anabolic steroids overview for beginners

Anabolic Steroids, an Overview For Beginners


Anabolic steroids are basically synthetic versions of testosterone, the male sex hormone that is responsible for developing and maintaining male sex characteristics and functions such as muscle growth, libido, facial hair, and more. In a nutshell, anabolic steroids are used to produce the same or similar effects that testosterone produces in the body. 

From a medical perspective, anabolic hormones are used to treat conditions brought about by a lack of testosterone, such as anemia, delayed puberty, muscle loss, and more. However, these substances are also commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes looking to improve muscle development and athletic performance. 

anabolic steroids can be injected

Anabolic steroids can be injected, taken orally, or applied as a topical cream. Of course, each of these methods of using anabolic steroids come with advantages and disadvantages. For instance, one benefit of oral anabolic steroids is that they’re more convenient. On the other hand, injectable anabolic steroids don’t pass the liver and are therefore less stressful to it. Not all oral steroids are stressful to the liver, however — anavar and testosterone undecanoate, for instance, don’t stress the liver, because while the former uses the kidney to help the liver process oxandrolone, the latter gets absorbed by the lymphatic system and  bypasses the liver completely. 

One important thing to note is that while anabolic steroids can produce positive effects on the body, they also carry a slew of health risks, which we’ll discuss below.

Testosterone Cycle

testosterone cycle

Testosterone is perhaps the most popular form of anabolic steroid. Indeed, it’s the parent hormone of all exogenous steroids in that it forms the base from which all anabolic-androgenic steroids are derived. 

Testosterone is mainly prescribed for men who suffer from hypogonadism, a condition where the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone. Oral testosterone undecanoate, in particular, has been proven to be effective in treating hypogonadism, and another good thing about it is that it has a safety profile that is as high as other testosterone formulations, if not higher. 

Beginners looking to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance can undoubtedly achieve these goals by using testosterone, but it’s important to be aware of the risks, especially when mixing testosterone with other compounds to form a stack.

How the Body Responds to Testosterone

When used in the right doses, testosterone can proffer a multitude of benefits, including:

1. A Healthy Heart

By increasing red blood cell production, testosterone helps provide your muscles and tissues get the proper oxygen it needs. Oxygen, after all, is the body’s primary source of fuel, and a well-oxygenated body improves athletic performance in more ways than one. Indeed, some studies show that people who’ve just taken testosterone therapy improved their walking distance by as much as 30%. 

Of course, too much testosterone in the body can lead to a variety of troubling health conditions too, such as erectile dysfunction, aggression and irritability, and elevated cholesterol levels. 

2. Less Fat

It’s clear from decades of research that testosterone increases muscle mass and cuts fat. We also know that testosterone deficient men gain weight faster than men with normal testosterone levels. This is because of testosterone’s muscle building effects. Muscle, after all, burns more calories than fat can, so more muscle in the body therefore decreases the body’s ability to store calories as fat.

3. Increased Bone Density

Bone density and age are correlated, in that the older one gets, the less dense their bones become. Many studies have shown that testosterone, in the right doses, has a positive effect on bone density. In fact, testosterone is also often used to treat bone density problems brought about by a lack of testosterone in the body. One can therefore expect an improvement in bone mineral and density after using testosterone so long as the hormone is taken in the right doses.

Related Post:  What You Need to Know About Steroid Injections

4. Improve Mood and Libido

Men with higher testosterone levels have always been observed to have increased libido compared to those who can be said to be testosterone deficient. Not only that, it’s also been observed that low testosterone levels are correlated with symptoms of depression, fatigue, and with an overall lower quality of life. This isn’t all to say that the more testosterone in the body, the better mood and libido will be, because it is known that too much testosterone can produce detrimental effects on health, but definitely, a lack of testosterone production can and will result in a decrease in mood and libido. Indeed, someone on a testosterone cycle, and who isn’t prone to abusing the hormone, can expect an improvement in both mood and libido, at least in the short term.

Recommended PCT After a Testosterone Cycle

proper post cycle therapy

It’s always recommended for users to go through post cycle therapy after every steroid cycle. A proper PCT will get you back in shape and get natural testosterone production levels back on track. 

The reason why you need to go through PCT after every cycle is because your body can be expected to shut down natural testosterone production while on a cycle. After all, it’s been getting testosterone — or in this case, synthetic testosterone — exogenously, and to try to balance testosterone levels in your body out, it shuts down (or decreases) natural testosterone production. Unfortunately, natural testosterone production will remain decreased (or totally shut down) at the end of your cycle, which will result in your body not getting enough of the hormone. Symptoms of low testosterone after a cycle include fatigue, decreased muscle mass, increased fat, and more. Clearly, this won’t be good for your health, your gains, and will be one of the worst phases of anyone’s bodybuilding journey. This is why a PCT is needed to get your body back to producing testosterone in the quantities that your body needs. 

A good PCT should get your natural testosterone production up and running in just a few weeks. For heavy anabolic steroid users, however, this could take longer. Naturally, the faster you are able to get back to normal, the better, and a proper post cycle therapy is one that gets you back to normal in the safest and most efficient way possible.

Some of the medications used during PCT include selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) such as Clomid and Nolvadex. Both these drugs are known to be effective at fighting off the negative effects of low testosterone, and at assisting the body to eventually get normal testosterone production back on track. 

Clomid basically induces the body to ramp up testosterone production by blocking estrogen from interacting with the pituitary gland. It’s become a very popular drug to include in a PCT because of this.

Your dose may vary, but a typical Clomid PCT dosage will be 50mg per day for the first two weeks, and 25mg per day for the succeeding two (week 3 and 4). 

Nolvadex is another drug that’s useful to include in any PCT, and it pretty much works like Clomid, in that it reduces the ability of estrogen to interact with the pituitary gland, effectively ramping up natural testosterone production in the body. A typical Nolvadex PCT dosage will be 40mg per day for the first 2 to 3 weeks, followed by a lower dose of 20mg per day for the following 2 weeks. Some users prefer Nolvadex over Clomid because the former is less harsh. Both drugs carry side effects, however, which range from headaches to mood swings. 

Related Post:  Learning More About Three Of The Best Injectable Steroids: Sample Cycles Worth Considering

Testosterone Enanthate

Testosterone enanthate, also referred to as testosterone heptanoate, is another anabolic that’s often prescribed for treating conditions caused by a lack of testosterone. Like normal testosterone, it is both anabolic and androgenic, meaning it produces both muscle building and masculinization effects on the body. It’s been a popular drug since the ’50s, and is typically not available to purchase over-the-counter. 

Like other testosterone formulations, testosterone enanthate is also used as a testosterone replacement therapy for sufferers of hypogonadism, delayed puberty, and other medical conditions. 

Bodybuilders and athletes looking to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance have been using testosterone enanthate for decades. Interestingly enough, it is also sometimes used as an anti-aging therapy, with mixed results. 

In terms of bodybuilding, the effects of testosterone enanthate is wholly dependent on the amount that is taken. Naturally, higher doses will give better results from a bodybuilding perspective, but it will also carry more risks. Among the effects of testosterone enanthate include better joint mobility, increased muscle mass, enhanced libido, and increased fat burning. 

Because of testosterone enanthate’s high androgenic rating — i.e., its increased potential for virilizing — it is not recommended for women, or it can be said to be not a “female friendly” anabolic steroid in the way that, say, Anavar is. Unless a female looking to increase muscle mass and improve athletic performance doesn’t mind developing male-like characteristics such as a deep voice, facial hair, or a squared jaw, they will need to avoid using testosterone enanthate, or at least use it in much lower doses and shorter cycle lengths. 

Boldenone Steroid

Boldenone steroid, also known as Equipoise, is another synthetic version of testosterone. In fact, its molecular structure is very similar to testosterone, with only a few key differences. Interestingly enough, it was originally synthesized to be used in animals, but has become a popular performance enhancing drug in recent years. Indeed, many athletes have been caught using boldenone, and the reason it’s such a popular choice is because it is so effective, despite being easy to detect in the bloodstream. Indeed, boldenone can be detected in the blood months after it was taken, making it one of the worst steroids that can be taken by professional athletes looking to beat a drug test.

Unlike other forms of testosterone, boldenone isn’t approved for therapeutic purposes in humans, and isn’t prescribed to treat any medical condition — it’s only used nowadays as a veterinary medicine or for cosmetic purposes. 

Remember what we said about boldenone’s molecular structure and how it’s only slightly different to testosterone’s? Well, that small difference allows boldenone to retain testosterone’s effectiveness as an anabolic while being less androgenic. This makes it better for women who want to bulk up and avoid developing male-like changes in the body. That being said, it still is an androgenic, and virilization will still occur in higher doses.

Nandrolone Decanoate

Nandrolone decanoate, also referred to as Deca Durabolin, is a popular anabolic steroid used by bodybuilders and those looking to enhance athletic performance during what’s called an “off-season cycle.” This is the time when bodybuilders gain more than 90% of their bulk. 

Nandrolone was originally used to treat muscle-wasting conditions such as cachexia and anemia, as well as the muscle wasting effects of advanced HIV/AIDS. The compound increased in popularity in the ’70s among bodybuilders because of its incredible muscle building capability. 

Related Post:  An in-depth analysis of the advantages and drawbacks of oral and injectable steroids is provided.

Indeed, nandrolone is so effective at building muscle that significant gains can be expected after a few weeks of use, and it’s been rumored that it was the compound of choice of Arnold Schwarzenegger himself during his elite bodybuilding days. While it may not be as potent as some of the other ‘strong’ anabolic-androgenic steroids like trenbolone and dianabol, it’s become the preferred anabolic steroid for many because of its higher safety profile. 

Unfortunately, nandrolone isn’t without its side effects. Among its side effects are high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure, both of which can lead to a variety of cardiovascular diseases. This being said, it’s still considered by many to be more cardiovascular-friendly than other anabolic-androgenic steroids. 

Another side effect of nandrolone is what’s called “deca dick” — which is basically, a decrease in sexual function while on the compound. The reason nandrolone causes this condition is because nandrolone reduces vascular nitric oxide in the body, which is what the body uses to supply blood to the penis. Indeed, misuse of nandrolone has been reported to cause erectile dysfunction.

Not only that, nandrolone also increases prolactin levels in the body, which impairs libido, and reduces the ability for sexual arousal. A decreased libido and an increased risk for erectile dysfunction is definitely not something anyone in his right mind would want. 

Fortunately, these emasculating side effects can be avoided by stacking nandrolone with a powerful androgenic such as anadrol or trenbolone. 


Dianabol is another popular steroid among bodybuilders and athletes. Also known as Methandrostenolone, this compound simultaneously increases muscle mass while burning fat. 

It’s available in pill form and is therefore more convenient to use compared to other anabolic steroids. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why it’s preferred by many. For many users, gains are immediate, and will typically be noticeable in the first few weeks of using. In fact, dianabol is so fast-acting that it’s what bodybuilders turn to when they want gains in the shortest amount of time. 

Of course, just like other anabolic steroids, dianabol isn’t without risks. Among the side effects of prolonged dianabol use are liver damage, kidney failure, and other cardiovascular diseases. Not only that, dianabol significantly increases the amount of hormones in your body, and over time, this can lead to a variety of hormone-related diseases, including but not limited to liver and prostate cancer.

The Bottomline

This article is by no means a comprehensive take on the various anabolic steroids available. Certainly, we’ve left out quite a few that are easy to recommend. Anavar, for instance, is a great anabolic steroid that has a high safety profile and is considered “female friendly” in the bodybuilding community. The same can be said for primobolan and winstrol. We may discuss those in a later post. For now, however, it’s important to note that not every compound we discussed above will suit your specific body and needs. It’s always best to consult with an expert, or someone who has experience with anabolic steroids, before beginning a cycle. Many of the compounds above — actually, all of the compounds above — are guaranteed to give you significant gains. Some of them will even give you gains in the first few weeks. That’s how effective they are. However, you’ll also have to pay attention to the side effects, and take precautionary measures to either mitigate them, or avoid them completely.

Leave a Reply