Other use cases of Performance Enhancing Drugs – Part 2: and Part 1 for Endurance Athletes
Key words in this text: endurance athletes, EPO, blood transfusions, HGH, peptides
No question about it, when people hear the words anabolic steroids or performance enhancing drugs, the first thought that comes to mind is a big, ripped, bodybuilder type of physique. But of course, anabolic steroids are not limited to bodybuilding only. I briefly touched on some other use cases of PEDs in Part 1 here.
Several other sports take advantage of these PEDs as well. I mean, by now nothing I have said is really breaking news. We have all heard about the Lance Armstrong saga and countless professional athletes in cycling, MMA and boxing get convicted as being drug cheats every day. We all saw the documentary Icarus too (if you haven’t. I recommend it). How about powerlifters and strongmen? Those two sports are almost as obvious as bodybuilding. So, what all of these sports [and more] have in common is that anabolic steroids and other PEDs are widely used to enhance performance, not just muscle size. Where this article will get interesting though, is how each sport has a different set of drug combinations and doses that are better suited for that specific sport. Sport specific prescribing I call it. Before I delve into some brief explanations of these potential drug combinations for their respective sports, I’d like to tell you all that bodybuilding holds the belt for the largest consumption of PED use; by a large margin too. Even at the intermediate level, the medications and dosages required for the average bodybuilder to win a state or national title, is a lot. A lot more than the world’s best cyclist, powerlifter and MMA athlete; maybe even more than them all combined.
Male bodybuilders preparing for a competition that are worth any kind of mention take anywhere between 1000-3000 mg of AAS weekly on average, not including ancillaries, HGH and insulin. PS a note on insulin. Not all top bodybuilders use insulin, but most of them take a tonne of AAS and if they can afford it, a tonne of HGH too. There is a large variance in this equation of course. Obviously, on average the smaller guys take a little less and the biggest IFBB pros take a little more. It is not uncommon for an IFBB pro to be taking doses exceeding that of 5000 mg weekly of AAS and about as many iu of HGH as they can afford. This is not all of the IFBB pros, but if you take a squiz at the autopsy report and quantify the amount of Testosterone big Dallas was taking at the time of his death, it would shock you. Heck, it even shocked me and I deal with similar athletes on the daily. Sometimes, you will get a freak who reportedly takes far less than these dosage ranges. It is at this point there is a good chance he lied about what he is taking. So that is bodybuilding. A lot of will, determination, sacrifice, science and drugs. Lots and lots of drugs. Moving right along to the next sport.
Long race cycling and other endurance sports need PEDs too, unless you want to lose a big race or win a title not worth a mention. I know that comes across as brash and absolute but if you want the truth then putting it so bluntly is the only way. I know this is a big call but anyone entrenched at the top level of these sports knows what goes on. Everyone is juicing up and I mean everyone! If I’ve broken some hearts and egos, I am sorry. I do have some good news for you but. The doses of the PEDs required for these athletes is far less than a bodybuilder. In fact, most of the medications they take are at considerably “healthy” thresholds.
Let’s start with good ol fashion Testosterone. As humans, we have evolved as a species to take on some strenuous and endurance type tasks when the time has called for it, but not to the degree a full time, long race cyclist takes it too. What happens when you push your body too hard for too long? Well, it is well researched that your endogenous [natural] testosterone takes a dip when you push the envelope too hard for too long. So much of a dip in severe cases that many endurance athletes have been diagnosed as clinically hypogonadal; which means they do not have sufficient testosterone (and oestrogen) levels to maintain healthy function. That’s right, training this much is not healthy. There is a host of other hormone imbalances and health complications that can arise from being a long-term endurance athlete, but this is not a health seminar so I will leave that discussion for another time. On that note though, many would argue, including myself, that it is actually healthier for an endurance athlete to use PEDs than to not use them. The purpose of testosterone in endurance racing has a number of functions. One of them as we mentioned was to restore testosterone as endurance athletes often have below normal testosterone. Another purpose is that testosterone has a dose-dependent stimulatory effect on erythropoiesis in men. This means a higher haemoglobin and haematocrit count and therefore a higher aerobic capacity and one last therefore; a body that can last longer. This dose response is linear until the dose of testosterone exceeds around 300 mg weekly, then it wanes. After that point, the potential negative effects of high dose testosterone for an endurance athlete outweigh the benefits it provides with regards to erythropoiesis support and recovery. Those negative effects in contrast to bodybuilders would be increased skeletal muscle size, excessive aromatisation issues and reports of “feeling too pumped” to continue long distances. Testosterone also plays significant roles in healing, cognition, bone health, motivation and blood flow. Endurance athletes will benefit from 125-300 mg of testosterone weekly for a steady and consistent level of testosterone that sounds like a little but goes a very long way.
EPO and blood transfusions. I am going to spend less time on these because if these two are not administered correctly (which is very easy to do) you can easily end up dead. It can happen. It happens. But of course, what discussion on PED in endurance sports would be without mentioning EPO and blood transfusions. Long story short, the only way you can manipulate your aerobic capacity for the better is either reducing your total body weight or increasing haemoglobin mass. Similarly to the effects testosterone will have on erythropoiesis, either EPO or blood transfusions does the same, but to a greater degree. Some individuals achieve very high haemoglobin and haematocrit scores from testosterone alone, but most endurance athletes will benefit from also using EPO and/or blood transfusions. As far as what your target blood levels and corresponding doses of EPO and/or blood transfusions would be for you? Well, I do not find that responsible to reveal within this discussion. That is a sensitive and individually calculated equation that only you and a very trusted coach should be having together. EPO and blood transfusions are famous in the cycling world but also have their place in boxing and other endurance type sports where having a greater aerobic capacity would be advantageous. There is too many to list.
Human Growth Hormone and other healing specific peptides are also advantageous in endurance sports. If you are pounding the pavement or spinning wheels for hours on end, your joints and your bones are going to absorb repeated impact that is in almost all cases going to lead to injury at some point and degeneration over time. Degeneration of what exactly? Well, just about your entire body. When it comes to Human Growth Hormone, the price tag makes this medication both ignored by many and looked up to by many others as something of magical prowess! It is true Human Growth Hormone costs a lot of money to use and it is also true that there is a dose response relationship in favour of using much higher doses than many are told will be effective. Please do not use that one case study or personal experience of how a low dose of rHGH healed your entire body, because that will not be true for most. I will let you all investigate the research that has been done on HGH under clinical settings and you will then notice that a dose of say 3 iu a day is not worth the money. My recommendations start at 5-6 iu a day after you patiently build up to that dose, then if you can afford more, use more. Much more. Only use more if it is undeniably working for you though. To use a medication that expensive you are unsure is having profound effects on your intended purpose is not a good investment. So, does HGH work? Yes. Is it worth the money? Well, I don’t know your income status. There are a couple of HGH’s smaller cousins worth a trial if you are on a budget. GHRP-2, GHRP-6, Ipamorelin, Hexarelin and MK-677 in combination with either Modified GRF (129) or CJC 1295 with DAC. The doses and combinations of these GHRP/GHRH combinations requires an article in itself (which is to come), but they can be quite powerful when used right. I’ll reveal this time my favourite combination which is 1 mcg/kg of GHRP-2 with 1 mcg/kg of Modified GRF, taken 3-5 x daily. BPC-157 and TB-500 in combination with one another have also been reported to me by many clients as “life changing.” In fact, some prefer this combination over HGH for healing purposes. 1000 mcg of each of these two peptides daily have anecdotally been known to work wonders and in my clinical experience, I have noticed the same. Doses even higher seem to work better, but then the cost effectiveness factor begins to wane. It is a shame that solid human trials may not be done anytime soon because you cannot patent a peptide. As far as anecdote and animal research is concerned, the verdict is “simply remarkable” for both BPC-157 and TB-500.
I have to cut this piece short until part 3 or every forum I post this text on will tell me I have exceeded the maximum character limit per post.