Readers occasionally ask me what the 70’s Big’s “official stance” on steroids is. That boils down to what my stance is, albeit with the opinion of some friends. We have talked about steroids on this website in the past (the first two links were posted by me, the last two posted by Gant):

For the sake of discussion, when I say “steroids” in this post, I’m referring to steroids and anabolic type compounds — the whole gamut of stuff that enhance performance via hormonal manipulation.

When I was younger, I was staunchly against steroids. Nowadays, I don’t really give a shit. If someone wants to use them, then it doesn’t bother me. And for the record, I think that it’s their right to decide if they want to or not. I haven’t ever used steroids, do not currently, and won’t in the future any time soon. I don’t have a problem with guys around the age of 35 to 40 and up supplementing a little bit of testosterone to stave off negative health effects (though I currently don’t have research to link to support this idea). Technically, I don’t have a problem with anyone currently using steroids. But when someone asks me, “Should I use steroids?” my answer is always the same:

1. Do you do everything in the realm of training consistently including, but not limited to, eating right, regularly training, mobbing, sleeping right, etc.?
If not, then it’s clear there are things to address that could improve your goals, whatever those goals are.
2. If you make the decision to use steroids, then do so with an informed opinion. Learn as much as you can from people who do it right. Don’t learn from some dickhead at the local Gold’s. Don’t learn from some guy on the internet who has gotten results from them. Learn from someone who has done it properly and has learned from or actually is a knowledgeable person that you can actually trust. This person should be able to explain the ‘why’, ‘how’, and ‘what’ about steroids. Changing the hormones in your body is serious business, and I wouldn’t want you to have something bad occur because of negligence or ignorance.

Personally, I know very little about steroids. In every book I write, I clarify that I don’t have experience in coaching anybody that uses them, and I’ve already pointed out how I don’t have any experience taking them (though I’ve been accused of it at various points in the last 8 years). I also never knew a simple, direct source to learn about steroids basics. Every resource either seems to be chemistry related that is a bit over my “steroid knowledge” head, or it’s forum-type information saying “use this and this, it’ll work like a charm”. However, now there is such a source of information in the Beginner’s Guide to Steroids by Brent Larson at Strength Villain.


I realize that some of you may be bothered by the steroids topic or a picture of needles, but it’s a topic that comes up a lot (even with people who don’t have any intentions of using). This book purposely reads as a conversation from the author to the reader about the very basics of steroids. The author, Brent Larson, is close with SV’s Johnny Pain and is also friends with steroid guru Anthony Roberts. First, I want to dispel any negative assumptions about this book. It’s not a meat head pro-steroid book. It does not include any information on how to illegally obtain steroids. It merely provides good basic information on what types of steroids a beginner needs to worry about and how to safely take and administer them.

I would like to remind the reader that this book is not intended to serve as an endorsement for steroid use, nor is it intended to deter the reader from experiencing the benefits of the drug. It is important to recognize the potential legal and health issues that may arise should you make an informed decision, as an adult, to partake in the use of anabolic steroids.

Overall, I found this book to be very informative. It doesn’t cloud the text with tons of chemistry and medical terms, but instead points out the positives and negatives about various types of steroids. It fairly discusses the implications for taking steroids, the side effects, how to train while using, how to administer the various drugs, and the limits of what should be taken within the first few cycles. It also discusses some strategies for how to take them beyond the beginning stages as well as various “stacks” (that term originated in steroid culture, if you didn’t know). All in all, this book has much more content than the last couple SV books.

There’s even an appendix that includes various stories from first time steroid users — both good and bad — to help the reader make informed decisions. Despite not having any intentions in taking the drugs, even after reading this book, I found it to be very informative and useful; it clears up a lot of misconceptions that non-using steroid haters have.

Some concepts that I found particularly interesting were the concepts that steroids are not magic.

Steroids will enable to you to train harder and recover faster; use the drugs as a performance enhancement instead of a substitute for hard work, and you will never be disappointed.

Another concept is that steroids should account for a lack of attention to important aspects of training like diet. For example, I know people who have asked me if they should take steroids and they eat like shit.

There is no drug on the planet that will go to the gym for you or serve as a
substitute for the quality nutrition that you need to feed your body.

If you are serious enough about your performance to take steroids, there is no reason why you should not have gotten your diet in order long ago.

Personally, I believe that if someone is going to have an opinion on steroids, whether for or against them, they should have a good understanding of what they are and what they do. The ethical and moral discussion are, in fact, relevant, yet steroids can be taken in a way that is not dangerous. Whether or not you support steroids, I think this e-book is very informative and will help uneducated (with respect to steroids) like me understand them better. If you have been mildly interested in using them, then this book will help you make the decision to do so or not (for me, it showed how much of a pain in the ass it is to use them). If you have made the decision to actually use them, then this book will give you good information to prevent you from fucking up your first cycle (whether through poor administration or training).

REMEMBER: I’m not endorsing the use of steroids, but I think a knowledge of them is useful and important in today’s training society. My primary points is IF you intend to use them, then you should learn and understand everything you can. This Beginner’s Guide to Steroids is a place to start.

28 thoughts on “STEROIDS

  1. I’d recommend “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” as well. It is a very fair and well balanced documentary on the topic. Personally, I don’t use them and probably never will but I find it asinine that steroids are illegal. What the average college student does with alcohol on the weekend is more dangerous than steroids. Not to mention, I could decide tomorrow that I want to be a woman, take estrogen, grow boobs, have various surgeries done and that would be legal, but if I want some assistance getting big and strong I’d be a criminal.

    That last part is a good point. I’ve seen the documentary and it’s worth a watch.


  2. Something that has confused me. OTC Pro Harmones. This seems to be the grey area between anabolics and regular supp stuff.

    I have seen them work, but you have to cycle on and off and use post cycle treatment stuff after you use it. Just like an anabolic. So. Are they an anabolic?

    I’m not the guy to ask, but if anyone wants to answer go ahead.


  3. @bohdi
    That’s not quite true, if you want to change your biological sex legally you’ll need a psychologists approval, and if you want to get the surgery you’d need at least a year “living as” your target sex.

    If you want to take steroids to get stronger/bigger/faster, don’t sleep for a few days and do stressful things and get your testosterone levels checked, and you’ll be diagnosed with low testosterone and be prescribed supplementary hormones. Or you could go to a life extension doctor and say what you need to say to get the prescription.

    So yeah, the legal route to hormone therapy is similar for both people with gender dysphoria and athletes/people with body dysmorphia.

    Is that first part regulated by state, or is that the case everywhere?


  4. wtf am I saying, if you want to change sex, good luck going into public bathrooms without being assaulted, arrested, or jeered at.

    If you take steroids to get bigger nobody cares.

    don’t worry t-girls, I got your back.
    *jumps off soapbox*

  5. I don’t know about anywhere else,but I Florida you can go to an anti-aging clinic and get a prescription for hormone replacement therapy. Even if your levels are “within range “, you can still get a prescription if you are symptomatic. Not only can you get real pharmaceutical grade meds,but you can get medically monitored by a doctor. Its completely legal. This is the route to go. Its legal, and you’ll never have to worry about buying some fake, dirty crap someone made in his garage.

    I was asking if the sex change requirements were done by state.


  6. Playing with your hormones is extremely dangerous and not being able to naturally produce testosterone because your body has come to rely on an external source is probably one of the worse things can happen to a man. (read some forums, it’s fucking scary)

    That said, because the drugs classified as they are, there is no good research on it and most of our info is “bro-science” which really is disservice to everyone. I’m sure there would be a lot less instances of the above (T turning off) if there was better information shared out and the whole thing wasn’t so ostracized and driven underground. The US has some incredibly stupid self-sabbatoging attitudes about drugs and sex and this a prime example… Let’s not give teenagers condoms. Let’s let addicts share dirty needles. Let’s not make steroid information reliable and scientifically studied.

    I’m at the age where they could help, but it would be nice to know if it will have long term effects, positive or negative and how much risk there really is. Instead I’m going the herbal route and using testosterone “support” via DIM, Tribulis and Tongkat Ali. Robb Wolf posted a good article regarding someone with low T and how these herbs helped support T production and naturally (the hormones are self produced as opposed to being externally provided):

    Testosterone has been positively correlated with many health markers, so having good T numbers isn’t just good for gaining muscle mass and getting stronger, but is actually important to your health…

    I agree with your last statement. Do you have any articles to back that up? I haven’t looked yet, but was wanting to cite some in today’s post but didn’t have time to look.


  7. @I Can Make You a Man… I agree, I was more or less generalizing to make a point that the government/society seemingly makes things taboo and illegal at random. For example, if you expand the topic to drugs and alcohol. Alcohol is illegal whereas marijuana, which is arguably less harmful, is illegal. One reason is that pot is more taboo than a glass of whiskey. Try showing up to a work happy hour with a bag of weed instead of ordering a beer. Back to steroids… it would be illegal for me to go home and start using them, but any girl I know could decide that she wants bigger boobs and have breast enhancement surgery done ASAP. I don’t do drugs or steroids, but the legality topic is interesting from a political standpoint.

  8. Re: test and health, it is positively correlated with certain vitality markers such as mood, libido, energy and confidence, but unfortunately it’s also correlated with several diseases like cancer. One of the reasons suggested for the protective effects of soy is that it lowers testosterone for instance – sort of a double-edged sword. Women also live longer than men, generally suffer less disease and have considerably less T.

    Question: how are steroids manufactured for sale? Like what are they? I’ve heard that GH is sometimes taken from cadavers, which is pretty horrible… is any black-market testosterone the same?

  9. @JC: I doubt women’s lower test levels have anything to do with it. Women live longer than men because men are more likely to engage in dangerous activities and behaviors that potentially place men’s health at risk later in life. Additionally, boys are more likely to die in infancy and early childhood for various reasons related to the immune system and only having one X chromosome. For this reason the natural birthrate is around 105 males per 100 females.

  10. Steriods: if you don’t know exactly how they work, you probably aren’t ready for them.

    I’m currently residing in a country where the purchase and use of most anabolics is legal. I went to the pharmacy to buy protein (Which was absurdly expensive) and the guy asked me if I needed anything for “power.” He said “I have Jack3d (the good kind), No-Xplode, D-bol, Test enthanate….”as if it were nothing.

    There’s just too much hysteria regarding drugs in America. Steroids are obviously an extremely complicated tool that can be abused, but so can anything. As for side-effects, some people are predisposed to gyno, acne, etc, some are not.

    Pop quiz: Here are some side-effects. Can you name the drug?

    – Swelling of the eyes, face, lips,tongue, or throat
    – Wheezing or difficulty breathing
    – Fast heartbeat
    – Fast breathing
    – Cold, clammy skin
    – Ringing in the ears
    – Loss of hearing
    – Bloody vomit
    – Bright red blood in stools

    Answer: Asprin.

  11. Steriods: if you don’t know exactly how they work, you probably aren’t ready for them.

    I’m currently residing in a country where the purchase and use of most anabolics is legal. I went to the pharmacy to buy protein (Which was absurdly expensive) and the guy asked me if I needed anything for “power.” He said “I have Jack3d (the good kind), No-Xplode, D-bol, Test enthanate….”as if it were nothing.

    There’s just too much hysteria regarding drugs in America. Steroids are obviously an extremely complicated tool that can be abused, but so can anything. As for side-effects, some people are predisposed to gyno, acne, etc, some are not. If you do get side-effects, there are pretty easy ways to fix it without compromising your results.

    Pop quiz: Here are some side-effects. Can you name the drug?

    – Swelling of the eyes, face, lips,tongue, or throat
    – Wheezing or difficulty breathing
    – Fast heartbeat
    – Fast breathing
    – Cold, clammy skin
    – Ringing in the ears
    – Loss of hearing
    – Bloody vomit
    – Bright red blood in stools

    Answer: Asprin.

  12. Regardless of personal feelings about steroids (quite frankly I couldn’t care less either way), it’s really good to see people promoting harm minimisation. We had a situation a little while back around Sydney where some hospitals (incidentally those in areas of high drug use) were forced to take down posters and other information about safe injecting, filtering pills etc because of a public outcry (citing the potential for moral decay or some bullshit, probably). As someone who works in drug & alcohol pharmacotherapy and who is trying to educate people so they can minimise the risks of contracting or passing on Hep C and Aids, this was quite a savage kick to the taint.

    @Bohdi; This may just be me being cynical, but basically it comes down to having a platform to tax and distribute drugs. I guess another problem is defining some sort of dose standard they can regulate legal limits on like BAC. And, of course, there are always going to be objections to any legalisation from certain groups in society who know nothing about drugs but are willing to weigh in nonetheless; don’t forget that Heroin was used as a legal pain medication in America until around the 60’s, at which point the loudest voices in the room overcame good sense and medical degrees.

  13. Justin –

    Honestly, I don’t know for sure about state regulation of hormones for sex-change purposes, but it’s been accepted for a while that no treatment is going to convince your mind to change its gender, so the standard treatment for transexualism nowadays is HRT and surgery (which is optional, not everyone wants their junk full of scar tissue).

    Unless you want to get your hormones off the black market (no health insurance, on the lam, et cetera), going to a therapist is the easiest way to get them + a dosing schedule and the other similar goodies a doctor can provide.

  14. Sorry I wrote that twice.

    Stroup, prohormones are the gray area. Prohormones are basically sterioidal molecules that have extra molecular structures on either the 3a/b position or the 17b position.

    So basically, it’s just a slightly different atomic structure than actual test. The body then breaks it down and releases the hormones depending on what’s added to them. Prohormones act as precursors to a hormonal response. Anabolics already have these hormones. It’s actually pretty easy for a lab to design a completely new prohormone that solicits a hormonal response, but where it’s gray is that we don’t always know the effects of all the extras they attach to it.

    You’d still need to cycle them as you are still messing with your hormonal profile. PCT is also a pretty good idea because most prohormones are orals and they can be pretty rough on the liver, as they are usually alkylated at the 17 position. All this means is that there’s a little extra molecule added so the liver doesn’t completely destroy it.

  15. Regarding T and health benefits, I think Jamie Lewis has written on this on Chaos & Pain and he usually cites somewhat respectable sources so that might be a place to look.

  16. I don’t know much about roids and at the moment I don’t really care to, but my best friend started “low t therapy” a few months ago. He recently saw my mom for the first time in about a year at a Christmas party and she grabbed his face and proceeded to tell him “Brian, you have moon face. You are on steroids and you are swollen and I know what’s going on here. I AM a medical professional you know” Which I thought was a riot because he has been so hush hush about it and finally someone pointed out how blatantly obvious it was to everyone. It doesn’t bother me that he wants to use them, I just don’t get the point. I can understand someone like a cop, soldier, firefighter, athlete, etc. using them because their body is an important tool for their career, but he just lifts for recreation/vanity. He doesn’t give two shits about being strong; he just wants to be “big and jacked.” It really makes no sense to me… to each, his own I suppose.

  17. Great post Justin.

    Being 49 I’m very interested in the T subject. I’m going to get a complete blood analysis then depending on the results experiment with the herbal approach, evaluate results, then perhaps Clomid, evaluate results then who knows after that perhaps full on T replacement therapy. I’ll keep you posted. You can use my results for your data base if you like.


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