Whether or not to take PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) is a question that will come across the minds of almost every lifter if they have been at it long enough.
Of course, some believe that they will remain natural for as long they can — for the entirety of their gym life.
And I was also in this camp.
However, watching yourself grow in front of the mirror is addicting; piling on the plates on the barbell is addicting; being the strongest mofo in every commercial gym you visit is addicting: but is it enough?
You see the amazing things you can achieve naturally — what about going the extra mile and becoming enhanced?
I’m not going to proselytize you on the dangers of taking PED’s (be they steroids, SARMs, HGH, insulin, clen, etc.) but I will give you some stern advice as to how long you should wait.
How Long Should I Wait Before Taking PEDs?
The short answer is 5-7 years of natural training before taking the plunge and revoking your natty card.
That, or you should wait until you hit at least 25 years of age.
In a more illustrative context, you should be within 90-95% of your natural genetic limit before considering PEDs.
If you have no aspirations of becoming an IFBB pro, an elite powerlifter, a top fitness model, or strength athlete, there’s literally no point in taking PEDs before your mid-twenties.
You can make substantial gains training natty — with great genetics, you can expect to put on 40-50lb of muscle; with average genetics, 20-40lb; with poor genetics 5-20lb.
And I’m sorry if you have poor genetics, but the average person, training natty, will have a physique head and shoulders above his peers.
You don’t need to take PEDs to have an amazing physique.
When you’re in your late teens or early twenties your endogenous natural testosterone production is still high enough to support impressive muscular gains; and your base metabolic rate is also high enough to offset mild caloric surpluses to the point where you don’t have to undergo drastic bulk/cut cycles if you’re not an idiot about your eating habits — like I was.
I’ve previously addressed what you can expect to achieve naturally in our article Natural Training: Stronger, Not Bigger.
Here are my experiences:
I’ve been training natty for over a decade, but I haven’t really packed on much size in several years.
I have, however, gained quite a fair bit of strength — even though I’ve only put on a few pounds of muscle.
At about 26-27 years old, my muscle gains really began to stall. I had trained hard since 19-20 years old after developing a decent foundation in my teens from focusing on aesthetic muscles — arms, delts, chest, some back, and explosive leg workouts.
From ages 19-22, I made my most significant muscle gains, gaining around 20-25lbs of muscle in this time. From 22-30 — I am thirty now — I gained in the vicinity of 15-20lb of muscle in eight years, most of which stalled at around 26-27 years old. In my teenage years, I must have put on between 10-20lbs of muscle, but it’s hard to tell as I was also quite chubby.
However, it was at around age 25-26 I began to lift my heaviest weights. Between 25-29, although my total muscle mass didn’t increase much, my deadlift went from 240kg to around 300kg, my squat from 220kg to 280kg, and my bench from 140kg to 190kg — all natural.
The point of this brief blog post is to illustrate how it’s a lot quicker to max on your genetic ceiling when it comes to gaining size over gaining strength.
Arguably, although I hadn’t fully reached my genetic ceiling until my late twenties, I could still gain considerable strength thereafter.
You can get freakishly strong and big while training natural — you just need to be patient, smart, and creative about your training.
Of course, if you want to take it a step further, we wouldn’t advise jumping in the deep end and hit a cycle of test, tren, and deca straight away.
No, you’d be better off easing yourself in with a therapeutic dose of testosterone first with the intention of sticking with T.
Alternatively, you could look into SARMs — which have become something of an internet craze as they remain a legal grey area — if you’d like easily obtainable PEDs.
Ordering PEDs online can be problematic for a variety of reasons from untrustworthy scamming suppliers, to legal issues, to poor dosing.
For SARMs, Rats Army has received ample positive feedback from consumers.
We have a full article series on SARMs if you wish to learn more on the subject.
However, you MUST consult your physician before taking any PEDs, supplements, or anything else.
And if you’re a simple casual gymgoer, there is no point to taking PEDs — you’ll be better off raising your natural endogenous testosterone production.
Raising Your Natural Testosterone Production Instead of PEDs
Thankfully, there are ways you can boost your natural endogenous testosterone production without resorting to drastic measures — such as taking PEDs!
For instance, if you’re carrying any excess body fat, you can safely assume that your testosterone levels will be lower than what they could or should be.
Here are some easy lifestyle changes you can make to boost your testosterone levels from our seminal article on strategies to boost your T:
Viable Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle: Lose fat (but don’t get lower than 8-9% bodyfat unless you’re prepping for a photo shoot or competition as it will begin to lower your T levels and increase stress) — losing fat is the number one way to quickly and naturally boost your testosterone levels, athleticism, and decrease inflammation.
1) Lift Heavy Weights
3) Move around more
4) Get More Sunshine
5) Have more sex, fap less
6) Sleep more, sleep deeply
7) Destress — although cortisol, the “stress hormone,” has a legitimate function in regulating the body’s metabolism and blood sugar levels during times of stress — think war or famine –, cortisol can make it harder to burn fat while stripping away hard-earned muscles to keep energy reserves high.
8) Avoid drinking excessively — especially beer, the hoppier it is, the worse it is.
9) Avoid processed foods and xenoestrogens
10) Eat more “healthy” fats — salmon, mackerel, avocado, nuts, coconut oil.
Furthermore, if you need extra assistance, you can always take supplements to bolster production without resorting to PEDs:
Boost Testosterone Through Supplementation
13) Supplement ZMA — men lose zinc and magnesium through sweat and conventional bodybuilding diets might be lacking in both metals.
14) Vitamin D3 — supplement this throughout the winter months, if you live somewhere with poor weather/few annual sunshine hours, or if you have higher levels of melanin.
15) Vitamin E
16) Multivitamin* — if you’re eating properly, there shouldn’t be micronutrient deficiencies, but if you’re cutting weight to lose fat, you may need to supplement with a multivitamin just to be sure that your hormone levels are functioning at a normal level.
17) Ashwaghanda, L-Theanine, Glycine, and chamomile tea for destressing and lowering cortisol levels.
18) Fenugreek extract — some users report higher testosterone levels and fat loss, but results may vary.
19) Stinging Nettle Extract
20) My Magic Fat-Burning Potion
There are also a few ways of determining whether you have low T.
The main symptoms include:
- Reduced libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fertility problems (inability to conceive)
- Fatigue/Low Energy
- Depression/Lowered Mood
- Weight Gain
- Muscle Loss
Boys with low testosterone may develop slower, with little or no body hair, under-developed muscles and smaller penises; and men with low T will have difficulty building muscle, no matter how hard they try.
In extreme cases of low testosterone, usually referred to as hypogonadism, men may also develop breast tissue (gynecomastia) and osteoporosis (reduced bone density).
Before resorting to PEDs or seeking Testosterone Replacement Therapy, please seek medical advice and a blood test to ascertain whether your testosterone is within the normal range.
Don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] for personalized coaching and a client questionnaire if you’d like DEDICATED tailor-made personal training on strength training, building muscle, losing fat, developing athleticism, and more — all to your liking, lifestyle, habits, and taste!
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