I’ve written and recorded a lot of evidence-based content over the years on just about everything you can imagine related to building muscle, losing fat, and getting healthy.
I’ve also worked with thousands of men and women of all ages and circumstances and helped them get into the best shape of their lives.
That doesn’t mean you should blindly swallow everything I say, though, because let’s face it—nobody is always right about everything. And especially in fields like diet and exercise, which are constantly evolving thanks to the efforts of honest and hardworking researchers and thought leaders.
This is why I’m always happy to hear from people who disagree with me, especially when they have good arguments and evidence to back up their assertions.
Sometimes I can’t get on board with their positions, but sometimes I end up learning something, and either way, I always appreciate the discussion.
That gave me the idea for this series of podcast episodes: publicly addressing things people disagree with me on and sharing my perspective.
Think of it like a spicier version of a Q&A.
So, here’s what I’m doing:
Every couple of weeks, I’m asking my Instagram followers what they disagree with me on, and then picking the more common or interesting contentions to address here on the podcast.
And in this episode, I’ll be tackling the following . . .
You haven’t used steroids so anything you say about them is invalid, probably wrong, and you’re not qualified to talk about them.
Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!
3:14 – You haven’t used winstrol, testosterone, ecdysterone, trenbolone, SARMS, or other drugs, so you can’t comment on them.
4:45 – Why do some people use steroids?
6:41 – How big of an effect do steroids have?
8:40 – Does the risk to reward ratio make sense for everyday gym-goers?
10:08 – What are the risks of steroids?
11:09 – Do you have to try a drug to be qualified to advise against it?
Mentioned on the Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hey, I’m Mike Matthews and this is Muscle For Life. Thank you for joining me today. And quickly, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast, please do subscribe to it in whatever app you’re listening in because that way you will not miss any new episodes. They will be automatically downloaded and you may be notified as well depending on.
What app you are using and it helps boost the rankings of the show, which helps me because then more people find it. Okay, so in this episode, I’m going to be addressing a challenge. This is a spicier version of a q and a. Basically, I like when people reach out to me and tell me what they disagree with me on, and I actually.
Ask people to share things that they disagree with me on social media. So if you want me to address something that you disagree with me on, you can email me, [email protected], or you can follow me on Instagram at Muscle Life Fitness and look for a post or a story regarding these Says you episodes.
That’s what I call. This series of episodes says you. So in this installment of says you, I will be tackling a charge that I get fairly often, especially on YouTube for some reason, and that is that I haven’t used a. Drug like winstrol or I haven’t used something like EC deone or whatever. So therefore, anything I say about it is invalid.
Probably wrong and I’m not qualified to even talk about it. Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company leg. Which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top because every ingredient and dose in every product is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research.
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To buy legion.com/mike, That’s B U Y L E G I n.com/mike. And just to show you how much I appreciate my podcast peeps, use the coupon code M F L at checkout and you will save 20% on your entire first order. All right, so as a hashtag lifetime natural weightlifter, I haven’t used steroids or cutting drugs other than a ferin, but that’s not really a cutting drug.
But I have written and spoken. About quite a few of them. I’ve talked about anabolic steroids just in general. I’ve talked about wind, straw, ec, dione, SARMs trend below and others. And my stance is that in most cases, drugs like these do work. Of course, they will help you gain muscle and lose fat faster.
than without them, but they are not worth the risks and there are considerable risks when you are using multiple drugs. You could argue that the risks of just using testosterone and using it along the lines of replacement therapy, so not major super physiological doses, you could argue that the risks of doing that are low.
And I. Agree. But of course, even your average bodybuilder, even lifestyle bodybuilder who uses testosterone is not using it to take their levels from let’s say 500 nanograms per deciliter to 800 or 900. Now they’re going from 500 to 2000 or 500 to 5,000, and there are significant risks associated. That, especially if you are doing that consistently over a long period of time.
However, with the risks being what they are, I do understand some people deciding to use the drugs regardless. For example, if you are an actor and you’re up for the next Marvel movie, you are going to be the lead and it’s gonna pay you millions of dollars and there are going to be follow on opportunities.
It really could be a life changing. But the only way you’re gonna get it is you have to gain, let’s say 30 pounds of lean mass in the next couple of months. You’re not gonna do that naturally. It is going to require steroids, and that would be a situation where I, myself, Would probably seriously consider it.
I may even do it. I wouldn’t lie about it in the fitness industry. I wouldn’t pretend like I discovered some breakthrough training methodology or diet technique or supplements. I would. Be honest about it or say nothing if I couldn’t be honest about it, but I wouldn’t pretend that anything else was happening if I couldn’t explicitly tell people, Hey, look, I’m gonna be doing a cycle because I’m up for this movie and I want to get the part, and this is what it requires.
If I couldn’t explicitly communicate that, let’s say contractually, I would probably try to hint at it in ways that people in the know would know. So that would be a situation where I understand the desire to use steroids, athletics, I understand as well many professional athletes in many sports are using various types of drugs to enhance their performance and enhance their recovery.
And if the only way for you to keep up and to continue playing the sport and continue getting paid, To play the sport is to also use those drugs. I understand that as well. That’s not cheating. It’s not cheating when most of your competitors are using these drugs, and let’s not pretend that these drugs don’t have profound physiological effects because they do.
They profoundly affect strength. They profound. Affect body composition, muscle gain, they profoundly affect recovery. It is very hard, if not impossible to compete with an athlete who is very good at the sport just like you are, but is also on enough of the right drugs when you are. So again, if I were in that situation, and it really came down to using these drugs to continue making a living, doing the only thing that I know how to do, probably the only thing I have done since I was a small child or.
Not using the drugs and washing out. Yeah, I’m probably gonna use the drugs. And I wouldn’t feel guilty about it either if most of my competitors were using the same drugs. So really all we’re doing is just leveling the playing field. And if fans who say they’re very anti steroid were to understand what the sport would look.
If there were no steroids, they would start to wonder why people are slower and smaller and weaker and getting hurt more often and recovering slower. And then if they understood, that’s because steroids were actually removed from the sport and at steroids. Growth hormone, other drugs, performance enhancing drugs were actually removed from the sport.
Fans would be clamoring to bring the drugs back and to encourage athletes to use as many performance enhancing drugs as they can because of course, what the fans really want is they want the super freakiest, super freaks doing these super freakiest things and performance enhancing drugs takes super freaks and make ’em into super duper freak.
So what about everyday gym goers who are using steroids and other performance enhancing drugs to get bigger, leaner, and stronger? That’s where the risk reward analysis doesn’t work for me. That’s where the risks posed by the drugs, the physical risks, the psychological risks, especially long term use.
And unfortunately, once many people taste the sweet nectar of steroid. They don’t want to stop and they become long-term users. The risks posed by that far outweigh the rewards, especially when many of these people, it’s usually guys, but sometimes it’s women. Many of these people actually can accomplish their goals naturally.
They can get to their ideal physique natural. Is just going to take more time and it is going to take more work and it’s going to take more discipline in the kitchen and in the gym, but it can be done naturally. Your average dude using steroids actually does not want. To look like a hulking bodybuilder per se.
He wants to look more like a fitness cover model, and although many fitness cover models are on steroids and look a bit better than any of us will ever be able to look naturally, that general look is achievable, natural. And I’ve spoken and written about many of the risks of these drugs, which includes liver damage liver inflammation, blood filled cysts in the liver, for example internal bleeding liver cancer.
These drugs can be very hard on your liver. It also can include decreased natural testosterone levels and testicle size, acne cysts, oily hair and skin, elevated blood pressure, as well as LDL or bad cholesterol levels. Increased aggression, lowered sperm count, male pattern. Baldness, heart dysfunction, gynecomastia man boobs, and those are not my opinions because I’m just anti steroid.
Again, I’m not anti steroid. I think the circumstances matter. I’m just simply sharing what’s in the scientific literature. There has been a lot of research on these drugs because many of them have been around for a while, and I’m simply sharing what scientists. Observed? No. I’ve not tried any of those drugs myself, but I don’t quite understand how that disqualifies me to speak about them.
For example, I have a sports nutrition company, Legion. I look at a lot of research on different supplements, and I’m trying to find what’s effective and what isn’t. What is. Putting in a product and what isn’t. So if I find a paper that says something is effective at helping you build muscle, this is a good compound for building muscle, but it’s also toxic to humans.
I don’t test it on myself so I can confirm that it is toxic to humans. Say before I pass on this molecule or pass judgment on this molecule, I need to make sure that it puts me in the hospital first. No, of course not. I trust the research and I just tell my audience to avoid it, and of course I avoid it, and the same thing goes with my advice to people on staying healthy and fit.
Just because I have never been a 600 pound man looking to lose weight doesn’t mean that I can’t give good advice. To someone who is 600 pounds looking to lose weight, especially if I have worked with many people who have needed to lose a lot of weight. So I not only have a good understanding of the theory.
And of the research underpinning the theory, but also the practical implementations. I’ve seen firsthand what actually works in people, because there are many different ways to set up a meal plan. Many different ways to set up a training plan, and some ways are going to work better than others, Even. All of the ways are in line with the research.
For example, when you have somebody newly starting out, it is not always workable to tell them to just create a very specific meal plan, completely overhaul the their diet, cut out all of the sugar, cut out all of the highly processed foods, and just get it together Some. Do that. Some people are able to make a hard 180 turn, but others need to do it more gradually.
With some people, it makes more sense to tell them to start with just removing the soda. For example, can we get rid of the soda and replace it with water? Or maybe we need to even start with, can we get rid of one serving of soda and replace that with water? Okay, good. Next, can we replace maybe one portion of carbohydrate?
In your meals with protein, so oftentimes many people starting out on their fitness journeys, they’re eating a lot of carbs, a lot of fat, not a lot of protein. So can we make a small shift toward, let’s say less carbohydrate and more protein, or maybe it’s less fat and more protein depending on their diet.
And then from there, Can we go back to the soda and get rid of another serving or two, replace those with water, go back to the diet. Can we add a couple of servings of nutritious food now? Can we add a couple of servings of fruit, a couple of servings of vegetables, and so on and so forth. And to say that I’m wrong about steroids is to say that the research is wrong, or my interpretation of the research is wrong.
And those are certainly possibilities. But if someone’s going to argue that I’m wrong, then they’re gonna have to point out where the research that I’m referring to is wrong and why, And they’re gonna have to have. Some compelling evidence of their own, or they’re gonna have to point out where I have misinterpreted the research, where I am wrong about what is in the literature, and that has yet to happen in the case of steroids, of course, I’ve been wrong about things over the years.
Sometimes I was wrong in assumptions. Sometimes I took research that suggested that something may be true, and I said, Think this is probably true. And then as more research came out, it turns out that was not true. In other cases, I have been wrong in my interpretation of the research, especially with more sophisticated and more complex elements of training and programming.
And as I’ve continued to learn and continued to talk with smart people who know more about this stuff than I do, I’ve been able to pinpoint areas where I was wrong and learn how to be more. And that, by the way, is how I view the process of discovering where I’m wrong and upgrading my ideas, upgrading my positions, upgrading the data, I think with, to make it more right.
I try hard to avoid the bunker mentality that we can all get in where we just dig. In the face of opposition, we refuse to look at any other viewpoints. We refuse to look at any other data, and we just insist on being right. I view that as not only a stupid and obnoxious way to live, but a very dangerous way.
To live because the world is very complex and we have constructed a model in our mind of how the world works. And we use that model to test out ideas, to try to predict outcomes and to make decisions. And the further away from reality, that model is the worse. The outcomes in our life, the harder it is to achieve small goals, let alone larger goals.
And all of our models are flawed in many ways, and that is always gonna be the case. We simply don’t have enough time. If we had 10 lifetimes to accumulate knowledge and to accumulate experience, maybe we could get to a point where our mental. Models are highly accurate, down to the smallest details.
But then of course, we would still have to deal with our own emotional impulses and irrational urges to ignore the model because we don’t like what it’s predicting because we want to believe otherwise because we think that we. Outlier or we are going to get extremely lucky and we are just going to forge ahead on that assumption.
And so then coming back to my point about finding opportunities to be more right of course to be more right means that we have to also admit to being wrong, at least to some. Not completely wrong necessarily, but something about what we previously believed or what we previously did, we have to acknowledge is not as good as this new information, this new belief, this new behavior pattern.
And you can view that negatively by focusing too much on I was wrong or positively by focusing on, I am now more right. So that’s why, for example, my flagship books for men and women, bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner, leaner, stronger, have been revised a number of times since I published them. And there haven’t been major changes to the underlying principles and the programming because fortunately those were pretty solid from the beginning.
But there have been many changes to the window dressing, so to speak. There have been changes to the cardio recommendations. There have been changes to some of. Theory as to why I recommend a lot of strength training, a lot of heavier weight lifting as opposed to a lot of high, a lot of higher rep isolation, kind of bodybuilder work.
There have been some changes on the dietary side of things. I had said some things about carbohydrates and insulin and growth hormone back in the first edition that didn’t pan out. And so I pulled that out and I’m actually wrapping up. Will be a fourth edition of both of those books. That will be out later this year.
And if you have already downloaded the ebook or the audiobook of either of those, you will get the fourth edition for free. You will be able to just update your ebook or your audiobook in whatever app you are using, like Kindle or Apple Books or Google or whatever. I view those changes as very positive.
I view each iteration of those books as making them a little bit more or a lot more A little bit more or a lot more close to truth, close to reality. And so with steroids, when people tell me that I am just wrong because I have not used steroids often. It’s just that they don’t like what I’m saying, it’s just not what they want to hear, or it’s at odds with something they heard in the gym locker room, or maybe on some fitness gurus, Instagram or YouTube channel.
And while anecdotes, anecdotal evidence, Is a form of evidence and shouldn’t be completely ignored. It is also not as robust as other forms of evidence, like clinical trials and meta-analyses and research reviews. And so when you have those higher powered forms of evidence available on something, you should give them the weight that they deserve in.
Decision making, even if they’re not telling you what you want to hear, because while you are perfectly free to go find a bunch of anecdotes that support your beliefs about steroids or maybe your decision to use steroids or your impulse to use steroids, If those anecdotes are incorrect, if they are very far from how things usually work.
And probabilities are important here because you can always find exceptions to rules. You can always find outliers. You can. Always find people, for example, who have used large amounts of steroids for a long time and have not died and have not suffered any major health consequences. But of course, you have to look at probabilities because maybe that is a very low probability outcome and the much higher probability outcome is death or major dysfunction.
And so then if following those anecdotes is making a very negative outcome, very likely, and you want to believe otherwise, unfortunately, that is not going to save you if you draw that short straw and again, when nine out of 10 of the straws are short. Is that a risk worth? I hope you liked this episode.
I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.
And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you. Ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share. Shoot me an email, mike muscle for life.com, muscle f o r life.com and let me know what I could do better or just what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.
I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you.