Does having a break from steroids refresh your receptors?
In short, no. Often, I have to refrain from being an asshole when I read the misinformation out there on the internet. I just really want to call some people out, ya know? Surpise surpise, the culprit of today’s myth is none other than Mr Bro Science. Initialled BS, Bro Science is a term used to describe the attempts to explain anecdote through various mechanisms of action that have no evidence to support the theory or theories. Another one of those non-evidence based theories is such, that by having a break from using anabolic steroids, your andorgen receptors will “re-sensitise” themselves. According to the BS theory, by having a break from anabolic steroids, your tolerance for the steroids will go down and when you return to using steroids, you will need less steroids to grow even bigger than before. For those unaware, this theory is a myth.
Now, what does the mechanistic data really say about the androgen receptor? Androgen receptors up-regulate, they do not down regulate like a dopamine neuron would. Cocaine is a drug that acts on the dopamine pathway. Yes, you will build a tolerance to Cocaine, and yes, you will need more and more Cocaine to achieve the same high if you use it all the time. Conversely, there will also be withdrawls from the drug once you cease use of Cocaine because of this negative feedback loop. Anabolic steroids do not work like this, however. The androgen receptor actually up-regulates, which means that the more anabolic steroids you take, the greater chance you have of building more muscle. Obviously, that does not mean we should all start using 20,000 mg of anabolic steroids tomorrow because some of you will die or the side effects will prevent you from being able to function. What this does mean though, is why most bigger dudes, including IFBB pros, take a lot of shit, for many months, or years at a time. Now, I know we all know that one guy who got to 115 kg ripped while using only a little, but that one guy is not you. What is more likely in the world of bodybuilding and performance sports, is that users lie about how much they are actually taking. Sometimes, people forget that unless you are a fly on the wall watching someone inject themselves every week, you do not know how much they are truly taking. In my learned opinion, massive guys, take massive amounts of steroids (at least most of them do). We all like to know numbers, so how massive is massive? Anywhere between 2000-5000 mg plus per week, is what most big guys take. My version of “big” may be bigger than yours, so please check your definition here. Ronnie Coleman, now that guy was big. On top of these large doses of anabolic steroids, these big guys do not have long breaks off steroids either. Most of the time, these guys stay on most of the time. Does this mean we should all stay on high doses of anabolic steroids for years at a time? Absolutely not. It is still my opinion that most users take far more than they need for their goals. The take home message is that if you want to maintain a given amount of muscle mass that is unachievable naturally, then you will benefit from higher doses of anabolic steroids for longer periods of time. This may sound like common sense to many, but there are still many people out there that believe they are going to look like Arny with 2 ml of test e per week and a few iu of HGH per day for 12 weeks. It is not, going, to happen.