So you wanna drop some fat and you wanna' do it at breakneck speed, huh? What's that? You also want to retain all your muscle mass while greatly reducing calories? Man, you want it all, don't you? Well, it can be done, if you take the proper precautions.
We all know the danger of a super strict diet: potential muscle loss. Who wants to look ripped if you have to lose a lot of hard-earned muscle to get there? Of course, you could go on a sensible diet and slowly drop the fat, but hey, where's the fun in that? Besides, we're in a hurry here!
Many people choose to use steroids while on a severe diet to stave off any possible muscle loss. But which ones and how much? And how should you eat while "on"? Our junior guru Cy Willson has the answers for you. And don't worry, if steroids aren't your bag, he'll also provide some legal alternatives to help you rapidly drop the fat while keeping the muscle.
The Real Anabolic Diet
At one time or another, everyone involved in bodybuilding decides to shed the fat and "see what's under there." With those that use anabolic steroids, this effort has always included the use of drugs that have gained a reputation for their so-called "hardening effect."
Most have attributed this "hardening effect" to a simple reduction in water retention. For example, Joe Blow is using 1,000 mg of Testosterone enanthate per week along with 50 mg per day of methandrostenolone for a course of six to eight weeks. He stops using those two drugs on the ninth week and switches to androgens which cause less water retention. This lack of water retention is the effect referred to as "hardening," right? Actually, I don't think that's the entire story.
True, the reduction in water does play a role. However, I also think certain steroids are much more potent than others in terms of reducing adipose tissue and/or inhibiting the uptake of triglycerides into adipose tissue. Think about it: androgens vary in terms of their anabolic effects upon muscle tissue, so why would this be any different in terms of their effects on the reduction of adipose tissue?
I'll go over my reasoning behind this in the body of my article, as well as provide a list of drugs that are best suited for a fat loss phase. I'll also include a diet plan that will greatly accelerate the reduction of adipose tissue.
Don't worry, I'll also include a "steroid alternative" section which will consist of prohormone usage for those of you who don't like to worry about DEA agents, phone taps, and undercover officers dressed like fitness bunnies, which only paranoid bastards like me worry about anyway.
The AR (Androgen Receptor)
There are many mechanisms behind the ability of androgens to reduce body fat. However, one key determinant of the amount of adipose tissue reduced is that particular androgen's ability to bind to the AR.
I need to mention that most androgens interact with both AR and GR (Glucocorticoid Receptors). We'll touch on that later. For now, let me explain why it matters how well an androgen binds to the AR in terms of reducing adipose tissue. Most of you know that ARs are present in tissue such as muscle. This is one of the mechanisms behind their ability to induce muscular hypertrophy. Now what does this have to do with body fat? Simple, AR's are present in adipose tissue as well. (1)
What does this mean? Well, it's been shown that the higher the density of ARs, the more that lipid uptake is inhibited. (2) It's also been shown that androgens that bind avidly to the AR cause an increase or upregulation of AR in adipocytes. (1) I think the greater the androgen binds to the AR, the more upregulation of AR in adipocytes occurs. This would lead to a significant reduction in subcutaneous adipose tissue. (3)
Notice that I specifically mentioned subcutaneous adipose tissue (fat right beneath the skin) and not visceral adipose tissue (fat around the internal organs). Why did I bother to differentiate between the two? Simple. For the most part, we bodybuilders are concerned only with subcutaneous adipose tissue. Visceral fat doesn't have much of an effect on a person's appearance. For that reason, we're only concerning ourselves with subcutaneous adipose tissue.
Now, what other mechanisms of action can account for the effects seen with those steroids that bind tightly to the AR? Well, those that bind tightly to the AR will decrease LPL (Lipoprotein Lipase), which is an enzyme that causes lipid accumulation. (4) They may also decrease Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase and Fatty Acid Synthetase.(5)
Another interesting note is that androgens have been shown to increase adenyl cylclase as well. This is the enzyme which is responsible for the conversion of cytoplasmic ATP into cyclic AMP. Increasing its concentrations is a good thing, in other words.
The Glucocorticoid Receptor (GR)
There are certain androgens that can interact with GRs and this may very well be another mechanism behind their ability to induce a loss of adipose tissue. The mechanism? Well, the binding of cortisol to the GR can cause an increase in LPL. (6,7,8) This isn't what we want if we're trying to drop body fat, as LPL causes lipid accumulation. So, certain androgens may prevent lipid accumulation through this mechanism.
Some androgens may do one of two things – or possibly even both – in order to lower LPL levels in adipose tissue. That is, they may bind to the GR and thus prevent cortisol from binding and increasing LPL activity, or they may downregulate the number of GRs in adipose tissue. (9, 10, 11)
Microsomal Receptors (MR)
The last mechanism involves the presence of the AR in subcellular fractions. To be more specific, the AR has been identified in microsomal portions of the cell. So what does this mean? Certain androgens are able to bind to the AR in microsomes and carry out a posttranscriptional effect. In fact, it appears that out of all the available androgens, stanozolol (Winstrol) is able to bind to this receptor while all others (with the possible exception of danazol) are not.
If you couple this with the idea that the AR is present in the subcellular fractions of adipose tissue – or the microsomes to be more specific – this can account for its ability to induce fat loss. (12,13,14)
Now, with the above information, we can put together a "stack" of androgens which should accelerate the reduction in adipose tissue in a somewhat synergistic manner.
The "Grocery" List
This particular steroid has recently gained back some popularity, mainly due to the fact that there's now a high quality version available, namely GAC's Humatren. What exactly makes this steroid so special? Glad you asked.
First off, it's been shown to bind to the AR greater than Testosterone and even nandrolone. (15) This ability to bind so avidly to the AR is probably one of the reasons why this steroid is so effective at accelerating fat loss. The thing that makes it unique from other androgens, however, is that it's been shown to bind avidly to the GR as well. (15,16) This effect wasn't seen with Testosterone or nandrolone.
This androgen has been shown to decrease subcutaneous abdominal fat to a greater degree than Testosterone and nandrolone, even though the dosages employed with oxandrolone were much lower. On a milligram-per-milligram basis, oxandrolone is much more potent that Testosterone and nandrolone in terms of reducing adipose tissue. (17)
So how does that happen? Even though I can't say for sure, it appears that oxandrolone binds rather well to the AR, possibly even more so than Testosterone or nandrolone. This would explain the difference in adipose tissue reductions. A study performed in young men also demonstrated that oxandrolone likely exerts its effects via the AR.
Another interesting note is that oxandrolone induced an increase in AR expression in muscle. (18) Now, if we apply this to what I was talking about in the first portion of this article, it makes sense that oxandrolone would be potent at reducing adipose tissue. Assuming that it's increasing AR expression in adipose tissue as well, this fits perfectly in to the idea that a strong binding to the AR induces upregulation of the AR content in adipose tissue and thus leads to lipolytic effects.
This king of androgens should also be included for a few reasons. From what I've seen, it appears that Testosterone is unique in that it's been shown to increase the number of beta adrenergic receptors (this phenomenon can increase the effectiveness of beta-2 agonists like ephedrine and clenbuterol as well as exercise induced lipolysis) and may also alter Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL) in a positive manner.(19,20,21) Whether or not other androgens can do this to the same degree, I'm uncertain, but I'm taking precautions here.
As I noted earlier, this androgen is unique in that it binds to the microsomal AR in adipose tissue in order to exert its effects.
In case you didn't notice, the three main ingredients in this stack are trenbolone, Testosterone, and stanozolol. Using these three drugs can cover all three mechanisms that can accelerate lipolysis. (Before I move on, I must say that there's still a myriad of things we don't know about anabolic steroids. That includes all mechanisms of action.) So, here's the "fat attack" stack:
300 mg per week trenbolone acetate
As a side note, the only brand of trenbolone I'll recommend with confidence in terms of both efficacy and sterility is GAC's Humatren. I don't want people complaining to me about infections or sickness from using a home brew or a vet product. If you have the "hook up," I recommend you take advantage of it and if you don't, start making some contacts! (Just don't e-mail us about it, buddy.)
250-300 mg per week Testosterone
The specific ester isn't that big of a deal in this case, but a blend like Sostenon would work nicely.
350 mg per week stanozolol
If you're injecting this amount, the only brand I can recommend with confidence is Zambon.
25-50 mg per day of methandrostenolone (Explanation below)
As an option, you can possibly substitute oxandrolone for trenbolone but you'd then have to add some rather potent anti-glucocorticoids like fluoxymesterone or methandrolstenolone. It simplifies things to just use trenbolone. If money is of no concern however, you can add oxandrolone in with the stack at around 25 mg per day, along with trenbolone.
As a side note, I'd also like to recommend using methandrostenolone (D-bol) at a dosage of around 25 to 50 mg per day. This is because of this particular steroid's ability to increase dopamine levels. Now before you freak out because I'm recommending a drug used to "bulk up," I'd like you to realize a few things. First, this increase in dopamine can be very beneficial in terms of reducing adipose tissue. I've always noticed this effect while using the drug, as have others. As long as you're in the 25 to 50 mg per day range, you shouldn't see much water retention. If it bothers you that much, you can simply drop the D-bol out a week or two prior to when you want to look your leanest.
While the notion that methandrostenolone increases dopamine levels may be a little controversial, I stand behind my assertion. My reasoning? Well, certain effects/side effects seen with the drug share the exact characteristics of increased dopamine levels: increased heart rate, insomnia, feelings of well being, increased libido, increased blood pressure accompanied by a headache and yes, a slight anorectic effect.
Not only this, but one study demonstrated the drug's ability to increase dopamine synthesis whereas all other androgens tested had no effect. (22) So what do these increased levels of dopamine do? Well, dopamine exerts the following effects either directly or indirectly via conversion to norepinephrine and epinephrine: appetite suppression, activation of beta-3 receptors (which can lead to increased oxygen consumption of brown adipose tissue as well as prevent insulin stimulated glucose uptake into white adipocytes), decreased insulin levels, decreased Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) activity in adipose tissue, stimulated oxygen consumption in general, and increased Resting Energy Expenditure (REE). So, in general, all this will enhance lipolysis. (23-30)
Just for safety, I'd also like you to monitor your blood pressure very closely if you're also taking some type of stimulant (ephedrine/caffeine) in combo with your steroid stack. These also increase norepinephrine and epinephrine. If you experience headaches and/or increased blood pressure, either lower your D-bol dosage or cut down the stimulants. You could also drop the stimulants completely.
The Legal Eagle Alternative: Prohormones or Pro-Steroids
I realize that some of you don't want to get involved in illegal activities. For those of you who want to play it safe, you can take the prohormone route. You'd need to use a prohormone that binds to the AR along with another that exerts its effects through a mechanism that's independent of the AR.
So, you have the option of using something like 4-androstenediol and norandrostenediol, which apparently don't bind very well to the AR but exert their effects via other mechanisms. What's out there we can use that's able to bind to the AR? Well, until now, it appears there wasn't one available. However, Biotest's MAG-10 contains a compound which binds avidly to the AR, which is A1-E. MAG-10 also contains a highly bioavailable form of 4-AD (4-AD-EC) whose effects are non-AR mediated.
Another benefit is that some 4-AD converts to Testosterone via the enzyme 3 Beta-HSD. While 4-AD is apparently very anabolic all on its own, it's also been shown to elevate endogenous Testosterone in men to a mid-high to high level, but still within the normal range through the aforementioned conversion.
So with MAG-10, it appears as though you hit three different mechanisms that will help you to accelerate fat loss. This combination should produce a potent synergism that will enable you to drop body fat at the rate you would while on anabolic steroids. The only difference is that MAG-10 is perfectly legal.
The Diet Plan
No amount of 'roids will make up for a crappy diet, so I'll provide a plan for you to follow. Don't worry, this won't be too complicated. First, I'd like you to consume between 50 to 120 grams of carbohydrates per day to keep T3 at a respectable level. Now, whether you consume 50 or 120 grams is "weight dependent," meaning that if you're 200 pounds or less, consume 50 grams per day. If you're above 200, consume 100 to 120 grams of carbs per day. You have two options with carb intake:
- Split your total carb intake in half and consume one portion early in the day so your workouts don't suffer. Then consume the other half after your workout.
- Consume your total daily carbohydrate allotment after your workout.
Either way, I recommend that you consume Biotest Surge post workout and tailor the amount used according to your carbohydrate requirements.
As for protein requirements, I'd like you to consume at least 1.5 grams per pound of body weight.
Lastly, I want you to consume 25 to 35 grams of fat per day with the majority of those calories coming from omega 3 fatty acids: fish oil, flax oil, walnuts, etc. Again, 25 grams if you're 200 pounds or under and 35 if you're over 200.
So let's use a 200 pound guy as an example:
- 200 x 1.5 = 300 grams of protein
- 200 pounds = 50 grams of carbohydrates
- 200 pounds = 25 grams of fat
- Total calories = 1625
Daily Example of Food Intake
- Meal 1 – Around 45 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat (fish oil capsules)
- Meal 2-5 – Same
- Biotest Surge® for post workout (2 scoops = 49 grams of carbs, 25 grams protein. The amount of fat is trivial so we won't factor it in)
- Meal 6 – Same as meal 1
Essentially, I want you to consume almost nothing but protein and fat throughout the day for each of your meals. I believe it would be optimal to consume near-zero carbohydrates throughout the day and for post workout purposes, consume Surge. Then go back to your protein and fat meals. Now if you absolutely can't work out without consuming carbs shortly before exercise, then you can consume around half of your total daily intake early in the day as I stated previously.
Also, if you absolutely need a protein source that has a rather high amount of fat, (salmon, steak, etc.), then you may subtract the fat grams from a certain amount of meals and then consume whatever it is you wanted to eat. For instance, if you had a protein source that contained 12 grams of fat, you could skip the addition of fat to three of your other meals.
I know some of you may think this amount of calories is too low, but you have to remember we have the anti-catabolic/anabolic effect of androgens on our side. This will not only aid in fat loss, but will allow us to maintain our lean body mass to a significant degree.
In case you didn't notice, this plan is to be employed when you wish to drop a significant amount of body fat in a short amount of time. If time isn't an issue, then you may increase your calories. However, I still think the above formula will prove most effective for your goal.
A Final Note
Let's all do our part in dispelling the idea of reduced water retention as the main mechanism for which the "hardening effect" occurs. I hope you'll use the stacks and diet I've outlined above when you wish to drop body fat at an accelerated rate while greatly minimizing loss of lean body mass. Give it a try and I promise you'll be satisfied. Every successful bodybuilder I know follows this same basic plan. Plus, it's what I use!
Now get to it!
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