A couple of prominent Manosphere bloggers- Danger & Play and Bold & Determined, to be specific- have posted in the past about the benefits of steroid use for becoming big. Now before anyone gets the wrong idea, I want to make this very clear: I am NOT saying that either Victor Pride or D&P are advocating that men use steroids. They are simply stating that steroids are a viable method of building muscle and getting big.
Here I'll lay out what I think of the issue. Given that I am an all-natural, drug-free powerlifter who just loves deadlifts and squats, it's not difficult to figure out which side I'm going to come down on. But first, let's look at two different points of view on the subject.
The first comes from a video that D&P linked to over at his pad. In it, a chap named Bostin tells you all in about 30 minutes just what it means to take serious supplements and serious steroids in order to get big.
Watch or listen to the whole thing, all the way through. It's worth the listen just to understand the sheer amount of drugs that you have to put into your system in order to achieve results as a bodybuilder.
Now take a look at what Mehdi Hadim, who runs StrongLifts.com, has to say about the subject. This is a (very slightly edited and redacted) read through an email that he sent his entire Gold Members mailing list recently.
I've always thought of steroid-users as cheaters.
Powerlifitng champion Mike Tuchscherer told me something in Italy that just confirmed that those guys are indeed cheaters.
Here's what this is all about: Mike looked at the kind of training program that were popular amongst guys who compete in drug-tested powerlifters federations.
And he then compared that to the training program of guys from whom it was well-known they were on steroids all year-through.
The guys in drug-tested feds trained MORE frequently and with MORE volume (more sets and reps) than the guy on steroids.
We were sitting at terrace in Italy when Mike shared that with me. I was sipping on my green tea and said: "well I always thought
steroid-users were cheaters, but that just confirms it now".
And it does makes sense: we got to train MORE frequently and HARDER in order to make up for the crap they inject in their butt.
Well at least my balls aren't shrinking!
Meanwhile I'm getting this kind of questions in my mailbox:
"Mehdi, how come some guys in the gym aren't doing any Squats but still seem to get big and ripped?"
He means those guys walking all macho in the gym.
You might have noticed them, the captain upper-bodies with their imaginary lat syndrome.
They're almost always training the exact opposite way that I'm recommending - no Squats, if they do it quarters, high reps until failure, mostly benching and curls, you name it...
...but they're still getting ripped.
And here's why: because the steroids they put in their butt are doing MOST of the work.
Which is my problem with them.
They aren't honest.
They walk big in the gym but don't have the balls to admit that they are actually using steroids.
Big man on the outside, little insecure man on the inside.
Cheating. Hiding. Lying.
And it pisses me off - because every new guy in the gym, it could be you, sees these steroid-drenched jerks doing all that bodybuilding crap and *thinks* that's the correct way to train.
After all, they're "big".
And that's why thousands of new guys, hoping to get in the best shape of their life, end up emulating these clowns.
Unfortunately, you're never going to get the same results training like them. Because they're using steroids while you're not.
That's why, in order to get results, you got to stop paying attention to what all those steroid-drenched jerks are doing.
You got to pay attention to what regular guys, with average genetics, and who train naturally like you are doing.
a) gain little to no results
b) get frustrated and lose motivation
And then it's back to being fat, weak and out of shape.
The reactions to Mehdi's polemic among the bodybuilder community has been telling. They all attack him for having puny legs; they tell him to stop whining; they think he's gay for drinking green tea.
Now Mehdi does not need me to defend him. He's way, way stronger than me- his idea of fun is squatting 315lbs 5x5, whereas I can manage maybe 2 reps per set at that weight. The guy is so much stronger than me, in fact, that in the extremely unlikely event that we were ever in the same gym, he would make me look like a complete pussy. And his "puny" legs are fully capable of squatting 419lbs- which happens to be far more than most bodybuilders will ever squat. And therein lies the key difference between a powerlifter and a bodybuilder. A powerlifter's strength is real. A bodybuilder's strength is an illusion. The body that is created through drugs and puffery is not really a body at all- it's just a drug-enhanced mockery of what a human body should be. (Hey ladies, this happens to apply to you lot too- women who squat and deadlift are seriously hot, but women who do steroids and bodybuild are just... ugly).
The reality is that if you want strength- true strength, not just a body- then there simply are no shortcuts. Likewise, if you want a body, then there are no shortcuts there either. The difference is that the hard work required to lift really heavy weights naturally and with proper form will outlast any of the illusory, steroid-enhanced gains that you will find in bodybuilding. Tellingly, Bostin Lloyd's own testimony in that video says it all- the use of synthol and steroids IS cheating, and he openly admits as much.
The other aspect of this debate that you have to consider is the sheer monetary drain that comes from using steroids and other drugs. That stuff is expensive. Ever walked into your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe and had a look at their range of protein powders alone? The cost of those supplements, powders, potions, and pills adds up at incredible speed- my last visit to such an establishment resulted in a $250 bill for a big tub of protein powder, two bottles of fish oil, creatine, some multivitamin packs (big mistake), and some "recovery chews" (slightly less big mistake), and other vitamins. If you decide to get big, you have to understand that your sex drive and your interest in doing basically anything else will go straight out the window.
If you're willing to make those sacrifices, well, fine, that's your choice and your life. But if you're interested in applying what you've learned to creating a healthier, wealthier, more sexually successful lifestyle, then stick with the advice of natural powerlifters like me- leave those drugs alone, get your ass into the gym, and SHUT UP AND SQUAT. The end.