February 12, 2012

Anabolic/Androgenic Hormonal Profiles

Hormones play a major role in who we are, and even subconsciously influence our decisions, but as it relates to performance in the gym or in competition, they play the biggest role of all. Anabolic and androgenic hormones in particular aid in recovery, among other things, which enables you to train or compete more frequently and ultimately help you make gains that would otherwise be impossible. The higher level of anabolic hormones in the body, the bigger, faster, stronger you will be. Unfortunately there is only so much of any given hormone that the body will “naturally” make. Therefore, to increase the amount of these powerful hormones, one must take them from an unnatural, outside source.

This article is not so much about when or where synthetic hormones came from, but more so will cover the different popular ones commonly used by strength trained professional and amateur athletes, bodybuilders and physique competitors, and guys just looking to get big! I am by no means trying to promote the usage of synthetic hormones, simply just relaying information that some people would benefit from, and prevent “curious” users from making any irreversible mistakes.

Hormone Profiles


Before we get into the benefits, as well as side-effects, of testosterone, let’s first clarify just exactly how hormones work. Hormones are substances that are secreted by one cell, and have an effect on the functions of another cell. Basically they are messengers that make their way around the body and tell “things” to do “things”, if that makes any sense.

Testosterone is a very powerful hormone that belongs to a class of hormones known as androgens. It is manufactured in the testes (in men, and the adrenals/ovaries in women) and produces between 2 ½ to roughly 10 mgs per day (in men and much lower doses in women).

It is largely responsible for testicular and prostate development (in men), development of muscle tissue, bone density, and strength. Low levels of testosterone have been linked to several health issues.

Aside from being an androgen, testosterone is also extremely anabolic. It is derived from cholesterol and largely regulated, as far as production is concerned, by luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). In order for these hormones to be secreted, the pituitary gland must be stimulated first. When the pituitary gland is stimulated, LH and FSH are released which then stimulate the testes to produce testosterone. Without optimal pituitary function, natural testosterone production cannot occur.

Here are the main benefits of having elevated levels of testosterone:

Improved Recovery: Testosterone has the ability to increase the activity of IGF-1 and satellite cells which play an active role in repairing damaged muscle, and tissue remodelling which greatly improves the rate of recovery, the efficiency of recovery, and in turn leads to heightened level of physical preparedness.

Prevents Muscle Breakdown: Testosterone aids in blocking and reducing the negative effects of cortisol, ensuring your muscle tissue is protected and bodyfat does not accumulate (especially during times of stress).

Increased Red Blood Cell Count: Testosterone increases red blood cell production which can also increase your endurance. The increase in red blood cells leads to increased amount of oxygen entering the blood which increases working capability and can lead to greater muscle tissue efficiency.

Increased Protein Efficiency: Testosterone maximizes protein synthesis, therefore increasing the level and rate in which we build muscle, and also minimizes protein breakdown, protecting muscle, especially in a caloric restricted diet. Testosterone promotes nitrogen retention, and the more nitrogen the muscle holds, the more protein the muscle stores.

Promotes Fat Loss: Testosterone directly promotes fat loss by binding to the androgen receptor on fat cells, resulting in fat break-down, and prevents new fat formation. Testosterone indirectly promotes fat loss because of the nutrient portioning effect it has on muscle and fat. By promoting the body to build muscle, more of the food you eat is shuttled to muscle tissue as opposed to fat.

Increased Strength: Testosterone improves muscle contraction by increasing the number of motor neutrons in muscle and improves neuromuscular transmission. It also promotes glycogen synthesis providing more fuel for intense workouts, thus increasing strength-endurance. Also note that the water retention from testosterone use can cause the muscle to spring back when compressed during the lowering of a weight which can be looked at as another way of increased strength. Testosterone also promotes aggression and dominant behaviour, and increases confidence which gives you the mental edge needed to move maximal weights.

Here are the main side effects of taking elevated amounts of testosterone:

Testicular atrophy: This is the only guaranteed side effect. The rest are strictly based on the quality of testosterone, as well as diet. In this case, the testicles shrink simply because they do not need to “work”, so they shut down. If you are taking testosterone from an outside source, your body is not required to make it on its own, and presents itself in a way of having your balls shrink. When you “come off” and allow your body time to start producing its own testosterone again, they will go back to their original size. The use of HCG while taking testosterone can prevent the testicular shrinkage if it bothers you that much.

Water retention: High carb diets promote water retention, testosterone only makes it more pronounced. If your diet is full of carbs, you’re going to retain water with, or without, elevated levels of testosterone. Water retention over a prolonged period of time can increase blood pressure weakening blood vessels.

Acne: Acne is a concern for those taking testosterone, but primarily only to those who are taking testosterone mixed with poor quality oil, which is typically used in underground labs. If it is pharmaceutical grade, then it shouldn’t negatively affect appearance as far as acne is concerned.

High blood pressure: High blood pressure is a concern, but side effects are dose dependant. If you are taking an obscene amount (anything over 1,000 mgs/wk) then side effects become a major issue. If your dosage stays within the recommended guidelines, unless you have previous blood pressure issues, then you should be fine.

Lower HDL Cholesterol: Higher dosages of test can negatively impact cholesterol, lowering HDL, and this can lead to a series of serious health problems down the road if ignored.

Can Convert To Estrogen: Testosterone can convert to the female hormone estrogen (via aromatization) by the aromatize enzyme, resulting in irreversible female breast tissue growth (gynecomastia), but once again is dose dependant. Those who take an obscene amount for prolonged periods of time are at risk for gynecomastia, but for those who take a dosage within the recommended guidelines have little to worry about. Fat gain and reduced fat breakdown, loss of sex drive, testicular shrinkage and water retention are also estrogen related side effects. The use of a class of drugs to stop the testosterone from converting to estrogen called aromatize inhibitors can easily stop the estrogenic side effects.

Can Convert To DHT (Dihydro-Testosterone): Testosterone can also interact with the 5alpha-reductase enzyme which converts the testosterone to DHT, a more androgenic form of the parent hormone. DHT has a high binding affinity to the tissues of the scalp resulting in hair loss in loss in those who suffer from male pattern baldness. DHT can also affect the prostate, making it swell which can cause the gland to press against the bladder, and cause urinary problems. Drugs called 5alpha-reductase inhibitors can prevent these symptoms without blocking testosterones anabolic effects.

Testosterone cypionate/enanthate is an injectable oil which contains testosterone with the cypionate/enanthate ester attached to the testosterone molecule. The ester denotes the release pattern of the test after it is injected into the body. These particular esters gives the testosterone an active life of 15-16 days, although blood levels of this drug fall sharply five days post-administration, testosterone levels are still above baseline after a week. Stable blood levels can be achieved with once per week injections.

Dosage: 250-1,500 mg/wk

Active-Life: Cypionate/Enanthate 15-16 days

For Mass, Stack with: Trenbolone, Anadrol, D-bol, Deca, Equipoise

Anabolic/Androgenic Ratio: 100/100

*Since all other steroids are derivatives of testosterone, they all possess very similar “pros” and “cons”. Therefore, the following profiles may sound somewhat repetitive.

Anadrol (A50)

Dosage: 50-100 mg/day

Active-Life: 16 hours

Anabolic/Androgenic Ratio: 320/45

Anadrol produces very rapid gains in strength and muscle mass, and is said to be the most powerful steroid due to the extremely dramatic results. Much of the size gained is attributed to water retention, which lubricates the joints and allows for more elasticity which decreases the chance of injury when lifting heavy. It also heavily increases red blood cell (oxygenated blood) production. Anadrol does not bind to the androgen receptor, which means there are a lot of non-receptor mediated effects from this drug, therefore making it a very potent addition to any stack because it won’t be competing for the receptor sites with the other steroids you’re using. It also has the ability to lower sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) which binds to your free test making it useless for anabolism, amongst other things, which means there will be more free test circulating around your body when using anadrol.

On the flip side, anadrol is HIGHLY toxic in the liver which can cause headaches and bloating, and has been linked to liver cancer when used in extremely high doses. The rapid gains in mass may be desirable at first, but also may place too much stress on connective tissue during heavy lifts, therefore muscle tears are common.

Estrogenic side-effects – Anadrol is derived from DHT, so it can’t actually convert to estrogen (via the aromatase enzyme), and it is not a progestin or a compound with progestenic activity, so the estrogenic side effects produced by it are of a very mysterious nature. However, those sensitive to the effects of estrogen may still be at risk for developing estrogen related side effects, primarily growth of breast tissue for unknown reasons.

Androgenic side effects – Because anadrol is a DHT derivative, DHT related side effects including oily skin, severe acne, body/facial hair growth, balding are all realistic possibilities.

For Mass, Stack with: Testosterone, Deca, Equipoise, Trenbolone


Dosage: 20-80 mg/day

Active-Life: 8-12 hours

Anabolic/Androgenic Ratio: 322-630/24

Anavar is extremely mild on the liver and therefore can be tolerated with rather high doses in men, and low doses in women. At one time anavar was prescribed to treat osteoporosis, and is now even used to treat HIV/AIDS related wasting diseases. The muscle gained and fat burned from using anavar is more permanent than other drugs that are more powerful, because it has very little impact on the hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular-axis (HPTA) and will not shut it down like other stronger drugs. Anavar is not very androgenic at all, therefore does not aromatize (convert to estrogen), and there is pretty much no water retention associated with using anavar making it ideal for those looking to get ripped. Gains in muscle size are minimal with anavar, and therefore it is primarily only used by those looking to accelerate permanent fat loss.

For Cutting, Stack with: Masteron, Primobolan, Trenbolone

Dianabol (D-Bol)

Dosage: 20-50 mg/day

Half-Life: 3-4 at least, but could be up to 6-8 hours

Anabolic/Androgenic Ratio: 90-210/40-60

D-bol produces exceptional gains in strength and muscle mass much the same way anadrol does. Like anadrol, it does not bind to the androgen receptor well, which means there are a lot of non-receptor mediated effects from this drug (example: increased protein synthesis as indicated by the production of muscle tissue with very high levels of nitrogen), therefore making it a very potent addition to any stack because it won’t be competing for the receptor sites with the other steroids you’re using.

Like anadrol, d-bol is HIGHLY liver toxic, and therefore high doses are not recommended. Prolonged use can lead to liver damage, and the development of certain kinds of cancer. For those with blood pressure issues d-bol is not recommended as it will only increase it further. If your blood pressure is within a healthy range then d-bol isn’t likely going to increase it to an unhealthy point.

Estrogenic side effects – D-bol can aromatize and convert to estrogen so breast tissue growth in men, water retention, fat gain, loss of sex drive and testicular atrophy, and reduced fat breakdown can all become present. Water retention can be minimized by having a clean, low carb diet. Excessive carbohydrates in the diet will cause water retention that will only become more pronounced while using d-bol.

For Mass, Stack with: Testosterone, Deca, Equipoise, Trenbolone

Deca Durabolin (Deca)

Dosage: 300-600 mg/wk (2mg/lb of bodyweight ideally)

Active-Life: 15 days

Anabolic/Androgenic Ratio: 125/37

Deca has a moderately strong binding to the androgen receptor, and also produces many non-androgen receptor mediated effects responsible for building muscle, one such being nitrogen retention. It is for these reasons that it is known for producing large, but slow, gains in muscle mass, typically coming at half the rate of testosterone on a mg for mg basis, and is why it needs to be taken for long periods of time to see worthwhile results (12 weeks minimum). Deca has a very long active-life and will remain elevated for almost ten days after one single injection, and is detectable for over a year after usage is discontinued. Deca has also been shown to aid in joint pain, and is beneficial to the immune system.

Progestin side effects – Deca is a rather mild steroid with a low rate of side effects. It does not directly convert to estrogen, but is a progestin and happens to stimulate the progesterone receptor as well as progesterone. It does however convert to estradiol, therefore estrogen related side effects are a possibility in large doses. Fat gain, loss of sex drive and testicular atrophy, reduced fat breakdown, water retention, acne, and possible breast tissue growth in men are all realistic possibilities.

For Mass, Stack with: Testosterone, Anadrol, D-bol, Trenbolone

Equipoise (EQ)

Dosage: 400-600 mg/wk

Half-Life: 15 days

Anabolic/Androgenic Ratio: 100/50

Eq is very similar to deca in that the gains in strength and muscle mass are slow and steady, because it is just as anabolic as testosterone, but only half as androgenic and needs to be taken for long periods of time to see worthwhile results (10 weeks minimum). Eq has a very long active-life as well and is detectable in drug tests months after usage is discontinued. There is virtually no water retention at all associated with eq, therefore the size gained can be retained after drug has been discontinued, since water does not contribute to muscle size gained. Eq has also been shown to increase appetite, which is ideal for those looking to put on mass.

Estrogenic side-effects – Eq does aromatize and convert to estrogen, but at half the rate of testosterone, therefore breast tissue growth in men, loss of sex drive, oily skin, acne, and balding are all realistic possibilities.

Virilisation is rare in women, and therefore women can get away with using eq.

For Mass, Stack with: Testosterone, Anadrol, D-bol, Trenbolone


Dosage: 300-500 mg/wk

Half-Life: 2-3 days for masteron propionate

Anabolic/Androgenic Ratio: 62/25

Masteron is derived from DHT which is 5 times as androgenic as testosterone, and has a 3-4 times higher affinity to receptor sites. All DHT derivatives have the ability to give muscles improved density and hardness, as long as one’s bodyfat is low enough. Like all androgens, it has the ability to enhance fat loss, and also prevents fat accumulation, making it ideal for those looking to get that polished, in-season bodybuilder look. Masteron increases anger and aggression which provides you with the energy to push through workouts, while in a calorie restricted state, prior to competition. It also exhibits anti-estrogenic activity, and even reduces the conversion rate of other steroids. Finally, it is of very low toxicity.

Androgenic side-effects – Because masteron is a DHT derivative, side effects such as acne, especially balding, body/facial hair growth, prostate enlargement are all realistic possibilities.

For Cutting, Stack with: Anavar, Trenbolone, Winstrol

Primobolan (Primo)

Dosage: 100-800 mg/wk for injectable, 50-100 mg/day for oral

Half-Life: 10-14 days for injectable, 4-6 hours for oral

Anabolic/Androgenic Ratio: 88/44-57

Primo is very similar to masteron in many ways, and has a higher binding affinity to the androgen receptor than testosterone, therefore making it a better fat loss agent, as strong androgen receptor binding is highly correlated with fat burning. Like masteron, it also exhibits anti-estrogenic activity, and even reduces the conversion rate of other steroids. Because primo does not aromatize and convert to estrogen, there is next to no water retention, and gains will be only quality muscle mass. Primo has a very low level of toxicity and is considered one of the safest steroids available. Like deca, primo has been shown to enhance the immune system.

Androgenic side-effects – Because primo is a DHT derivative, side effects such as acne, especially balding, body/facial hair growth, prostate enlargement are all realistic possibilities.

For Cutting, Stack with: Anavar, Trenbolone, Winstrol


Dosage: 225-600 mg/wk

Active-Life: Enanthate 8 days, Acetate 2-3 days


Tren is known to cause rapid increases in strength and is an excellent mass and hardening drug with the majority of gains being muscle fiber, with minimal water retention. Tren increases the amount of IGF-1 within muscle tissue over two-fold, and also causes satellite cells that repair damaged muscle to be more sensitive to IGF-1. Tren has a much stronger binding affinity to the androgen receptor than testosterone, and the better a steroid binds, the better it works at activating androgen receptor dependant mechanisms of muscle growth. The stronger an androgen binds to the androgen receptor, the greater fat burning effect it will have. Since other steroids like testosterone increase the amount of androgen receptors in muscle and fat, combining tren with testosterone will magnify the fat burning effect. Because it is highly androgenic, it has very appreciable effects on strength, and positively alters the testosterone:estrogen ratio, which means less water will be stored under the skin giving your muscles a very dense, hard look. It also increases nitrogen retention in muscle, which is a strong indicator of how anabolic a substance is. Tren preserves muscle tissue by binding to the receptors of catabolic hormones like cortisol and inhibiting their muscle destroying effects. On top of all that, tren also improves nutrient efficiency as well as mineral absorption, which means more of what you eat will be better utilized for building muscle, and more minerals will be absorbed to keep you healthy while on the juice. Tren also improves recovery by way of promoting red blood cell production, and increasing the rate of glycogen replenishment.

Estrogenic Side Effects –Tren does not aromatize, but it is however a progestin and binds to the female sex hormone progesterone. This can lead to breast tissue growth, testicular atrophy, hair loss, enlarged prostate, sexual dysfunction.

Androgenic Side Effects – Because tren is highly androgenic, side effects like oily skin, aggression, acne, and hair loss are all realistic possibilities.

For Mass, Stack with: Testosterone, Anadrol, Dianabol, Deca, Equipoise

For Cutting, Stack with: Masteron, Primobolan, Winstrol


Dosage: 350-525 mg/wk AKA 50-75 mg/day

Active-Life: 8 hours

Anabolic/Androgenic Ratio: 320/30

Winstrol is derived from DHT, does not aromatize and convert to estrogen, may even have anti-progestenic properties, and provides good, reliable, lean, quality muscle growth with virtually no water retention whatsoever. Winstrol also dramatically lowers sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which in turn raises the amount of free test circulating in the body and creates a very synergistic effect when added to a bulking cycle, even though it is primarily used for cutting. It has a relatively weak binding ability to the androgen receptor and many of the anabolic effects are due to increased nitrogen retention and protein synthesizing ability.

Winstrol has a very high level of toxicity to the liver, increases LDL cholesterol, decreases HDL cholesterol, and causes cardiac hypertrophy (enlarges heart).

Androgenic Side Effects – Because winstrol is a DHT derivative, side effects like acne, and hair loss are all realistic possibilities.

Virilisation is rare in women, and therefore women can get away with using winstrol.

For Cutting, Stack with: Masteron, Primobolan, Trenbolone

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