Q: My girlfriend is a competitive natural bodybuilder. We're both proud of her accomplishments, but now that she's won a few small shows, she's eligible to compete at a higher level, where the girls are definitely bigger, more muscular and, from what we can tell, definitely using steroids and other gear. She's ready to try something for her next competition. In your opinion, which steroids would be safe for her to try? Please include the amounts of each drug.
A: I'll try to pass on a little information, but I suggest that you purchase a few books about anabolics. Anyone who's read my articles on anabolic steroids knows that I insist on moderation. There is a big difference between being a user and an abuser. I definitely believe it's best to try to get the most anabolic effect from the least amount of steroids. Since your girlfriend has never done steroids before, she will experience quick gains in size and muscularity from even small dosages. There's no reason for her to sacrifice her femininity for the sake of a bodybuilding trophy.
The 'safe' steroids for women are those that are low in androgens. Androgens cause masculinizing effects: hair growth on the face and body, oily skin and acne, a decrease in head hair, a deepening of the voice, an increase in larynx size (only for those women on large amounts of steroids for years), a hardening of the facial features, an increase in clitoral size, an increase in aggression, a change in libido and a definite increase in muscle size and muscularity. Women should avoid androgens at all costs, and no steroid is completely androgen free. All of the side affects caused by androgens can be experienced if one takes a 'safe' anabolic steroid in large dosages'they just may not be as bad as if you took a high-androgen steroid like Anadrol 50 but only in small dosages, say one or two tablets a week.
The safest steroid for women is Primabolan (methenolone), which comes in 50-milligram tablets. As Dan Duchaine said about Primabolan in his Underground Steroid Handbook, 'Not liver toxic, not androgenic, not 17 alpha alkylated and more effective than Winstrol tabs.' It's about five times as anabolic as testosterone but only one-fifth as androgenic. Recommended dose for women: one to two tabs daily starting six weeks out from the show.
Primabolan is also available in injectable form. Primabolan acetate (methenolone acetate), a precontest drug favored by both sexes, comes in 200-milligram ampoules, three to a box, and is fast acting (meaning it gets into the system quickly and its effects last only a short time). Men take more than women, naturally. Women generally take the injectable version for three or four weeks before a contest, one or two injections a week (men take it every day or every other day, depending on their pocketbooks). Primabolan Depot (methenolone enanthate) is a longer-lasting injectable than Primabolan acetate. It comes in ampoules of 100 milligrams, and women usually use one injection a week.
The second safest anabolic steroid for women is Anavar (oxandrolone), which comes in 2.5-milligram tablets. It's almost five times as anabolic as testosterone but only one-fifth as androgenic. Anavar is a steroid favored by both men and women bodybuilders because it increases muscle density and hardness and does not cause water retention. Most women bodybuilders start out with three or four tabs daily and, depending on the length of the cycle, work up to five or six tablets daily.
Although Duchaine did not believe Winstrol (stanozolol) tablets or Winstrol V injections to be a good steroid for either men or women, it was my favorite because it causes increases in muscle growth and strength and does not aromatize, or convert to estrogen. It always worked well for me, to the chagrin of the guru. Although the two-milligram tablets are hard to get, the injectable version is fairly easy to get. If you can get Winstrol tabs, start at two tablets a day (four milligrams). If you have to use the injectable (50 milligrams per milliliter), try 25 milligrams (half cc) every three to four days or 50 milligrams once a week.
Winstrol is a borderline steroid for most women. It's twice as anabolic as testosterone and about one-third as androgenic. The difference between 20 percent and 30 percent androgens is definite. Some women can handle the extra androgens in Winstrol, and some can't. Unfortunately, it's a trial-and-error process. I recommend trying one tablet a day for a week and seeing how she responds. If things are okay, try two tabs per day the next week. If stacked with the Primabolan and Anavar, it makes a very good precontest cycle.
Another steroid that is borderline for many women is Deca-Durabolin, or nandrolone decanoate. It's one of the most popular anabolics among men, but it may cause androgenic side effects in women. Again, side effects are often dose-related, so start off small, say 50 milligrams, and go from there. Deca should be used only if Primabolan depot isn't available.
Some female bodybuilders use Equipoise (boldenone undecyclenate), which comes in 50 milligrams per milliliter strength. It's a high-anabolic and medium-low androgen steroid. Women who do not fare well on Deca-Durabolin often do better on Equipoise, taken in moderate amounts, say, 50 milligrams twice a week or every eight days.
For the extra bit of hardness and muscularity, I suggest one tablet per day of Halotestin (fluoxymesterone) for the last seven days before her competition. Halotestin is a very high-androgenic/high-anabolic steroid that male bodybuilders use during the last month before competition. Halotestin does not aromatize to estrogens and does not cause water retention. Seven 10-milligram tablets over the last seven days will give her extra hardness without causing undesired side effects. If Halotestin is not available, then Dianabol (methandrostenolone), one tablet a day for seven days, can be used instead. If methandrostenolone is not available, try half a tab of Anadrol 50 (oxymetholone) per day for seven days. If you cannot get the Halotestin, methandrostenolone or the oxymetholone, substitute either Trenbolone, 75 milligrams one week out from her show, or Masteron (dromostanolone proprionate), two 50-milligram ampoules the last nine or 10 days.
I've given a lot of options because buying anabolic steroids on the black market is really a crap shoot. A dealer may not sell you the steroids you want, so you may have to take second choices or double up on dosages of the steroids you can buy. For example, Maxibolan (ethylestrenol) is a two-milligram anabolic steroid that is very safe and has almost no side effects. It's actually derived from progesterone, a female hormone, and it's not 17 alpha alkylated; it's low in androgens and does not convert to estrogens'all of which make it an ideal female steroid. Finding it is another matter altogether. It's no longer made in North America and is found only in Europe, where it is sold as Orabolin 25. Unless you have a dealer who imports European anabolic steroids, including all the Primabolans mentioned above, Anavar (oxandrolone), Trebolone and Masteron, you're out of luck.
There are also several nonsteroid drugs your girlfriend might try to boost her muscle size and increase her muscularity. One is clenbuterol. It's sold as an asthma medication in Europe and as a veterinary medication in North America. Studies have shown that clenbuterol causes an increase in type 2 muscle fibers by 40 percent over a 12-week period. It does that by increasing the number of T4 receptors in the muscle cell. Clenbuterol also increases brown fat thermogenesis. In short, it makes men and women harder and leaner, and there are no androgens to worry about. Try 80 to 100 micrograms on a two-days-on/one day-off cycle for the last month before your contest.
Another nonsteroid that can be very helpful to a competitive bodybuilder is Nolvadex (tamoxifen citrate). It comes in 10- and 20-milligram orals. It is an anti-estrogen. Men take it to prevent aromatization of anabolics that can convert to estrogen in the body, such as Anadrol 50, Dianabol and all testosterones, with the exception of testosterone undecanoate. Nolvadex increases hardness and leanness in female bodybuilders by reducing their estrogen levels. I suggest one tablet per day for the last three weeks before a contest.
Duchaine, who worked with countless world-class female bodybuilders and was the real expert on women and anabolics, noted that female bodybuilders who do not take Nolvadex have a very hard time getting separation and extra muscularity in their legs, even if their upper body is ripped.
If you have the coin, human growth hormone can cause dramatic reductions in bodyfat when used in conjunction with the anabolics mentioned above. There are a lot of fake and bogus products on the market. Unwary buyers sometimes spend a small fortune to buy HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a fertility drug derived from the urine of pregnant women that men use to restore sex drive when they've been on anabolics too long. It has no use for women during a cycle but could be used to restore some hormone balance, since it causes an increase in the body's natural hormone levels.
If your girlfriend is afraid of injections, she could stack Primabolan tabs (one or two a day) with Anavar (two or three tabs a day) and Winstrol tabs (two to three a day), with the Halotestin (one tab daily just the last seven days). She can include Nolvadex and clenbuterol and should find that those moderate amounts of anabolics bring her more than satisfactory results. If she's a little more daring, she can try one or two of the injectables, along with a couple of the orals. I wish I could be more exact, but I really do not know your budget nor which anabolics are available where you live. But this information should be more than enough to get you started.
Editor's note: The statements, opinions and ideas in this column are Greg Zulak's and not necessarily those of IRONMAN magazine. IM