Bodybuilders and weightlifters have used anabolic-androgenic
steroid since the 1950s (Yesalis, Wright, & Bahrke, 1989).
Today, competitive bodybuilders often self-administer anabolic-androgenic
steroids to increase muscular size and to remain competitive
(Hurley, Seals, Hagberg, Goldberg, Ostrove, Holloszy, Wiest,
& Goldberg, 1984).
Athletes often simultaneously use different anabolic steroids,
commonly referred to as "stacking". Athletes often
begin with a low dosage of a particular compound and then increase
the dosage along with the number of compounds, until a peak intake
is reached. After peaking, dosages and compounds are gradually
reduced, or "tapered". A cycle usually lasts 6 to 16
weeks and may be repeated throughout the athlete's career (Kleiner,
Bazzarre, & Litchford, 1990; Balon, Horowitz, & Fitzsimmons,
1992; Kleiner, Calabrese, Fielder, Naito, Skibinski, 1989).
Few studies have documented bodybuilders anabolic steroid
cycles in depth. Hurley (1984) documented the pharmaceutical
use of 8 bodybuilders and 4 powerlifters and its effects on blood
profiles. Bodybuilders used 1-4 compounds including; Oxandrolone
(Anavar), Methenolone acetate (Primobolan), Oxandrolone (Anavar),
Oxymetholone (Anadrol), Methandrostenolone (Dianabol), Nandrolone
decanoate (Deca-Durabolin), Testosterone cypionate, and Gonadotropin
chorionic (HCG) in various dosages and stacks. The average bodybuilder
used 476 mg/wk and ranged from 57 mg/wk up to 1376 mg/wk. Oral
anabolic-androgenic steroids significantly decreased both free
and total serum testosterone levels. In contrast, injectable
anabolic-androgenic steroids significantly increased free and
total serum testosterone level when taken alone or in combination
with an oral form. Body weight increased from 86.2 ±2.9kg
to 88.8 ±3.5. Body fat decreased from 13 ±1% to
12 ±1%, but was deemed insignificant. The men consumed
approximately 20% of their kcalories from protein, 30% to 35%
from carbohydrates, and 45% to 50% from fat (Hurley, Seals, Hagberg,
Goldberg, Ostrove, Holloszy, Wiest, & Goldberg, 1984).
Alen, et. al. (1985) studied the serum hormonal response of
3 bodybuilders, 1 powerlifter, and 1 wrestler during a 26 week
cycle of various anabolic-androgenic steroids. The average subject
was 27 ±5.5 years old and weight trained 7.4 ±5.9
years. All men had taken steroids in the past, but had abstained
from them 8-12 weeks preceding the study. Methandienone, Stanozolol,
Nandrolone, and a Testosterone preparation containing testosterones
propionate, phenylproionate, isocaproate, and decanoate were
all self administered throughout the 26 week cycle. The total
dosage of all pharmaceuticals progressed from an initial mean
dosage of 0.22 mg/kg/day to the highest mean dosage of 0.37 mg/kg/day.
Serum testosterone level tended to increase until abruptly dropping
below normal levels during cessation. All subjects trained with
weights during the study, but no aerobic exercise was performed.
Throughout the 26 weeks; body weight increased from 86.8 ±11.4
kg to 92.0 ±9.2, lean body weight increased from 72.8
±7.5 to 80.6 ±7.4, and body fat decreased from
15.6 ±6.4% to 12.1 ±4.8%. The average caloric intake
was reported at 15400 kJ with protein intake of 2.3 g/kg. Four
subjects developed gynecomastia, which appeared at week 20 and
lasted until 12 weeks after cessation of the pharmaceuticals
(Alen, Reinila, Vihko, & Reijo, 1985).
Hurley attempts to dramatize the dosages of pharmaceuticals
used by the athletes by drawing reference to the dose usually
administered for androgenic deficiency. This is a misleading
reference to judge athletic dosages, since anabolic-androgenic
steroids are often used in greater dosages for purposes other
than androgen deficiency. For example, Hurley illustrates Oxymetholone
(Anadrol) was used by one subject in an average dosage of 87.5
mg/day, 5.8 times than usually administered for androgen deficiency.
The subjects' dosage was approximately only 1 mg/kg body weight
per day (Hurley, Seals, Hagberg, Goldberg, Ostrove, Holloszy,
Wiest, & Goldberg, 1984). The actual recommend dosage for
children and adults is 1-5 mg/kg body weight per day for a minimum
of 3 to 6 months (Physicians Desk Reference, 1993).