In general, most Anabolic Steroid substances are heavily weighted towards being more anabolic than androgenic. Only a select few, including; Mestanolone, Methandriol, Orgasteron, and Methyldrostanolone (Superdrol) are more androgenic than anabolic. However, when we evaluate whether a compound is used for its androgenic vs. anabolic tendencies by athletes, there are numerous factors to take into consideration. For example, Mestanolone is more androgenic than anabolic, its overall androgenic/anabolic ratio is 250/100; Halotestin, on the other hand, is more anabolic on paper, but still carries a higher androgenic propensity with an 850/1900 ratio. Therefore, for all intent and purposes Halotestin will get you a hell of a lot stronger than Mestanolone.
Anabolism can be thought of as constructive metabolism; vice versa, in laymen’s terms catabolism can be thought as destructive metabolism. Unlike popular bodybuilding lore, your body can not be in either state exclusively. You will not be 100% anabolic because you pounded that post-workout whey and one hundred gram of Vitargo, 5.2 nanoseconds after your finish your last set. Conversely, you cannot be 100% catabolic, even in the instance of starvation. Your body is constantly balancing anabolism and catabolism; the net outcome of this balance will determine if you add energy in the form of tissue, or, if catabolic processes are weighing heavier, releasing more net energy.
As physique athletes, we want to promote anabolism within certain areas, while preventing it in others. In all settings, either during a gaining or cutting phase, we want muscle cells to be in as much of a constant anabolic-state as possible, while avoiding anabolism in adipose tissue. Another goal it to avoid excessive catabolism to muscle cells in a hypo-caloric setting, coaxing the body to provide as much of that net loss of energy through the body’s fat stores as possible. Enter the role of anabolic-weighted compounds.
Compounds dubbed ‘androgenic’ by the bodybuilding/strength community at large also tend to be non-aromatizing, i.e. they don’t convert to estrogen. Often these compounds are utilized by bodybuilders trying to reduce water retention pre-contest, as well as strength athletes that compete within a weight class. The reality is that compounds utilized for their androgenic properties also tend to carry more side effects. From the physical—look at Winstrol’s ability to decimate HDL and kill joints—to the mental—run enough Tren A long enough and you’ll think your mom is out to kill you, overall these compounds do tend to need to be run in intervals.
In comparison, most compounds utilized for their anabolic properties have the ability to be run a bit longer. They tend to not be as altering to a person’s mental state, and also can carry some things we look for when trying to add tissue. Most will aromatize. Although this might increase water retention, during a “bulk” this can absolutely be a good thing. Any weight is good weight when the aim is to be able to lift maximal poundages—whether it’s water or muscle, weight will increase leverage. The more mechanical tension you can put on a muscle, the more it will grow (in short). In short, ‘androgenic’ compounds have the potential to make you strong and dry, whereas ‘anabolic’ compounds are often utilized heavily during an offseason or mass gaining phase.
On a physiological level, some estrogen is also needed for maximal muscle growth; however, how much is truly needed is up for debate. Anecdotally, one can go pretty low on e2 and still make great progress. This doesn’t mean that you should run 2 grams of test with no aromatize inhibitor—high estrogen is as bad as low estrogen. The key is to get blood work, and shoot to be at the mid-high end of normal estrogen on cycle. There’s some evidence that certain anabolic compounds increase collagen synthesis and encourage joint integrity, but again the evidence is limited. Many AAS users, however, swear by deca or equipoise for their ability to do so, so if it works for you, don’t write it off.
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