This is an excerpt from my book: Better Than Steroids

As I mentioned in the introduction, my goal with this book is to give men and women who desire to transform their physiques and are working toward fat loss and increased muscle mass, a reference guide into some proven and highly successful techniques.  As the name implies, when applied with the dedication and effort of those who have utilized the information in the past, this information truly is Better Than Steroids.   I feel, however, that to understand WHY the information in this book is Better Than Steroids, one must first understand steroids:  what they are, how they work, why they work, etc. That is what this chapter is about.  I will do my best to avoid technical jargon, however, in some instances it will be important to your understanding.

Let me explain something to you, fine reader.   As I said in the preface, I neither condone nor condemn the use of anabolic steroids.  My platform with this book is not a moral or ethical one.  I simply want to provide people who use anabolic steroids, and those who do not use anabolic steroids a new and powerful means in their quest for the best possible physique.

Jay Cutler - 4 Time Mr Olympia

I am going to explain my ‘ladder’ analogy to you, as I do to anyone who asks questions about steroids, and believe me; I get a lot of questions!  We are all under what I call a “genetic ceiling”.  In other words, you have a potential point in your size, shape, strength and look that was set by your parents, and their parents before them.  You can only get so big, so strong, and so shapely depending on your genetic limits.  You eventually hit a ceiling.  Are there exceptions to this rule? Yes, as to any rule (i.e. Jay Cutler) but that is why there is only ONE Jay Cutler walking around out there and not more.  Now, for my ladder analogy.  Let’s pretend that steroids are a ladder.  Your plan is to get bigger, stronger, and shapelier, by using anabolic steroids, and without question, you will change some.  But that change has its limits.  Assuming for a minute that steroids = ladder, you climb the ladder, one rung at a time, possibly two depending on your guts and your wallet, to reach your ceiling.  Once your upper limit has been reached, you will stop getting bigger, stronger or shapelier.  You will have hit your genetic ceiling.  There is no more advancing, that’s it, finished (as far as the drugs go…).  Taking more, or better ones, or more powerful ones, or adding growth hormone, etc. will not make you look like Mr. Cutler or any other admired physique out there.  Your outcome has its limits.  You can continually go back to that ladder and climb it yet again, but eventually you have to come off of it.  For one reason or another, usually health or financial, you have to stop.  No matter how many times you climb it, no matter how you climb it, that ladder only goes as high as your ceiling.

Once you stop the drugs, or get off the proverbial ladder, or it gets pulled out from under you, you will return to baseline (or the floor, using the ladder analogy).  Contrary to belief, steroids do not keep you in that form or function once you’re off of them.

I know what is going through a few inquisitive and experienced minds out there.  “I know this dude… ” Or possibly “Wait a minute, I gained 12 pounds when I took some dianabol, and only lost six of them when I came off!”  Let me explain that because that is the purpose of this entire book.  When someone delves into anabolic steroid use, unless they are as stupid as a Nazi at a Bar Mitzvah, they generally train harder, sleep more and most important eat better.  This, my avid and curious friend, is the reason steroids have any long-term benefit or effect.  It is what occurs while on the drugs that is the important and long-lasting effect.  So why not learn, then apply, better training, better recovery, and better eating in the first place?  Well?  Guess what – if you take to heart (both in the gym and in your kitchen) what I teach you in this book – you have not only beaten the steroid hype, you will have long lasting size, strength, and shapeliness.  You will continue to climb your ladder until your ceiling has been reached.  Once there – perfect it, mold it, and improve on it!  Your genetic ceiling has its height limits, but it is the size of the Sistine Chapel.  Plan to move horizontally!  Eating right, exercising hard, and continually changing your routine will allow you to continue to change.  If your reliance is on steroids, you will limit your physique because they only take you to your genetic ceiling.  Food and exercise allow you to go up AND out.  You climb the ladder to your genetic ceiling, but the ladder is on wheels, so you can paint the whole ceiling!

Back to how steroids work but first: a distinction.  There are a number of “steroids” available out there.  Not all are the ones athletes seek.  Those steroids are called ‘Anabolic Steroids’.  The name steroid embraces a number of physiologically active compounds.  These include the androgens such as testosterone, the estrogens, such as estridiol, and the corticosteroids, such as cortisol or prednisone.  We will be dealing specifically with the androgenic hormones, both ‘natural’ i.e. testosterone and synthetic such as dianabol, as these are the steroids we are making an effort to ‘better’.   Of note, there are anabolic steroids derived from the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone as well.

An enhanced way to understand a ‘steroid’ is to call it by its more descriptive nomenclature: a hormone.  A hormone is a messenger.  Its action is to stimulate a receptor or target cell or organ into an action or a series of actions.  The mission of a hormone is multifaceted.  It can act (on a broad sense) to regulate growth, alter body mass, direct reproduction and even behavior.  Hormones act to regulate minerals in the body, and maintain a state of normalcy (also called homeostasis).  In general, hormones (therefore steroids) deliver a message through which an objective is sought.

Anabolic steroids are a group of hormones created to duplicate the beneficial aspects of testosterone.  These positive features include muscle growth, improved attitude, tissue repair, increased sex drive, and increased strength.  Keep in mind, all substances have a potential negative impact as well, such as oily skin, hair loss, cancer, liver failure, etc.  These steroids are further differentiated into primarily anabolic (anabolic being defined as growth promoting) for use in tissue repair, increasing red blood cell count, and muscle growth and recuperation, or defined as primarily androgenic which means their predominate effect is for male sexual development/characteristics.

So, how do steroids work?  As mentioned above, they are messengers that signal the cell (any cell they come in contact with, i.e. hair cells, glands, muscle, brain, etc.) to perform an action.  When dealing specifically with muscle cells, steroids tell the muscle cells to increase protein synthesis, which allows the muscle to grow faster, recover quicker, etc.  It also increases creatine phosphate synthesis, the substrate needed for energy, (i.e. makes you stronger).   Steroids increase the storage of glycogen in the muscle cell, which increases the cell’s size by the amount of glycogen and by the accompanying water that comes with it.  Steroids help increase nutrient uptake by the cell.  This includes vitamins, energy in the form of glucose, and amino acids – the building blocks of protein.  As is obvious to anyone who has even considered lifting weights, all the above is important in overall muscle growth.

I get asked all the time about the difference between a cutting drug, one that supposedly makes you leaner, and a bulking drug that makes you ‘bigger’.  Well, in all honesty there is no such thing.  A steroid is a steroid is a steroid.  They do not know if they cut or bulk – the mechanism of action is the same.  The side effects may be diverse; one may cause more water retention and therefore be a bad ‘cutting’ drug vs. another, but in and of themselves, there is no such thing as a cutting or bulking drug.  It all goes back to (I know you know what I am going to say…) diet.  If someone wants to gain weight, with or without anabolic steroids, he needs to take in the calories to do so.  Just as a true “cutting cycle” is dependant on nothing more than the food you eat (or don’t eat…).

So – that is how steroids work.  Why, once again, is this important?  As you get into future chapters, the above paragraph will be repeated, but this time, not in relation to anabolic steroids – next time it will be related to food, food timing, the pre and post workout meals, glycogen supercompensation, etc.  I am going to teach you how to mimic anabolic steroids using diet and exercise!  You will learn to recover rapidly, increase protein synthesis, increase creatine phosphate synthesis, and increase the storage of glycogen in the muscle cell, which increases the cells size by the amount of glycogen and by the accompanying water that comes with it.  You will also learn to increase nutrient uptake by the cell – all without the need for steroids! The information found in here is truly Better Than Steroids!”

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