If you are like most guys out there and lift without taking steroids there’s a good chance you have been tricked by the steroid-using crowd.
We aren’t saying they did it intentionally – it’s just a result of studying the top guys in the sport who all take steroids.
You probably know at this point that taking steroids will make you put on muscle way faster.
What you don’t realize is that not only do you have to lower your expectations – you also need to train differently.
Most guys assume they can train the same way as steroid-users and make progress but at a slower rate.
Well as it turns out this is not true at all – check out the article below for an explanation as to why you need to change up your routine if you are a natural lifter.
Steroid Users Go High Volume
We aren’t talking about doing high reps on each set, just the amount of work in total.
As you know, building muscle comes down to protein synthesis.
The better you are able to do this the faster you will make gains.
Guys taking steroids have way higher levels of protein synthesis hence the rapid gains.
The drugs they are taking put their body in full-on growth mode, whereas those of us who are natural lifters are in a state of homeostasis.
Essentially that means our bodies want to remain status quo.
So what does this mean? The steroid user can have a sub-optimal workout (too much volume, too little volume) and still make great gains.
The natural lifter needs to have the perfect routine which is achieved through trial and error in order to make decent gains.
This often results in doing too much training when copying the steroid crowd assuming the results will be comparable (just at a slower rate).
As it turns out they are overtraining and actually losing muscle!
Cortisol Levels on Natural Lifters
While steroid users can work right through it, having high cortisol levels will absolutely wreck the physique of a natural lifter.
It causes your body to break down protein thereby limiting the rate of protein synthesis.
So what purpose does cortisol serve? In basic terms, it helps provide your body with fuel for physical activity.
Therefore the more fuel needed for your training the more cortisol gets produced.
You can see now how cortisol levels get spiked as a result of overtraining.
Your body is working so hard and needs more fuel so cortisol levels keep rising.
This is why so many bodybuilders shoot themselves in the foot with high-volume training programs.
All those sets and reps ultimately cause cortisol levels to shoot too high and make your body WORSE!
This effect isn’t as harsh on steroid users.
Since the drugs they are taking drastically increase protein synthesis 24/7 they are able to compensate for the cortisol increases up to a certain point.
If you are a natural lifter, make sure you aren’t trying to do the same workout routines as steroid users.
Reliance on High-Rep Sets
Guys who are on steroids can use techniques like drop sets, high-rep training, supersets, etc because they are more flexible in terms of what causes protein synthesis.
By doing such high volume they are forcing more blood into the muscles.
Given that the blood is carrying nutrients and they can easily trigger protein synthesis they make gains very quickly.
As a result, you will often see steroid users doing less heavy work compared to natural lifters.
They don’t need to do this to trigger protein synthesis and they might as well get as much blood into the muscles through higher volume training.
In fact, most steroid users tend to have muscles that are much stronger than the tendons that support them.
As a result, doing heavy lifting can actually put them at risk of injury. This is why so many steroid users end up with pectoral tears!
Now, we aren’t saying that natural lifters should stick to heavy lifting exclusively and avoid lighter weights for high volume.
While these sets might be helpful occasionally, doing them too often will hurt your results.
Yes after enough sets you will work the muscle effectively however with all those reps your body has to burn up a lot of glycogen to keep going.
The more glycogen that is used the more cortisol levels go up.
As a result, you actually make yourself less likely to build muscle as the cortisol messes up your hormone levels.
Your Testosterone Levels are Lower
You need to remember that guys taking steroids have way higher testosterone levels and as a result can handle a lot more training.
Now, we aren’t telling you to start cycling, but there are ways you can get a similar effect without all the dangerous side-effects of drug use.
Testosterone boosters are becoming more popular by the day due to their convenience and effectiveness.
Simply take a booster and watch as your energy levels increase, muscle growth improves and body fat decreases.
Keep in mind the effects won’t be as strong as a steroid user, but the results are safe and sustainable.
Make sure you pick up a high quality product that clearly advertises the ingredients you are consuming.
If they don’t you could very well be consuming something that is doing you no good.
Tips for natural liftes
1-Avoid Excessive Volume. If you are doing 10 different exercises for each muscle group you are overdoing it. Simply stick to a few solid exercises like the (natural) pros and throw in some variation here and there.
2-Stick to Full Body or Push/Pull Routines. These programs will give you plenty of time to recover and allows you to focus on the best exercises.
3-Stick to the Hypertrophy Rep Range. Keep your reps in the range of 6 to 10 with some higher rep sets for warm-up or warm-down. When doing higher rep work make sure you take a solid pre-workout supplement that will boost glucose levels. This way you won’t need to use the stored glycogen which would result in higher cortisol levels.
4-Train Each Muscle Group More Often. This ties in with point #2. Make sure you are hitting each muscle group at least twice every 8-9 days. Push/pull routines are a great way to achieve this.