Anabolic steroids are performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) which are generally used by bodybuilders for extreme muscle growth.
Due to their potency & possible health risks most of the compounds on this list cannot be acquired unless you have a prescription from a doctor.
Remember that they are illegal to possess in most countries without this medical prescription.
Of course this doesn’t stop the drugs from being available on the black market.
But you can certainly understand why so many bodybuilders using these drugs but will not disclose their sources or even the fact that they use them.
Partly because of the legal issues there have been very few studies into the benefits and effects of these types of drugs; this means that most conclusions are drawn from anecdotal evidence from users.
However, the short term medical effects of many of these compounds are well established thanks to the treatment of their issues.
This article does not in any way condone the use of such drugs but it does recognize that they are available.
If you’re considering taking anabolic steroids then it is important that you are aware of the facts and can make an informed choice.
Here are 12 of the most commonly used anabolic steroids and performance enhancers:
This drug is usually cycled for a maximum of 8 weeks with a daily dose of between 50 and 100 milligrams.
It is generally referred to as a cheap steroid, taken orally which will help you to bulk up. In fact doctors prescribe it to help patients gain weight after surgery.
It can also be used to combat osteoporosis and hormonal issues. However it does have side effects.
These include puffiness, water retention, man boobs, acne, stomach pains and rapid weight gain. It has also been linked with raised cholesterol levels and an increased risk of stroke.
This oral steroid is often stacked with Winstrol or testosterone to make a great formula for cutting.
It is also commonly regarded as the best one for women as there is the least chance of side effects. It’s best to take between 10 and 50mg a day on an 8 week cycle.
It is often prescribed for weight gain, osteoporosis and to help patients recover from burn injuries. It is one of the most expensive steroids on the market but it is relatively safe.
Side effects consist of high blood pressure and a reduction in good cholesterol. Acne, hair loss and depression can also occur.
This is not generally effective at bulking but it is a good choice for your post cycle therapy (PCT).
In fact it is very good at reducing estrogen levels and therefore reducing gynecomastia (man boobs) and bloating.
This is also exactly what your doctor is likely to prescribe it for! It is also an accepted treatment option for breast cancer.
But, it will lower your good cholesterol levels which indirectly cause high bad cholesterol.
Other side effects include heart issues, tiredness, headaches, joint pain, osteoporosis, depression and high blood pressure.
If you take it you’ll need to cycle it for between 2 to 6 weeks with a maximum of 1mg per day.
The recommended dose of Clenbuterol is 20 to 40 micrograms per day.
In general it is best to use it for just a week and then have two weeks off. This will ensure you don’t build up a tolerance to the substance.
This drug is actually a stimulant and dangerous enough that it has been banned for use on animals. It is used as an anti-asthma medicine and is claimed to unlock fat cells.
This agrees with the experience of bodybuilders who often use it post cycle to help increase lean muscle and boost energy levels.
There have been reports of users ending up in hospital due to high blood pressure and heart problems. It is like drinking 6 Red Bull energy drinks in one go.
This is one of the original steroids that has been in use since the 1970’s.
It needs to be injected and most bodybuilders will take it in conjunction with testosterone to build muscle fast.
It is used by doctors occasionally to help treat anemia, AIDS and even some cancers.
The usual dose is between 200 and 600mg per week for up to 12 weeks.
Side effects include erectile dysfunction, the development of man boobs, acne, bloating and liver problems.
It can also enlarge your prostate, reduce your appetite and cause depression.
If that’s not enough Deca-Durabolin is known to lower your sperm count and increase the risk of liver cancer and heart failure.
This is another of the original steroids from the ’70s and it retains its popularity today.
It is generally cycled for 4 to 6 weeks with a dose of between 30 and 50mg per day.
It is very toxic to the liver but in extreme cases it is prescribed to treat anemia and muscle wastage.
Dianabol will boost your testosterone levels and improve the growth of your muscles; making it an effective way to bulk up.
But, the side effects include water retention, man boobs, infertility, depression and heart problems. That’s alongside the hair loss, increase in acne, shrinking testicles and an inability to sleep!
Take 300 to 400mg per week for between 8 and 12 weeks and you should see a dramatic increase in your appetite and stamina.
This injectable steroid will help you to work out for longer and harder; increasing the rate at which you build muscle.
It is often combined with testosterone to maximize these effects.
However, this drug is made for treating animals. That’s why you’ll see it says “not for human consumption”.
The usual list of side effects applies; acne, hair loss, high blood pressure, man boobs and reduced sexual abilities. In addition your muscles can tear from overuse and you may notice elevated levels of aggression.
8) Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
This is actually an injectable protein which is often used by doctors to treat adults and children with muscle repair or growth issues.
It is also a key ingredient in anti-aging products. Protein is essential for muscle repair and the breaking down of fat to increase energy levels.
This is exactly why bodybuilders don’t generally take it; it promotes lean muscle development not bulking.
People generally take between 2 to 4 IUs a day to help reduce the effects of aging and as much as 10IUs to help with building lean muscle. It doesn’t need to be cycled.
But, there are still some potential side effects. These include nerve and muscle pain, aching joints, tingling skin that can go numb, carpal tunnel syndrome and increased bad cholesterol levels.
It has also been linked with an increased risk of diabetes and cancerous tumors.
It is best to take 25 to 50mg of this a day and it also doesn’t need to be cycled.
It is actually an active form of dihydrotestosterone (DHT); the compound that makes your muscles hard. It has also been linked with preventing the production of estrogen. Both of which are beneficial to men.
In fact this is also what the doctors prescribe proviron for. It is used in post cycle therapy to prevent the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
However it is likely to give you headaches, depression, increased irritability, sexual problems and even fluid retention.
Testosterone is widely known as the male hormone.
It is important for repairing and building muscle and many bodybuilders use this in conjunction with other steroids to create the desired bulking effect.
In fact testosterone by itself is great for cutting; whether you use cypionate, enanthate or propionate; all different types of testosterone.
Synthetic testosterone is commonly used to help boost muscle growth but it can reduce the ability of your own body to produce testosterone; this can lead to a crash when cycling and the need for post cycle therapy.
Recommended doses are 500 to 600mg per week with a cycle of between 10 and 12 weeks.
Trenbolone is taken via injection and is recognized as one of the most powerful of all steroids on the market.
It is approximately 5 times stronger than testosterone. It is advisable to have experience with steroids before using this one.
It is generally used for cutting although it is also effective at bulking.
It does this by reducing the level of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is the stress hormone and levels naturally rise after heavy workouts.
Unfortunately this can actually destroy the muscle gains you’ve made. Trenbolone prevents this from happening.
It also improves your body’s ability to retain nitrogen; which is essential for the process of protein synthesis. In short it will increase the rate at which your muscles recover and grow.
This anabolic steroid needs to be injected every 2 or 3 days. In general 50mg to 100mg every other day is good for cutting while.
The same dose is used to start with when bulking but you can double this if you have experience with Trenbolone.
Potential side effects include man boobs, hair loss, acne, increased rage, increased bad cholesterol, suppression of natural testosterone and the development of tren cough.
Of course erectile issues can also happen and even continue for a year after stopping the drug.
The average cycle for this is as much as 8 weeks on and 4 weeks off.
This is a great all-purpose steroid that can be taken orally or injected.
The generally accepted dose is 10 to 50mg daily depending on tolerance. You’ll need to cycle off it after 6 to 8 weeks.
This can be taken orally but it can also be injected. It will build muscle mass and make your muscles harder but it can also be used to help with cutting.
You’ll often find that people stack it with Anavar and testosterone (usually the propionate type).
This is actually the drug that was made famous in the 1998 Olympics by Ben Johnson. He was a Canadian Sprinter who won but tested positive for Winistrol. It was the start of the ban on steroids in the US.
While this is a great cutting agent it does increase the likelihood of muscle tears which can really hamper your bulking efforts.
Other side effects include dry joints and acne.
You may also suffer from hair loss, an increase in bad cholesterol, sexual problems including erectile dysfunction and poor sperm quality/count. Winstrol has also been linked with causing liver damage and mood swings.
Taking Anabolic Steroids
All of these steroids are taken to help bodybuilders achieve the right physique for competitions or just to look good on the street.
But, they all come with risks and side effects. You’ll need to consider carefully what your goals are and whether these risks are worth taking.
Don’t forget, you also need a prescription or to know the right person in order to get your hands on these substances.
In my opinion unless you want to be a professional bodybuilder, physique competitor or fitness model then there is really no need to take these performance enhancers especially if you are under the age of 40.
I would recommend that those who don’t want to go down the steroid route and who are still looking for an unfair advantage when it comes to muscle & strength check out natural testosterone boosters instead.
You can learn more about what these synthetic compounds do and their long term risks from the National Institute of Drug Abuse website: DrugFacts: Anabolic Steroids