In the 2001-2002 academic year, the NCAA spent almost three million dollars testing Division I and Division II football players for "anabolic agents, diuretics, and urine manipulators." National studies have allegedly shown a decrease in steroid use among college football players.
According to these studies, back in the late 1980's, about 9% of football players were juiced. The same studies now say only 3% are using steroids. Are college players indeed using less steroids, or are they simply better at hiding their usage? What's the real story?
T-mag decided to take a closer look. We went right to the frontlines to talk to a real, live, steroid-lovin' football player who's been through the NCAA test and occasionally visits the steroid section of the T-Forum. He agreed to talk to us by phone if we kept his true identity secret.
Testosterone: You awake? You sounded pretty drunk this morning when I got your message.
Anonymous: I'm actually not that bad today. I feel like my head should be splitting, but it's not.
T-mag: So did you guys win yesterday?
Anon: Yeah, we did, we did. We're 3-0 so far.
T-mag: You said once on the T-forum that your balls were the size of jellybeans. How are they hanging now?
Anon: (Laughs) At one point I remember taking a shower and realizing they were frighteningly small in comparison to what they used to be, but I think they've returned to normal. A 95-year-old female endocrinologist game me a testicular exam. I thought they were slightly sup-par, but she thought they were fine.
T-mag: How many guys on your team are using steroids?
Anon: Well, actually, it wasn't that many until I came back from summer break and they saw that I'd lost 60 pounds and still out-benched every single one of them. I benched around 445 with the formula and did 365 for seven reps. Anytime you lose 60 pounds of fat and you only lose 10 pounds on your bench, people start asking questions. They wanted to do the same diet I did. At that point I had to come clean about what I used. When your good friends are hellbent on doing something blindly which can cause them to lose a lot of strength, you have to tell them the truth.
So, word got out on the team and guys realized they were much more willing to do it, thinking that steroids would easily rip 'em up when it was actually just a really hard diet. There were two or three guys that we speculated had done steroids and were relatively confirmed, and another four to five suspected, but now there's probably six or seven confirmed.
T-mag: Nobody got busted this year with the NCAA tests?
Anon: No, at that time I was the only one tested that had done anything.
T-mag: Were you pretty freaked out when you received notice that you were getting tested?
Anon: I was actually enjoying a nice Subway sandwich when five of my friends came up to me and asked if I'd seen the drug test list. To be honest, I expected the worst because any time I do some shit like this I always get busted for it. So my friends came up to me and some of them were laughing 'cause they knew I'd have my bases covered. They thought it was a funny situation.
I was panicking for awhile, but you know, the NCAA drug test is really sensationalized. The first thing they test for is the 6:1 ratio for Testosterone to DHT. If you fail that test, then they screen for further anabolics. So as long as you pass that first test, you're fine from what I understand. So basically, even if you take Tren up to the day of the test, you should have a pretty low ratio, under the 6:1 required. These are the rumors I've heard at least.
T-mag: So as far as endogenous Test production, you're struggling hormonally at this point and basically registering as hypogonadal, right?
Anon: Yeah, actually I had just been assayed at 257ng/dl. When I found out I had to be under the 6:1 ratio with Testosterone in the numerator, I figured I was fine. Not to mention, they take like twenty vials per 100 person team, so you already have a four out of five chance you won't be tested, and they don't test all twenty vials; probably just five or six.
So basically you only have a one in ten chance of your urine getting tested, and even if they do screen you, chances are they won't test for the anabolic you're on. There are plenty of things you can do in terms of diluting your piss and taking vitamins like B6 and whatnot.
T-mag: I read on the NCAA website that they check the specific gravity of the urine to make sure it's not too dilute.
Anon: That's the thing. They test the PH and they look at the color. So if it's clear they're obviously not going to accept, and if the PH is above or below a certain point they won't accept it. So the theory is this: if you drink a whole lot of vinegar and a whole lot of water it apparently keeps your piss the PH you want even though it's diluted, and if you take a whole lot of vitamin B6 and Niacin and Thyamine, it stays yellow. So even though the urine is diluted, it maintains its color and PH and has a much lower ratio of the metabolites they could be testing for.
T-mag: Did you drink that vinegar concoction then?
Anon: I had more vinegar cocktails than you can possibly imagine! I can't even put it on my salad anymore!
T-mag: Let's talk about grueling workouts now, because I know these, in part, led to your decision to use steroids.
Anon: My strength coach is a powerlifter, so we do a whole lot of squats, cleans, and snatches. Sunday is the day we start, the day after a game. We do heavy squats, heavy hang cleans, Romanian deadlifts, then a bunch of supplementary lifts. Tuesday and Wednesday we lift again; Tuesday is bench with the entire lower body workout. Wednesday is another complete upper body day where we do bench and incline again.
I don't know why, doesn't make sense to me. I've asked my coach and he says we're regular athletes, not power athletes, which means we train everything everyday–our body must be ready for everything everyday. As far as I'm concerned that violates the laws of recovery. Overall it's a pretty ball-busting workout.
Anyway, I was horribly overtrained, and growing up as a powerlifter your numbers are what mattered. I never gave a shit what I looked like, but when I benched a lot I was happy. When I saw my numbers dropping and I started feeling so overtrained, I knew it wasn't going to get any better and we had a long, long season ahead. I knew that steroids drastically enhanced recovery and put on size and strength, so I figured, hey, what the hell? I'm saving myself, I don't feel like I'm cheating. I did it to avoid the crash I was experiencing. Quite frankly, it worked.
T-mag: Do your coaches know some of you are juicing? Do they discourage or encourage steroid use at all?
Anon: There's a rumor that my head coach was talking to one kid on the team who was struggling with his size at defensive end. One of the other kids on the team was a notorious juicer, you know, 6'7", 330 pounds with a six pack. He's playing in the NFL now, ridiculous specimen, obvious juicer. So anyway, the coach says to my buddy, "Why don't you talk to so-in-so about getting big; he knows how to put on weight fast." What he's basically saying is, listen dude, you need to hop on the juice or you're not going to get on the field.
Word that I was using also got around to my strength coach and he confronted me about it. He said he'd heard rumors about my steroid use and didn't know whether it was true or not true, but either way, the rumors had to stop. He couldn't have a team filled with juicers. I told him the rumor was true, but I agreed that we couldn't have a team filled with juicers because God only knew what would happen. Things would get out of control.
T-mag: It could lead to a major scandal for the team and the school.
Anon: Yeah, our opponents would credit all our accomplishments we've made as a team to steroids.
T-mag: Don't you figure most of your opponents are juicing as well?
Anon: It's hard to say. I don't know.
T-mag: Do the other athletes on your team know what they're doing when it comes to using steroids?
Anon: They know absolutely nothing! Quite frankly, I've had enough experiences with negative side effects where I have reason to convince people not to do things they don't know about. Steroids are fantastic when you do them correctly, but sometimes shit bites you in the ass no matter how smart you think you are.
I thought I'd been pretty smart at times and turned out to be really stupid. So I'll tell them, if you're really hellbent on doing this, get some clean stuff you know is real and I'll tell you how to do it safely and effectively.
T-mag: So you're like the team endocrinologist?
Anon: Yeah, I like to think of it like that, otherwise I kinda' feel like a little drug peddling punk. Whatever the case, these are the people you get close with. Some of your best friends are on the football team and when they're throwing their bodies into this mix you gotta make sure they're doing something right.
T-mag: You've been juicing for a year now, right?
Anon: Yeah, seems like a whole lot longer than that though. I started learning about steroids after my first cycle. I guess you could say that I was one of the dumbasses on the forums who rushed in.
T-mag: What was your first cycle?
Anon: Sustanon and D-bol. I think it was a gram frontload of Sust, 750mgs a week, D-bol at 25mgs ED. I was running this going into spring camp last year, then they extended camp by a couple weeks and I extended an eight weeker into what seemed to be a neverending cycle. I risked the testing. We get tested in spring, and if you're doing 750mgs/week of Test and they test you...
T-mag: You're screwed!
Anon: I just happened not to get my number called. I planned it out so the esters should be tapering down as spring ball ended. I didn't know exactly how to calculate blood levels and didn't realize I would've been fine ending my cycle at eight weeks. I didn't want to be stuck playing for two weeks in what I thought was a hypogonadal state, so I extended it.
T-mag: What did you get from that cycle in terms of gains?
Anon: I started out when I was very overtrained and already weakening. Bodyweight went from 255 to 260 while dropping a few percent bodyfat, and my lifts just skyrocketed. My bench went up to 465 or 470. I did that so easy my coach made me attempt 485. For the first time, 500 seemed within reach. I hang-cleaned 365, which was a pretty significant number at the time, and I squatted 455 for six. When I started the cycle I was having difficulty with one rep of 455.
T-mag: How about sides?
Anon: Yeah, you know, it's like on the forum where someone asks a stupid question and our best advice is to not do steroids and keep researching. But people who are hellbent on doing steroids have their ears closed to that. They want to have a cycle laid out for them step by step, one thing at a time. They don't want to know why it works, why you should do this, why you should do that.
At the time, I was a relatively poor college student without a job. I was just going on what my Pops would give me for drinkin' money. I thought I had enough money for a cycle, but unfortunately I had a really bad source. He was good, but then he went international and it was expensive. I couldn't afford any ancillaries.
T-mag: No ancillaries? Big mistake!
Anon: I ended up buying all this D-bol and Sust. I had no Clomid, no Arimidex, none of that, but I was so ready to start because I was completely overtrained. It was idiotic. Starting without ancillaries is a rookie mistake.
So I start the cycle and about a week in I decide it would be a good idea to start an anti-estrogen. I used Biotest's "M". I did fine with that, but then I ran out about two weeks before the projected end of the cycle. I was out of D-bol as well. I kept going with the Sustanon, and at the end of the cycle I started noticing some nipple sensitivity. I always thought that gyno was a "during cycle" thing, the excess aromatization etc, but actually if test levels drop and estrogen levels are still high you're at much greater risk for gynecomastia.
T-mag: So what happened?
Anon: I ended up feeling something in my chest and at that point I freaked out. I finally got my hands on some Clomid and Arimidex and started dosing heavily. I started cranking up the dosages but it wasn't helping whatsoever and my nipples started to get puffy. That's when I learned about prolactin induced gyno.
I didn't know why my anti-E's weren't slowing down the problem, and that's when I learned about bromocriptine and a bunch of other products that would've helped me had I known what I was doing. Fortunately that problem subsided, because prolactin induced gyno isn't permanent; it's an activation of the mammary. When you realize you activated a breast in your body you realize how stupid you were.
T-mag: Let's talk about your second cycle.
Anon: Here's what happened. The first cycle is calculated into the 25 weeker. People tell you "time on should equal time off" and thinking I knew enough about steroids, I thought six weeks should be enough time off. When you end your cycle with a gram of Sust in the last week, it's gonna be around for more than a few weeks. My body probably never produced any endogenous Test during the six week "break" after my first cycle.
The second cycle was a Tren/Winny cycle. I decided to go on a diet, and with my personality, no one could tell me otherwise. I grabbed my Tren and Winny and dove in headfirst. Anytime you have a serious amount of side effects, that's when you start to research. After my gyno scare, I took it upon myself to learn everything I possibly could about steroids. The Tren/Winny was a much better formulated cycle and I got my ancillaries ahead of time.
T-mag: So this cycle went better?
Anon: Well, I developed an oil abscess. Luckily, I had antibiotics on hand. I was pretty clean with the injections, but to be honest I can't say I wiped of the top of the vial every time. I can't imagine how I got the abscess. I guess it was the sheer volume of the oil injections. I was doing a half CC of Test prop, a CC of Tren, and a CC of oil based Winny in a day. After awhile that oil just adds up no matter how much you rotate your injection sites, and I developed abscesses. They're scary, 'cause who wants to have their body cut open and drained?
T-mag: So you went to a doctor?
Anon: Well, I'd run out of antibiotics on the second abscess, so I had to go to the doctor. I told him I leaned up against a nail or something that was sticking out of my shed!
T-mag: He believed it?
Anon: Yeah, I had a needle mark that looked about the size of a small nail. Before I saw the doctor I had a friend take a needle and stick it in there in seven or eight places and suck the gunk straight out of my arm. That's when I decided I needed antibiotics.
Anyway, the biggest side effect one can have is not giving your balls enough time to recuperate and going 25 weeks suppressed. At the end of my Tren/Winny cycle my balls were the size of jellybeans!
A few weeks after I was done with my D-bol experiment I had my Test levels checked. I remember T-mag citing a reference of some guy who had baseline levels of 100ng/dl and mine came back at 47 ng/dl, basically half what a low Test guy should have, and I'd already been attempting recovery for five weeks. Eight weeks later I got it tested again and now we're only up to 257ng/dl.
T-mag: 257? Did you take up knitting?
Anon: It's a shitty feeling. Mentally, I'd rather not have known my Test levels were so low, 'cause once you know your Test levels are low you tend to blame everything on that. "Why am I in such a bad mood? Why do I feel like crap today?" 'Cause my Test levels are low. It's a cop-out!
T-mag: So you went back to the endocrinologist a third time, right?
Anon: Yeah, now my Test levels are at 590ng/dl.
T-mag: So what have you kept from your cycle in terms of gains?
Anon: It's hard to say. Even in-season right now I don't think I've lost any strength. I went from benching 465 down to 445 or 450 and that was enough weeks after my Tren/Winny that I should've been losing gains. My body has softened up a little bit; as a matter of fact my diet starts today. I made up my mind as I was going through about half a chocolate cake last night at team dinner.
I'll start the diet today 'cause when you go through what I went through to change your physique and you end up watching your gains slip away, it blows your mind. It's a horrible feeling.
T-mag: Any words of wisdom for high school athletes or college players considering their first steroid cycle? Do you need to use steroids in order to be competitive?
Anon: No, you don't. I know people who are stronger and faster than me who don't even work half as hard as me. It's genetic, or maybe they eat better or something. Who knows? You can't look at the other guy and say, "That's what I need to do."
Quite frankly, strength and size don't necessarily mean all that much on the field. It's how you play the game. For athletes looking to get bigger, stronger, and faster, there are alternatives. Learn about diet and exercise. Exhaust your natural potential. That doesn't mean there isn't any reason why you shouldn't do steroids when you're old enough. This is especially true with all the information we have.
The only real advice I would give you is, don't be a fuckin' idiot! I was. I made a whole lot of stupid mistakes I never should've made, and you don't think you can make them? You can! All it takes is a simple miscalculation of blood levels. Learn everything you can.
I know it's a cliché, it's been written a hundred times on the forum, but unless you're at a point where you can write your own cycle and know why you're writing what you're writing, you aren't in a position to use steroids. It will bite you in the ass. If there's something you don't know, it will get you!
T-mag: That's sound advice. Tell us though, will you use again?
Anon: I will. Once you go to the dark side, it's hard to go back. I've worked for a long time to put on a lot of size and strength. Even though it took me a long time it wasn't a problem, just a lengthy process. When you hop on the juice, you're able to diet and maintain strength, or even diet and gain strength. You realize how much easier and faster it is to change your body and it's hard to resist.
The only issue now is doing it side-effect free. Obviously I've had some problems with my entire endocrine system, so my goal has become to do just three week cycles: hit 'em hard as hell, hope to gain some mass, and diet when I need to. Hopefully I'll be able to keep what I've gained so far and keep the ball rolling without doing too much damage to myself. Steroids coupled with intelligence is not an unhealthy combination.
T-mag: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Anon: To be honest, five years from now is very blurry in my mind. Hopefully I'll be a successful nightclub owner who struts around his club in muscle shirts and has sex with tons of women. Also, I should be done with all steroid use by that time and still remain physically impressive in some respect. Perhaps not, but let's see how the willpower holds up!
T-mag: Ever feel guilty about all this steroid use? I mean, regardless of your reasoning, you are willfully cheating in your sport.
Anon: I don't feel guilty at all. I never sat down with my needle and said, "I need to be a better football player and this will take me there." My reasoning had very little to do with football; it was more to do with me. Either I was being overtrained and was sick of losing strength, or I was a fat bastard who wanted to lose weight and not strength. Though steroids undoubtedly helped my football ability, I never really tried to gain an unfair advantage over my competitors.
T-mag: Okay, Anon, thanks for the straightforward talk.
Anon: You bet.