Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thoughts about life, crap, training, and stuff - Sunday steroid edition

So the Arnold is going on this weekend, which means right now the square foot to testosterone ratio is higher in Columbus, Ohio than every other place in the world combined.

Obviously because steroids are evil and are the main cause of rape, bestiality, murder, divorce, and shrink your dick (this one still makes me laugh), then the crime rate in Columbus should soar during these weekends.  Men with big muscles and tiny dongs are out everywhere, killing, robbing, murdering, and filing divorce papers.

Oh wait, that doesn't happen.

In all seriousness, if steroids were the devil the media made them out to be, wouldn't you see mass riots in Columbus every year when the Arnold rolled around?  I think that'd be pretty cool actually.  Thousands of muscle heads piled into the street, rioting for no other reason than that their tren and anadrol doses were just way too high.  You thought Canadians could turn over cars during riots?  Shit, they'd have nothing on the Arnold weekend!

I see so many ignorant and laughable comments related to steroids and I touched on many in my darksiding series, however I still see some comments related to them, that are flat out WRONG.  And some of these come from the users themselves.  The funny thing about these particular comments is that the guys who say them, I don't think realize, contradict each other.

The first one is "you can't just take a cycle and set world records."

This is very true.  Lots of guys use gear/gas/androgenic/anabolics and never win anything in bodybuilding or powerlifting or strongman, or never do anything at a championship level.  There are many reasons for this.

Some guys never learn how to eat and train properly.  I personally don't give a shit what anyone tells you, your training and eating will always be the two biggest factors in achieving success.  I say this because, I know lots of guys on big cycles who haven't gotten any better in a long time.  Mainly because their training methods suck, and/or they eat like shit.  Drugs can overcome shitty eating and training but only to a point.  Everything has its limits and drugs are no exception.

The other thing is, not everyone responds to these drugs the same way.  I know guys that are on very little shit.  I mean VERY little, that are insanely strong.  They don't need a whole lot to benefit.  I know other guys who are on buttloads, that barely look like their lift and are at laughable strength levels outside of their powrlifting gear.  There are too many variables here to lay down absolutes.

So let's get this one out of the way.  Just because dude X takes steroids and is big, strong, and jacked doesn't mean you are going to take them and find your way into his territory.

However, the flip side of this, that pisses me off to no end, is when dude X says dumb shit like "if you took steroids away, all the same guys would be at the top."  

The only guy that ever actually proved this, that I know of, was the great powerlifter John Kuc.  Who was a beast as a juiced 245'er, then came back later as a natty 275 guy, and well, was still strong as fuck.  But, that's John Kuc, and you're not John Kuc.

I think I hate this particular bullshit saying more because I personally think the guys on the sauce love a feeling of entitlement.  "I'd still be strong without it!"

Ok fine, but a world champion or competing at an elite level?  You don't know, because you haven't done it.  I will adopt the Missouri "show me" state motto, and tell you, if that's true, then show me.

In fact I will say that you wouldn't.  Because drugs change so many things from one guy to the next, that I believe some guys that are at elite levels, might not have continued training at all as a natty.

I know some guys that have big mouths about how strong they are, but I can tell from their videos when their dose is at its highest.  They get stronger (or injured...again) in the gym, but then of course know fuck all about training and constantly show up and underachieve at every meet.  When I see a guy struggling to do 5 reps at a certain weight, then adds 20 pounds two weeks later for 8 reps, I know that it's not because his training program is so dreamy.  Please.

So when they post up a vid or the message board mental masturbation crew ruminates about these guys, someone eventually "takes the piss" and talks about how he's on the gas.  Someone else shows up to say "you think you can just take something and do that?  well it still takes hard wok and blah blah blah."

Steroids did in fact, contribute HIGHLY to why that guy is able to do what he can do.  It's a huge part of it.

Let me add to that.  These same guys that are such hard workers, and worked so hard that they started pumping gas at insane rates in their early 20's, rather than developed everything they could naturally.  I think we can save the "hard worker" label here because let me tell you, as a guy that was natty for 20+ years, I know more about struggling to gain a few pounds on a lift far more than guys who decided to darkside their shit early.

I don't know if they are hard workers, and neither do you, because drugs also make you more aggressive and motivate you to train at much harder levels.  It's not hard to work hard while you're on higher doses.  Anyone that has run shit will tell you this.  Throw in a gram of test a week with some dbol at 50mg a day, and tell me if your training doesn't sky rocket and tell me if you don't feel pretty fucking excited about training.  Take that shit away after a few months, and let's see if you're still working as hard.

While it's true that no matter how many drugs you take, you won't become Lance Armstrong or Ed Coan or any other athlete that used PED's that competed at the highest levels.  On the flip side, part of those guys championship recipe, was in fact drugs.  So they aren't who they are, without drugs either.  This is not a slight, it's just the truth.  You wouldn't be who they are on drugs more than likely, unless you are as genetically gifted in just as many ways.  Yet, they aren't the champions they are without drugs either.

If steroids work, and someone uses them in order to attain the level of athletic achievement they do/did, then drugs were a part of it.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.  Some guys respond really well to drugs, so the real "genetic freak" part you hear about in bodybuilding and strength sports, is really a guys ability to respond to drugs, or deals with the side effects of them better than the other guy.  And yes, he's born with that ability, so that's the "genetic freak" part you hear about.  

Dorian Yates doesn't win Mr. O's without drugs.  He will be the first to tell you that.  Lance Armstrong doesn't win all those Tour De Frances without drugs.  Stan Efferding isn't squatting 900+ and benching 600+ without drugs.  It's a part of the package.  It isn't a slam on someone, because as I noted, not everyone that takes drugs will be able to do those things.  However without drugs, the before mentioned guys aren't doing that shit either.  And until guys actually go clean and show they can repeat their feats without drugs, the mantra that all the same guys would be at the top is hogwash as well.  To my knowledge, that's never been proven, nor do I think it can be, across the board.

So while it's true that you can't just take some drugs and become a world champion, the world champions who used drugs to get there, aren't world champs without them either.  This is neither good nor bad, it's just how it is.

29 comments:

  1. absolutely agree with you. I realy like the fact, that you look on both sides. Nowadays, if you say some critics as a natural about steroids, you immidiately get aggressive responses like : "you just don´t work hard enough, even with roids you wouldn´t be near that level" bla bla.

    While of course it is true, that you still have to work very hard, even with roids, to achieve a certain level of strength/performance - at the same time of course the steroids help these guys. That´s exactly what you describe in a very good way and i like that you aren´t a ignorant fool, but no hater either!

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  2. I've been thinking about this a lot, and I want to have my cake and eat it to, in the sense that I want to see what I can accomplish both with and without drugs. I'm 24 now, and have been weight training for between five and six years, so I was thinking that I would continue training naturally until my early thirties with the goal of being the absolute best natural strength athlete I can be, and then if I'm still curious, start using, and try to be the best strength athlete I can be period. Does this time frame makes sense? Seems like it would be more fun to start using that way anyhow, to have struggled so long against certain barriers, and then suddenly be in a whole new world where they no longer exist? It can't be as meaningful for someone to break those natural barriers if they haven't really struggled against them.

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    1. That's what I did. It made me a better lifter.

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  3. I've wondered about this for a long time! However, suggest those guys doing 8s with 20lb more than their 5s after two weeks, are doing something ridiculous and you're often met with extreme butthurt

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    1. Anytime you see that, it means his cycle is kicking in, and/or he upped the dose of something or added something in. That's how drugs work.

      there is a particular powerlifter I know whose lifts have skyrocketed the last year or so (well except his pathetic bench), and it's completely due to his cycle. I'm not impressed. Though if you say that, people get all bent out of shape. I do in fact admire guys more that are willing to keep the dose reasonable and milk it for all its worth than the guys who constantly just look to up the dose.

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    2. I agree, the longevity can't be there with the 4 grams test 2 grams teen brigade! In my opinion, its short sighted

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    3. Does this powerlifter know what you think about him?

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    4. No idea, don't care. I doubt he cares either. It's not like he's the only guy I see that does this. I know of at least 1 other guy whose lifts have sky rocketed over the last year in a very short span, and even for a while tried to carry on that he was still natural.

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    5. If we're thinking of the same person, the powerlifter with a pathetic bench has tied or beat your July 11 Wilks for your bench in two of his last three meets, unless you weighed in under 228 pounds (didn't mention your weight in your meet report).

      Although, if we're thinking of the same person, it's sad to hear that his results this last year are all because of his cycle.

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    6. You most definitely don't know who I am referring to. For some reason people have thought I was talking about Jamie here, and I'm not. Jamie's bench is almost double bodyweight. Jamie just thinks his bench sucks because of his other lifts, but he's a very solid bencher IMO.

      Second, I can think someone has a shitty lift, even if that lift is better than mine. You won't ever find me propping myself up as a lifter.

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    7. Well that's good to hear. I mistook another comment of yours earlier this year about his bench not moving with him having a shitty bench. Now I feel like an ass.

      And you both are solid benchers, don't want you to think I'm implying otherwise. Maybe not Rock Lewis or Eric Spoto, but solid nonetheless.

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    8. Jamie's bench has been good for a while, just hasn't moved in a while. He's added in a rep day and he said he feels like that has helped a lot. I remember a really handsome guy telling him this at one time.....lol

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  4. Good article, Paul. Been trying to say this myself for months, but you said it better than I coild have.

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  5. Is there any point for a lifetime natty to take lifting advice from someone who has been juicin since 22 or whatever? Do they really have anything to offer us?

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    1. Maybe, maybe not. That's a broad sentence.

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  6. In all seriousness, where were your lifts before darksiding? As a personal choice, I probably never will join the dark side, but that is a personal choice. I am very interested in what's possible natty.

    As a side note, your programs work whether natty or not. I'd be willing to guess that if a program works without the dark side, it probably will work with it.

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    1. All of my philosophies were developed when I was natty.

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  7. Paul,

    Question: At what point is a "PED" considered to make you a non-natty? This might just be mental masturbation on my part, but I can't help it (it feels so good? haha). Couldn't a PED include things like ibuprofen or a cortisol shot or caffeine? I'm not a darksider, at the very least because that shit is expensive, I'm not at the point where I would need it.

    I guess here's my line of thought: one of the things you mentioned in your post is that a cycle can lead to being more motivated to go to the gym. Lately I've been having to workout at 5AM because of my schedule, so I wake up and drink a pre-workout stimulant (Pharm Assault - nasty stuff, but I bought it so I'll use it). This thing is chock full of caffeine, a stimulant and a PED. While I realize caffeine is a fairly safe and socially acceptable drug, it is still a drug.

    I guess I don't have a question here, maybe more a general comment that people think "drug" and they think two things - "miracle" and - in this context - "bad." A cycle of test isn't going to make me go from "average strength, but a little pudgy guy" to "Paul Carter" overnight, just like this Pharm Assault stuff isn't either. But they both can definitely contribute (significantly?) to my success.

    Sorry for the rambling musings. Love reading your stuff as always.

    J

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    1. I guess it all depends on what someone else thinks is natty. If I take a shot of test, and it's just enough to put me back in the normal range for my age, and I can pass drug tests all day because I'm not abusing it.....am I still natty?

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    2. I've wondered the same thing. Where is the line between natty and darksider? Are you natty if you use test to get you to "normal" levels? Are you more natty if you use pro-hormones? I wonder who decides that. *shrugs*

      Thanks for taking the time to respond. I'm going to go squat and think about whether squatting heavy might raise my testosterone enough to make me a darksider.

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  8. "Natural" is undoubtedly a weird word to use, but in this context the line is drawn at anabolic hormones. Let's be real, a shot of caffeine won't give you the same performance boost as a shot of test will. A cycle of test won't turn you into PC, but it'll get you much further than all the tubs of Pharm Assault in the world.

    For frequent caffeine users, the effect of caffeine-based stims is pretty mild, even when the dosage is quite high. You don't really get a 'boost', it's more like a small pick-me-up when you're having a 50% day (and even that's attributable more to the placebo effect of reading the label).

    Anyone trying to deny the huge advantage enjoyed by guys on steroids (even at minimal doses) is deluding him/herself, but I have to wonder why the average trainee would even get into this type of argument. Yes, guys who take steroids have a massive advantage. Yes, you can and should work harder and would probably be nowhere near the top guys' level even after all the cycles your body can stand. I really see no point in losing sleep / mentally masturbating over stuff like that.

    I once read a statement by powerlifter and strength historian Terry Todd where he estimated that steroids give one a 10-15% boost to one's non-roided strength performance. Having no experience with steroid use, I think this could be a reasonable (if very generalized) estimate. In high-level competition, this would provide a huge advantage (300+ lbs. on a 2,000 raw total, in a fantasy world in which the other competitors are not juicing), but it's really not going to make a mediocre lift meaningful, let alone top-level. Just my $0.02.

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  9. Agreed for the most part, and I'd add the great Mike Bridges as an example of a guy who has come back clean and lifted big.

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  10. I feel like the "go natty for a long time" thing doesn't really apply to bodybuilding if you're trying to go pro. Seems like most of the greats began hitting the sauce in their teens/early 20s. What do you think Paul?

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    1. that's very true. however, bodybuilder is so different. I mean if you're going to dominate in bodybuilding, it will be evident pretty early. lots of sauce or not. in powerlifting however, lots of guys just stay at it year after year after year, and eventually get pretty strong. in bodybuilding, either you were born with the lines and symmetry or not. Dave Polumbo had awful genes but took enough sauce to kill 40 horses.......still didn't turn pro because he didn't have all the other things he needed genetically.

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    2. Kai Greene and Ronnie Coleman were both on Team Universe for a long time... food for thought.

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    3. I almost mentioned then actually. The difference I thought would be that Ronnie was placing last at every pro show he was in....until he found the sauce.

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  11. Your honesty on this subject is refreshing.

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  12. My family is full of body builders and health nuts. My sister recommended a couple of supplement products to me. I usually take just one pack a day with a very tall glass of water after breakfast.
    preworkout

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