Disclaimer: The following article is for education purposes only and NOT to promote the use of illegal steroids. Click here for steroid alternatives.
Anabolic steroids have been rife in bodybuilding since the 1940’s, when artificial testosterone was first manufactured. Back then steroids were legal and the side effects weren’t well documented. Since then, many new steroids have come on the market, resulting in the biggest bodybuilders the sport has ever seen.
Nowadays, it’s not just competitive bodybuilders taking steroids.
Despite being frowned upon by the general public, millions of guys (and girls) are using AAS, as well as other performance enhancing drugs, simply to look good.
In this article you’ll find out why so many people are using steroids; and the top 5 AAS in bodybuilding TODAY.
How Many Bodybuilders Take Steroids?
In the US, anabolic steroids are a controlled substance and thus illegal to take without a prescription from a doctor. However, this doesn’t stop gym rats from buying steroids through the black market (or sources online).
How many people are taking AAS today? Here’s some stats:
- 54% of competitive bodybuilders
- 90% of professional bodybuilders (1)
- 1 million people in Britain (non-bodybuilders) (2)
- Over 1 million Americans
- 11% of high school boys have tried steroids (3)
As you can see from this data, the amount of steroids used by competitive bodybuilders and non-competitive bodybuilders (those who just go to the gym) is astounding.
Basically, the bigger and more ripped you are the more likely you are to WIN.
…Whether that’s winning an actual competition, getting social media followers, a hot girlfriend or making money.
MR OLYMPIA FREAK SHOW…
It’s pretty obvious that all the Mr Olympia Pros take performance enhancing drugs, including anabolic steroids. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that a 5 ft 9 dude weighing 250lbs at 4% body fat is on a huge cocktail of drugs.
However, steroid-users aren’t as easy to spot away from the Mr Olympia stage, such as the bodybuilder on Mens Health magazine, or that jacked guy who trains at your gym.
People who you wouldn’t suspect, may also be taking steroids. It’s a myth that if you juice, you’ll automatically get into great shape. There are tonnes of guys on the sauce that still skinny because they don’t know what they’re doing. They have awful nutrition, do half-assed workouts; and as a result don’t gain much from their steroid cycle.
Top 5 Steroids in Bodybuilding Today
Now we’ll discuss how each of these steroids are taken, the typical dose, benefits, side effects, and price.
Let’s dive in…
Dianabol (also known as dbol) is a well known and widely used anabolic steroid.
Dbol is arguably the best steroid a bodybuilder can take when it comes to building muscle. It helps users gain a tremendous amount of strength and size.
Bodybuilders take dianabol via injections or oral tablets. One of the reasons it’s popular is because it can be taken orally (not everyone likes the thought of injections…me included!).
The average bodybuilder takes 30-50mg of dbol per day (4), with cycles lasting for 4-6 weeks.
Most beginners will start at a lower dose and build up slowly to a higher dose, thus it’s not advised to start with such a high amount.
Newbies will typically run a 4 week cycle and take a dose of 10-15mg, giving their body a chance to adapt to dianabol.
So, why is dianabol the most popular steroid on the market? (Other than the fact Arnold used it)…
- Increases Testosterone – Dianabol raises your testosterone to exceptionally high levels, which stimulates muscle growth (5).
- Speeds Up Training Recovery – On dianabol your muscles repair quicker in between workouts, due to elevated testosterone levels. As a result, you’re able to train more frequently and with more intensity/volume.
- Improves Protein Synthesis – When you lift heavy weights you damage your muscle tissue. You need to repair the damage by consuming enough protein and having adequate recovery, like ‘rest’ and ‘good nutrition’. Dianabol elevates protein synthesis in the body, shifting your body into a super anabolic (muscle building) state.
Dianabol will make your muscles look huge, round and smooth. This look is what Arnold and others had back in the 70’s and what Calum Von Moger has today.
Dianabol Side Effects
Steroids like dianabol give you amazing gains, but they can also put your short (and long term) health at risk.
Common adverse reactions associated with dianabol include:
- Gyno – when taking Dbol you can develop ‘man boobs’ due to the steroid altering your sex hormones.
- Water Retention – Dbol can cause bloating, as well as intracellular and extracellular fluid retention.
- Damaged Liver – When dianabol is taken orally, it’s a very potent steroid and can create a toxic environment in the liver, potentially causing long term damage.
- High Blood Pressure – Steroids such as dbol can make your blood more viscous (thick), thus making it more difficult to flow optimally. As a result blood pressure can rise.
To buy Dianabol you’re looking at paying $50 for 100 x 10mg tablets. This will last the average bodybuilder 20-30 days.
Our bodies naturally produce testosterone, a hormone which plays a key role in strength and building muscle mass. Whilst our bodies naturally produce testosterone, lots of guys take exogenous testosterone in the form of steroids, to speed up the muscle building process.
Testosterone can be taken orally or injected. In bodybuilding it’s commonly injected into the shoulder, thigh, or butt muscles.
Athletes and bodybuilders may inject 500mg of test per week. This is done either with 2 injections per week (2x 250mg dosages) or through more frequent doses (every other day) at 100-150mg.
How often you need to swallow a pill or inject will depend on the type of testosterone you take. Testosterone with shorter esters will require more frequent dosing. Testosterone with longer esters stays longer in your system so you can space out your dosing.
For example, testosterone cypionate has long esters, so you can get away with injecting 1-2 times per week. However, testosterone propionate contains short esters, thus requiring daily doses (6).
Testosterone’s benefits are similar to dianabol’s, but a little weaker in comparison.
- Improved Strength – there’s no doubt that testosterone will increase overall muscle strength – helping you hit new PRs in the gym, stimulating more muscle growth.
- Fat Loss – not many people appreciate the fat burning effects of testosterone. Test is great at encouraging the body to use already stored fat for energy.
- More Muscle – Recovery and protein synthesis are improved whilst taking testosterone – leading to more lean muscle mass.
Testosterone will make you look big and hard (as opposed to smooth like dbol).
Testosterone Side Effects
The side effects of Testosterone include:
- Alters Hormonal Balance – when taking high does of testosterone it will increase hormones in your body, like estrogen, which can lead to gyno (male boobs). High estrogen levels can also effect other things such as, energy levels, libido and mood.
- Irritability – it’s common for users to report feeling more frustrated or angry than usual. This is a sign of significantly higher testosterone levels.
- High Blood Pressure – the higher your testosterone levels are, the higher your LDL cholesterol levels will be. Bad cholesterol ratios = spike in blood pressure.
The best form of test, being Sustanon 250, can cost roughly $50 for 4 weeks worth of injections (7).
Anavar is a popular oral steroid, due to it being one of the safest AAS you can take (due to its low toxicity). It works by improving/retaining muscle mass and lowering body fat during a cut.
Anavar is primarily a fat burning steroid, however it’s normal for users’ strength levels to go through the roof. The reason it’s so effective for building strength is due to it being a DHT based steroid (a powerful androgenic hormone).
How Do Bodybuilders Take Anavar?
Anavar is commonly taken by bodybuilders in oral form. Because it’s easy to take (no injections) and it’s less toxic than other AAS, it’s especially popular amongst newbies and women.
The maximum dose of Anavar that can be safely consumed in a day is 100mg – and that’s only for advanced users who are used to taking the drug and have built up their tolerance over time.
For beginners and intermediates a lesser dose is taken, typically between 30-50mg per day, which may be slowly increased each week depending on an individuals tolerance.
- Increased Strength – Some people say anavar is amazing for strength, others say they don’t notice much difference. Most seem to agree that it does at least maintain a good level of strength (especially during a fat loss phase), when strength usually suffers due to lower calories.
- Vascularity – Anavar creates a dry and veiny/vascular look, especially when the cutting steroid is combined with a calorie deficit and is cycled for a prolonged period of time.
Anavar will make you look dry, full and vascular, making it a very aesthetically pleasing steroid.
Anavar Side Effects
- Acne – Like with lots of steroids when you cycle anavar it can make your skin worse, especially in individuals who are already prone to oily skin/acne.
- Hair Loss – if you have the gene of male pattern baldness, taking anavar may speed up your hair loss.
- Altered Sex Drive – users may experience a higher sex drive initially, however they’re likely to report a lower sex drive once their cycle has finished.
Anavar is typically very expensive to get hold of as there’s a huge demand for it, with it being seen as a ‘safe steroid’.
…Even though that’s not strictly true, as no steroid is safe.
Also very few pharmaceutical companies manufacture it, so they’re able to charge a high price due to low competition.
The cost of your anavar cycle depends on how much you take. For example running anavar at 100mg a day will cost double compared to taking a moderate dose of 50mg.
A 10 week cycle of REAL anavar (at 50mg a day) can cost as much as $850 (8).
Thus 4 weeks of anavar can cost around $400.
If someone is offering you anavar for a much cheaper price than this, the chances are it’s not anavar.
Winstrol (or stanozolol) is a popular anabolic steroid in bodybuilding, often used for cutting purposes.
Winny’s taken by bodybuilders looking to get lean, because it has strong fat burning properties and will help retain muscle tissue. Both of these qualities are super important when trying to get shredded for a competition.
How Do Bodybuilders Take Winstrol?
Like with lots of steroids, you can either take winstrol orally or inject it. Both come with different risks – tablets are more taxing on the liver, whilst injections are potentially lethal if not performed by a doctor.
Injections are directed into the thigh, upper arm or butt – the benefit to this is that it goes straight into your blood stream rather than having to pass through the liver. As a result, injections usually result in more gains, but also pose more side effects.
Those taking the winstrol orally typically take a dose of 40-80mg per day. Dosages for injections are usually 50-100mg per day. A cycle will usually last for anything between 4-6 weeks. Like with all steroids we’ve mentioned so far, beginners are advised to start on a lower dose and only increase over time.
The benefits of Winstrol include:
- No Water Retention – lots of anabolic steroids cause water retention, however winstrol is one of the exceptions. When trying to get lean, holding onto water is the opposite of what a bodybuilder is trying to achieve. Winstrol is thus a popular option for bodybuilders when prepping for a show, as they can flush out excess water and increase muscle definition.
- Fat Loss – Winstrol is one of the best steroids for fat loss. Fast weight loss can be experienced on winny, due to it expelling water out of the body and burning fat stores at the same time.
- Builds Muscle – Muscle gains are usually modest on winstrol, but building any muscle whilst cutting is rare and thus is a great benefit.
- Improved Performance – Bodybuilders report having more strength and alertness during workouts. Winstrol also improves the body’s production of red blood cells. This means your muscles can work harder and for longer periods of time; a real benefit to bodybuilders looking to increase training volume and improve overall intensity during their workouts.
Winstrol will make you look dry, shredded and vascular (like anavar) – but also flat and depleted.
Winstrol Side Effects
- Poor Sleep
- Joint pain
100 x 25mg tablets can cost $80-$100. So with a standard dose of 50mg a day, this will last you 50 days.
Thus costing roughly $40-$50 a month.
Tren is 5x more anabolic then testosterone and is an extremely powerful androgenic steroid. Tren (it’s street name) is often taken by bodybuilders who are looking to bulk up and slap on serious muscle mass over a short space of time. On a bulking cycle, the average trenbolone user can gain up to 20 lbs of solid muscle in just 1 month.
How do bodybuilders take Tren?
Can be taken orally or injected.
Dosages differ depending on the athlete and their experience. Beginners may take 50mg every other day. The maximum dosage is 100mg every other day.
- Increase in Strength – Tren will increase your strength in all major lifts, such as the deadlift, squat, bench press, row, military press and more.
- More Muscle Mass – due to the increased strength this will also lead to more muscle mass. Tren also improves protein synthesis and sends your testosterone levels into orbit; meaning your muscles will repair quicker and grow bigger.
- Improved Endurance – When you have more oxygen flow around your body, you can push yourself for much longer – increasing endurance and stamina to new levels.
- Fat Loss – Trenbolone can also be used for cutting, as it enhances fat loss. However, it’s ability to pack on muscle is superior to its fat burning properties.
Trenbolone will blow up your whole body (especially your delts and traps), plus making you look insanely dry and vascular.
Trenbolone Side Effects
- High blood pressure
- Kidney and Liver Dysfunction
- Excessive Sweating
- Thyroid Issues
Bodybuilders (and every day people) are using steroids more than ever before.
The 5 steroids listed in this article are the most popular roids in bodybuilding right now – but there’s still a lot more AAS being exchanged on the black market, including:
- Deca Durabolin
Then there’s other PEDs often stacked alongside these steroids such as:
- Human growth hormone
Note: IS possible to build a great physique without steroids. There are plenty of natural bodybuilders who have great genetics, or have worked hard over a number of years to get jacked.
However it’s seemingly impossible to compete in some competitions, such as the Mr Olympia, without anabolic support.
It’s also safe to assume that pro bodybuilders are taking higher doses of steroids compared to previous eras, which is illustrated by more mass, enlarged organs and protruding ‘steroid guts’.