Introduction

Despite the fact, that according to mass media and the government, anabolic steroid cycles can be quite dangerous, the use of anabolic steroids under proper guidelines and conditions can be a very safe practice when it is done responsibly, sensibly and properly. Of course, like with any other compounds, substances or chemicals, the use of anabolic steroids can't be one hundred percent safe. That is crucial to understand that the use of anabolic steroids for physique and performance enhancement is not a legitimate use for anabolic steroids. In the medical field, anabolic steroids are widely used for the treatment of many different diseases, debilitations, and medical indications. The doses and required for medical use of anabolic steroids are very different from the doses and protocols for physique and performance enhancement.

Safety of Steroid Cycles

Safety is very important and should absolute paramount concern for every individual considering anabolic steroid use for physique and performance enhancement. There are existing 5 basic rules of safe and responsible anabolic steroid use and additional safety guidelines. Although anabolic steroids are considered some of the safest drugs in medicine and are considered as low-risk therapeutic compounds with a high degree of safety, there are also some very significant health risks involved when these substances are abused. Many first-time anabolic steroid users don't have the experience and want faster results. These individuals do not realize the potential harm and damage that can be done to the human body when these powerful substances are abused. Anabolic steroids can cause very serious short-term and permanent damage to the human body when they are improperly and ignorantly used. The use of anabolic steroids for performance and physique enhancement is not considered a safe practice.

The Five Basic Rules of Proper Steroid Cycles and Responsible Steroid Use

1.   Users under the age of 24 shouldn't engage in any anabolic steroid cycles. There is no specific age by which the human body and its subsystems have fully matured and developed. That is different for every individual. In our case, the main issue is the endocrine system: Testosterone levels in males are continually rising until the median average age of approximately 24 – 25 years old, at which point these levels reach their peak and begin to decline. The average age, by which almost all human beings reach maturity, has been determined to be 24 – 25 years. Only after this age, the risks of considerable and permanent HPTA damage drop drastically.

2.   Testosterone must be the very first and the ONLY anabolic steroid used in the very first beginner anabolic steroid cycle, and Testosterone must also be included in all cycles, with no exceptions. Testosterone is the original anabolic steroid, produced naturally within all humans and most animal species. Because it is the hormone that each individual's body already produces, it is considered to be the safest anabolic steroid. Meaning, the use of Testosterone for performance and physique enhancement is equal to introducing more of a hormone into the human body that is already manufactured and used. Moreover, all first cycles for beginners should always use some form of Testosterone-only as their very first anabolic steroid cycle. This will allow the user to see their response to the most basic anabolic steroid, Testosterone. In case an individual responds badly to a basic Testosterone cycle, then there is a higher chance of the individual responding even worse to most other compounds which are essentially modified analogues of Testosterone. Stacking multiple compounds in a beginner first-time cycle is a quite dangerous practice. First time user or beginner who has never used anabolic steroids before, would not know what to expect upon use and how they going to react to the compound. In case when several different compounds are run for a first cycle and the individual experiences very undesirable side effect or reacts badly, there will be hard to figure out which anabolic steroid is responsible for the bad reaction if a cocktail of several anabolic steroids has been stacked in one cycle. This would become possibly life-threatening if said reaction was to be a very serious mortal reaction (for example an allergic reaction).

3.   Cycle lengths should be kept as short as possible. The longer is the cycle, the higher is the risk of side effects. The recovery of natural endogenous Testosterone production also becomes difficult following the termination of an anabolic steroid cycle if a cycle is run for longer and longer lengths of time. Various anabolic steroids may exhibit higher degrees of HPTA suppression and shut-down than other compounds, but all anabolic steroids exhibit this effect of HPTA suppression and eventual shutdown as the duration of use continues. Severely atrophied Leydig cells after extremely long cycles will have far greater difficulty re-engaging endogenous Testosterone production again due to desensitization to gonadotropins resultant of long-term suppression/shutdown. Ideal cycle lengths for short-estered anabolic steroids should be in the range of 8 – 10 weeks, and for long-estered anabolic steroids, 10 – 12 weeks. Longer cycles present the high risk of increasingly difficult HPTA recovery.

4.   The lowest effective dose to provide gains should always be utilized before increasing doses. The ideal scenario is to make progress with the lowest possible dose, and then increase the dose as required (which is on average, several cycles into beginner use). Many users (mostly beginners) want to engage in an extremely ludicrous activity whereby a brand-new first-timer will run 500mg/week on their first cycle, then proceed to 700mg/week on their second cycle, and then 1,000mg/week on their third, and so forth. This is not necessary, and not very healthy. A lot of anabolic steroid users don't realize the power of these hormones and want better and faster results. That is very important that users understand concerning anabolic steroid doses that the human body only manufactures approximately 50 – 70mg weekly of Testosterone (depending on various factors such as age, lifestyle habits, genetics, etc.). That means that 500mg is approximately 7 – 10 times the amount that the human body produces. 300mg weekly should be the perfect dosage or any first-time beginner cycle.

5.   An absolute minimum of stacked compounds (no more than 2 at any given time unless necessary) should be used in any given anabolic steroid cycle. The stacking of three or more compounds in a single anabolic steroid cycle is only necessary for competitive bodybuilders and professional athletes. Increasing the number of anabolic steroids utilized in a single cycle increases the weekly dose of total steroid, which thereby increases the risk and intensity for side effects.

Additional Secondary Safety Guidelines

In addition to these 5 basic rules, there are other preliminary and secondary safety guidelines. Before starting the anabolic steroid cycles, the future user should have full medical examinations and testing by a doctor. An individual must make sure that he is in the best possible health before using anabolic steroids. Proper organ function (the liver, kidneys, heart, etc.) should be ensured before use. If any individual has an existing medical indication that will be, either indirectly or directly, influenced by anabolic steroid use, he or she must decide not to risk and do not engage in use. If possible blood work is essential prior, during, and after all anabolic steroid cycles to ensure proper internal functioning of the human body and to monitor any changes during use. That is necessary to avoid high-risk anabolic steroids at all costs. The use of very strong anabolic steroids such as Trenbolone or highly toxic anabolic steroids such as Anadrol should be avoided unless necessary for very obvious reasons. The use of such anabolic steroids presents very high risks of damage and stressors on the systems of the body.

Only advanced users should consider the use of these compounds, as extensive understanding and knowledge of them is a must for safe use of these higher-risk compounds. When possible, individuals should always engage in the use of injectable compounds that are not hepatotoxic comparing to oral anabolic steroids which exhibit hepatotoxicity (liver toxicity). For an anabolic steroid to become effective through oral administration, it must be modified at the 17th carbon where a methyl group (also known as an alkyl group) is bonded to it, known as C17-Alpha Alkylation (also known as methylation). This alkylation grants the anabolic steroid further resistance to hepatic (liver) metabolism. The greater resistance a substance has to hepatic breakdown, the more toxicity and strain on the liver the user will experience. This modification, allows the anabolic steroid to survive liver metabolism and introduce a high percentage of the anabolic steroid into the bloodstream. Injectable anabolic steroids that do not possess C17-alpha alkylation (which is most of them) are not dangerous for the liver.

Reasonable doses of aromatase inhibitors should always be used (if they are to be used at all). An aromatase inhibitor (AI) works to inhibit the enzyme responsible for the conversion of androgens into Estrogen, which is the aromatase enzyme, thereby reducing the cause of rising Estrogen levels at the root cause. The issue with excessive use of aromatase inhibitors is that the reduction of Estrogen levels below normal physiological levels has been demonstrated in studies to impart an even worse impact on cholesterol profiles than when anabolic steroids are administered alone without an aromatase inhibitor.

All anabolic steroid users must consider the inclusion of an AI, and Estrogen levels must be closely monitored to make sure Estrogen levels are not reduced to the point whereby cholesterol profiles are impacted negatively. All potential anabolic steroid users must ensure at least a sub-20% body fat level before they start to use anabolic steroids. Dropping down to sub-20% bodyfat is advised before jumping into a cycle and many individuals further recommend that one should be 15% body fat or less before use. This is the reason why users must think carefully and not rush into anabolic steroid use. Higher than 20% body fat not only presents an increased risk of Estrogenic side effects due to aromatization, but also blood pressure issues, cholesterol issues, and increased stressors on the cardiovascular system due to the strain of the excess weight. Clinical studies have shown that a higher body fat percentage also means a higher risk of Estrogenic side effects. This happens because the aromatase enzyme is highly abundant in adipose tissue (fat), meaning that the higher an individual's body fat percentage is, the greater the rate of aromatization of androgens into Estrogen will result. This is also the reason why it is needed to engage in a Testosterone-only cycle as a first-time beginner first cycle to gauge each individual's response.

All prospective anabolic steroid users should have a solid 5 years of natural training at a minimum before considering anabolic steroid cycles. That is a requirement – no one should attempt an anabolic steroid cycle without a few years of serious consistent training and dieting experience behind them. Anabolic steroid use presents a very serious injury risk for unprepared people. The proper form is required on exercises that must be perfected with years of training before generating even stronger muscular contractions resulting in immense force generation required for the lifting of much heavier weights that will result from the strength gains resultant of anabolic steroids. Another reason is the increased risk of connective tissue damage, such as tendons, joints, and connective tissue which must all grow and strengthen to accommodate the increased strain caused by increasing strength. These different connective tissues do not repair, grow and strengthen quickly as muscle tissue does. When anabolic steroids are used too soon, muscle tissue tends to grow faster than connective tissue can keep up with, and therefore the connective tissue cannot possibly handle with the increased generation of force from the now larger and stronger muscle tissue. That is also much more difficult to retain muscle gains from anabolic steroids after a cycle is complete in case an individual has not attempted to put on as much muscle as possible naturally before delving into anabolic steroid cycles. All-natural muscle-gaining potential should be completely exhausted before the commencement of anabolic steroid use.