Month: November 2017

How to get Fit Naturally

In the last article I briefly touched on the science of steroid use and explained why it’s important to seriously consider doing things naturally. However, whether you’ve been training for a while or are just getting into it, you may be having trouble seeing the results you so desperately desire. This write up will touch on the basics you need to reach your goals.

Be Consistent

The most important lesson anyone can teach you about personal fitness is to be consistent. This applies to everything. And at the risk of adding too many clichés in this article, you really do need to consider fitness as a way of life rather than just a goal. Sure, it’s important to set micro goals to feel a sense of achievement. However, you need to be consistent in your diet, your type of training, and of course the frequency with which you train in order to see results. Failing to do so means you won’t progress, or will do so at a very slow rate.

It All Starts in the Kitchen

Another cliché that holds true is that 90% of your gains start in the kitchen. In the same vein, this also applies to those looking to cut weight, boost strength, or just be healthier overall. You are what you eat of course, and you won’t be setting any records if you don’t fuel your body with what it needs to perform in the manner you seek. As a starting point you can use a macronutrient calculator which can tell you how many proteins, carbs and healthy fats to consume per day based on your activity level, age, weight, height and goals.

Proteins are usually fairly set in stone at around 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight regardless of your goals; with the variants being the number of carbs and fats you consume. Added to this are the micro nutrients. This means the vitamins and minerals, types of fat you consume and so on. Consider lean meats for protein (i.e. chicken), complex carbs (i.e. brown rice, whole wheat, oats etc.), and healthy fats (i.e. salmon, avocado, nuts, seeds etc.).

Choosing the Right Workout Routine

Many people just starting out don’t really have a program and just start using equipment at their gym in a seemingly random order. It’s important you consider your goal. If you are going to cut fat, then cardio needs to play a more important role in your routine. Cardio is vital regardless as heart health should always be a priority, but when it comes to burning calories you have the choice of steady state cardio or high intensity interval type training. Both work well, you can use a mixture of the two or choose the type that you enjoy the most (remember ‘consistency’). Weight training also burns calories and it’s important you don’t forsake this either to ensure you don’t lose muscle, or at least begin to tone up as you lose weight.

If you goal is to bulk up, then in addition to light cardio your goal is to use hypertrophy training. This means using higher reps. For instance, Dwayne Johnson is known to often use a 4 set x 15 rep routine for many of his exercises. For the most part though, it’s recommended to use sets of 3 or 4 x sets of 8-12 reps to see optimal muscle growth. Many people use lower reps with compound exercises and then higher reps with finishers or isolation exercises. For instance, perhaps 4 x 8 for a barbell chest press, followed by 3 x 15 for chest flyes.

When it comes to building strength, then your goal isn’t necessarily to use as many reps as possible but to improve how much weight you can lift. The most popular routine for those looking to build strength is 5 sets x 5 reps. Those who use this program often stick to compound exercises (which should ideally be used by everyone regardless of your goal) such as the bench press, squat, deadlift and shoulder press.

Supplements that can Help

While this article is about how to get fit naturally, sometimes it is necessary to get a little help. The most popular supplements include:

Protein – In order to reach your high protein consumption goals you will likely need to add a protein supplement to your diet. The most popular and cheapest is whey protein which is fast acting, though you get casein (slow acting which is good before bed), isolate (a more pure form of whey protein), blends (which are a mixture), and of course countless others.

BCAAs – Known as branched chain amino acids, there are some amino acids that your body can’t make and are necessary to consume through diet or supplementation. Amino acids are important for protein synthesis and can also help you avoid catabolism while training (breaking down muscle).

Creatine – The other most common supplement is creatine which can help improve performance by helping improve the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate ) you have in your body. Without going into too much detail, ATP is necessary in order for the body to provide energy to muscle cells. By using creatine it’s possible to add an extra one or two reps to your sets which can lead to greater muscle growth.

Of course, everything here can be broken down into a science of its own. In addition to that fact, everyone is different so what might work for someone else may not work for you. Do you research and experiment to see what your body responds best to. However, just remember to give yourself time before changing things up as it’s a long road and can take many years before you really begin to understand yourself.

Can You Use Steroids Responsibly?

Whether you agree with the use of steroids or not, it’s important that the topic is addressed when discussing fitness. A lot of people see steroids as a way to cut corners and reach their fitness or bodybuilding goals effortlessly, but the truth is that this simply isn’t the case.

Steroid use is quite literally a science, and as a result can lead to bodily harm as those who take them are manipulating their body’s hormones in order to achieve a certain goal. Some men like to buy Dianabol to add bulk or choose to buy Anavar to boost strength or cut without losing muscle mass. Even women have been known to use milder substances like Anavar or Winstrol to help them build muscle mass. There are many different steroid compounds and while the layman might think that all there is to performance enhancement is to take the steroids and see improvement, there is more to it than that.

Using one of the above examples, Dianabol (a potent oral steroid) is both anabolic as well as androgenic which means that it seriously promotes protein synthesis, helping bodybuilders to pack on as much as 30lbs within a single 6-8 week cycle. Though keep in mind that a lot of this weight is “water weight”, users can still pack on significant muscle mass and keep it post cycle if they are careful. The issue is that many people aren’t. Some steroids aromatize (i.e. Dianabol) which means that their body coverts the abundance of testosterone into estrogen which will cause side effects – such as gynecomastia in men (the growth of breast tissue), bloating, mood swings and more. It’s also incredibly hepatotoxic so it’s hard on the liver and can cause damage if used for long periods of time or the user has had previous issues.

For women the biggest side effect (in addition to potential liver damage) is the risk of virilization. Just like too much estrogen in men can cause female characteristics, too much testosterone in women can lead to the development of male characteristics. This can include a deepening voice, a more masculine face and other changes. As a result, men often use an AI (otherwise known as an aromatase inhibitor) which can block the conversion of testosterone into estrogen, with steroids that are known to convert. Women on the other hand can only choose to use milder steroids and at very small doses to try and avoid virilization but the risk is always there.

Something else that happens with the use of even the mildest steroids is testosterone suppression in men. After using anabolic steroids for a couple of weeks, the body stops producing its own testosterone. As a result, it’s often recommended to add a version of testosterone to cycles to prevent side effects (i.e. testosterone propionate, undecanoate, enanthate, cypionate, sustanon etc.). More importantly, there is something known as post cycle therapy which involves using a SERM (or Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator) which can help the body to block estrogen and start making its own testosterone again. Failing to do this can lead to losing any gains made while “on cycle”.

To avoid liver damage, it’s necessary for steroid users to stick to injectable compounds that are not known to be hepatotoxic; use only one oral steroid at a time; use the lowest doses possible to reach their goals; and keep cycle lengths as short as possible. Many professionals recommend drinking lots of water and using a supplement like milk thistle to help prevent liver damage. Those who use steroids frequently have their blood work checked before, during and after cycles to monitor progress. The above side effects are just a brief.

As you can see, it takes a lot more than a needle or pill to see results. Each steroid is a derivative of testosterone and has its own properties which can help men and women achieve a certain goal. However, even after choosing the right compound, using the right dosage and using the correct supplements – it’s still important to eat correctly and choose an appropriate workout routine. Failing to do so means that the cycle will be in vain.

So to answer the question – is it possible to use steroids responsibly? Yes it is. However, there is a science to it that many people ignore and get themselves into trouble as a result. Added to that is the legality which differs depending on what part of the world you live in or the sport you participate in. Anyone seriously considering the use of steroids, should really do their research to avoid pitfalls. This is why it’s recommended to go the natural route.