Steroid Facts

I’m writing this article to help separate steroid facts from the government propoganda and exaggerations. As a former user of steroids and spent years researching opinions of steroid experts and research studies on steroids, I will try to give the unbiased facts on their use to the best of my knowledge. My purpose in this article is not to be pro or against steroids, but to be unbiased looking at it from my own experience and what the research says on the issue. I will talk about the various symptoms of steroid use and whether it’s actually a myth, fact, or possible. Possible means it is either happening in susceptible people or there is lack of scientific research to prove it as a fact. Also note this is article is for steroid users taking high doses of steroids and not those who are taking testosterone prescribed through doctor to maintain healthy testosterone levels for HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

– Steroids cause BPH (Benign Prostate Hyperplasia)

Possible. BPH is enlargement of the prostate, that usually effects only older men. But, if you use steroids for years, then BPH will probably affect you. Getting BPH from steroids, would depend on how susceptible you are and how long you have used Steroids. Many users of steroids notice a enlarging of their prostate after a while on cycle, making it slighlty more difficult to urinate. There is controversy over what really causes BPH naturally in men, but DHT is thought to be just one possible component. DHT is converted from testosterone in the body and is 3.5 times more androgenic than testosterone. DHT is what gives men their masculinizing sex effects on the body. All androgenic steroids stimulate the same receptors on the prostate (to various degrees called the androgenic to anabolic ratio) in the same way DHT does.

Another mechanism by which BPH might be caused from steroid use, is due to low testosterone levels post cycle. Low testosterone levels and high estrogen, like as seen with post cycle and hypo gonadal men, can actually cause BPH. Many men have had a reduction in BPH when they were treated clinically with testosterone replacement therapy for low testosterone. The prostate usually shrinks back eventually after a steroid cycle, once your testosteron levels get back to normal, but over time I would think this may lead to a more permanent enlargement effect.

– Steroids increase risk of prostate cancer

Myth. For years doctors thought testosterone (steroids) caused prostate cancer itself by “awakening” a slow hidden growing cancer. This is why men who went on HRT (hormone replacement therapy), would get a PSA test to assess their risk for prostate cancer. As time goes on more and more studies are showing prostate cancer is not due to testosterone levels at all and therefore steroid use wouldn’t have any correlation with prostate cancer. This makes logocial sense to me, since younger men would be getting prostate cancer due to the high testosterone levels. It’s also worth to note, that the prostate holds up to 600 times the level of carcinogens as the rest of the body. I believe the risk of Prostate cancer is mainly caused bytoxins and other genetic factors. This is why it was shown in recent studies, that men who ejaculated more frequently in the 20’s, had less likely chance of prostate cancer later in life. Ejaculation helps the flushing of the prostate from cancer from these toxins. Some research studies are also showing increased risk of prostate cancer based on genetics, race, diets, and environmental factors.

– Steroids cause Roid Rage

Myth This is an absolute myth. Roid rage is seen as a condition 360 degree change in personality causing an uncontrollable psychotic anger state. Most studies have disproven the idea of what people consider roid rage. Now there are studies that show a slight more aggression or confidence, but its not going to turn a calm person into an angry psychotic person where they lose all rationale for no reason.

– Steroids shrink your Penis

Myth. Absolutely false. This myth is spread probably from confusion in the fact that your testicles shrink on cycle, due to your testosterone production shutting down temporarily.

– Steroids cause excessive hair growth and very deep voice

Possible. This will depend on how naturally hairy and deep your voice is before your steroid cycle. You may notice more and faster hair growth rate while on cycle. Your voice may get deeper from steroid use long term. It all depends on your genetics, as many steroid users have a higher pitched voice and still lack of natural body hair, even despite frequent steroid use.

– Steroids increase hair loss

Possible. Once again this will depend on your genetics before your cycle. If you have thick hair and aren’t destined to go bald in your life, then you will lose very little hair during cycle.

– Steroids cause hallucinations and delusions

Myth. Steroids are not a mind altering drug and do not cause roid rage or any other kind of psychotic behaviour, like hallucinations.

– Steroids cause high blood pressure

Possible. Steroids due to increased water retention and stimulation on the heart, cause increase in blood pressure. If you have borderline blood pressure it may become high blood pressure during cycle.

– Steroids cause diabetes

Possible. Steroids are known to cause high glucose levels and reduced insulin sensitivity. Using that logic, long term use of steroids possibly could increase risk of diabetes, especially in those who are genetically susceptible to the diabetic gene.

– Steroids cause cataracts

Possible. I think this claim from the fact that diabetics get higher chance of cataracts and steroids increase glucose levels. I don’t think there is any scientific evidence to know what role steroids play in causing cataracts.

– Steroids cause impotence

Possible. This is very common side effect and may happen during or after a cycle. If you are using testosterone, then impotence will probably only happen post cycle, as your body tries to recuperate it’s natural testosterone levels. If you are using a steroid other than testosterone, you may experience it during and after your steroid cycle since your body won’t have testosterone in it because it’s shutting down it’s testosterone production. Even though your replacing one androgenic steroid (dht and testosterone) for a different artificial one, it won’t have the same sexual and libido effects as DHT and testosterone does.

– Steroids cause depression

Possible. It would depend on the type of steroids, what your mental condition was before steroid use, and if you are on or just getting off a steroid cycle. Many users might experience depression post cycle, due to the low testosterone levels.

– Steroids are addictive

Possible. When a person gets off steroids they may be depressed and feel weaker and less energetic than while they were on. This leads to you often wanting to start another steroid cycle and when that is done do another and then another. Most people do not just do one steroid cycle and quit forever.

– Steroids increase risk of liver cancer

Fact. Oral methlyated steroids are certainly proven to be carcinogenic (cancer causing) to the liver. They are methylated so they can bypass the liver the first time. However, many steroid users don’t use oral steroids, but inject them. Injecting them is much safer for the liver.

– Steroids increase stress on your kidneys

Fact. Steroids cause you to retain more sodium and water and increase blood pressure. This results in more stress on the kidneys, especially if you let your blood pressure get too high or don’t drink enough water.

– Steroids lower sperm count

Fact Anytime you take in extra endogenous (outside body) steroids, your natural testosterone and sperm production shut down. Once you get off your steroid cycle, your testicles should awaken and start making sperm and testosterone again. This has made testosterone a viable birth control option and has even been considered in the medical community as male birth control.

– Steroids cause permanent damage to natural testosterone production

Possible. Recovery of your testosterone depends on your personal genetics. Some individuals have problems recovering their testosterone levels, even after their first short cycle. Some have to go months using clomid ( a common post cycle ancilliary) or even inject HCG to jumpstart the testicles. On the other hand, many can do multiple cycles in a row and recover fully their natural testosterone production between each cycle. THe more cycles you do, the more likely you may lead to some long term damage on your natural testosterone production.

– Steroids shorten your life

Possible. There is some research in rats, showing those injected with testosterone didn’t live as long. Testosterone may also be why men don’t live as long as women. Steroids certainly won’t increase your lifespan, but there isn’t evidence that a few steroid cycles will significantly shorten a person’s life either. If one were to abuse it for many years, than I imagine it probably will shorten your lifespan at least a little.

– Steroids lower your HDG (good cholesterol)

Fact. Most steroid users will notice a drop in HDL cholesterol. They also may notice a lowering of LDL and total cholesterol because the liver is under more strain and tends to produce less cholesterol.

– Steroids enlarge your heart

Possible. There is some research that shows that steroid users may have more risk for enlarged or thickening of the walls in the heart. There is controversy over those studies and there isn’t much evidence either way.

– Steroids cause sleep apnea

Possible. Some people may experience sleep apnea while on cycle. This may be caused due to the weight gain and higher blood pressure, while on Steroids.

– Steroids make it harder to gain muscle naturally

Possible. It would depend on how much you used steroids and other factors. If you gained 20 lbs of muscle off a recent steroid cycle and kept it, yes it will be harder to gain muscle naturally on top of that new muscle. On the other hand, if you damaged your testosterone levels from steroid abuse long term, yes it will be harder to gain muscle naturally in the future. If you lose your muscle gains, it may be easier to gain that muscle back naturally because you will have stretched your fascia tissue. Many bodybuilders believe muscle memory is mainly caused by the stretching of fascia tissue in the muscles. Therefore former steroid users may have a easier time reaching more muscle mass, even if they lost their steroid gains because of the muscle memory factor.

– Steroids damage tendons

Fact. There is some research that indicates steroids are damaging to the tendons. To make matters worse, the large increases in strength and weight gain on cycle can cause greater risk of injury on tendons. Usually are tendons don’t have enough time to adjust to the these gains.

– Steroids cause bone loss

Myth. This is confusing anabolic steroids with another form of steroids called Glucocorticoids, which is used for other medical conditions and has very different effects on the body. Anabolic steroids actually have been prescribed in the past for bone marrow stimulation and treating osteoporosis.

– Steroids cause gynecomastia (“Man boobs”)

Possible. Many boys get gynecomastia during puberty. Usually it is lumps of breast tissue underneath the tissue. Steroids can possibly cause or aggrivate it either during a high dose Testosterone cycle, when estrogen levels get too high. It can also happen possibly with Trenebolone, which aggravates gyno through another mechanism in the body, prolactin. Another common way it can happen is post cycle, when your testosterone levels are low but your estrogen levels may be high. This imbalance creates a big risk for gyno to develop. That is one reason why it is important for fast recovery post cycle using anti-estrogen ancillaries like clomid to boost testosterone production and lower estrogen levels.

– Steroids increase acne

Possible. This will depend on how susceptible you are to acne before your cycle. Many show more cystic acne in the face and on their back and chest during cycle. If you are already susceptible to acne, it may increase to extreme levels causing painful acne cysts on the back, chest, or face.

– Steroids cause heart attacks or stroke

Possible. I see absolutely no evidence that in the short term, it would cause this in healthy individuals. However, long term use for decades may increase risk of stroke and heart attack due to the negative effects steroids have on your HDLs, blood pressure, and other possible negative effects of your heart health.

Conclusions:

This should help clear up the myths about steroids. We will learn more about its effect on performance and health effects as time goes on and more studies are done.

Do Site Enhancement Oils (SEOS) Work?

Hardcore bodybuilders are now more and more open to the idea in recent years of using site enhancement oils (SEOS) to increase muscle size. Site enhancement oils are an oil based substance that is injected into the muscle to help make them grow. The most popular brand name is Synthol , developed back in the 90’s. Synthol is mainly medium-chain triglycerides, with a smaller amount of localized pain killer (Lidocaine) and benzyl alcohol (for sterilization).

Naively one will first think its just the oil inside the muscle causing the muscle to get bigger. They think that as the oil leaves the muscle will shrink back, so it must be injected constantly. That
might be partly true, but site enhancement oils seem to have a more permanent effect by fascia stretching. Fascia is a tight connective tissue surrounding muscles and it’s thought that stretching it helps with muscle gains. It is same reason why some bodybuilders do fascia stretching workouts and probably the mechanism I believe is behind muscle memory. Some bodybuilders report that site injections with steroid esters, also seem to have a localized effect on muscle growth where they were injected. This would probably be caused by fascia tissue once again. SEOs are not to be confused with injecting steroids as they contain different compounds and SEOs don’t have any anabolic steroids in them.

There is another theory about how SEOs cause muscle gains. Some believe it is due to increased scar tissue buildup. I tend to believe the fascia theory instead because the fascia phenomenon is seen to a slightly less degree by spot injecting steroids and because fascia tissue stretching seems the only likely explanation for muscle memory.

Pro-bodybuilders have been believed to have been using SEOs commonly for many years now, but probably wasn’t very common before the mid-late 90’s. Pro-bodybuilders have to be careful of how much they inject because they lose the muscle hardness and natural shape with excessive use. Pro bodybuilders only use it as more of an aide in bringing up their lagging muscles.

If someone abuses SEOs for many years, they will start to look like Greg Valentino.

At one time Greg Valentino was a respectable amateaur bodybuilder as
you can see in this picture in his earlier days.

He got obsessed with using SEOs and even got an abcess from it that he drained himself! (Ouch)

Now Greg Valentino is considered a joke in bodybuilding. Greg is a loud mouth jerk who likes to get attention now. Greg always talks about his steroid use negatively and what it did to him, but the truth is everyone knows he used SEOs, which he conveniently fails to tell others. I’ve seen pictures of others who weren’t that extreme, but everyone who overdoes it gives their muscles a ridiculous unproportioned soft lumpy look compared to the rest of their body.

More importantly to any other issue with SEO use, is the health of using them. Their is a serious risk of stroke or death because you could inject it accidentally in a artery instead of your muscles. If you inject it into a artery, you will cause it to travel to other parts of your body, like your heart or brain or lungs. Years ago, Pro-bodybuilder Milos Sarcev almost died injecting Synthol into his triceps.

Preventing Hair Loss while on a Steroid Cycle

Genetics play a huge role on side effects during a steroid cycle, including how much hair you will lose. Some will experience a little increase in shedding during a heavy androgenic cycle, while others will practically see clumps come out when they comb.

Bodybuilders usually report though that it starts to thicken back weeks after the cycle is over with. The thing about male pattern baldness is that androgenic alopecia is a condition that gets worse. Just because it grows back doesn’t mean it is the same as before. That is because DHT (or any androgenic steroid) causes follicular miniaturization on hair follicles. Meaning, the hairs get progressively thinner and thinner everytime, until eventually its too thin to see or stops growing completely.

Since DHT and steroids can do irreversible damage to the hair follicles via this follicular miniarturization mechanism, the best way to prevent the damage is blocking via anti-androgens on the scalp. Two common shampoos are Spironolactone and Nizoral, that act as anti-androgens in the scalp. Nizoral 1% can be found in stores, the stronger 2% is via prescription, although over the counter in Canada. Spironolactone is found commercially as a pill taken orally, but obviously it’s anti androgen properties would counteract your steroids, so there are sites that sell it in topical solution for your hair.

The prescriptions Finasteride (Brand names Propecia, Proscar, etc) block the conversion of testosterone to DHT via the 5AR enzyme. This will Not be helpful at all for steroid cycles consisting of Tren, D-bol, Anadrol, or any other steroid besides testosterone that cause hair loss on their own. Taking Finasteride with Deca would even worsen your hair loss, since Deca converts to a very weak androgen DHN in the scalp and prostate, weaker androgenically than deca itself and these 5AR blockers would stop that conversion.

The popular over the counter and prescription treatment Rogaine won’t do much to prevent it while on cycle. It is more for getting your hair back after the fact. Anti-dandruff shampoos with zinc pyrithione, have shown in studies to have a hair diameter increasing effect, so they should be used regurlarly on and off your steroid cycle for good measure. There is also some hair growth supplements available on the market.

What is Prolactin or Progesterone Gyno?

Most bodybuilders are aware that estrogen can cause gyno. Most steroid users are also fully aware that Trenbolone can cause gyno when taken by itself, even though it doesn’t convert to estrogen at all. How is this possible?

Two major theories of how Trenbolone could cause gyno symptoms have been theorized over the years. They believe that Tren causes the gyno, by directly stimulating either prolactin or progesterone receptors. Anabolic steroids Trenbolone and Deca are both progestins. Deca also converts to estrogen, but Tren does not. They are not to be confused with progesterone, but instead progestins, a type of progestogen, that can stimulate the progesterone receptor. Tren even converts to a metabolite in the body, that binds stronger to progesterone receptors than progesterone itself!

Directly increasing progesterone or prolactin doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop gyno according to research. The study (J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1988 Jan;66(1):230-2) shows that progesterone works synergistically with estrogen, to stimulate breast production. According to (Clin Biochem 2001 Nov;38(Pt 6):596-607), prolactin only has a stimulatory effect on gynecomastia in the prescence of high circulating estrogen levels. Testosterone which aromotizes to estrogen caused a cause of increased prolactin according to (Acta Endocrinol (Copenh) 1984 Feb;105(2):167-72). In the same study, Clomid (clomiphene) and Nolva (tamoxifen) showed a reduction in the man’s high levels of prolactin. There is no research evidence that I have found, that points to true breast development developing with just prolactin or progesterone alone or caused by non-aromotizing steroids, without any high circulating estrogen levels. Estrogen must be at high enough levels to work synergistically with high levels of prolactin or progesterone, to cause breast development and lactation.

Whether Tren stimulates prolactin or progesterone, without at least moderate levels of circulating estrogen at the same time in the body, Tren can’t cause full development of gyno. The real solution to curing gyno caused during a tren cycle therefore, is to take anti-estrogens, to lower circulating estrogen levels. Even if you are taking Tren by itself, you still will have a lot of estrogen circulating in your blood for a few weeks, until your natural testosterone levels shut down. Sensitive people to gyno might have to use a anti-estrogen, even when taking tren without other estrogen converting steroids, to lower natural estrogen levels in the body.

Many bodybuilders recommend using anti-prolactin drugs Bromocriptine or Cabaser / Dostinex (both Cabaser and Dostinex contain active ingredient Cabergoline), or even RU-486 “The abortion pill”, which is a progesterone blocker. These drugs have side effects are expensive and not commonly carried by many sources. I have heard reports from bodybuilders that bromocriptine didn’t help them, but strong anti-aromatase inhibitors like letrozole did. Therefore, it is better to use an anti-estrogen to combat tren based gyno. The only anti-estrogen I wouldn’t recommend for combatting this gyno is Nolva (tamoxifen) because in (J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2003 Sep;86(3-5):461-7) they found progesterone receptor expression increased, while it decreased with other anti-aromatase inhibitors.

Do Steroids Cause Permanent Low Testosterone Levels?

One major reason why steroid users usually cycle is so they can regain their natural testosterone levels. During steroid use, your testicles shut down their natural teststerone production. Your testicles shrink because they are no longer “active”. As the anabolic steroids leave your body, your body slowly revs back up it’s production again and your testicles grow back in size.

After short cycles or infrequent use, most will bounce back fairly easily, especially with the use of anti-estrogens post-cycle. Anti-estrogens help boost testosterone levels post cycle by lowering estrogen, an important indicator for the body in regulating testosterone production in the testicles. However, there are some people who struggle to get testosterone back after even their very first cycle. It seems to be genetically determined because some can recover no problems without even anti-estrogens, while others have shrunken testicles and low testosterone problems for many weeks or even months. It’s pretty easy to tell you have low testosterone, you’ll feel like a 10 year old girl scout and you won’t even be able to maintain your gains.

Patrick Arnold, a expert in steroid chemistry and use, has said in the past that some people are pre-disposed to having trouble recovering their testosterone levels post-cycle. He recommends an extra long course of anti-estrogens or even possibly HCG as a final resort. Anti-estrogens usually are only taken for 2 to 4 weeks, but those with problems recovering should probably due it much longer. HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) is injected to jumpstart testicles sometimes because it acts like LH, a hormone that directly stimulates the testicles. The one downside to HCG is that overuse will actually cause too much testosterone causes a negetive feedback responce, once again inhibiting natural testosterone production.

Your testicles usually fully recover pretty quickly after one cycle or infrequent use, but long term abuse is another thing. You could possibly damage your testicles by staying on too long or doing too many steroid cycles over the years. It is hard to say how much damage, it would vary by the individual and their history of use. Problems would build up cumulatively, so that is why it is best to do your steroid cycles infrequently, so you allow the body to fully recover in between each one. There are reports of some former pro-bodybuilders or heavy steroid users having to take HRT (Testosterone replacement) because they have damaged their natural testosterone production. Many pro-bodybuilders never go off steroids because they won’t even be able to maintain their muscle if they did so. This will surely cause irrevecoble damage to their fertility and ability to produce testosterone.

Does Viagra & Cialis Increase Muscle Building or Strength?

In the last month, viagra as a performance enhancer has hit the news with the world anti doping agency in charge of the olympics thinking of banning it. There is reports that even Roger clemens used it for performance enhancement and that Balco Founder advocated it for all of his athletes. The idea of Viagra being helpful for bodybuilders in muscle building or strength may sound silly, but there is probably some truth to it. Viagra and Cialis increase nitric oxide in the blood, increasing blood to not only erections, but also to your muscles.

Nitric oxide also increases post workout, so it is thought that nitric oxide plays a crucial role in muscle gains. That is why no2 supplements are so popular because they are thought to increase nitric oxide in the blood. However, I believe no2 supplements are a huge scam because they don’t actually raise nitric oxide in the blood. You can read more in a previous post Do Nitric Oxide (No2) Supplements Work?

Some possible benefits of nitric oxide in the blood stream from viagra due to the increased blood flow to the muscles, in theory should be better muscle gains, increased muscle vascularity, and a boost in endurance in strength. Although there is no studies yet on hypertrophy or strength, there have been a couple studies on endurance athletes using viagra and it showed improvements in their times.

Obviously there are a few reasons why Viagra is not a good idea. The first being constantly taking it if its not needed will cause you to have a erection all the time, embarrassing yourself. You might even cause priapism, a persistent erection for more than a few hours that you have to seek medical attention or cause permanent damage to your penis. Plus, you will have to go out and seek a prescription from a doctor and if your young, it may be hard to convince him. If your a top level bodybuilder or desperate for any edge you can get, than it may be worth it. Many steroid users buy it anyways because of erection problems during or after their cycle.

Do Pain Killers affect Muscle Building?

For years, bodybuilders wanted to know if their OTC pain killers like Asprin or Tylenol or prescriptions like vicodin had any effect on their muscle building efforts. Bodybuilders often take pain killers to get through an injury, aching joints, or to recover from muscle soreness. Unfortunately, certain groups of these pain killers may actually be hurting your muscle building efforts. You may have been sabatoging your muscle gains all these years and not even realized it.

NSAIDs Painkillers’ Effect on Muscle Growth

Most of the common over the counter paink killers we use are called NSAIDS (Non-steroid anti inflammatory drugs), which include Asprin, ibuprofen (Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve), and various others. Some prescription painkillers are also NSAIDs too. Acetaminophen (brand name tylenol), often used over the counter is the only commonly used over the counter pain killer not a NSAID.

It turns out according to studies in the last year that NSAIDs and Acetaminophen, both can dramatically drop your rate of protein synthesis. When protein synthesis drops you can’t build muscle effectively. In order to build muscle, you need a higher protein synthesis rate than breakdown rate, so there is a net gain in the muscles.

The first study came out in 2001 J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Oct;86(10):5067-70.. 24 men after 10 to 14 resistance workout sets took either Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, or a control placebo group. This study only measured prostaglandins, but researches concluded that it’s impact could effect muscle building. The impact of the study didn’t hit the bodybuilding community at the time because it didn’t quite have the link yet.

A year later the researchers performed another study measuring this time protein synthesis and published it in Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Mar;282(3):E551-6.. They had the same 3 groups, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and placebo, do resistance excercises. The results were stunning, the control group had 75% higher protein synthesis, compared to the ibuprofen and acetaminophen group. Interesting enough, the study showed that it had no impact on overall protein synthesis, only at the site of the worked muscle. This implies to me that these pain killer drugs interact to block some action that promotes the inflammatory response in muscle building locally.

Since then, studies have also shown the impact of Asprin Biol Chem. 2007 Apr;282(14):10164-71. Epub 2007 Feb 6. on protein synthesis. Therefore it appears the whole class of NSAIDs and Tylenol definitely effect protein syntehsis. One study Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 May;38(5):840-6. went further than measuring protein synthesis. They actually compared muscle growth between rats who took ibuprofen and those who did not, with both groups overloading the muscle. Results showed a 50% drop in muscle growth!

Opiate based pain killers’ effects on Muscle building

Opiates are a stronger groups of pain killers that work via a very different mechanism than the over the counter pain killers. There is no studies that I can find that yet show its impact on muscle growth. However, Loperamide is an opiate pain killer found in the over the counter drug Imodium. Loperamide is used as an anti-diarrhetic drug. Imodium is over the counter because it doesn’t have a effect on the brain on recommended dosages in Imodium. Interesting enough, it has strong anti cortisol properties according to research. Whether or not this effect on blocking cortisol is seen in other opiate pain killers, I do not know, as I can’t find research on cortisol effects and other opiates. There also is no studies on protein synthesis and taking opiates, so even if it does lower cortisol, we don’t know if opiates can effect muscle building by possibly reducing protein synthesis and cancel a possible benefit from reducing cortisol.

How Clenbuterol Burns Fat

Clenbuterol (nicknamed Clen) is sold commercially as brand name Spiropent. Clenbuterol is a beta-2 agonist/antagonist and a bronchodilator. Like ephedrine, they both stimulate beta-2 receptors to cause direct fat loss. Unlike Ephedrine, clen does not stimulate the alpha-2 receptors and the have slighlty different mechanisms of how they act on those receptors and other parts of the body to induce fat loss.

Bodybuilders usually need a “source” to find Clenbuterol as it is not sold in stores or U.S pharmacies. Even though Ephedrine has many similiarities and is quite a good fat burner on itself, there is a couple reasons why Clenbuterol is considered better. The most important reason for bodybuilders using Clenbuterol is you can get more fat burning potential with Clenbuterol with less stimulant side effects. Clenbuterol seems to be more potent, while causing less jitteriness and stimulation of the heart for the same effects compared to ephedrine. The downside to this is the beta-2 receptors in the body also builds a tolerance much quicker with Clenbuterol than with Ephedrine.

Clenbuterol also has a very good nutrient partiotioning effect. In other words while you lose fat, you will maintain more muscle and lose more fat, than if you didn’t use Clenbuterol. All the animal studies I have come across have shown Clenbuterol lowering fat and increasing muscle mass just by giving Clenbuterol to feed cattle, horses, and other animals. A study published in Vet Res Commun. 1993;17(6):459-68 showed that cattle gained 4% muscle mass and lost 40% fat, however 70 days after withdrawal of clenbuterol they had gained the fat back.

Clenbuterol has this potent fat burning and anabolic ability, due to how it causes the body to better utilize fat for energy instead of muscle. Ephedrine probably has similiar benefits, but there is not many studies on it. There is not any human studies on Clenbuterol use in humans, but ancedotal evidence from users supports the idea it has the same benfit in humans.

Effects of Alcohol on Muscle Gains

You see this question constantly by bodybuilders asking if alcohol will effect my muscle gains. Yes, I believe it will have a big effect on your gains.

Negative effects of alcohol on muscle building

The biggest reason why alcohol is one of the worst things you can do for muscle building is because it directly slows down protein synthesis. If protein isn’t being snythesized you can’t build muscle. To make matters worse, protein is always being broken down, its the balance between anabolism(protein sythesis) and catabolism (protein breakdown). New proteins have to be created (synthesized) to replace those destroyed in what is called protein turnover. When there is more protein synthesis than catabolism, you gain muscle. So by slowing down alcohol stopping protein synthesis, it is actually causing muscle loss because proteins are being broken down, but less are replacing them.

According to studies I’ve seen, the protein synthesis drops about 20%. Protein synthesis doesn’t return to normal until the body eliminates alcohol from the blood. Alcohol also is shown in studies to lower testosterone levels. This will also have a significant impact on your ability to gain muscle.

Negative effects of alcohol on fat loss and bulking

Not only is alcohol bad for muscle building, but its bad for losing fat and bulking. Normally your body burns a steady amount of fat in the kreb’s cycle. However, when alcohol is present, your body will prefer to use alcohol instead of fat, which is 7 calories per gram! Alcohol is almost as calorie dense as if you were drinking pure fat. Even during bulking alcohol will lead to excess fat gain. You will gain a lot of excess fat because your body can’t burn any fat. You’re already at a surplus for calories during bulking making you susceptible to some fat gain. Throw alcohol and it’s effect on testosterone and fat burning and you’ll look fat and bloated instead of muscular at the end of your bulk.

Does Smoking Affect Muscle Gains?

A common question among smokers who get into bodybuilding is wondering if smoking has any effect on muscle building. Smokers want to have their cake and eat it too, so they are hoping it doesn’t affect their gains.

I used to smoke and when I first started bodybuilding, so it’s hard for me to know how much of an impact it had since my gains were because I was new to working out. I felt it had a negligible effect. Smoking increases your metabolism making it harder to gain weight for hardgainers, but it doesn’t increase your metabolism that much. You could easily just compensate by eating slightly more calories. If anything, smoking suppresses your appetite a bit. This makes it harder to bulk, and get enough calories to gain weight.

Smoking also effects your blood flow. Blood flow is important for sending nutrients to your muscles and could theoretically effect muscle gains. It also effects your lung capacity, so your more likely to get worn out before a heavy workout set is finished or not be as focused on your form during a set as your gasping for breath. Affecting your workout intensity this way, could also lead to less muscle gains, at least in theory.

Even though smoking does all these negative things, I think it’s impact overall will not be real significant. If you want the best muscle gains possible though, you have to quit smoking. You should quit smoking anyways for your health’s sake.


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