Diet and Nutrition

Up the Dosage

What’s the quickest and most effective way to change your physique? Easy. Insert several needles filled with an oily substance in your body each week and wash down half a dozen pink tabs everyday. Fast forward ten weeks and you should be pushing a good ten to fifteen pounds more in the lean tissue department. Pretty simple huh?

Actually it is.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world where beautiful gym babes work out topless and anabolic steroids are free. In this world, when it comes to planning the next cycle the first thing that changes is the dosage. Sadly, this is a huge misconception.

Johnny Loses His Virginity

Meet Johnny. He’s an average guy with a sub-par physique who’s looking to slap some meat on his bones. His weight training adventure started at the age of 22 when he weighed in at 160 pounds with 9% body fat. After a year of hard training in the gym he’s managed to add on 20 pounds of mass to his frame boosting him up to 180 pounds at 12%. However, as it routinely happens, Johnny has hit a plateau and is now considering the use of anabolic steroids. So he does some research and educates himself. After some time he finally decides to use 500 mg of Sustanon per week for 12 weeks, and 30 mg of Dbol every day for 6 weeks—followed by some clomid therapy. After acquiring the goods he starts his cycle.

12 weeks later and 15 pounds heavier, Johnny is now sitting at 195 pounds and 14%. Johnny is happy but he’s still not satisfied. After some time off he decides to do another cycle.

Johnny wants to keep it simple. He’s going to take the same drugs but increase the dose. So now he’ll be taking 750mg of Sustanon for 12 weeks and 40mgs of Dbol for 6 weeks. However Johnny’s friend Bob (his work out partner) tells him that he should use more since he’s no longer a virgin and that his first cycle was his best one. In other words, Johnny needs to use more now to see the same gains he saw on his first cycle. So he does some more research and adds in some EQ as well at 400mg per week. Johnny is now taking more than a gram of anabolic steroids per week.

Where did Johnny go wrong?

School’s in Session

Johnny made three common mistakes. He took advice from his friend. He made the mistake of thinking that more is better, and he confused the notion that everything should be keyed to the drugs he’s using.

Trainees tend to use higher dosages with each new cycle because someone, supposedly more experienced, tell them to. More experienced does not necessarily equal smarter. It is said that, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” The difference between a seasoned vet who is experienced and one who is knowledgeable is that the knowledgeable one not only passes the test, but takes the time to learn the lesson afterwards. Many experienced lifters in the iron game tend to spend more time “learning the tricks of the trade rather than the actual trade” (Vernon Law).

Johnny is not alone in his second mistake either. In succumbing to the notion that more is better, he joins thousands of others who have done the same. 

This problem has nothing to do with some sort of complex biological mechanism operating in the human body, but rather, with 3 simple factors:

1) Increased nutrient partitioning.

2) Increased training “intensity.”

3) Increased caloric intake.

When Johnny first started his first cycle, he introduced 3 new factors into his routine, and these played a large role in his weight gain success. As with most humans, it’s a psychological norm to believe that once something has been achieved, getting to the next level must involve an increase in whatever worked before. With the usage of anabolic steroids, the same belief is widely accepted and should be. However, the problem isn’t in the dosage but lies within other variables which are often overlooked—the three mentioned above. Instead of increasing his dose, Johnny should have looked at increasing his caloric intake and restructuring his program so that the intensity used allowed for more of an overload to be placed on the soft tissues of the body.

Johnny gained 20 pounds because the drugs he took had an effect on his training intensity and allowed for an increased nutrient-partitioning effect. If Johnny were to use the same dose again for his next cycle, train in the same manner and maintain his caloric intake, would he see the same results? No. The next time around, other than an increase in nutrient partitioning, he’d be lucky to gain 10 pounds of lean muscle tissue.

To see a noticeable increase in size and strength while keeping the same dose Johnny would have to increase his training intensity and his caloric intake to match his new body. In many cases trainees often overlook the fact that after gaining new muscle, their body is now operating at a new level. To see an increase in size, more calories have to be taken in and a new stimulus must be applied to overload the muscles. Unfortunately, instead of applying this basic principle, most look at increasing the dosage and keeping the other variables the same. This is why many people feel that an increase in dosage each time they start a new cycle will produce an increase in gains.

This leads to Johnnies third mistake.

Johnny depended on a drug to do the job for him when he should have done it himself. For something to have an effect on the body, one must be prepared to do some work. A program should be tailored to the dose and the substance used, but the results should never be substance-dependent. It’s often the uneducated lifters who look at the easiest variable (dosage) and increase it without sitting down and looking at the other variables at work in their program. Nutrition, adequate rest, proper training habits and methods are areas that should be looked at first before assessing whether or not a substance is performing as expected. However, if all avenues have been exhausted, then by all means look at the dosage, but not before doing a thorough check of these other areas.

In the end, if Johnny avoids this common mistake he won’t fall prey to the “more is better syndrome.” Of course he won’t reap the same results he achieved during his first cycle, but he also won’t have to worry about other things such as increased side effects, money spent, health risks and potential injury. Hopefully Johnny’s smart and takes the route less traveled. It may not get him to his goal as quickly but it’ll save him a lot of heartache in the long run.

Written by Maki Riddington

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