In today’s day and age of the internet, social media, and YouTube, you’d have to be pretty naive to think that pro bodybuilders don’t use performance enhancing drugs to get the look of solid granite on stage. Hell, there are millions of people worldwide who use performance enhancing drugs just to help build a better physique. More and more IFBB pro’s are now coming out of the shadows and talking about the drugs that they use both offseason and pre contest to help get them to down to 3-5% body fat while being able to maintain a lot of muscle mass. Today we’re going to talk about the common drugs that are used to help shred fat while being able to retain a lot of muscle mass in the process.
This article is for informational and educational purposes only. I am not promoting or endorsing the use of any of these compounds but just want to help give a better understanding as to how this is all possible.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
Human growth hormone is naturally produced in the pituitary gland and plays a key role in cell regeneration, growth and maintaining healthy human tissue, including that of the brain and various vital organs. Once HGH is secreted into the bloodstream it remains active only for a few minutes, allowing just enough time for the liver to convert it into growth factors.The most crucial being insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which has growth-promoting properties on every cell in the body.
While HGH’s primary function is promote and enhance new cell growth, it is also an incredibly powerful fat burner. Growth hormone accelerates lipolysis, the breakdown of lipids and involves hydrolysis of triglycerides into glycerol and free fatty acids.
In a study published in Hormone Research, twenty-four obese participants were on a calorie restricted diet and treated with human growth hormone or a placebo in a double-blinded, 12-week randomized study. As a result, growth hormone treatment caused a 1.6-fold increase in weight loss, with the greatest loss being visceral fat compared to the placebo.
In the placebo group, lean body mass was lost, whereas lean body mass was gained in the growth hormone group. This study suggests that in obese participants who eat a caloric-restriction diet, growth hormone accelerates the loss of body fat and improves growth hormone secretion. Thus, human growth hormone can serve a therapeutic role to help obese people lose weight. (1)
HGH has a ton of other health benefits as well but that’s out of scope for this article. I would encourage you do do some more research on HGH to learn more about the benefits of using it.
Clenbuterol is a compound that belongs to a class of drugs called beta2-agonists. Drugs in this category can cause dilation of the bronchial muscles. Beta2-agonists are often used to treat asthma.
So if Clenbuterol was designed to treat asthma, why is it being used as a fat burner? Clenbuterol binds to the same receptors that respond to epinephrine in your body, but clenbuterol produces even greater effects, including fat burning. Furthermore, clen also binds to muscle cells and stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which is why it also helps you preserve muscle while cutting. Both animal and human research has confirmed that clenbuterol raises metabolic rate and stimulates fat burning, and although it isn’t a steroid, studies show that it stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which will indeed help you retain lean mass while in a caloric deficit.
Typical doses of clenbuterol start at 40 micrograms per day and is usually increased by 20 micrograms every week for 4-6 weeks. The body adapts very quickly to clenbuterol so it is best to run 4-6 week cycles. It is also recommended not to exceed 120 micrograms daily.
T3 / Cytomel
The thyroid creates hormones and controls how your body uses energy and your body’s sensitivity to other hormones. The thyroid produces a hormone called triiodothyronine, known as T3. It also produces a hormone called thyroxine, known as T4. Together, these hormones regulate your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heart rate. Most of the T3 in your body binds to protein. The T3 that doesn’t bind to protein is called free T3 and circulates unbound in your blood.
Bodybuilders will typically use T3 in the final 6-8 weeks of their contest prep. T3 is active thyroid hormone that regulates your metabolism. So simply put, the higher your T3 levels, the faster your metabolism will be resulting in more calories burned during the day.
T3 is a very powerful hormone and dosages are typically quite small. It is recommended to start with 12.5 micrograms per day and only increase when fat burning has come to a halt. Once you’ve plateaued you can increase the dose by 12.5 micrograms. It is highly recommended not to exceed 50 micrograms daily to avoid unwanted side effects. I’ve heard of people going as high as 150 micrograms per day but then they end up paying the price when they eventually come off the hormone. It is also recommended to taper off the drug and not to stop cold turkey.
The ECA stack is a commonly used fat burning stack consisting of Ephedrine, Caffeine, and Aspirin.
The main component, Ephedrine, is the main active ingredient for weight loss and the caffeine augments its efficacy. The aspirin is added to prevent blood clotting (which may be a side effect of ephedrine) and to aid in the signal transduction of ephedrine via prostaglandin inhibition.
Studies have shown that the combination of Ephedrine and Caffeine is superior for fat loss than taking each individually.(2,3,4) As ephedrine can increase heart rate and caffeine may increase blood pressure (in a naive user), the combination tends to have an additive rather than synergistic toxicological profile. (5)
While you can get good results by dieting and doing cardio, you can get supercharged results by dieting, doing cardio, and using the drugs listed above. This is not to say that some of these drugs don’t come with their fair share of side effects. If you decide that you are going to try some of these it’s always a good idea to do your due diligence before taking any of these drugs. I hope this helps to shed some light on how these guys, and gals, get super shredded for their competitions. Many will deny ever using any of these compounds but don’t be naive. They are just saying that so they are not cast in a bad light, lose sponsors, etc. If you would like more information or have any questions be sure to check out our forums and ask away. As always, have a great rest of your day and stay swell and swole my friends.