In a lot of ways, Nelson Montana is the prototypical Testosterone reader. He doesn't have any official training in biochemistry he's actually a musician and an actor but he's read everything he's been able to get his hands on, and he can hold his own with a lot of academically trained experts. He's also been passionate about bodybuilding for a long time. In fact, when Arnold had his first appearance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1969 (where he lost to Sergio Oliva), Nelson was there, mouth agape. Although this experience spurred his bodybuilding efforts on, he soon realized that his genetics weren't exactly "pro" caliber. However, throughout his twenties, he still remained interested in various aspects of fitness, nutrition and life extension therapy, but it wasn't until his middle 30's that the "bug" bit him once again and he became a full fledged muscle head!

Nelson was a 100% "natural" athlete from the age of 14, when he started bodybuilding, to the age of 39. His fascination with the subject of steroids started when he first stumbled on Dan Duchaine's Underground Steroid Handbook, but it wasn't until years later that he felt comfortable enough to actually partake in the goodies. Still, most of the steroid literature he encountered was either too damning or too blasé. In his words, "No Yin, no Yang." This prompted him to come up with his own approach. Over three years, he did six cycles and managed to accomplish his goals maintaining 25 pounds of pure muscle beyond what he was "naturally" capable of without ever experiencing any acne, gyno, or testicular atrophy. His blood chemistries, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc., are all, according to his doctor, normal for a 30-year old man (even though he's now 44). In his acting roles, he usually plays (shirtless) characters between the ages of 29 to 35.

The following is his steroid "prescription." It won't give you the body of a pro bodybuilder, but it probably won't adversely effect your health, either.

With all the pontifical warbling that emanates from a media that's misinformed and lives to seek out the sensational, it seems almost inconceivable that steroid use could actually be considered HEALTHFUL!!

Sure, anyone familiar with "real" bodybuilding (not the fantasies extolled by supplement manufacturers disguised as athletes) should know by now that the dangers of chemical enhancement are outrageously exaggerated. The general public, however, has been bombarded with a reefer-madness like hysteria for so long that they can hardly be blamed for thinking that anabolic steroids are on par with heroin (both schedule II drugs) as a life-threatening substance. What I find unforgivably ignorant is society's inability and adamant reluctance to evaluate the severity of substance usage. There's a difference between drinking a quart of scotch a day and having a beer on Saturday night. There's a difference between use and abuse.

Let's presume you're with me so far. You probably agree that popping a couple of D-bol is not going to make your liver explode and cause an instant brain tumor, but claiming that anabolic steroids are actually health-enhancing seems a little hard to believe. Well, let's take a moment to evaluate the elements of a healthy body. Doesn't being stronger provide a certain protection from the ravages of daily stress (both physical and mental)? If one's mental state has a direct correlation on the overall physical state then it would seem apparent that looking good and feeling good about one's self can elevate the entire spectrum of the mind, body, and spirit connection. If this is a bit too metaphysical for you, how about the ability to recover more quickly from illness, higher growth hormone levels, improved T3 count, increased blood volume and lower cortisol levels? They all contribute significantly to your overall health.

Of course, if your approach to steroid use is to gain 30 pounds every time you do a cycle and get as big as possible at any cost, then this information probably isn't for you. However, if you are not a professional bodybuilder looking for some secret cycle that this year's "Mr. Endorsement for Hire" uses to grow his 24-inch arms, but rather someone looking to take advantage of the benefits that steroids provide without the negative side effects, then there is a way. Naturally, everyone is different. Some people may have a medical condition that would make even the most modest steroid cycle unwise. For most healthy adults, however, this is a safe and practical approach to using anabolic steroids for increased health and long term gains.

It's important to first realize that a lot of this information will be in direct conflict with much of what you have heard, even if you're knowledgeable on the topic of steroid use. In order to keep an open mind, it's imperative to realize that very often the "experts" in any given field may have the technical data correct but the assumptions derived from said data may be erroneous. What works in theory and what works in the real world are often very different (ex. HMB works in "theory"). There's a certain security in the belief that some pedagogue has the answer. People want to be led. Socrates realized this aspect of human nature over 2000 years ago. Incidentally, the heads of state in ancient Greece didn't care much for Socrates' opinions so they had him executed! In my time, I've had authorities tell me that marijuana causes insanity, masturbation will make me go blind, and I can protect myself by ducking under my school desk when they finally drop the A-Bomb. So much for the advice of experts.

When it comes to the implementation of steroid use without hair loss (bummer), loss of libido (major bummer), post cycle depression or the loss of gains obtained, the following simple steps are of paramount importance.

The first step is one that may evoke considerable suspicion:

All cycles should be no longer than three weeks in length.

That's three weeks, at most, at full dosage with one added week to taper down. I know, you're probably thinking, "What kind of puny gains will I get from just a three week cycle?" I'll tell you what kind. Gains that you KEEP! Have you ever wondered why so much muscle is lost soon after the cessation of a cycle? It's mostly because the body is an adaptive mechanism and it will not nor cannot maintain a weight gain of enormous magnitude, especially one that is made in such a short time. But a gain of 4 or 5 pounds? THAT it can handle. It's funny, everybody speaks about Primobolan having this mysterious ability to grow muscle that isn't lost after the cycle is over. That's because Primobolan is so very weak! It doesn't cause massive weight gains. The growth is slow enough for the body to "adapt" to it and the total growth is slight enough to maintain. It isn't magic. It's physiology.

There are other advantages to the 3-week cycle concept. For one thing, the cycle is simply too short to cause any side effects. Take a look at The Physician's Desk Reference or The Complete Guide To Prescription or Non-Prescription Drugs and look for the contraindications of an overdose of steroids. There are none. That's right, all complications resulting from the use of steroids are due to prolonged use. As in all types of warfare, hit 'em hard, then get out! Keeping cycles this abbreviated also negates the need for Nolvadex.

When keeping the duration short, dosages should be at their highest right out of the gate when your receptors are fresh and the best gains are made. An additional benefit of this high initial-dosage protocol is the fact that the next cycle can be started sooner. A four to six week drying out period is not unreasonable. Keep in mind that an injectable steroid is active for two to three weeks after injection so it is at the end of that time that you can begin to consider yourself "clean." Now instead of huge weight gains followed by a severe "crash," you can make steady gains that are not unlike training "naturally," only a lot faster. I could never understand why someone would want to "blow up" just to wind up losing what they gained. Why bother? Besides, receptor sites get saturated rather quickly. After a few weeks it takes higher and higher dosages to get any additional gains. This is neither a healthy nor efficacious endeavor. Realize also that the longer the cycle, the greater the backlash of cortisol after cessation. This is what leads to the depression that often follows a cycle. It leaves the athlete not with a sense of accomplishment, but with anxiety and impatience to get back on the juice. Although steroids are not physically addicting like a narcotic drug, they certainly have the potential to be psychologically addictive. When used in the manner described, no such crash occurs.

Another misconception that never seems to be addressed is the importance of milligram strength in determining the efficacy of a particular product. Pop Quiz. What steroid is stronger, Winstrol or Anadrol? Well, everyone knows that. Anadrol, of course. Bzzzzz WRONG! The mistake most people make is that they are comparing TABLETS and not MILLIGRAMS. With apologies to Dan Duchaine who says that Winstrol is worthless, Winstrol is a very powerful drug. So powerful, in fact, that it is made in only a 2 mg tablet (unfortunately). Anadrol, on the other hand, has a terrible affinity for receptor sites so it's made into a 50 mg tablet (which also inflicts considerable stress to your liver).

Obviously, two Winnies won't do a thing whereas two Anadrol will make just about anyone grow, but the comparison isn't fair due to the difference in milligram strength. Since both pills are approximately the same price, they are judged on the same terms (per pill). Yet, I can say unequivocally that an EQUAL amount of Winstrol is far more effective than Anadrol; it's just that it would take fifty pills to match it milligram for milligram. In other words, 100 mgs of Winstrol will produce more solid, longer lasting increases in muscle tissue hypertrophy than 100 mgs of Anadrol.

I believe that anyone who is at all interested in their health should never touch Anadrol. I don't care how much of a bargain people think it is, it's NO bargain. It is the epitome of a fool's paradise. Those explosive gains in weight and strength are due mostly to the excessive water retention. Force feed yourself and drink a gallon of water every half hour and you'll experience similar gains. As one colleague of mine puts it, "After you finish a course of Anadrol, you piss twice and lose 15 pounds!"

So many facets of steroid administration are mired in ambiguity. For instance, if 200mgs a week are recommended, what happens after three weeks when much of the first dose is still in your body? Do you now have 200 mgs in your body or 600? If 100mgs a week of one substance is recommended and 20mgs a day of another is the preferred dose, what is the recommended dosage when stacking the two of them? These questions have never been answered to my satisfaction but it's a moot point with the short cycle approach.

A consequent topic of confusion for many people is; how much of a difference is the effect of one steroid compared to another? The simple truth of the matter is, not much. You see, the body doesn't have receptors specifically for "Deca" and others designed only for "anavar." They all work very similarly. The exotic stacks that people come up with are often a convoluted attempt to seem "scientific." Stacking two or more steroids is usually more effective due to a higher dosage than if one were to take a single steroid. The only advantage to stacking is to combine an oral with an injectable in order to provide both an "immediate hit" (provided by the oral) and a gradual taper. The more important factor is the anabolic/androgenic ratio. Here is where the health concern plays a large role. It is the androgenic component of a steroid that is so harsh to the endocrine system. For this reason, it makes sense to keep the androgenic levels as low as possible and maintain the more benign anabolic properties as high as possible. The only problem with that is, without some elevation in androgenic activity, gains are almost nonexistent. You have to take some of the bad with the good. The key is to take in just enough androgen to allow for the desired growth. This is where so many bodybuilders go awry. High androgen steroids, like the various testosterones, provide huge gains but they are also the type that look "puffy" and diminish quickly. Once again, it is the more subtle, highly anabolic steroids that will produce the safer and more "quality" muscle gains.

With all the literature around concerning the wide array of anabolic substances, it may seem a little overwhelming trying to decide what is the quintessential combination for that "perfect" stack. For most intents and purposes, it's a lot simpler than you may think. When using steroids for health purposes, it's mandatory to consider only those substances that provide an advantageous risk to benefit ratio. This will exclude all veterinary products. Read this next sentence carefully:

Veterinarian medications are not intended for human consumption!

The purity guidelines are not as stringent for a cow as they are for a human. They are designed for animal receptor sites which will also work in humans, but much of it is wasted due to the fact that the molecule is floating around looking to attach itself to something that isn't there.

Probably the least egregious of the vet products are Equipoise and Winstrol V, neither of which I would recommend. Many people develop flu like symptoms on Equipoise. Winstrol V is most similar to the "human" winny but it stays active in the bloodstream only for about 24 hours which necessitates daily injections at a high cost. As mentioned earlier, all of the testosterones (with the possible exception of Sustanon) can cause problems, especially in the older athlete. Parabolin is very anabolic and not very androgenic, yet it has other toxic qualities. The only rational choices among the injectables are Primobolan and Deca Durabolin.

Orals are generally more toxic due to their being 17 alpha alkylated. Primobolan tablets are one exception but I can't recommend them due to their ineffectiveness in most everyone other than the first time user. They are, however, excellent for women. Anavar is another oral steroid that is considered very safe but would fail the risk to benefit ratio because they, like Primobolan tablets, will not provide satisfactory results in most people, including women. Andriol (not Anadrol) doesn't work much better than the various "Andro" supplements now on the market. It, too, isn't 17 alpha alkylated. Like the pro hormone supplements, several administrations a day are necessary to maintain a suitable level in the bloodstream.

I would say that two milligrams of Androdiol is comparable to one milligram of the steroid Andriol. Proviron is best used, arguably, as an anti-estrogen. That pretty much leaves only Winstrol and good ol' Dianabol. Some people may argue Dianabol as a viable choice because it has the potential for being liver toxic as well as its propensity towards inhibiting the release of gonadotropin from the hypophysis. The reason it makes my favorable risk/benefit list is because it's just so damn effective! If dosages are kept to 20 mgs a day, the benefits not only outweigh the risks, but it becomes an ideal choice for the "short cycle" endeavor. D-bol works great with Primo as a "kicker" since Primo is almost all anabolic with almost no androgenic qualities.

The best way to implement each cycle would be to choose a dosage as low as possible that will still allow for muscle growth. 800 mgs of Deca will not produce twice the gains of 400 mgs of Deca, so be prudent in your choices. At the same time, doing too little will be a waste of time, money, and receptor site acceptance.

Let's say you decide on 400 mgs of Deca a week and 20 mgs of Winstrol a day. (The other alternative would be 400 mgs of Primobolan a week and 20 mgs of D-bol a day which is the exact same overall dosage). Yeah, I know, that sounds like a girlie cycle to some of you, but we're being health conscious now, aren't we? Do the full 10 tabs of winny (20 mgs) for three weeks. At the beginning of the fourth week, take 8 tabs for 2 days, then 6 tabs for 2 days, 4 tabs for one day, 2 tabs for one day, and only one tablet on the last day. By the way, you may want to take them sublingually to allow for more of the drug to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream and less through the liver. (The validity of this practice, however, hasn't been proven.)

Take your first 200 mg shot of Deca on day-one. Wait three days and do another 200 mgs. Wait four days and do another 200 mgs. Five days later do 100 mgs of Deca. After a week, do your last shot of 100 mgs of Deca. In this way, there will be an abundance of the drugs in the bloodstream when the growth stage is at its peak and it provides enough of a gradual decrease to allow for the body to begin readjusting and "cleansing itself." This may be of little consequence since this protocol won't inhibit the testicular axis for very long. For this reason, there should be no decrease in libido whatsoever. In fact, some men claim to have an increase in their sex drive after a short cycle! I'm only speculating here, but perhaps since the body is used to a higher level of testosterone it attempts to "regulate" itself by producing more as you're coming off. Sort of a homeopathic process.

Still, at the end of a cycle, it's recommended that a course of Tribulis Terrestis, such as that found in Tribex-500, be administered. This will aid in the normalization of leutinizing hormone. It's also a good idea to take Silymarin, NAC, Fenugreek and Primrose Oil during the administration of the drugs. Silymarin and NAC work as liver protectants while Fenugreek and Primrose Oil help balance HDL and LDL levels which tend to get disrupted with the use of Winstrol. Men over 35 may choose to include Saw Palmetto [also contained in Tribex-500] and Pygeum to the herbal array to guard against prostate enlargement due to a spill over of DHT. Although I'm not a big fan of phosphatidylserine as a muscle building supplement, it wouldn't hurt to take some at the end of a cycle to help protect against a backlash of cortisol. Procaine, a life extension drug that is reported to have anti-catabolic and cortisol suppressing properties may also be helpful at this stage. It goes under the brand name of KH3 and is distributed by the International AntiAging Systems. Fax (011) 44 541 514145.

By the end of the cycle, you can expect to be at least 6 to 8 pounds heavier. If your diet was on target, 4 or 5 of those pounds will be muscle. If you get enough sleep and train correctly, you will keep it. Most advanced lifters couldn't gain five solid pounds of muscle in a year if they trained naturally. This method will give you that almost every time out. A year's worth of muscle in a month ain't bad.

I should mention at this point that if it is your first or second experience with steroid use, take all the recommended dosages and cut them in half. I would also recommend holding off on steroid use altogether until all "natural" pathways have been exhausted. Anyone under the age of 24 should avoid using steroids since their natural testosterone and growth hormone levels are still so high that it seems pointless not to take full advantage of them.

As the baby boomer generation becomes more aware of youth extending procedures, hopefully there will be an increased demand for the end of prohibition of steroids. Much like plastic surgery, drug therapy can have an incredible life enhancing and confidence bolstering effect, if it is done correctly. Mess up and you may be far worse off than when you started. We can all take a tip from the old timers who kept steroid use to a minimum. Not only did they not experience any ill effects (most of them still look pretty good!), but they didn't draw attention to themselves by exhibiting indiscreet and often hostile drug induced behavior. Maybe if everyone had treated these remarkable compounds with the respect they deserve, they might still be legal.

I freely admit that I have achieved a level of physical status unobtainable without steroids. Through the judicious use of steroids I am now, at the age of 44, twenty five pounds heavier than my maxed out natural weight and my fat percentage is still under 10% even though I haven't had any "assistance" in over a year. Since I look the best I ever have, I feel as if I've been given a "second youth!"

This in no way is meant to be an encouragement to engage in illegal activity (all information is for educational and entertainment purposes only, kind of). This article is also in no way a disparagement to those who wish to train naturally. Steroids are a tool. If you decide to use that tool, know what you're doing.

On that note, allow me to wish you the very best of health and the best of luck on your body-altering journey.

Remember always, to use your newfound super powers only for GOOD and not for EVIL. Grow in peace.