If you’re arriving here without having read Parts 1, 2, and 3, please do so now. Otherwise, you will not have the context for this article.
Look guys, again, I am not a steroid guru. I cannot tell you where to get them, how to take them, or when. That said, I urge you not to listen to the “big guy at the gym. William Llewellyn’s Anabolics contains over 1,000 scholarly references; get real science NOT broscience!
If you’d rather watch than listen:
None of the following information is to be construed as factual in nature. This is strictly for entertainment purposes. None of the following information is to be construed as advice in any shape or form whatsoever. Nothing herein is to be substituted for competent advice from a medical professional.
What Happened When I Came “Off”
Everyone always wants to know if you keep your gains after a cycle. Well, personally, I got STRONGER for the first month or so after I came off. I squatted 465×7 in wraps in training and benched 275×7 at a body weight of approximately 220lbs (down from 228 at the meet) about three weeks after discontinuing all supplementation (yes, I was using proper post-cycle therapy practices).
You can see the squat here:
However, the side effects soon began to set in. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t experience anything that wasn’t manageable. That said, when I came off, I was moody, somewhat depressed, and, eventually, my strength rapidly began falling off a cliff. Only six weeks after squatting 425×8 without wraps, I managed only 440×2. This was around the two month mark after coming off.
I was training with the exact same “Westside” style as before. Sure, I was losing weight, but at a very reasonable pace with the help of a professional nutrition coach. I was training just as hard. Nothing else had changed.
”Gearing Up” for the Next Meet
I slowly counted down the days until I could begin my next cycle of supplementation. This time, I figured I would step it up and start getting “serious”. Instead of the tame, simple cycle that I ran before, I would introduce more heavy duty supplements. And that is exactly what I did. I planned to run a 12 week cycle of Trenbolone Acetate, Masteron Propionate, and Test Propionate at 100mg every other day.
Within 3 days of beginning Tren, I began having frequent murderous nightmares in vivid detail, ridiculous night sweats that would soak my entire sheets, and, eventually, insomnia that left me getting 2-3 hours of sleep per night. I told myself, hey, I’m just making the sacrifices that it takes to win.
I aborted the cycle after less than two weeks; and, within another month or so, I had decided I was done with hardcore steroids.
Why I Quit Steroids
At least three important facts caused me to make that decision.
First, I got a chance to talk to different NPC competitors and high level powerlifters about what it took to get to their level. What I found out was that the doses I was taking were nowhere near what the top guys use. I found out that when these guys talk about “making sacrifices” they’re talking about spending, literally, hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month on supplementation. They’re not talking about maybe damaging their organs a bit; they’re talking about doing doses for periods of time that are guaranteed to take 10-20 years off of your life. Though I don’t think you can achieve great things if you constantly think about what they will cost you, in this case, I couldn’t justify it.
Secondly, I got to experience firsthand some of the complications that can result from supplementation use due to my relationship with a close friend. I got to see the impact of surgeries, the introduction of other medications, what it took to pay for high level cycles without your family finding out, and a variety of “real world” considerations that most 21 year olds just don’t think about before making such a huge decision.
Third, and to me, most importantly, I found myself in a position to be constantly lying, fibbing, or omitting information to my personal friends and family about what I was doing. Being dishonest with the people you love most is a great way to go through life feeling very alone.
The Final Nail in the Coffin
Even though I aborted the cycle, and had decided to cease any further use of harsher compounds, I still kept some of the more tame supplements because I still couldn’t quite bring myself to throw out my “hard earned money”. I was planning to move to Las Vegas in early January of 2014. I decided that, once I got there, I would just run a “test only” cycle while doing an extremely strict diet to help preserve muscle. That way I didn’t have to “waste” anything.
Well, I moved to Las Vegas in the middle of January 2014. Of course, I had to take my “supplements” across the country with me. And, of course, the WORST possible scenario did, in fact, managed to unfold and present itself.
First, my speedometer broke at some point along the trip. There was nothing I could do about it at 3am in the middle of nowhere on an interstate freeway bound for Vegas. However, I got careless and I was eventually pulled over for speeding.
I don’t recall acting nervously or suspiciously whatsoever, but the officer took one look at my license and registration and said, “So, you’re from Washington. Do you smoke Marijuana”? I do not. And I have never enjoyed getting high to be honest. He accused me of lying and said that I was “sweating” even though it was less than 40 degrees outside.
He said I could either let him search my vehicle or he’d bring dogs. I wasn’t going to let him search the vehicle because I had steroids in the trunk (although hidden). I figured they’d bring the dog and because, I don’t use narcotics, drugs, and don’t hang out with anyone who would do that in my car, the dog wouldn’t ID anything. Well, the dog DID ID my car for narcotics.
Of course, the cops found no narcotics, but they did find my steroids.
The Low Point
So, here I was, at 3:00am making a phone call to my mother explaining why I may end up in jail before I ever get to Las Vegas all because of steroids. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to make a phone call like that before, but it is one of the worst feelings in the world.
As I was sitting in the back of the cop car, I couldn’t have felt less like a “dedicated athlete”. I felt more like a drug addict. I resolved to never put myself in that situation again.
In the end, I was incredibly, incredibly fortunate. The cops decided that a few small vials of steroids weren’t worth the trouble. After sitting on the side of the freeway for two hours sweating bullets, I got back into my car and drove off without incident.
As soon as I got to Vegas, I threw all my “supplements” in the trash.
Now, please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not making anyone wrong for training enhanced with supplementation. It is just that, for me personally, at only 22 years of age, the direction I saw myself heading down just didn’t make sense; it isn’t what I wanted for myself. I had neither the resources nor the character to support heavy duty steroid use. What I thought I was getting myself into was very different than what I actually did get myself into.
If you use supplements, more power to you. I still have tremendous admiration for the guys who are ALL IN and do whatever it takes to be the best. It takes a very special kind of person to do that.
For me, it wasn’t a good fit. Unlike many, I’m speaking from experience; I tried it and found out firsthand. The benefits of the drugs themselves are fantastic for training, but everything else that along comes for the ride just isn’t worth it to me personally.
I’d put it like this: the drugs might have helped me to do what I wanted to do, but they would not have helped make me into the person that I wanted to become.
I support everyone’s right to make their own decisions on what goes into their bodies. My personal decision is not to use them. I wish you the best of luck with your own decisions.
The Aftermath of Quitting
I wish I could say that I instantly picked my head up and got right back to killing the weights without enhancements. That is not what happened. Instead, my motivation plummeted. For the past year, I had dedicated my entire existence to the idea of being a world record holding powerlifter. With the decision to stop using enhancements, I felt that I could no longer do that and lifting lost its greater purpose for me.
I never stopped lifting, but I tried to “quit” powerlifting. I spent 3 months half-heartedly doing bodybuilding style training focusing on “aesthetics”. I hated it and my heart was never in the training at all. By the time I had arrived in Vegas, I had regressed all the way back to an 1100 total at 200lbs bodyweight.
Dates: Jun ’13 to Jan ’14
Stats: 220lbs to 198lbs
Squat: 551 /w wraps to ~405
Bench: 320 to ~250
Deadlift: 534 to ~455
Total: 1405 to ~1100
In Part 5, I’m going to discuss how I found a new source of motivation, what my goals are going forward, and I’ll analyze the results of my most recent meet where I totaled 1124@165 in the USPA.
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Table of Contents
Part One: Starting Strength and Gaining 80lbs in 9 Months
Part Two: My First Meet and Cutting 50lbs
Part Three: My Experience with Steroids and Totaling 1405@220
Part Four: Tren, Almost Getting Arrested, and Why I Quit Steroids
Part Five: Losing 30lbs in 80 Days and Qualifying for Nationals