From Phil:
"I've received hundreds, possibly thousands of questions on steroids.  I decided to post a few of the Questions and my Responses here:"

Steroids, Steriods, Anabolic Steroids, Anabolic Steriods, Steroids, Steriods

Q: I've been working out with weights for two years. For the first three months I noticed improvement each week. Then I seem to have hit a plateau. No matter what I do my muscles no longer grow. I've been following the workouts written by the bodybuilders in the muscle magazines and I still don't grow. I'm considering anabolic steroids, but I'm unsure of the risks. I know lots of guys in the gym have used steroids and they seem fit. Can steroids be used safely?

A: I'm so glad you asked before jumping into something that might bring about some adverse effects. The temptation to believe that there is a drug, pill, or potion that makes physique development easy often lures well intentioned people into making abrupt and unwise decisions. 

I've often brought to the forefront the steroid issue, and although anabolic (tissue building) and ergogenic (performance enhancing) drugs have been used by amateur and professionals for decades, there still seems to be a major denial and a hush-hush secrecy about steroid use. 

Anabolic steroids are in some way, shape, or form, versions of male hormones, and muscle growth is only one of the effects these hormones may enhance. There is some strong evidence to support that steroids lead to reduction in HDL production. HDL's are "the good cholesterol" that assist in keeping the arteries clear. Steroids also appear to increase LDL, the bad cholesterol. In the long term, that combination can lead to arteriosclerosis and circulatory disease. Most of the steroid dangers lie in abuse and overuse of these drugs, however, the less life threatening side effects are very real in the short term. The androgenic properties of steroids, those which govern the secondary male characteristics, result in increased production of the sebaceous glands and irregular endocrine activity. Steroid users often wind up battling severe acne, hair loss, and increased aggression. Sexual dysfunction, although short term, is also not uncommon. 

In my opinion, there are two little discussed dangers of steroids, both of which are very real. Although steroids do increase nitrogen retention, reduce muscle catabolism (tissue breakdown), and volumize muscle cells, steroid users are often disappointed with their results. Steroid use at the expense of proper nutrition and intense training often leads to no more than a temporary "bloat." Even when combined with intense training and supportive nutrition, the body tends to build up a resistance to the drugs, bringing the enhanced muscle growth to a halt. As this tolerance develops, the muscle cells begin to develop more cortisol receptors. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone, thus, when the steroid use is stopped, the residual muscle stopped, the residual muscle breakdown is rapid. That often leaves users frustrated and wanting for increased and ongoing dosages. If steroid use is continued for extensive time periods, liver damage is possible.

Another concern is that anabolic steroids are illegal. Since the allure of these drugs has created a demand, a large black market has evolved and counterfeit steroids abound. As if there are not enough dangers in the use of any drugs randomly, these dangers become far increased when users have little knowledge as to what it is they are injecting or swallowing. My advice is to forget steroids and focus on your body. You grew for three months which proves that weight training works! You must understand firstly that as your muscle mass increases, so does your caloric need. If you want additional growth, you’ve got to make certain you’re taking in adequate carbohydrates to replenish muscle and liver glycogen, and adequate protein to supply the amino acids for growth. You shoulunderstand thta tthbody learns to adapt very quickly to an exercise routine. It is a common mistake to battle a “plateau” with longer workouts. If your caloric need went up by virtue of increasing muscle, and you continue to increase your caloric expenditure without increasing intake accordingly, muscle growth is impossible! Finally, realize th

at the workouts that professional bodybuilders employ will result in a state of overtraining for the novice or intermediate weight trainer. Most professional bodybuilders have developed an abundance of muscle mass training consistently for at least 8-10 years. It takes a long time until the body is capable of recuperating from two hour long muscle blasting sessions. Overtraining may actually result in muscle loss, making your efforts counterproductive. Also keep in mind that while I advised you against steroids, they are used frequently in the professional bodybuilding community, and chemically enhanced bodies, although they may be suffering the effects I mentioned earlier, do have enhanced recuperative ability. You should also know that professional bodybuilders spend a major portion of their lives cooking, eating, and resting. Some consume upwards of 10,000 calories per day to fuel those intense workouts and sleep two mid-day hours and eight evening hours. If you can’t fit that type of nutrition and recuperation into your lifestyle, you can not possibly benefit from the workouts written about in the muscle magazines by pro bodybuilders. Your best bet is to increase the intensity of your workouts by trying new combinations of movements, decreasing rest periods, and training at least once a week to a point of momentary muscle failure for each major muscle group. I’d also suggest limiting your time in the gym to no more than 45-60 minutes no more than four times per week. That combined with increased protein and complex carb intake can only result in one thing....GROWTH! And the growth that you obtain without the self sabotaging steroid “shortcut” is likely to be long lasting and life enhancing! 

Dear Phil:

Please read the report published in the NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) on 4 July, 1996. "THE EFFECTS OF SUPRAPHYSIOLOGIC DOSES OF TESTOSTERONE ON MUSCLE SIZE AND STRENGTH IN NORMAL MEN". You should also be aware of the difference between anabolic and androgenic steroids. Steroids may exhibit properties of anabolism and androgenism to varying degrees which greatly affects the outcome of the use of a particular substance. Also be aware of the difference between use and abuse. The social acceptance and the ethical questions are highly debatable given the parameters of modern society. I believe people should be able to consult their Drs' and get accurate, responsible guidance when trying to improve their physical appearance. It should be no different than consulting a Dr. about plastic surgery, liposuction, implants of any nature or even drug assisted dieting, not to mention countless other procedures performed daily which incur a greater health risk to the patient.


Thank you for your information. It is likely with the limited exposure you've had to my programs and information, you misunderstand my position on steroids. I'm extremely familiar with the NEJM article, and have referred to it several times on radio shows and in print. I am quite aware of the benefits of anabolic steroids, the differences in androgenic drugs and those drugs referred to as more anabolic in nature, and also believe that for competitive athletes at a professional or in some cases amateur or collegiate level, steroids play a very crucial role. There are however many issues that go far beyond the understanding of drug use for anabolic and or ergogenic gain.

 I find the challenges are several fold. Firstly, I've known MD's who were prescribing testosterone as an anabolic aid before the crackdown took place. These doctors knew far less about the drug effects than the average competition level bod ybuilder. Since most of the drugs are now Class III (I guess a "banned" or "controlled" substance would be more accurate than an "illegal" one), the black market has so many young athletes (and by the way, my feelings about steroids among "young" athletes are different than they are for those over 21 years old) injecting who knows what int o their bodies that the dangers go far beyond acne and gynecomastia (males developing female breast tissue).

 I work with a great many athletes, and despite my willingness to admit that steroids do play a vital role in many of their careers, I have helped a great many make equal or better gains drug free. I will not deny that many of these gains mig ht not have been possible had they not used steroids in the past to develop some enhanced muscle.

 I am usually hesitant to write anything that appears to be "pro-steroids" in a public forum since often that type of material is dissected and taken out of context by those who are looking to read "drugs are OK." It is a complex issue. If someone without an intensive awareness of risks, usage, and most of all, a complete awareness of what they are using or about to use asks me a steroid related question, I will continue to discourage random use.

 Your analogy to liposuction and diet related drugs is noted. In fact, I was recently interviewed for a segment on Hard Copy about Diet Related deaths. In the same week, there were two Phen-Fen related deaths and a woman who bled to death on the operating table during an excessive liposuction procedure. I do find that many steroid users who are careful and educated know far more about the risks associated with abuse than the victims who have crossed the line of "medical weight loss." Still, I'll just as strongly discourage an avid fitness fan from using steroids randomly as I would a weight loss hopeful from using drugs. In almost every case, proper education in the true technology behind achieving the desired results will eliminate or greatly diminish the desire for a "quick" and "miraculous" solution.

 Thanks for your information! Keep an eye on my website and watch my articles at on the worldwide web. Also note that I devote an entire chapter to an honest profile of drugs in sports in my TRANSFORM! book. Thanks again!

Another Steroid Comment:

It is people like you who think that they know it all. I'm very sorry if you do not know the full potential of anabolic steroids. They can produce some very stunning results if taken properly.


 I don't want to beat the steroid issue to death here, but I've been getting an astounding amount of E-mail regarding the topic so I will address one more steroid comment here. Apparently you don't know me or my position very well. Firstly, I'll be the first to admit in the whole scheme of things I know very little. The more I become aware of, the greater the realization of the limitation of my own knowledge becomes. I always welcome the advice of someone with knowledge greater than my own.

 Secondly, I have done repeated radio shows covering both sides of the steroid issue. I work with a great number of professional athletes and bodybuilders, many of who use anabolic steroids to optimize gains and performance. In my book TRANSFORM! I carefully lay out the benefits of careful and educated anabolic steroid use for those who stand to gain by enhanced performance and growth. I believe the greatest challenges in the use of anabolic steroids lie in the inability of the average steroid user to obtain accurate information, or worse yet, actual pharmaceutical drugs.

 I've, more than once, had black market products analyzed and found them to contain everything from flax seed oil with a bit of testosterone (labeled as Nandralone Decanoate) to inert oils containing a small bit of heroin. It amazes me to see amateur and novice bodybuilders weighing their foods, being careful to use only the purest waters, and then injecting who knows what into their bodies because a friend in the gym said it's anabolic. I've seen people buying bottles of pills without labels, injectable liquids contained in bottles with screw-off tops, and opened pre-loaded syringes. All of those things have caused me to be very careful in addressing the steroid issue.

 I've also seen quite serious tragedies take place due to steroid abuse, some of those to close friends. I will also mention that in several hundred cases I've worked with athletes to minimize their drug use, or in some cases eliminate it completely, and get into the best shape of their lives. I assume you know a great deal more about steroids than I do, or I'm certain you would not have been so bold as to condemn me for "knowing it all." If you do have some information that would help me to become better educated, I'd certainly appreciate you passing it along to me. You can call me at my office at (954) 389-0280. If you'd like to look a little deeper into my knowledge of the full potential of anabolic steroids, you might consider sending $12 each for any of the following tapes, each of which is with an unconditional money back guarantee. 

My interview with professional bodybuilder Mike Christian after his being released from a mental institution for cocaine addiction, an addiction he relates to an outgrowth of drug acceptance in bodybuilding. We talk about all of the drugs ranging from the traditional testosterones to morphine, ecstasy, the "high-tech" new fat burners, and of course, cocaine.

 My interview with steroid guru Dan Duchainne from prison where he was serving time for transporting clenbuterol into the US from Mexico.

 My interview with Scandinavian pro bodybuilding champion Viggo Snowhill 12 hours after he was revived from near death due to an overdose of GHB.

 My interview with University level researcher Chris Street from Texas who has done some very interesting research disputing a great amount of the "danger" associated with steroid use and abuse.

 My "round table discussion" on nutrition, supplementation, and muscle growth with Dr. Michael Colgan, EAS Biochemist Anthony Almada, and John Parillo in which we touched on the question of whether or not drug free bodybuilding could ever be a reality on a professional level.

That's a tiny sampling of the drug related information I have available. I'd certainly love to hear from you as I'm always eager to learn more. If you'd like to order any of the tapes or one of my books, completely at my risk, you can call 1 800 552-1998 or send a check or money order to P.A. Kaplan & Associates, 1304 SW 160th Ave, #337, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33326.

 Thank you for you interest and I look forward to you providing me with a greater depth of knowledge. I hope and expect to hear from you. - Phil 

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Other Pages to Explore:

Some Steroid Realities - Another Question Answered
Gray Market Drugs Sold on the Internet
The Dark Side of Bodybuilding - "New" Drugs Being Used
Women Using Anabolic Steroids

For those who may still be considering the use of anabolic steroids, I encourage you to learn as much as possible before putting yourself at risk. While I am not an advocate of recreational steroid use, I do know there are many who are determined to "win at all costs," and for those individuals I offer the following links:

The Layman's Guides to Anabolic Steroids
Mick Hart's No Bull Collection

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