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Men's Health Steroid Article - Buying Bulk *GOOD READ!*


New member
Jun 6, 2003
Good article on Steroids. No bashing. Thanks to Iron Mike over at AnabolicFreaks.

Anyone else read the Men's Health article, "Buying Bulk?" It was refreshing to see an objective article about steroid use. This is what encouraged me to finally pull the trigger. Any comments? Here it is in case you didn't get a chance to read it.

- IM

Men's Health Steroid Article - Buying Bulk


You think pro athletes are the only ones pumping up their bodies with steroids? Take a closer look at the guy next to you in the gym

Unless he changes his mind and makes a U-turn in the next 15 seconds, Bill is about to make the leap from average guy to federal felon.

A 45-year-old southern California sales executive, Bill has nearly a thousand dollars' worth of illegal steroids bolted inside the armrest of his SUV, and only one car to go before the drug- sniffing dogs swarm around him at the Tijuana checkpoint. So does he wheel his vehicle around, dump his stash, and come home the law- abiding guy he was when he left the house this warm summer morning?

Or does he risk jail time and a rap sheet that could snuff his career and his marriage?

It's worth it, Bill tells himself. He cranks up the air conditioner, eases his foot off the brake pedal, and glides up to the border patrolman and his choke-chained German shepherd.

"What were you doing in Mexico?" the patrolman asks.

"Just buying some presents for my wife," Bill answers, holding up some handicraft jewelry he snuck out of his wife's jewelry box. In fact, after making the drive to Tijuana, Bill bought steroids at a downtown pharmacy, then removed the four bolts that secure the SUV's center console. He crammed the steroids inside, bolted the console back in place, and put a half-empty soda in the cupholder on top as camouflage.

"Are you carrying any prescription drugs?" the officer asks.

He knows, Bill worries. Why else would a muscular American businessman be making a 1-hour trip to Mexico during a workday?

"No," Bill says.

"Pop your trunk," the officer commands. Bill obliges, then stares straight ahead while the dogs snuffle frantically around his gym bag and spare quart of 40-weight. The officer returns to the driver's side window, and Bill braces himself for the inevitable "Step out of the vehicle."

But seconds later, he's on his way, a freshly minted criminal with a grin on his face and just enough time, he realizes as he checks his watch, to make it back to his office before anyone realizes he's gone. By the next morning, he'll be injecting his way to a bigger, better body.

It's no secret anymore that just about anyone who wrestles in a cage, flexes in a Speedo, or hits a heck of a lot more home runs than he did last year owes his extra power and thigh-size biceps to illegal anabolic steroids. But recently, another group has quietly joined the ranks of the 'roided. They're Wall Street brokers, cops, software developers--regular guys like Bill, in other words--who want to add muscle and melt fat, and don't mind a little chemical help. They're not out to be Smackdown champs or simulated Schwarzeneggers--they just want to look as good at age 30 or 40 as Mark Wahlberg did at 20.

"I call them 'politely 'roided,'" says Harrison Pope, M.D., a Harvard medical school specialist in steroid abuse and author of The Adonis Complex. "Steroids used to be the province of a certain small group, the people you'd think of as muscle freaks. That was in the '70s and '80s." Over the past few years, however, the abuse has spread to mainstream men. They're not the kind of guys who are bursting out of triple-X shirts, so they're not so easily identifiable.

Dr. Pope is no envious, whining egghead. He's been a gym rat himself for over 20 years, and it shows: With forearms bulging from his rolled-up sleeves, the 55-year-old doctor looks as if he could crank out a set of one-handed chinups in the doorway of his office. He started lifting at age 33 and became so "addicted," he says, that he still slips out of his office nearly every midday for an hour or longer workout session.

So Dr. Pope knows what's going on, despite the weight room's mighty code of silence. And he estimates that as many as 1 million to 2 million Americans may have had juice in their veins at some time--a number that would ordinarily place steroid abuse in the epidemic category. But there's no completely reliable data, because juicers have basically been overlooked, says Jack Stein, Ph.D., deputy director of science policy for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). "Unlike, say, crack addicts, the men who take steroids are basically healthy, clean-living people," Stein explains. "We've been preoccupied with more immediate threats, like crack and heroin."

Studies are still continuing to verify estimates on adult steroid abusers, but Stein sees no reason to doubt Dr. Pope's numbers. Lax law enforcement, America's growing obsession with overgrown bodies, and the availability of steroids just across the border--and over the Internet--has created the steroid equivalent of a perfect storm. "In some of the gyms I've visited, I've been surprised by the sheer predominance of men on steroids," says Stein, who's also a personal trainer. "People don't see steroids as such a risk anymore."

In fact, some see them as essential to a perfect body. Though health concerns compelled the U.S. Government to classify steroids as a controlled substance in 1991, they haven't discouraged many body-conscious men--the very ones who would never smoke, drink, or allow chicken skin to pass their lips--from accepting steroids as little more than souped-up, fat-burning vitamins. "There's a widespread belief that steroids are part of a healthy regimen," confirms Dr. Pope, "like eating well and working out, and that they can be controlled through moderation."

Is it just a gym rat's fantasy, this idea that hormone-jangling drugs can actually be good for you? Not necessarily. There's no question that large doses of steroids can cause any number of nasty side effects--from shrunken testicles to large breasts. What's more, doctors have speculated that steroids may increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, liver disease, and prostate cancer, and lead to the superaggressive behavior known as 'roid rage.

But the truth is, the medical community actually knows very little for certain about the long-term effects of steroid use--no one has done any large scientific studies. This is particularly true of the moderate doses favored by many of today's casual users. And since steroids can be medicinal--doctors use them to treat certain types of anemia and several other conditions--there's a growing belief in America's gyms that a little bit of juice may be just what a body needs.

"In moderate dosages over the short term, can they be used safely?" asks Charles Yesalis, Sc.D., a Penn State professor of health policy and sports science, and author of The Steroids Game. "Probably, yes. The truth of the matter is that the majority of these performance-enhancing drugs have been cleared for medical use. So, clearly, they can be used safely."

That's not to say the long-term health concerns are false--it just means that no one has bothered to find out whether they're true. Meanwhile, Arnold still strolls the Earth with a stogie in his hand and a smile on his face, a larger-than-life argument for steroids that no government agency has yet come up with the goods to refute.

While baseball's steroid boom has been fueled by the quest for better numbers and bigger contracts, the average-guy juicing trend is less about performance than about looks. Take Bill. He's also a recovering alcoholic, who became serious about bodybuilding 7 years ago, at age 38. (He figured that double sessions in the gym each day would keep his mind off booze.) Six months of intense lifting left his 6-foot, 5-inch frame looking better than it had in years. But one thing frustrated him: "I just couldn't get any bigger," he says. "Maybe it was an age thing--the body produces less testosterone as you grow older--but I maxed out at 212 pounds and couldn't put on any more muscle."

It didn't take him long to find a solution. He'd never tried steroids before, but he quickly found a huge amount of information on the Internet, which in the past several years has become a vast, if not always reliable, repository for steroid data. Bill wavered for about a year before deciding to try his first "cycle," a period of use (usually injections, pills, or ointments) that typically lasts 6 to 12 weeks, followed by downtime. First, however, he got a thorough physical. "I was pretty up front with my doc, and he was real cool about it," Bill says. "He said as a doctor he couldn't condone it, but he had a lot of patients on steroids. He didn't try to talk me out of it."

Bill's new message-board buddies steered him toward a reliable supplier, a U.S-based black marketeer who demanded cash in advance but always delivered the drugs, by mail, within a week. Following another tip he'd gotten online, Bill had the package delivered to his doorstep, then "accidentally" kicked it into the shrubs and let it sit there a few days, thinking that would somehow fool the cops if he were being watched.

For his first "stack"--a combination of different steroids--Bill decided to go with the basics: two weekly injections to increase muscle mass, a shot of the hormone HCG to keep his testicles from shrinking too much while his body's own testosterone was in chaos, and an oral dose of tamoxifen to help with enlarged breasts ("bitch tits," as they're commonly called). Steroids, after all, are basically synthetic testosterone: Flooding your bloodstream with them can fool the body into thinking it has enough of the real thing, so natural testosterone production shuts down.

Bill had never given an injection before, so at dawn one morning he sneaked out of bed before his wife was awake and practiced jabbing a needle into an orange. When he had the hang of it, he fitted a fresh needle onto the syringe and carefully sucked in 250 milligrams (mg) of Sustanon, a mixture of four different synthetic testosterones and a big favorite among juicers, since it's widely available and known for fast muscle-mass gains. Bill swabbed a butt cheek with alcohol, braced himself, and plunged the needle home.

Damn! Good thing he'd been warned not to inject it into his shoulder; Sustanon can leave a nodule the size of a tennis ball. As soon as he stopped wincing, Bill followed the Sus with 200 mg of Deca-Durabolin, another favorite that helps the muscles absorb protein. One more shot to go: HCG, a natural hormone distilled from the urine of pregnant women.

And so, with a huge lump on his ass and pregnant-woman urine splashing around inside him, Bill headed off to the gym. "The first couple of days, I didn't feel a thing," he recalls. "If anything, I was a little tired and depressed." But within 2 weeks, he felt a huge surge of strength, and after a month, his waist was shrinking and his chest expanding.

By the end of his 12-week cycle, Bill had added 80 pounds to his bench press, jacking it from 245 pounds to 325. His biceps had swollen from 16 inches to 18-1/2, and his waist had slimmed from a size 36 to a 34. In short, he'd given himself a radically larger, stronger, and leaner body in just 3 months. He was so big that his wife demanded to know what was going on. "She was freaked out at first," Bill admits. "She insisted I go right out and buy more health insurance."

Despite his wife's anxiety, Bill was ready to cycle again 8 months later. Since then, he has done at least one cycle a year for the past 6 years. He now weighs 265 pounds, with a very low, 12 percent body-fat ratio. He's suffered no hint of 'roid rage, he says, and his blood and liver enzymes are normal. "I got a little acne on my chest and back," Bill shrugs. "Otherwise, I'm rockin'."
Scientists have been searching for a magic, superman drug for more than 100 years, ever since a French researcher tried injecting himself with an extract of dog and guinea-pig testicles. The results of that experiment were disappointing--his special blend turned out to have no active hormones--but it didn't prevent other scientists from continuing to search the scrotum for its secrets.

German scientists finally came up with a successful formula in the 1930s, when they found a way to chemically reproduce the original testosterone molecule. Early results were fantastic: The new ber-hormones helped double the size of skeletal muscle and increased endurance and aggression. Some of these protosteroids were reportedly administered to Hitler's troops in the 1940s, and later to Soviet athletes in the 1950s.

Soon after Iron Curtain powerlifters began annihilating their competition in the 1960s, anabolic steroids became the go-to drug for many elite athletes. Some negative side effects appeared, such as baldness, rampant acne, and plummeting sex drive. Even worse were the wild mood swings and frightening bursts of anger. Adolescents were suffering stunted growth, while female juicers saw their breasts flatten, their clitorises distend, and their faces sprout whiskers.

But there seemed to be little solid evidence, either then or in the decades that followed, that large numbers of 'roided men were collapsing from strokes or other potentially fatal afflictions. On the contrary, some of the most prominent musclemen of the '60s and '70s--the heavily juiced Pumping Iron era--have passed into middle age with few discernible consequences of their track-marked youth. (Schwarzenegger's 1997 heart surgery was to repair a congenital defect.) As for heart attacks and diseased prostates, to this day there's no definitive link between these diseases and steroids. "We just don't have the data," says Dr. Yesalis. "Even though steroids have been epidemic in elite sports since the '50s, we have yet to do the same epidemiological studies on them that we've done on tobacco, alcohol, and cocaine."

Nor has law enforcement been trained to crack down on juicers. "When you look at what we have to deal with across the board, steroids are our responsibility but not our priority," admits Will Glaspy, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

No wonder so many average guys are acting as if the liquor store was left unlocked. "Look, more than 60 percent of the American population is overweight," argues Mick Hart, the British fitness guru whose steroid-promoting Web site, mickhart.com, has made him an Internet hero to thousands of American steroid users. "If they can burn fat and add muscle by combining hard work with a little 'gear,' what's the harm?" To back his point, Hart even put his 23-year-old son, Chris, on steroids, transforming him from a lumpy young man into a grinning, flexing hunk.

Judging by subscription rates for No Bull, Hart's online steroid newsletter marketed toward middle-aged men, the juice business is booming, especially among Boomers. Last May, No Bull signed on 3,000 new subscribers.

"I get more than 200 e-mails a day from men all over the world," Hart says. "Know what they all say? 'I can't wait to get started.'"

Francis, a member of various anabolic chat rooms, is a 35-year- old New Yorker who is about to begin his second cycle with his lifting partner, a 37-year-old Wall Street broker. Francis first tried steroids 2 years ago, when the clerk at a national supplement- store chain startled him by saying he was wasting his time with legal supplements. "I was about to buy a testosterone booster called 1AD," Francis recalls, "and the guy said I'd have to take 10 to 15 doses a day, which would do far more damage than a proper cycle."

"If you're going to do this stuff," the clerk told him, "you might as well do steroids." Francis spent 4 years reading detailed analyses of steroid composition and its effects, and finally decided the gains were worth the risks. "I don't drink or smoke, and there is no history of heart disease or liver problems in my family," he explains. Same for his broker buddy. Plus, their goals were modest-- each just wanted to add a few inches to his chest and arms--so they felt confident they could keep their steroid use under control.

"We're not muscle freaks," Francis says. "In 2 years, this is only my second 8-week cycle on steroids." All he wants to do, Francis says, is bulk up just enough to fill out his 6'4'' frame. "I've been lifting since I was 17 and taking every supplement under the sun, and I finally realized that at 220 pounds, I'd gotten as big as I could naturally."

Two hundred twenty pounds on a six-four frame? And he's worried that he's not big enough?

That, believes Dr. Pope, is cause for concern. In some men, once that hunger takes hold, there's no satisfying it. "These men feel they never look good enough, and begin sacrificing their relationships, their careers, their peace of mind--because they are never satisfied with their bodies."

This obsession has become so common that Dr. Pope has come up with a term for it: Adonis Complex. What fuels it, he says, are the ridiculously outsized bodies purveyed by Hollywood, magazine covers, and even action-toy manufacturers (just check out the size of G.I. Joe these days). "One of the biggest lies being handed to American men today is that you can somehow attain by natural means the huge shoulders and pectorals of the biggest men in the magazines," says Dr. Pope. "Generations of young men are working hard in the gym and wondering what on earth they're doing wrong. They don't realize that the 'hypermale' look that's so prevalent these days is essentially unattainable without steroids."

Steroids have become so common, in fact, that Dr. Pope believes most of us no longer recognize a steroid-enhanced body when we see one. They're all around us, bulging with injection-enhanced muscle but posing as clean. Because there are certain dimensions that cannot be attained without chemical help, Dr. Pope adds, he can walk through the mall or grab a stack of magazines and swiftly pick out many of the steroid users. The numbers, he says, are astonishingly high: "I once grabbed six men's magazines at random, and I'm certain that more than half of them had steroid-enhanced men on the covers.

"No one wants to reveal that much of his impressive body is due to injections," he continues. "I have met guys who would sooner tell you they had knocked over a convenience store or raped a girl in her dorm room than admit they had taken steroids."

Tragically, too many steroid users are guilty of just those crimes, and worse. As both a psychiatrist and a steroid expert, Dr. Pope has consulted in numerous criminal cases in which normally peaceful men, with no history of psychiatric problems, have suddenly gone berserk after a few cycles of steroids. In one case, a frail and timid 14-year-old boy began taking steroids to bulk up. He started having fits of anger so extreme that his mother took him to the emergency room to be examined. Two years later, at age 16, he stabbed his 14-year-old girlfriend to death with a carving knife while on a cycle of steroids.

There have been no systematic studies on steroid abuse among adult males, however, so there is still debate about the exact prevalence of 'roid rage and no clear understanding of its causes. However, Dr. Pope has no doubt that somewhere there is a cause and effect between synthetic testosterone and heightened aggression. "I've seen far too many examples of 'roid rage for this to be a coincidence," Dr. Pope says. Even in sedate lab studies, steroid users have had violent reactions; in one early clinical test at the National Institute of Mental Health, for instance, a volunteer who'd taken a dose lower than used by the average bodybuilder became so out of control that he asked to be placed in the ward seclusion room.

Granted, medical science has yet to determine the long-term physiological risks or explain the cause of psychological flare- ups. But in the meantime, is it worth becoming a self-appointed guinea pig just to add a few inches of unnecessary bulk?

"My fear," Dr. Pope says, "is that one day, we'll look back on this period in steroid history the way smokers are looking back on the 1950s, before the link to lung cancer was well understood. Sometime in the future, many steroid users could be in trouble from some unforeseen long-term consequences of these drugs and wishing they'd known more in advance."

Bill's wife still wants him to stop, but unlike in his drinking days, she hasn't given him the ultimatum. Bill knows why. "If she did," he says, "she'd lose." Steroids, he feels, have changed his life. Alcohol was an escape; steroids are who he is. "This is the body I was meant to have," he explains. "It just took a little help to get there." Currently, he's in the midst of a new cycle, this time experimenting with Dianabol and Equipoise, a veterinary steroid designed for horses.

"I've never been healthier in my life," Bill concludes. There's no denying the joy in his voice--but his final comment is a chilling echo of Dr. Pope's warning about size obsession.

"I feel like an Adonis!" Bill thunders.
bumpin for the person who missed the article...

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