address your concerns with the following questions…
I know the answers to these off the top of my head, and my knowledge of these matters is, by my own admission, exceedingly limited.
If YOU are a young man who longs to “get swole”, you should know the answers to these questions at least as well as the middle-aged woman who is asking them.
So then, grasshopper, when you can answer the following questions with ease… there is a small chance that you may be ready.
Turn over your examination paper.
You have all the time you need.
1. What are your maintenance calories?
2. Can you design and adhere to an appropriate diet for your goals?
3. What is your current lean mass and your % bodyfat?
4. Do you know how to gain weight?
5. Is your current training built around heavy compound lifts and free-weight movement patterns, or bodypart splits and machines?
6. Name three steroid hormones your body makes.
7. Is growth hormone a steroid?
8. What does AAS stand for?
9. What is the difference between AAS and steroids such as cortisone?
10. Are the oral birth control pills women take also AAS?
11. How do you stimulate muscle to make it grow?
12. What do you think you will get from AAS that you aren’t getting now?
13. Are you ready to no longer be able to say you’re natural?
14. Beyond “newbie gains”, how much muscle can an average man in say his mid-twenties expect to gain naturally in a month if he does everything right?
15. How much if he runs AAS?
16. Beyond “newbie gains”, can you gain any appreciable amount of muscle without gaining weight?
17. What happens if you gain weight faster than you can gain muscle?
18. Will this still happen if you run AAS?
19. How much testosterone does a normal healthy man’s body produce in a week (give the average for men aged 20 and for men aged 40)
20. Explain the difference between endogenous and exogenous testosterone.
21. Explain the difference between the medical terms “physiologic” and “supraphysiologic”.
22. Explain why men must take enough testosterone to completely replace their own testosterone, PLUS enough to go over this level, in order to elevate their levels above normal.
23. Why are oral steroids more toxic than injectable steroids?
24. Assuming you get clean gear, what are possible risks to your health of using injectable steroids?
25. The most commonly used AAS is testosterone, a hormone found in the human body. Testosterone is available as a suspension, and also dissolved in oil as the following esters:
26. Why use these oil-based injections rather than the water-based suspension?
* The purpose of esterification
* The difference between the above esters
28. AAS affect your own hormones, as well as other blood chemicals such as your lipid profile and thyroid function.
Describe what can happen to your own:
29. Estrogen production
30. T3 production
31. Blood lipids, specifically
32. Liver function
33. In light of all this, list the blood tests you should have done before and after your cycle.
34. Describe post-cycle therapy, and explain why it is often necessary for men, but not for women.
35. Describe aromatase:
* What does it act upon?
* What does it produce?
* In which type of tissue does aromatase reside?
36. Describe 5-alpha-reductase:
* What does it act upon?
* What does it produce?
* What drug prevents 5-alpha-reductase from performing this function?
37. What is a SERM?
38. Explain the difference between SERMs and aromatase inhibitors, giving an example of each.
* What are the health risks associated with taking SERMs?
* What are the health risks associated with taking aromatase inhibitors?
39. What is clomid and why is it used?
40. Which of your five senses can be permanently harmed by Nolvadex?
41. Many users experience what is called post-cycle depression.
* Explain why, and strategies for getting through this.
42. Are anabolic steroids addictive?
43. What is an androgen receptor? In which types of tissues are they found?
44. Why is it important to cycle steroids rather than just stay on?
45. How long should you wait after running a cycle until you run another cycle? Why?
46. How much of your gains while “on” can you expect to keep when you’re “off”?
47. How will you handle being asked if you are on steroids? Will you tell your family? Your friends? Your main squeeze?
Will any of them ever use this information against you – for example, in child-custody or other disputes?
48. How will you handle being asked for sources?
49. Do you know and understand the laws regarding steroids where you live?
50. Are you ready?
Please put down your pencils.
No answer key will be provided for this exam.
In time your health, your physique and your wallet
will form the basis of your grade.
I know what many of you are thinking right about now:
“Don’t confuse me with the facts, dammit, I just want to get HYOOGE!!!”
The chorus “You’re not ready – you’re too young – wait until you’ve been lifting for a few years…”, smells a lot like : “you haven’t paid your dues – you don’t DESERVE this yet – you’re just looking for a shortcut!”
Does this sound like something I would say? Anyone who reads my articles should know by now how lazy I am! I am ALL ABOUT the shortcut and the quick fix – IF they work!
The nature of internet communication being what it is, there are certainly those who will make it sound like you are not yet worthy of such gains, but your worthiness is really not for me or anyone else to judge.
So why did I write this exam for you? Because you are about to play doctor with drugs you have not tested for potency and barely understand.
Consider the gravity of that last statement for a moment. Your doctor went to university for eight years before learning how to prescribe drugs that are dispensed from a pharmacist with almost as many years of formal education. The medications you will obtain from these people have been manufactured with extraordinary care. Even so, adverse reactions sometimes occur.
Contrast this with your current situation: you are about to use drugs that were made illegally, perhaps smuggled into the country, or both. You have no idea if your “mystery-chemists” washed their hands before cooking up your gear, nor can you be sure that you are in fact getting what is written on the label. To make matters worse, you likely have little or no formal training in pharmacology or human physiology and now you’re going to have to swallow or inject to get the mystery-juice into your body.
Suppose you get lucky and your source is actually “legit” – so what? Quite frankly, your results may disappoint you. I’ll go out on a very sturdy limb and say most of you could probably get identical results simply by correcting your training and your diet.
You doubt this? Consider how much natural testosterone is in a young man’s body to begin with. The dose he will need to see additional benefit is HUGE – and the higher the dose, the worse the sides – problems such as gynecomastia, premature baldness, sterility and impotence may be exacerbated by very high blood levels of androgen – and the drugs you need to take to counter these effects can have pretty serious sides – remember, many of these drugs were developed for use on women who will otherwise die of cancer.
Still feel lucky?
* This article is exclusive to IronMagazine.com, reproduction in any form without prior consent is strictly prohibited.
Copyright MariAnne Anderson 2009 – Got Built? Blog