Ask the Expert: Episode 1
When is the right time to consider your first steroid cycle? Many people start within months of visiting a gym. Should things like age, years of training, etc, be considered?
This is a very personal decision. For some people, there is never a ‘right time’. And though I can’t really give a specific age, I can give you a few pointers.
Our endocrine system is not fully developed until we are 24 years old, so any hormone disruption prior to this age is going to increase the risk of potential complications in this area. Having said that, the big danger zone is puberty. You definitely don’t want any exogenous hormones prior or during this period. The closer you get to 24, the lower the risks. Most people tend to start around 19-21 years of age and, though not ideal, problems appear to be minimal.
Now, regarding the training experience, this is where a lot jump the gun. If you’ve been training for 3 months, you are not ready for steroids. You have no real experience with dieting or training, and you definitely haven’t learned how to achieve the best response from your body. It would be like getting in a race car right after passing your test. You do not have the experience and knowledge to get the best out of it.
Try different training techniques, train with more experienced lifters, and even pay for sessions with various coaches to broaden your knowledge base and experiment with what works best for you. If you can’t feel a muscle working, then you really haven’t developed your training enough. Also, diet steroids don’t make you grow: food does. If you do not eat correctly, then you won’t make the best of the drugs. What’s more, an unhealthy diet is particularly damaging whilst on steroids due to the negative impact it has on your cholesterol levels.
It’s a triangle that includes food, training, and drugs.
If you don’t stimulate growth through training, no amount of drugs or food is going to help. If you don’t eat quality food, then again you are not going to have the basic building materials for growth. Now, increasing drugs will cover the holes in your diet and training, but only to a certain degree, and it surely makes more sense to use the minimal amount of potentially harmful drugs to achieve your goals. The longer you spend naturally tuning your diet and training, the better response you’ll have when you go on steroids.
Do you feel the media makes a bigger deal out of steroids than they really are? Are they as dangerous as portrayed?
Yes, the media does sensationalise the harms, but that’s not to say that steroids come without risks. They are potentially harmful and there is a long list of bodybuilders who would still be here if they hadn’t taken steroids. Can they lead to your death? Yes, most definitely. Fertility issues are one of the biggest problems we see in the modern user. Users permanently shut down their natural production. I do not feel time off is an option.
I feel it’s actually a necessity. If you drop loads of size when you come off, then it’s water. Or you’re doing it wrong. You need to educate yourself and you need to get blood works done pre, during, and post cycle. Also, you need to stop taking other drugs and minimize alcohol consumption. One poison in your body is bad enough without adding 2 or 3 more.
The media tends to focus on the worst case scenario, but you’ve got to remember that the respective case did happen.
On the bodybuilding forums most users are strongly against oral only cycles. Do you think these are pointless or is there a place for this? Is it ok maybe for a total beginner to learn and gain some experience? Or for someone who has a fear of needles?
Oral only cycles are far from useless and, for many, they represent their first experience with steroids. They are convenient, easy to store and – sometimes – hide. They obviously don’t require the use of a needle (which a lot of people struggle with). They are, however, also extremely stressful on the liver. In general, it is advisable to stick to 6-8 week cycles. But, again, a lot depends on your lifestyle and how health conscious you are in other areas. This is also why blood tests are important, as they allow you to track liver function/stress.
I am about to start a Test Enanthate only cycle. This will be my first every cycle. I am wondering if you would advise me to use HCG. If so, how should I take this? During or after the cycle? I will be using clomid and nolva for my PCT.
You have 2 choices: you can run HCG throughout your cycle at a low dose of 250-500iu twice a week, or as a blast post cycle. HCG restores the testicular mass. When you go on cycle, your balls stop working and, as a result, they shrink. When you try and turn everything back on post cycle, your balls are too small to produce enough testosterone.
If you run HCG throughout, they will maintain their testicular mass throughout the cycle. If you run HCG post as a blast, then they restore it. So it’s really just down to personal choice. But it definitely should be part of your PCT.
I have found some old tren that is a year over its use by date. Is it ok to use?
Most lab dates are made up, so they aren’t a brilliant indicator. However, over time, the hormone degrades and so can the carrier oil, depending on how it has been stored. So it is advisable to replace it.
Thanks for the answers Dave. If you have any questions that you would like to put to Dave please forward them and we will do our best to have them answered.