What Goes Unsaid


If you Google every major bodybuilding routine under the sun, you will have a ton of information to weed through, and a ton of programs to digest. But in this mountain of information, there is one aspect of training that is rarely talked about…


Yes, steroids. It is very rare to find a bodybuilding routine that discusses the impact of steroids on the design and outcome of the program. I know this sounds ridiculous on the surface – and counter-intuitive – but it’s true.

Steroids impact how long you can train, how hard you can train, how often you can train, how you recover from training, and how your body responds to what you eat.

In a nutshell…steroids impact every aspect of training.

So, with these fact strongly in hand, why are steroids and program design rarely ever talked about in the same sentence? Well, I hate to generalize, but here are some possible reasons…

1) Most uber athletes want you to look up to them. They want to have the answers, and the guidance, to keep you following their advice. And, if they are a pro with magazine and supplement contracts, it is their job to promote themselves. So, if you eat just like Joe Pro, and train just like Joe Pro, surely you will grow like Joe Pro! Nope. Joe Pro forgot to talk about the impact that steroids had upon his program design.

But even non-professional uber advisers want you to lock-step behind them. They want to be right, generally so you will buy something. Bring steroids into this equation, and skinny you doesn’t need their advice so desperately. A skinny bodybuilder always needs a guru. A steroid-user can grow despite the program. So, if roids aren’t talked about, how can you know if they play a key role in the routine’s effectiveness? You can’t. You won’t.

There has to be some reason that Joe Guru won’t reveal all of his secrets. I’ll let you figure that you for yourself.

2) Most media sources only contain athletes who are juicing. The main bodybuilding media sources feature the brutes…the biggest and the baddest lifters. They sell advertising based on these beasts. Heck, everything that the major lifting media thrives upon revolves around drug use. These media sources want you to be like Joe Pro, so you will hunger after their magazines, websites and products. Of course, they fail to mention that without steroids, you will never come close to Joe Pro. So…bottom line…the bodybuilding media likes to leave out steroid discussions because they upset the apple cart.

3) Supplements drive the bus. The bodybuilding industry exists only because of supplement revenue. It lives on supplements, thrives on supplement sales, and cannot – for a moment – let you believe that you can’t achieve an uber physique without them. So…hush, hush is the word when it comes to steroids. As long as you feel inadequate, or like a failure, you are more likely to spend hard earned cash on useless potions and monkey spit.

Please understand, I am not attacking all supplements, nor am I attacking most supplements. Most supplements have some value, and a select few are nearly invaluable. But what I am saying is this: the bodybuilding industry needs you to rely wholeheartedly on supplements, and would prefer to minimize the talk of steroids to keep you more reliant on their products.

4) Without roids, most routines are fairly equal. Not all routines, but most routines. There are some bodybuilding routines – obviously – that are better for most lifters than others. (Notice I didn’t say all – no generalizations here) That, my friends, is why there are a million routines that seem to work, so far apart on the spectrum from one another that it borders on the ridiculous. When steroids are brought into the routine equation, they level the playing field between routines, and deflate the importance of said routine being pushed or peddled.

You’ve probably noticed that there are near endless amounts of bodybuilding techniques, systems, and intensity builders. Most of these bodybuilding tricks exist for the intermediate to advanced lifter; the type of seasoned lifter who is scratching for every last pound of muscle he or she can get. The creators and proponents of these techniques want you more focused on their methods than they do on steroids. Again, with steroids in the conversation, the importance of these techniques is minimized for beginning to intermediate lifters.


So what do you do now? What do you do armed with the fact that most programs are designed, implemented and analyzed by steroids users? Where does that leave the natural athlete?

It puts you in the position to take everything with a grain of salt, and forces you to find what works best for you.

You can’t ignore every routine under the sun, and it is foolish to do so. There is a ton of valuable information contained within them. But what you need to do is tone down the routine and fit it for a 45-minute to 60-minute workout.

You also need to be aware of two other factors: overtraining and injury.

Few natural athletes can hit the gym and do 30 sets without risk of overtraining and/or injury. Youth might forgive some of these sins, but not forever.

Train smart. Eat clean food. Try to progress on reps and poundages. And realize that muscle gains for natural lifters are finite. You can still have a great physique, but don’t spend the rest of your life following the advice of a steroid user in hopes that it will turn you into the natural Jay Cutler.

That will never happen.

Steve Shaw
Steve Shaw is the primary content manager for Muscle and Brawn. Questions? Please visit the forum.
  • Steve Shaw | Muscle and Brawn. Jun 11,2009 at 12:25 pm

    […] –What Goes Unsaid […]

  • Muscle and Brawn May 24,2009 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks for the comment Joe.

    Regarding your point…absolutely true. The problem with being a new lifter is that by the time you figure out what works for you, you’ve already taken huge steps forward to reaching your maximum potential 🙂

  • Joe Santus May 24,2009 at 2:47 pm

    Keep telling it like it is, Steve.
    I began weight training in1971 at age 15 1/2. The dishonesty-and-hype was flourishing then, too — always has in the fitness field — but has worsened as more people have entered the muscle-marketing industry. Marketeers will sweetly promise you anything you want to hear in order to get their hands in your wallet.

    Regarding point #4….nearly every routine works, given enough time and effort. The only difference in the long term is that some routines might get you to your maximimum genetic potential quicker. In the long run, though, even if you happen to be using a program not quite as effective as another, it won’t matter — in ten years, any one will have maxxed to his genetics as long as he trains hard on the program he’s using and eats right.

  • […] What Goes Unsaid […]

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