Earlier this year, T-Nation published a controversial article called Diary of a Steroid User. Perhaps more than any other article we've published this year, this personal account of first-time steroid use caused a frenzy of emails and forum activity. Arguments broke out, allegations were made, and those on different sides of the anabolic fence were practically at each other's throats.
And you know what? We kinda like that.
Now, the anonymous steroid user from the first article has written a sequel covering his second cycle. (Try not to hurt each other.)
Real Cycle, Real Person, Real Results
Yep, I'm back. I'm back like birds in the spring, like bees to the hive, like Boldenone molecules to androgen receptors. I'm back on the juice for the second time.
Like many steroid users, I initially planned to do "just one cycle," but honestly, I don't know anyone that's done just one cycle. Despite good intentions, that's like telling a girl you're only gonna stick your dick in "a little bit" – it just can't be done by 99.9999% of the population.
Since I'm not part of the elite 0.0001%, here I am, syringe of anabolic goodness in hand. Getting things together was much easier this time. I didn't get ripped off, got my host of ancillaries together, and ordered up enough pins to inoculate a small army.
(I can't stress enough how important ancillaries are. Order them first. Order more than you need, and if you're using an aromatizing drug, then include Arimidex in addition to the standard issue Nolvadex/Clomid.)
I ordered the gear, everything showed up, and there was no trouble with mysterious panel vans, customs seizures, controlled deliveries or any of that. Ironically, getting it all together was less hassle than trying to fill a prescription at Walgreens.
The first week of a cycle is difficult to describe because so much is happening. You're really pumped (because mentally, you know you're juicin'), but at the same time your workouts suck because you're lethargic due to the androgens disrupting your sleep as surely as a horde of little green men with electric cattle prods. So you grind through your workouts like you're putting money into a 401k, trusting the payoff is somewhere down the road. So let us skip week one and take up at the beginning at week two.
Week 2: Day 1
This cycle is probably a little more complex than it needed to be, but I knew what I wanted and if a few extra bells and whistles got added along the way, well, who cares? So, including ancillaries, I'm running something like ten drugs: Equipoise, Testosterone, Primobolan, Dianabol, Anavar, Clomid, Nolvadex, Arimidex, Spironolactane and Finasteride. Most days I have eight of these drugs floating around inside me. And people worry about interactions between two or three drugs? Sheesh!
Drug-wise, I didn't take any Dbol today. I had to take some cold medicine last night (yeah, I got a cold, dammit) so I skipped the breakfast of champions to give my liver a break. I mean, it has to be easier to deal with eight drugs than it is to deal with nine, right? I settled for a little (10mg) of Anavar for my snack instead. It gave me a headache.
Despite this, I broke some new ground today on squats. Nothing major for some of you powerlifting folks, but for me it was great. Since I'd suffered a major injury five years ago and couldn't do any legs at all for a couple years, squatting big numbers has always been a challenge.
Week 2: Day 2
Today was upper body and my pecs didn't give a peak performance this morning, so I had a talk with 'em in the shower. I said, "Look guys, you really let me down in there. We've done more than that without any 'help' whatsoever, and now I give you guys Test, EQ, Dbol and Anavar, and you're busy doing God-knows-what and not paying attention to the task at hand."
They didn't say anything, so I continued, raising my voice enough for them to hear me over the steamy roar of hot water. "You're acting like a couple whiny little bitches, and you know what we do with whiny little bitches? We take them back to the gym and work them until they get with the program. Now I'm going to give you guys a few hours to think about this and then we're going to come back here and really kick some ass. Got it?"
They didn't say anything, but I knew they were listening. So I ate my lunch early and then we headed back to the gym as promised. Since my insubordinate pecs made me have to come back to the gym, I made them pay.
My pecs did well this time and got a nice pump, so I rewarded them when we got back to the office with a serving of Surge, a GROW! protein shake and another 5 mg of Anavar.
Week 2: Day 3
Man, are my pecs sore! This sort of "one day cure" for a particular body part has worked for me in the past. It's analogous to what Arnold did on the weekends (as described in his book Education of a Bodybuilder). I also had such a massive pump going in my biceps that I stretched/tore the skin. Now that's a pretty sure sign I'm growing! The torn area is tender, but it's kind of a good feeling, especially when it took an extra half inch of tape to get around my arms. (Eight hours post-workout, so could there be some pump left?)
As far as supplements, I found that if I split the Dbol 50mg tab into quarters, I can spread the dose out and not get that scary "can't catch my breath" feeling. So basically, I can't take more than 12.5 mg of Dbol at a time (breathless) or 5mg/Anavar at a time (headache).
I've also added in 1/2mg Adex ED to avoid attracting the attention of the dreaded Estrogen Fairy. I don't want that evil little bitch visiting my nipples and leaving them swollen from her unwanted attentions.
Oh, and the EQ has kicked in. Woke up at 3:30 this morning ravenously hungry, despite a bowl of cottage cheese (slow digesting protein) right before bed. Usually the cottage cheese gets me through the night, though maybe not after a double workout.
Week 2: Day 4
Well, my pecs are recovered nicely, but that didn't matter as today was leg day. I really like training four days a week with Wednesdays off. I did five days a week for many years but I feel having that day off in the middle does wonders for recovery.
I do legs twice a week; Monday I do squats and Thursday I do deads. I just started doing deadlifts about a year ago. Prior to that, I thought I pretty much had the bases covered with squats. I was wrong.
Anyway, I had a lot of catch-up to do from years of neglecting this important exercise, mainly poor lower back strength exacerbated by years of belt use. I don't use a belt for anything anymore and my back feels much better. Lower back strength has finally caught up, so now I'm just starting to toy with the idea of pushing it.
Anyway, I did seven sets of deadlifts, three sets of calves, four sets of leg extensions, four sets of leg curls and three sets of abs. Feeling a little stronger compared to the last two weeks, which brings my strength levels to baseline natural. I've gained some weight and size already, but I haven't seen any strength gains yet. I expect strength gains to begin to kick in next week.
Week 2: Day 5
I got decent sleep last night, but mentally I'm still not feeling 100% due to an ongoing battle with my wife. Keeping a positive mental attitude has to be almost as important as diet, training or recovery. There are a lot of balls that need to be kept in the air if I want to maximize my gains on this cycle.
Today was an upper body day. Here's what my bench press looked like:
195 x 6
225 x 6
235 x 6
245 x 5
I'm making progress on the bench press, but it's still really frustrating because I've done more than this without any "assistance." I was doing more than this three weeks ago! My experience has been that for whatever reason strength always takes a little dip the first two weeks of a cycle. Maybe I'm the only one. It sucks. I don't know how some people can do a two-week cycle.
I guess it's like when you're on a race-bike and you crack the throttle and it bogs for a second or two, then comes screaming back with a vengeance as it reaches the powerband. Next week I should hit the steroidal "powerband" and take off.
For back today I did dumbbell rows. I felt stronger on these, but not hugely so:
60 x 10
80 x 8
90 x 6
100 x 6
Usually I do bent barbell rowing or T-bar rowing, not these gay little dumbbell rows, but I'm taking a break and saving some of the "money exercises" for later in the cycle. I finished the workout with wide-grip pull-ups, Arnold presses, close-grip bench press and "21's" for biceps. Most of these were supersetted. At the end I leaned against a pillar to prevent cheating and burned out the bi's on hammer curls. This workout took me about an hour and ten minutes.
What a weekend. First, the friggin' Estrogen Fairy dropped by last night while I was asleep and left her calling card. I upped my Adex and gobbled down a couple Nolvas.
I actually noticed it while I was on top of my wife, which was pretty weird. Now, if it would've been a big set of nipples on a second chick, that would've been cool, but looking down and seeing hers weren't the only big nipples in the bed put a damper on things. And then she told me I was getting too big and was squishing her! I only outweigh her by about 80 pounds, so I'm not sure what the big deal is!
Why do I want to be bigger anyway? Many of you are stronger than me, bigger than me, whatever. I'm sure everyone can point to some area of their lifting, training, or physique where they're vastly superior to me, and that's fine. I compete against myself and I work out because I enjoy it. I also enjoy a certain sense of satisfaction just from being big–at least "big" relative to what I would be had I never set foot in the gym.
I also like it when women tell me they feel really safe in my presence as their timeless yearning to be protected from physical threats unexpectedly bubbles to the surface and spreads steadily like a wet spot on a pair of panties.
So I use a little anabolic help to get me through plateaus. This is just one of many hobbies for me; lifting isn't my life. I'm not the strongest, biggest person on the planet like some people apparently think they are. I'm not here to insult anyone and I'm not here to promote steroid use. I'm just an average guy writing this so that you have a clear idea of what goes on when someone like you takes HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) to the next level on his own.
If you have a problem with that, then you may want to check out Better Homes and Gardens instead.
Week 3: Day 1
Today was a squat day. In the not-so-distant past, it hurt my injured knee to do reps with the bar, so I've been upping the poundages very gradually. Last week on my deadlift day, I hurt my knee somehow, I think doing leg extensions (stupid, I know), but today it felt okay.
Here's what I did on the squat today:
230 x 8
255 x 6
280 x 4
300 x 3
315 x 2
325 x 1 (stalled out, powered through)
280 x 4
All reps are ass-to-grass using strict form. The only equipment I use is gloves. If you would've told me that I'd be able to do this two years ago, I would've called you a liar.
Next I did calves and stiff-leg deadlifts with a shrug at the top (alternated with sit-ups).
I skipped my Dbol breakfast. Taking Dbol when battling the Estrogen Fairy is about as wise as smearing bacon grease on your tent in bear country.
Week 3: Day 2
Today I feel kinda depressed. I'm not sure what the fuck is going on with my bench. It's like I just don't have the fire in my belly. I'm wondering if the Test I have is bogus, but there's the undeniable fact that I've gained six or seven pounds and then there was that gyno scare this weekend. So it can't all be fake, unless somebody counterfeited the Test and it's actually made from high-E Synovex cattle implants stolen from a Brazilian McDonald's hamburger mill.
Maybe I'm just being paranoid. I'm tired and I didn't sleep well last night due to someone tossing and turning in my bed. But after three weeks, the "I didn't sleep well" excuse is wearing as thin as an anorexic subsisting on bread crumbs and water.
Looking back at my last cycle, I guess strength gains didn't really kick in until week four, but when they did, they kicked in, in a huge way. I did improve a little bit, I did get a good pump, and I do look a little bigger in the mirror, so all is not lost. There's hope.
My bench work today looked like this:
195 x 6
210 x 6
225 x 6
235 x 6
245 x 6
I got the last set today, which I missed last workout. It was pure mental force, though; my muscles gave up on the last rep and I had to tell them there was absolutely no way in hell that I was not going to complete the set. This rep and set scheme is really difficult for me because I find it mentally very boring. It's time to switch my bench routine.
I then performed barbell rows (working up to 186 x 5), Arnold Press, narrow-grip bench and curls (21's).
Drugs: Why am I taking this Dbol? I seem to be immune to its benefits. I felt and lifted better yesterday without it! Obviously it's not imparting any quick strength gains. Levels of injectables are up, so I'm probably going to drop it.
Week 3: Day 3
Today was a rest day. My most demanding physical exertion was flying a Mickey Mouse kite with my kid. That went pretty late and I didn't get dinner until almost 8:00. I went to bed at 9:00, not noticing my cottage cheese trying desperately to attract my attention from its perch in the fridge. Oops.
Woke up at 4:00 A.M. like a bear coming out of hibernation. I was ravenously hungry. It pissed me off because for the first time in three weeks I had slept well. I wanted another hour. When I get enough quality sleep, I can transform a placid gym into an iron and steel tornado.
Week 3: Day 4
Today was a deadlift day. I've been debating what to do because after my stiff-legged deads on Monday, my back was still sore up until last night. This morning it seemed okay. I'm not sure why my lower back takes so long to recover; I suspect it doesn't help matters when I work it indirectly on Tuesdays with bent barbell rowing.
My deadlift looked like this:
245 x 5
305 x 3
345 x 2
330 x 4
315 x 10 (supposed to get 6)
I need to start hitting it harder on deads, but usually I'm more worried about injury prevention. I don't have any injuries to work around (besides being cautious with the knee) and want to keep it that way. I guess I'm kinda cautious when it comes to something new.
My biggest limiting factor is grip. I could've gotten more reps today but my forearms gave out. Probably has something to do with being married. Forearms once accustomed to spanking the monkey six ways from Sunday are now called into action only occasionally to take a stubborn lid off a jar of Spaghetti sauce. But I digress...
Normally I'd go do leg extensions and leg curls next, but since one of those two hurt my knee last time, I tried front squats with a pronated grip for 135 x 6. This is the first time I've tried these. In the past I tried doing them with arms crossed, but it was too uncomfortable. This I think I can do.
I finished up today's training with calves and abs.
I feel IT! IT's coming! Didn't have a huge workout, but I left feeling better than when I walked in, something that hasn't happened since I began this cycle. Maybe it's because I feel like I accomplished something, broke some new ground. Or perhaps it was my decision to kick the Dbol to the curb. Whatever the case, I didn't feel depleted.
"IT" is an almost indescribable feeling. I have an increasingly growing sense of mild euphoria and physical power. It's kinda like this: imagine you're in a powerful car, maybe a 500hp Dodge Viper; it's in gear, you have one foot planted firmly on the brake and the other pushing on the accelerator. The pedal is down one-fourth of the way, a little more gas and the wheels are going to break loose. You're sitting right on the edge, the light about to turn green.
I know I'm about to break loose. My only question is whether it'll be tomorrow or Monday.
Let the games begin.
Week 3: Day 5
Well, last night I was lying there trying to fall asleep and kinda did a double take at my arm. It didn't really look like my arm; it was bigger, bulkier. It's a weird feeling when you see a body part like that. I like it, don't get me wrong, it's just that a small part of you says, "What's happening to me?!" But then the part chasing bigger guns comes back and pounds the fearful voice into silence and exuberantly shouts, "This is what we wanted!"
So last night I again didn't sleep the greatest. Sleep is obviously extremely important to the natural trainer because of its effects on Testosterone production, GH secretion, cortisol regulation, etc. For the enhanced trainee, the mental benefits become more important since the anabolic bases are covered exogenously. Personally, it comes down to attitude and how hard I can push myself.
Like I said earlier this week, it was time for a change on flat bench. So I brought up the volume by doing more sets, plus I went a little heavier. This is probably my favorite routine (8-6-4-2-4-6-8) as each set provides a slightly different challenge. It also helped to have some guy in there benching in the mid 400's. He was probably 5' 7" and built like a bulldog. He's coming back from a torn pec, too. What the hell is my excuse?
I then performed bent rows with strict form (working up to 185 x 6) and supersetted Arnold presses with wide-grip pull-ups. Last, I did barbell curls alternated with narrow-grip bench.
As I was loading up the bar, a 19 year-old personal trainer came in and did bent rows right behind me while I was curling. She stood perpendicular to me so all I could see in the mirror was the kind of impossibly firm, splendid little ass that can only come from something akin to a celestial alignment of youth, genetics and training. And there it was in the mirror, a glorious beacon sticking wantonly out from behind my legs.
It was very distracting. Did I mention she was wearing Spandex? The wolf inside howled. Wolf would like to eat that. Instead I went and ate 2.5 pounds of chili. (Yes, I actually weighed it.) It took the edge off my EQ-ppetite.
Week 4: Day 1–Ignition!
I overcame my irrational fear of needles and gave myself my own shot for the first time this weekend. (My wife has been doing it.) I don't know if I was half expecting to have to pound the syringe in through bone with a hammer or what, but I was really amazed at how the needle slid in seemingly without resistance.
It didn't hurt or freak me out whatsoever. In the past I've felt this needle-phobia was totally ridiculous, irrational and unfounded, nonetheless I couldn't make myself do it. All I can tell you is that it feels good to conquer fear.
So anyway, this stuff is finally kicking in. Here's the first four sets of what I'd planned for a squat workout. I think it's pretty respectable for ass-to-grass squats.
230 x 8
255 x 6
280 x 4
320 x 2
I rolled through the first sets like a division of German Panzers invading France. The resistance was laughable, and by the time I racked the bar after 320 x 2, I realized I needed to take things up a notch. Here's how I finished it out:
315 x 4
295 x 6
265 x 8
My knees felt great, but my lower back muscles felt really tight and unhappy. I did a couple sets of abs alternated with standing calf raises which made it feel pretty decent, good enough to go forward with stiff-leg deads, going as heavy as 255 x 2.
That's all I had time for today.
Week 4: Day 2
Well, Mr. Bulldog (as I call him) made my day this morning. "What do you weigh?" he asked. I told him and he didn't believe me. He is 5' 7" at 220 and thought I was 30 pounds heavier than I was. People always think I'm 15 to 20 pounds heavier than I am. I'm starting to think maybe I have hollow bones. I'd hate to see what I'd weigh without my good 15 pounds of "man parts!"
Today I felt pretty flat for whatever reason. Perhaps it was because my workout partner has returned from Europe and was supposed to have his ass in there for the last two days but hasn't shown. And the radio was KIA so I felt like I was lifting in the oppressive silence of a deserted church or library. Excuses, excuses.
Despite the flat feeling, I forced myself to grind out a small improvement in performance on the bench. (No spotter.)
210 x 8
235 x 6
255 x 4
285 x 2
265 x 3 (Thank God I was in the power rack 'cause I crashed and burned attempting #4.)
235 x 6
220 x 8
I was mentally stretching on my bent barbell rows; I haven't gone heavy (for me) in some time on them, but I got as heavy as 220 pounds today. It always makes me feel good when I'm rowing more than the guy on the next bench is benching.
Next I hit the Arnold press alternated with pull-ups, getting a few more reps than I did last time. Finally, I moved to narrow-grip bench alternated with standing barbell curls. I went as heavy as 205 on the bench and 135 on the curls. I was moving pretty slow today, so this took me about an hour and twenty minutes.
Drugs: No orals this week.
Goals going into my rest day:
1) Get my head straightened out; get psyched.
2) Drag my workout partner into the gym and handcuff his sorry ass to the rack Wednesday night so he's there Thursday morning.
3) Watch Kill Bill Vol. 1
4) Have some extraordinary sex!
That last one has me psyched already!
Week 4: Day 3
Today my normal gym was closed for some sort of maintenance, so I had to go across town to another gym. This was a big chain gym and it didn't even have a squat rack! Instead, it had a Smith machine! (Whoooo!)
Fortunately, it was deadlift day, so I took the bar off an unused incline bench, cleared out a spot and loaded up the bar with a whopping 135 to warm up. As I slid the plates on, you would've thought I was an eerily glowing alien building a fission bomb from the looks I got. What on earth is he doing? You can't take a bar off a bench and put it on the floor! Their little ACE-certified world was being upset; someone was coloring outside the lines.
Anyway, my deadlifts went as follows:
260 x 5
320 x 3
365 x 2
345 x 4
330 x 6
They all felt pretty good, well, really good actually, except the last set where my grip started slipping again. It was enough to where I thought about digging the straps out of my closet and seeing what I could do with them. The bar was bent, too. I hate bent bars. Finished out the workout doing a bunch of calf stuff on the Smith alternated with abs. It wasn't the greatest workout in the world, but it wasn't the worst either.
Let's talk "supplements" for a minute. Saturday, after taking my 500mg EQ/300mg of Test, I almost immediately felt short of breath. I find that feeling highly disturbing. Five days later the feeling has abated somewhat, but I get winded easily. Actually that's a gross understatement. Let me be honest: Saturday, I thought I was going to die.
After the injection I went for a walk in the woods to try to calm down. I hardly think I'm alone in saying that not being able to breathe properly makes one panicky. Just walking along, trying to ferret out a bit of peace and calm beneath the gently swaying boughs and I couldn't catch my breath. I grabbed onto a tree, clutching the rough bark, leaning in and breathing heavy. My heart pounded like the prairie beneath a herd of 300 stampeding buffalo.
A minute passed and still my heart raced. Is this how it feels to die? I wondered. I've got to get home! Tell my wife! Call a doctor! I waited a few more minutes; the buffalo herd dissipated. I slowly made my way home.
Was this worth it? Did I want my kid to grow up without a father because he ran into the Grim Reaper while chasing 10 or 15 pounds of muscle? How stupid would that be?
By the time I hit my front steps however, I had fought down the panic. Things were under control. I would say nothing of this. Not to anyone.
Editor's Note: We never heard from this guy again so we guess he's dead. Nah, just kiddin'! Mr. Anonymous will continue his diary soon!