Steroids: Do They Do the Work for You? A Response to Anders Nedergaard

So someone on my friends list who I respect posted the article below on FB today. This guy is outside of my field of specialty, and I click what he posts pretty often to learn, so seeing him post a steroid article interested me. I was very disappointed in the results of said clicking.

Here is the article:

Apparently it is old, but the author has defended it as recently as near the end of last year in the comments, and since it popped up in my feed to read I figure it's worth responding to.

 Obligatory Steroid Pic

Obligatory Steroid Pic

The authors main point is that steroid users don't just work harder, the steroids do work for them. Now, for reasons that you'll see later, I think I probably have more experience with people who are on steroids than he does, and I've never once heard anyone state that. "I train harder" is a common response to people claiming the steroids do the work for them, but I've never seen a single person on steroids say the steroids don't help at all.

He claims he has nothing against steroid users and tries to clarify his stance with paragraphs like this:

"The purpose of this post is not at all to discredit the results of people on juice, just to discredit their claims of “it” being “all themselves”. The fact is, if they hadn’t juiced they wouldn’t be as big, or as lean, or as strong and as this is part of what they are being judged by, it is not fair to blame all of their muscle mass or strength on their own efforts. Face it, when was the last time you heard “well, it wasn’t ALL me. I did use three cycles of test and tren to get here” when replying to a compliment on their size or strength?"

The last sentence there makes things a bit clearer. People don't have to say that the steroids do nothing explicitly as I assumed a couple paragraphs ago, they are doing so by not giving steroids credit every time they get a compliment. This honestly might be one of the most ridiculously self righteous, insecure sentences I've ever seen in fitness writing. This is what he is stating should happen:

Random new gymgoer: Hey bro, you're really big and lean, awesome work!
Guy obviously on gear: Thanks bro, but the steroids did most of the work for me!

Does anyone honestly think this is how it should work?

This also shows his negative bias (which pops up a lot in his article). Does he expect everyone who loses weight after a gastric bypass, or hiring a weight loss coach, to point that out every time they are congratulated on losing weight? Does he expect every researcher to point out the research grant that made his research possible when congratulated on their findings? Does he expect everyone who used adderall to study for their finals to give that credit when congratulated on graduating? Does he expect every recovering heroin addict to point out how much methadone he takes after quitting heroin? Nowhere else in life are people expected to state everything that helped them accomplish something when congratulated on it, why are steroids different?

This post just seems REALLY out of touch with reality. He looks at 2 studies and draws sweeping conclusions. Because test didn't stop working after 20 weeks it will never stop? That's insane to think. As you gain muscle, it gets harder to gain muscle. You don't see researchers pointing at 20wk training programs and thinking the gains will continue on pace to infinity and beyond. We don't look at studies done on the untrained and apply them to advanced or elite trainees, so why is that ok with gear?

He also mentions how mild cycles could possibly enhance training, but then the research he cites uses 600mg, and are beyond the mild threshold. 600mg test isn't shit, it is a mild beginners cycle. This guy is seemingly writing about an issue he read 2 studies on and doesn't have any other experience with.

While he is right you can get the same results with less work, or more results with the same work, those using gear correctly are getting even more results for even more work. One of the biggest benefits of using is the gain in work capacity. Not upping volume to reflect that while on gear is a big mistake.

"The point I’m trying to make is not that jacked guys are not training, but that a significant part of their jackedness couldn’t and shouldn’t be claimed as results of their own effort in the gym and with the fork. That 120 kg guy hasn’t done more to get big than that 100 kg guy, he just decided to do roids which effectively gave him more for less, with some of the associated risks."

It's very interesting he brings diet into it, since gear has effects on diet that drug users have to deal with. They also don't make dieting easier in any way, in fact it usually makes it harder. Gear users are very often more focused on "healthy" foods as it matters more for them. They also can benefit from more protein, and don't need fat for hormonal reasons, so very often go very high protein and low fat. The effect on partitioning is awesome but TDEE isn't often affected much, outside of due to training. While you may have a good amount of additional leeway with training for the same results, you don't with diet, unless you use fat burners, which aren't steroids (but I'm pretty sure he'd make the same claims about them).

If that 120kg guy isn't a moron, he HAS done more than that 100kg guy. His drugs allow him to, and if he's smart he's taking advantage of that. Assuming every guy on drugs is a moron is just as silly as thinking every guy not on drugs is as ignorant on the topic as this author.

As I mentioned in a prior point, drugs come with side effects. Controlling them with other drugs brings more side effects. Injections are a pain in the ass (pun not intended but applicable), and can go wrong for no apparent reason at times. Even if it doesn't, a user can deal with post injection pain that can limit them daily. Users need to monitor health more closely, and smart users have done a lot of research to know how to use beforehand. This is a whole other aspect that naturals don't deal with, and looking only at the benefits and not drawbacks is just silly. Sure, fat burners can make fat loss faster, but they come with sides too. Not too many natties have to worry about waking up to a searing calf cramp in the middle of the night like clen can do, or live every day feeling hot and exhausted like dnp can do. There is a tradeoff for every drug that anyone ever uses, you can't just look at one side of the equation.

He does have a good point that it is very common that the big guys on gear get asked for advice and often don't know much about training. This however doesn't have to do with how hard they work, it has to do with how hard they study. Most gear users don't train properly, because they don't have to. With enough volume just about anything will work. It is shitty that so many people go to the biggest guys for advice when those guys might not know shit, but it's to be expected, and misinformation about steroids is what causes the stigma that keeps guys like that in that position. If steroids were discussed the same way other aspects of fitness are people wouldn't be afraid of them, and would realize how many people are on them. They would be more likely to realize that the biggest guys might now know the best methods. It pisses me off as much as anyone to see big guys give shitty advice just because people think they're a good source based on how they look, especially since pretty often these guys are huge douches. But let's be serious, how many naturals in the gym know any better? Very few people I've met in a gym know much at all.

Finally, the biggest point he missed, is the absolutely staggering amount of people on gear who look like shit. This isn't obvious to those ignorant on the subject, because people don't talk about drugs around people that don't know anything about drugs, so maybe this author thinks all steroid users look amazing. Go to any steroid forum or group and look at the people there. Most people on gear don't look great. It's not magic. No matter how much this guy wants to validate his own insecurities, he needs more than two studies taken out of context to stand up to anyone with any knowledge on the topic.

I'll leave the author with this. 

-Jason VanEpps

*EBP Coaching does not encourage illegal activity, or provide medical advice.