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Top 5 Most Popular Anabolic Steroids for Bulking: Uses, Side Effects & Safe Alternatives


Anabolic steroids, commonly referred to as “performance-enhancing drugs” (PEDs) are extremely popular in the world of fitness and among celebrities. You may have heard that they’re pretty well suited for bulking, as well, and it’s true, for those who are willing to take the risks they may carry. The kinds of PEDs are out there and their different effects/dosages/cycles vary wildly, but thankfully this here guide will help you get an idea of at least some of the steroids out there.

Most Popular Anabolic Steroids

There are a variety of PEDs, all with different side effects and benefits, and I’ll get into what they are, the appeal they have among fitness enthusiasts, and the five most popular when it comes to bodybuilders who practice bulking.


What are PEDs?

What are PEDs or Anabolic Steroids

Performance-enhancing drugs, or anabolic steroids, are synthetic substances that will mimic the effect of testosterone, the male sex hormone. Testosterone is a hormone that helps build muscle, quicken recovery time, and increase your strength and energy; this is exactly what anabolic steroids aim to replicate.

They’re often associated with improving the performance of professional bodybuilders and athletes, but they’re far more common than one would assume. They usually come as injections or as pills, and because they can produce such a massive amount of change in one’s body, it can lead to dangerous effects on one’s health, such as increasing the risks of cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

Main causes of liver cancer - Anabolic steroids
Main causes of liver cancer


One thing that needs to be stated is that PEDs cannot be obtained legally without the prescriptions of a doctor, and doctors don’t give these out if you’re just looking for a boost in your muscle. Because of that, any and all steroids you receive outside of a pharmacy is illegal. Even still, this doesn’t deter folks from using steroids on themselves, and we’ll get into the reasoning.


The Appeal of PEDs

Lance Armstrong and Steroid Use
Lance Armstrong during “Ride With Lance” at Al Qudra Cycling Track on October 06, 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

There are several reasons why PEDs are so popular, and it usually depends on why you’re taking them.

A majority of people simply want to achieve their dream body. To achieve such a muscular figure, you need to be extremely dedicated, as it takes years of strict dieting and working out to get there. Some people would rather get their boost in muscle quickly and feel satisfied with the results.

Celebrities, such as influencers, and especially actors, take them to look good for the camera and keep a fit physique for the people watching or so they can land certain roles. Not to mention, with such busy schedules, they may just not have the time.

For athletes and professional bodybuilders, the reasoning is a lot more obvious: to get an edge in the competition. They’re called performance-enhancing drugs for a reason. Of course, you may know that when actual competition and prizes are involved, people become a lot less tolerant. Steroid usage is banned in most sporting and bodybuilding competitions, and can get you banned from these events for life.

To be frank, a majority of actors and celebrities you see (not including major athletes) are usually on some sort of PED. Many people have admitted to it, from Lance Armstrong to Dwayne Johnson to Mark Whalberg to even Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s extremely common because of how well they work, and one would be aware that the bodies they see from these celebrities are often not achievable naturally.

Lastly, one big reason they’re popular is because you’re unlikely to be arrested for them. When it comes to usage of PEDs outside of competition, most have a big “you do you” mentality and won’t make a fuss of it. You’re far less likely to be arrested selling steroids than you are with street drugs.


Anabolic Steroids and Bulking

Anabolic Steroids for Bulking

Before getting into the five most popular PEDs for bulking, I’m going to give a quick rundown to anyone who isn’t sure just what bulking is.

Bulking is a process that involves increasing your muscle mass and gaining weight through the consumption of far more calories than your body needs, which allows you to build more muscle mass.

There’s also cutting, a process that goes hand in hand with bulking in phases. Cutting is meant to reduce your body fat until there’s more clearly defined muscle. This is done through lowering one’s caloric intake while upping the protein. It trims the body fat, but still preserves the muscle.

There are many ways to do bulking and cutting, but in general, they require a ton of hard work and dedication. Bulking while failing to put the effort into the actual exercise part will cause one to develop a lot of fat that will be hard to get rid of if you’re not prepared.

With that, I’ll tell you about the five most popular anabolic steroids used for bulking.


The Most Popular Anabolic Steroids


Dianabol: one of the most popular steroids

Dianabol, also known as Dbol, a “kick-start steroid”, and the “Breakfast of Champions”, is fairly well known amongst bodybuilders and athletes. If you want to know just how well this drug does for bodybuilders, you should know that it was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s steroid of choice when he used it later on in his career.

Usually taken in pill form, Dianabol will give you more energy and will increase your muscles’ protein production, allowing you to pack on more at a faster rate. It also allows for more nitrogen to be contained in your muscle, meaning more strength.

Another thing Dianabol will do is increase the production of your red blood cells. Since red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout the body, that means your body will be receiving a lot more oxygen, and more oxygen means higher performance.

Dianabol does exceptionally well when it comes to bulking, as it helps you bulk up while still preserving muscle mass during the cutting phase, so you can lose the fat but maintain all the muscle you packed on. There have been reports that users have gained 25-30 pounds in the first 30 days of starting Dianabol alone.


Dianabol Steroid

Not to mention Dianabol is fairly cheap when compared to other steroids sold, making it extremely popular among fitness buffs simply wanting to kick-start their body and build more muscle.

That’s not to say there aren’t any side effects to using Dianabol; there most certainly are. They include side effects such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Gynecomastia (the development of breasts)
  • Water retention
  • Bloating
  • Liver toxicity
  • Testosterone suppression (no longer being able to produce as much testosterone as one could prior to taking Dianabol)

In one 8 to 12 week cycle, Dianabol pills should be taken for only three weeks. The cycle is mainly used for bulking up muscle and is usually performed during mid-cycle plateaus, when muscle synthesis is low. If you’re using it for longer than 8 to 12 weeks, you’re risking irreversible liver damage.

The maximum you should be using them for is 4 weeks, which is only if you want maximum results. The maximum recommended dosage is 25 mg, but if you plan on extending the cycle (say, four to six weeks), you’re going to want to lower the dosage to 10 to 15 mg.

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Deca Durabolin

Deca Durabolin - One of the most used anabolic steroids for bulking

If you’ve ever met a bodybuilder who really takes their craft seriously, there’s a chance they may have used Deca Durabolin at some point.

Deca is renowned for increasing the user’s strength and energy, with a litany for desirable effects. Not only is there a large boost to your energy levels, but you also develop muscle far quicker and have greatly reduced water weight, which is important for any bodybuilder to avoid bloating. It will also increase your appetite, and if you’re very serious about bulking, that’s some fantastic news.


Deca Durabolin
A vial of liquid substance to be injected, the anabolic steroid called nandrolone / Deca Durabolin

With all steroids, however, there are side effects. For Deca, there is no exception, and the side effects are as follows:

  • High cholesterol
  • Increased risk of a heart attack
  • Decreased libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Gynecomastia
  • Suppressed testosterone

Deca Durabolin cycles will last around 17 weeks, where the user will start out with a low dosage and slowly build up over time. Results will start to really show themselves somewhere around the halfway point, and some have reported getting up to 30 extra pounds of muscle during these weeks.

If you’re a beginner, it’s highly suggested you just go for 12 weeks, starting off in the range of 300 to 500 mg/week. Professional users usually go for the range of 400 to 600 mg/week. The differences are important, because a professional user’s body has grown used to the usage of Deca, and so are less likely to have any negative effects.

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Anadrol - Bulking Anabolic Steroid

Anadrol is considered a safer synthetic variation of testosterone, the hormone in which all steroids are based off of. In fact, Anadrol is even more potent than natural testosterone.

It can be taken as injections or pills, but pills are the most common method of usage. Even though many athletes and bodybuilders use the drug in different cycles, it’s considered a bulking PED and is used for those who want to pack on the muscle fast. Anadrol is known for really packing on the muscle and increasing your strength and stamina, but also for reducing your fatigue and decreasing recovery time.


Anadrol injection

You’re guaranteed to pack on some muscle mass over time, and it also holds the benefit of improving the health of your brain and also suppressing your appetite, just in case cravings are a thing you have to worry about from time to time.

Anadrol, too, has side effects, and they are as follows:

  • Weight gain
  • Extreme stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Kidney problems
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Changes in skin color
  • Headaches
  • Liver damage

The usual cycle and dosage is 50 to 100 mg daily for around 4 to 6 weeks. The recommended starting dose would be 25 mg for beginners. You should also be careful about going over the recommended dosage, as it can lead to the side effects listed above, though that isn’t to say you won’t get them even if you play it safe.

If you want to reduce as much risk as possible, you should start from the lowest dosage and build up from there to get your body used to the drug. It’s considered safer than most other steroids, but it isn’t without risk.

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Sustanon 250 PED for Bulking

Sustanon 250, or just simply known as Sustanon, is one of the strongest steroids out there. It’s a mix of four testosterone esters: 30 mg testosterone propionate, 60 mg testosterone phenylpropionate, 60 mg testosterone isocaproate, and 100 mg testosterone decanoate. What does this mean? Well, you’ll have to go back to its roots in the medical field.

Sustanon was originally developed for patients so they could receive the effects of testosterone quickly and over a longer period of time. It’s used for patients with conditions such as hypogonadism, where they are unable to produce testosterone or estrogen. This allows them to have a stable amount of testosterone to battle the effects of their conditions. This is in part due to the combination of long and short duration esters mixed within it, allowing for the testosterone in their body to be both stable and long-lasting.

Now, hearing this, you can probably already tell that bodybuilders were hounding all over this one.


Sustanon 250

The benefits of Sustanon are the usual, including fast muscle gain and a large boost to both strength and energy. It balances out your fat to muscle ratio by controlling cortisol, which protects your muscle and lowers fat accumulation. Sustanon also really amps up your endurance and allows for your muscles to synthesize protein at a much higher rate. Your metabolism becomes boosted, and your recovery time is lessened significantly.

The side effects of Sustanin can be brutal on you if you don’t react well. They can include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Bad temper
  • Acne
  • Water retention
  • Bloating
  • Troubles sleeping
  • Nervousness
  • Depression
  • Very high hemoglobin
  • Abnormal levels of R.B.C

The cycle actually depends on you. You have to take in certain factors when considering what the cycle should be. This includes your tolerance, your risk-benefit ratio, and your general response to testosterone. If you are not at all experienced in using anabolic steroids, this is not the one for you. You need to build up your tolerance through dabbling in other PEDs before you should go for this one, or else the risks are far greater for you. If you’re new to it, I do suggest finding someone who can show you the ropes on a cycle. However, it’s suggested you not go for more than 7 weeks in a row.

For dosages, you’re going to want to slowly increase. For those just starting out, you’re going to want to go for just 200 mg a week for the first two weeks, then 300 mg on the third week and on until the fifth, and finally, you can stick with 350 for the last two weeks. If you’re going for a shorter cycle, don’t try to quicken the buildup, as it can do damage.

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Trenbolone Anabolic Steroid

Trenbolone is a PED that’s fairly appealing to bodybuilders for lacking some of the undesirable effects of most steroids and strength. Trenbolone, also known as Tren, is covered by bulkers, as it is utilized most successfully during the bulking phase of your routine. Tren tends not to cause any excessive weight gain like most steroids and emphasizes putting on lean muscle; in fact, its power is comparable to Dianabol and Anadrol.

Another odd benefit you don’t see from other drugs is that Tren can’t be converted into estrogen within your body, like testosterone and most PEDs can. This lessens the risk of gynecomastia, despite having around five times the power of natural testosterone. Needless to say, Tren is an extremely powerful, if not the most powerful performance-enhancing drug used by fitness enthusiasts. Believe it or not, Tren is so powerful that its usage is typically on cows, which are on average 1500 lbs.


Trendione - Trenbolone Molecule
3D image of Trendione skeletal formula – molecular chemical structure of androgen prohormone. Trendione is to trenbolone as androstenedione is to testosterone.

Like all other steroids, Trenbolone has both benefits and side effects. When talking about the benefits, you get the standard of increased muscle mass, enhanced energy, and increased strength. It will also help you burn fat, as it greatly increases your metabolism. You’re also going to get some increased bone density, focus, concentration, drive, and aggression. You’ll be able to go through more intense workouts longer, and your recovery time will be significantly quickened.

The side effects for Tren may not seem all too bad compared to the others, but know that Tren may not be safe for long-term usage. You might be at a greater risk of getting these side effects as you’re exposed longer. The side effects are as follows:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sleep issues
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • High cholesterol
  • Acne/oily skin
  • Gynecomastia
  • Erectile dysfunction

If you’re a beginner, you should definitely start with a lower dosage, but you can increase it if you feel like you need it. The usual, however, is 50 to 100 mg injected weekly for about 8 to 10 weeks for maximum results.

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