“Should you use an oral steroid during your bulk cycle” has been a commonly asked question in the bodybuilding community.
It's not a yes or no answer.
With that being said, the entire point of this post is to delve into the very common scenario I see guys put themselves in where they actually limit their progress by using additional drugs.
Methylated Oral Steroids Can Cause Loss Of Appetite
Let's just say hypothetically that you're on 500 mg of Testosterone, 400 mg of Deca, and feel the urge to throw in a fat dose of Anadrol.
Anadrol, and most other oral steroids are 17α-alkylated.
This means that they feature an alkyl group in order to make it through the liver without being destroyed.
These steroids would just break down and be rendered useless if they weren't 17α-alkylated to begin with.
As you would logically assume, intentionally taking a drug that is meant to be liver toxic just so it survives and is bioavailable can have some negative consequences on your health and well-being.
One of the most obvious side effects that can occur while using liver toxic orals is a huge reduction in appetite.
The Most Common Factor Preventing A Bodybuilder From Gaining Muscle
Truth be told, the number one limiting factor of a bodybuilder's progression is typically his diet.
How much can one eat, relative to the amount of drugs he's taking in, relative to his training intensity and volume.
If you're not eating enough, you're not going to grow, period.
What I've seen from a lot of guys is they throw in Anadrol for the first four weeks.
After that, they swap to another oral like Dbol, and then they swap to something else.
Even though they're on all these drugs that are supposedly super great mass building bulkers, they're not eating enough so they don't grow.
The reason is that their appetite is crushed because they're walking around feeling toxic all day.
If you're not eating enough food you're not going to grow regardless if you're on 100 mg of Anadrol or not.
This is something you have to keep in mind.
There's No Perfect Steroid Cycle
Often, these same guys who abuse orals in the offseason and don't eat enough would be growing like weeds if they just didn't take an oral steroid in the first place and stuck to a proper diet.
A trap many men fall into is they get into this obsessive mindset where they just feel like they need certain drugs in their cycle to check off every box that would equate to what most would consider the perfect cycle.
You have guys thinking “I need my Test, I need my 19-Nor, I need my GH, and I need my Insulin, and I need a strong oral.”
By having every pathway of growth checked off that they feel is important, they are more comfortable going into a cycle feeling like they're making the most out their time investment.
However, sometimes these same pathways of growth can lead to side effects that hinder your overall progress indirectly.
Let's say you're using pre-workout insulin.
You think that, “Oh, I'm using pre-workout insulin, I'm going to become a monster.”
Now let's just say that hypothetically you're a dosage that forces you to slam a bunch of liquid calories in the middle of your workout in order to prevent yourself from going hypo, and because you want to “shuttle the nutrients” into the muscle better.
As a result, you have a crappy workout because you're bloated and feel like crap from slamming 2-3 Vitargo shakes with Hydrolyzed Whey and other powders in them over the course of your peri-workout window.
Is that insulin helping or hindering you?
A better example I see more often is GH abuse.
Let's just say you can get away with a few IUs of GH per day and have solid fasting blood glucose levels still and then you decide to crank the GH dosage as high as you can because you heard that the best dosage of GH is as much as you can afford to take.
You bump the dose to 10 IUs per day, and as a result, you are running sky high blood glucose levels and you're tired all day long which prevents you from getting a good workout in.
It also forces you to slam a stimulant dense pre-workout supplement each day just so you can muster the energy to drag your ass to the gym to get a half-assed workout in.
Is the high dosage of GH really helping you at that point, or hindering you?
I would argue the latter.
Being OCD About The Anabolic Matrix
Don't fall into the trap of feeling like you are wasting your time if you don't have every box checked off.
There are guys who are so OCD about having certain compounds in their cycles that they will continue taking a drug even if they feel like sh*t on it and can't eat enough to grow.
They struggle to stick to their diet and they can barely even get a clean meal down.
This often leads to substitutions of clean food for unhealthy crap just to hit daily calorie goals, or just not hitting calorie goals at all and not growing.
They stay on the drugs just because they can't accept the fact that they won't have a part of the anabolic matrix checked off.
At the end of the day, sometimes you have to just say f*ck the plan.
You have to do what's best for you because not everything that works for one guy is going to work for another guy.
Sometimes less is more.
Keep that in mind if you're considering throwing an oral steroid into your next bulking phase.