If you’re serious about bodybuilding, or simply want to crank up your results, there may come a time when you consider supplementing your training regime.
Anabolic steroids have been around for more than half a century and offer the perfect way of getting more ripped, adding bulk or even changing your overall shape. But if you’re new to using steroids, it’s important to properly research what to take. You might be impatient to get the best results in the fastest time, but if you go for the heavy stuff before you understand how your body reacts, the consequences could be really unpleasant.
If you’re a complete beginner to using steroids, the biggest challenge is learning about how your body responds and what side effects you are prone to. Everyone is different and every drug will have a range of possible effects; just because one steroid worked well for your buddy doesn’t mean it will be right for you.
Before we go on to look at beginner steroid cycles in more detail, it’s worth emphasizing that unless you have a good diet and proper training regime, you’re wasting your time. Many steroids will provide only limited or in some cases practically no results, unless you’ve already got the basics right. A good rule of thumb is making sure that at least 30% of your calories come from lean protein, and you’ve cut out alcohol. Steroids can take their toll, both physically and financially, so unless you’re really committed to getting everything right it’s simply not worth the effort.
There’s a great range of side effects which could be experienced from taking anabolic steroids, and contrary to popular belief, not all steroids are the same.
There’s different types of anabolic steroids, and some are particularly androgenic while others aromatize in response to rising estrogen levels.
Until you start a steroid cycle you won’t know what side effects you will be prone to and how badly you will be affected. Some people are just naturally more susceptible than others.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to choose a steroid with a relatively short half life. Therefore, if you are adversely affected, you won’t have to wait too long until it’s out of your system.
In some cases, side effects occur because the dosage is too high, and by stacking different types of steroids in lower doses, the results can be gained without the unpleasant effects.
Androgenic side effects are one of the most common groups of problems and can cause oily skin and acne, as well as aggressiveness. Although in theory anyone can be affected by these, if you suffered from acne as a teenager you’re more likely to suffer a recurrence while using steroids than someone who has never experienced it.
Male pattern baldness is another side effect that many steroid users are wary of, but unless you already have the genetic disposition, you won’t be affected. If you do have the gene, anabolic steroids can accelerate the process. In some cases, supplementary drugs such as finasteride can counteract this action but they won’t work for all types of steroids.
Some steroids convert to estrogen very easily; these are known as aromatizing drugs. As the estrogen levels rise, side effects such as bloating, fat retention and gynecomastia can occur. There are ways to counteract this: either by creating competition for the actions of the receptors, thereby blocking the effects or by reducing the amount of estrogen which the steroid converts to. Drugs such as Nolvadex carry out the first type of action while anti-aromatizing drugs (AIs) such as Anastrozole and Proviron do the latter.
Route of administration
Steroids generally are available in two forms: injectable and oral compounds. There is a myth that injectable forms are only for the more experienced users and those new to steroids often prefer to stick to oral drugs only.
Although taking an oral steroid is undoubtedly much easier, it seriously limits the options available and also has an effect on the overall cycle and duration. This is because oral compounds tend to be more toxic than injectable forms, especially to the liver.
It may seem daunting at first, but injecting can actually be a better option for beginners. However, it is vital to get the technique right to avoid infection and pain at the puncture site. If you know someone who uses injectable steroids, getting them to show you how to do it can be a huge help.
Which is the best steroid cycle for beginners?
If you’re making the leap to using anabolic steroids, you may well be tempted to opt for the drug which promises the greatest returns. However, before you choose it’s vital to do your research, including the side effects of the drug and the length of the half life. The importance of this latter point cannot be overstated. In some cases, steroids can produce very undesirable effects and if you’ve picked a drug with a half life of a week or two, it’s going to be a very uncomfortable time.
What you choose depends on what you’re trying to achieve, but below are a few drugs which often work well for beginners, delivering results while still being tolerable:
One of the reasons that Dianabol is so popular with steroid newbies is that it’s extremely effective in building up mass quickly. It’s also an oral compound (avoiding the technicalities with injections) and runs in a short cycle, just 6 weeks.
It’s not possible to run Dbol for longer than this because of its potentially toxic effects. It can also cause androgenic and estrogenic side effects so it’s best used in a stack with compounds such as cardarine (to increase hardness, reduce fat and improve cardio tolerance) and an AI such as Aromasin (to lower the amount of estrogen and the resulting effects). These compounds combined make up the best steroid stack with Dianabol.
Dbol has an extremely short half life of just a few hours, so it’s usually taken 3-4 times per day. This makes it ideally suited to beginners because if there’s a bad reaction it won’t take long to clear the system.
Also, because it’s such a potent bulking agent, great results can be seen at just 20-30mg per day. Experienced users might opt to ramp up the dose but keeping it low minimizes the chance of side effects, which is helpful for those just starting out.
One of the most widely used anabolic steroids, testosterone is available in three different forms: enanthate, cypionate and propionate. These variations are known as esters and are used to influence the speed at which the testosterone is released into the body.
Testosterone is often recommended as the best steroid for beginners because despite being a powerful drug, it is very well tolerated by the body. Users will experience both an increase in strength and muscle during testosterone use but estrogenic side effects are common. Running Nolvadex alongside the testosterone can really help with this.
Testosterone can also be combined with other suitable steroids to create a beginner steroid stack which minimizes side effects by keeping the relative doses low, but delivers on results.
Note: although the propionate is the shortest acting ester, it is also the most painful to inject. This means it may not be the most advisable option for novices.
The gains made with Winstrol won’t be as spectacular but unlike Dbol and testosterone, Winstrol is not estrogenic so bloating and gynecomastia won’t be an issue. And without the bloating or water retention that estrogen causes, the gains made from this particular steroid will provide a lean and ripped appearance.
A very similar compound to testosterone, nandrolone has all of the benefits yet exhibits fewer aromatizing and androgenic effects. It can however produce progestin side effects. These can be controlled with the use of an aromatase inhibitor (Arimidex for example).
For anyone who competes, it’s worth knowing that this drug will remain traceable in the body for many months, long after its active life, so it may not be the right choice.
Any anabolic steroid, regardless of the dose, will suppress the natural production of testosterone to some degree. During this time testicles may shrink but this worrying side effect is completely reversible providing cycle lengths are not exceeded and PCT is carried out.
PCT helps support the body and stimulates it into producing more testosterone, helping natural production to return much more quickly. It is considered a vital part of the process for steroid users from complete beginners right up the most advanced pros.
Beginner steroid cycle examples
The number of steroid cycles which are possible even for beginners are almost infinite, and the drug you choose depends on what you’re trying to achieve. But here’s a couple of sample beginner’s steroid cycles, including steroid stacks to give an idea of how it works in practice:
Weeks 1-12: Take testosterone enanthate or cypionate between 250-500mg per week
Weeks 13-15: Rest, and allow the steroid to clear the body
Weeks 16-17: Take 40mg Nolvadex per day
Weeks 18-19: Take 20mg Nolvadex per day
Dianabol steroid stack
Weeks 1-2: Dianabol 30mg per day
Week 3: Dianabol 40mg per day, Nolvadex 10mg per day
Week 4: Dianabol 40mg per day
Week 5: Dianabol 40mg per day, Nolvadex 10mg per day
Week 6: Dianabol 30mg per day, Nolvadex 10mg per day
Weeks 7-8: Clomid 50mg per day
In this case, because the half life of the Dianabol is so short, it’s possible to start PCT immediately without leaving a gap.
Steroids aren’t for everyone
Anabolic steroids aren’t for everyone, as there’s lots of potential side effects and without a real commitment, there’s little discernible benefit. There are other alternative supplements, such as SARMS, which produce similar results but with less of a risk.
However, for those that choose to use steroids, magnificent returns can be seen with the right kind of stack and with the right drug. The key to success is beginning slowly and giving your body time to respond before cranking up the dosage or moving onto drugs which are harder to tolerate.