Testosterone is a very effective muscle builder and androgenic agent with many users reporting gains of up to 10lbs in a 30 day span using testosterone at 500mg per week. Not only does it build muscle mass, but it also helps keep recovery in-between training sessions to a minimum. Testosterone is very effective and predictable with most of its possible side-effects being mitigated with the use of aromatase inhibitors (AI), selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS) and 5-reductase inhibitors. The side effects will vary from person to person dependent upon dosage and the physiological makeup of each user.
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Testosterone is part of the androgen family of steroid hormones naturally produced in your body. It is primarily made by your testicles and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. In males, testosterone is our principle sex hormone and anabolic steroid. Females produce small amounts of testosterone in their ovaries, but not much compared to what males produce.
In the male biological makeup, testosterone is needed for the development of reproductive organs and tissues such as the prostate and testicles. Not only does testosterone help build our reproductive system, but it is also responsible for promoting our secondary sexual traits, like increased muscle mass, body hair growth, bone mass, deepening of the voice, broadness of shoulders and narrowing of the pelvis and the production of semen for sexual reproduction.
While we produce some testosterone naturally (around 200mg per week) the effects of our natural testosterone are quite mild compare to what a bodybuilder will accomplish when injecting synthetic testosterone. Rapid muscle growth, strength increases and faster recovery, is why testosterone is still one of the most popular anabolic steroids used by athletes. (Click Here to Listen to our Podcast episode discussing Testosterone)
The addition of supraphysiological amounts of testosterone, via injection or transdermal delivery, creates an increased concentration of this steroid in muscle cells and other tissues. By flooding the androgen receptors in the muscle cells with testosterone, the bodybuilder is trying to magnify the muscle-building benefits of testosterone far beyond what his/her body could ever produce on its own.
Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS)
Most anabolic androgenic steroids being manufactured today are synthetically derived from testosterone. Many new steroid hormones like dianabol and nandrolone are made in a lab by modifying the base structure of testosterone to make new versions of steroids that carry desirable traits. Like testosterone, synthetically derived steroids are used for improving performance and inducing significant muscle and strength gains.
When scientists started rating the effectiveness of other newly developed steroids, it was decided testosterone would be used as the baseline number by which all would compared. When measuring the anabolic and androgenic effects of other steroids, scientist rate the steroid in question against testosterone’s 100/100 rating. For example the 19-nor derivative of testosterone known as Trenbolone was given a rating of 500/500 by experts because it displayed five times stronger reactions than testosterone in both its anabolic and androgenic effectiveness.
Testosterone is available in the human-grade pharmaceutical realm, veterinarian presentations, as well as the black-market UG brands. It comes in base form without an ester making a water-based testosterone suspension which needs to be injected every 6 hours. This is extremely ideal for athletes subjected to steroid testing. In addition, there are multiple ester preparations that range in length from the short propionate ester to an undecanoate version made for human use called Nebido. Not only does testosterone come in different esters, but some preparations like sustanon 250 actually utilize four different esters in a single solution. It is safe to say that testosterone is the most widely used steroid in the world, claiming at least half a dozen different ester preparations listed further below in this article.
Picking a good injection site for your testosterone shot is very important to avoid pain and infection. Base testosterone suspension or the shorter esters like propionate, provide for a more painful injection, so one should to not inject into sensitive muscles like the biceps or thighs. The steroid user should inject testosterone propionate where the muscle is large and doesn’t have a comparatively high concentration of nerve endings and tendons. Propionate can cause a very painful injection that can spasm the muscle in the biceps and thighs, while the water-based testosterone suspension can pocket itself near tendons fibers where it can quickly become infected. Short ester preparations and non-esterified steroids like suspension, should only be injected into the gluteus maximus(your butt) where the muscle is lean and has plenty of blood flow.
Many bodybuilders inject veterinarian grade testosterone because this hormone is not just present in humans, many vertebrates like horses, dogs, cats, cattle and even pigs produce identical testosterone hormones. For decades, bodybuilders have been using anabolic steroids manufactured by veterinarian brands and marketed for animal use. Although the label might say it is “for animal use only,” many bodybuilders sill shoot veterinarian steroids. It is common knowledge among steroid users that these hormones work just fine in humans. Some of the most popular testosterone brands used by bodybuilders today are meant for animal use.
Dosages and Uses
Testosterone can be dosed from little as 100mg per week for therapeutic use, to as much as 1,000mg per week for hardcore bodybuilders looking for the ultimate stack. Some professional bodybuilders have been reported as using as much as 2,000mg of testosterone per week.
Most bodybuilders whom are just beginning to dabble with testosterone will opt for doing a testosterone-only cycle as their very first run. Dosages of 500mg per week are enough to put on considerable mass and size on any bodybuilder who is training hard and eating properly during their cycle.
Bulking Testosterone Cycle
Cutting Testosterone Cycle
Esters and Half-life
Methyl-testosterone (active half-life 6-9 hours)
Methyl-testosterone does not have an ester, but rather it is methylated for oral use and it is the oldest known oral steroid made. Methyl-testosterone was originally used as a prescription drug to treat men with low testosterone levels, although it fell out of favor and has been replaced with injectables since methyltestosterone is quite liver toxic. Gym folklore touts methyl-testosterone as a very strong androgen capable of increasing aggression with one dose when taken right before a workout.
Testosterone base (active half-life 4-6 hours)
Testosterone base (suspension) is an injectable testosterone hormone in a water base that was developed and used for decades, and is actually the first anabolic androgenic steroid made. This is the purest form of testosterone and yields 100 mg of actual testosterone. It is a pure form with no ester attached. A few things to keep in mind with suspension: The injections can be extremely painful. They can be a lot of PIP (post injection pain) when using suspension. There is also a much higher likelihood of estrogen conversion and it needs to be taken very seriously. It is used much differently than other forms of testosterone. The water-based carrier is more prone to breed infection at the injection site than oil-based preparations.
Testosterone Propionate (active half-life: 2-3 days)
Testosterone propionate is one of the most popular single-ester preparations next to testosterone enanthate. Even women who decide to take testosterone will often use testosterone propionate because of its short acting effects. Due to its short half-life the propionate ester should be injected every day or every other day to maintain steady levels. Aside from testosterone suspension, propionate has the shortest ester of any other form of testosterone, providing 83 mg of actual testosterone.
Omnadren is quite similar to the popular testosterone blend known as Sustanon. Omnadren is comprised of 4 different types of testosterone. One 250 milligram ml of Omnadren looks like this:
- 30mg testosterone propionate
- 60mg testosterone phenylpropionate
- 60mg testosterone isocaproate
- 100mg testosterone caproate (for Omnadren)
- 100mg testosterone decanoate (for Sustanon 250)
As the longest ester in Omnadren (caproate) is slightly faster acting than the longest ester in Sustanon (decanoate), users will notice an increase in their testosterone levels sooner with Omnadren than with Sustanon.
Testosterone Cypionate (active half-life: 6-7 days)
Testosterone cypionate is probably the most popular and widely used form of testosterone. Cypionate is the esters doctors generally recommend for TRT and HRT treatment from doctors. It is desirable because it can be injected once a week as opposed to twice and is a very smooth injection. Each 100mg shot of Cypionate yields approximately 70 mg of actual testosterone once the ester is cleaved off.
Testosterone Enanthate (active half-life: 5-7 days)
Testosterone Enanthate is also one of the more prevalently used forms of testosterone esters. It is quite similar to cypionate, with a small difference being the ester weight is slightly different. Enanthate has a slightly shorter half life and should be injected twice a week. It is very effective and commonly used. Enanthate yields approximately 73 mg of actual testosterone.
Testosterone Phenylpropionate (active half-life 3-4 days)
Phenylpropionate has the shortest duration of all testosterone esters with the exception of Testosterone Propionate. You will need to administer Testosterone-Phenylpropionate three times per week; the first dose will give you lots of energy which will reduce after two days. The second, on the other hand will increase the effects of the hormone in the body, and the third will ensure your blood levels remain stable and peaked. You might be able to get away with two injections per week, and some will find every other day to be extremely useful, but three injections per week is a good protocol to follow. Phenylpropionate yields approximately 66 mg of actual testosterone per 100mg shot.
Testosterone Isocaproate (active half-life 7-9 days)
Testosterone Isocaproate is well known for being part of the popular testosterone blends Omnadren and Sustanon. It is also ideal for TRT or HRT due to the longer half life and once a week injection schedule to keep stable blood levels. Isocaproate yields approximately 72 mg of actual testosterone per 100mg shot.
Testosterone Decanoate (active half-life 12-14 days)
Testosterone Decanoate is well-known as part of the very popular form of testosterone known as sustanon. It is ideal for TRT or HRT users as well as to be stacked with a much longer ester steroid like deca durabolin for less frequent injection schedules. Decanoate can be injected once a week and maintain stable test levels. A 100mg Decanoate shot yields approximately 62 mg of actual testosterone.
Testosterone Undecanoate (active half-life 19-21 days)
Testosterone Undecanoate, also known as undecylenate, is used in androgen replacement therapy primarily for the treatment of male hypogonadism, and is currently under research for use as a male contraceptive. Undecanoate is the longest esteemed form of testosterone you can find and is ideal for users on TRT or HRT. Undecanoate yields approximately 61 mg of actual testosterone per every 100mg shot.
One of the reasons testosterone has become a favorite among most athletes is because it is predictable and easily tolerated by the body. When the side-effects of testosterone use do manifest, there is a wide array of drugs available on the market that can be used to help stop these side effects, if not reverse them in some cases. The same can’t really be said for any other steroid. Yes, granted, some steroids were designed to not have the same side effects as testosterone; however, they carry their own set of problems for which there aren’t many drugs available to mitigate them.
The side effects that manifests the quickest while using testosterone come from its conversion to estrogen, these include problems like: water retention, growth of breast tissue on men (gynecomastia, gyno, puffy nipples), blood pressure, and overall moodiness. These can be easily mitigates with the use of anti-estrogen drugs like aromatase inhibitors (AI) and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS).
There are many side effects that come about due to the conversion of testosterone to dehydrotestosterone (DHT). Side-effects from high levels of DHT are usually: male pattern baldness, oily skin, acne, swelling of the prostate and growth of hair in places other than the face. The side effects from DHT can be avoided by using a drug like finasteride.
All about Testosterone
Testosterone part 2
- Revisiting the role of testosterone: Are we missing something?
- Testosterone and Health Outcomes
- Testosterone Treatment and Sexual Function in Older Men With Low Testosterone Levels
- The Relationship between Testosterone Deficiency and Men's Health
- Testosterone supplementation therapy for older men: potential benefits and risks
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