3 Best Steroids for Beginners (Plus 3 to Avoid)
Disclaimer: The following article is for educational purposes only and does not promote the use of illegal steroids. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Touliatos is currently available for consultation.
Millions of people around the world take steroids; however, only a small percentage do so in a responsible manner.
High doses, taking the wrong steroids too early, and failing to implement an effective PCT are all common errors we see among beginners.
A lack of knowledge when using steroids significantly increases the risk of danger. A beginner is more susceptible to harsh effects, as their bodies have not had a chance to build up any tolerance to such compounds.
- 1 Top 3 Steroids for Beginners
- 2 1. Testosterone
- 2.1 Different Esters
- 2.2 Test Suspension
- 2.3 Testosterone Acetate
- 2.4 Testosterone Propionate
- 2.5 Testosterone Cypionate & Enanthate
- 2.6 Testosterone Undecanoate
- 2.7 Sustanon 250
- 2.8 Testosterone Cycle (For Beginners)
- 2.9 Testosterone Cycle Before/After
- 2.10 Second Testosterone Cycle
- 2.11 Testosterone Side Effects
- 3 2. Anavar
- 4 3. Dianabol
- 5 Other Steroids for Beginners
- 6 Steroids to Avoid
- 7 Summary
Top 3 Steroids for Beginners
These three steroids are the safest for beginners. Which one you take will depend on your personal preference for administration and what you want to achieve from your cycle.
Legal Dianabol Alternative
A testosterone-only cycle is the most popular protocol for beginners. This is because beginners want to experience big gains in muscle and strength but want to stay away from harsh compounds.
Testosterone produces exceptional gains without excessively harsh side effects.
The only downside for some beginners is that testosterone is predominantly an injectable steroid. Therefore, if users want to take orals during their first steroid cycle, Anavar and Dianabol can be preferred options.
These are the most popular forms of testosterone in bodybuilding:
- Testosterone suspension
- Testosterone acetate
- Testosterone propionate
- Testosterone enanthate
- Testosterone cypionate (aka depo-testosterone)
- Testosterone undecanoate
- Sustanon 250
Note: There isn’t a ‘best testosterone’; all different forms of testosterone will build equal amounts of muscle and strength. However, we find some kick in faster and require more regular injections. The only other difference is that the shorter, faster-acting esters are a little more potent, resulting in more actual testosterone entering the bloodstream.
Testosterone suspension is essentially pure testosterone in water. It is not typically recommended for beginners because it is very fast-acting, so it has an immediate effect on the body instead of gradually entering the bloodstream.
One benefit is that suspension is going to produce fast gains, as it is pure testosterone and thus does not need to be broken down. However, the bad news is that it requires very frequent injections, as it also leaves your body fast.
Test suspension requires two injections a day, which is not ideal for a beginner. Furthermore, suspension, in our experience, is one of the worst steroids to inject, as it requires a big needle (a newbie’s worst nightmare). This is because test suspension is not micronized; thus, because of its larger crystals, syringes are likely to get clogged. Unsurprisingly, our patients have reported suspension injections to be occasionally painful.
Even experienced steroid users can be cowards when it comes to taking test suspension, so beginners are extremely unlikely to enjoy this. In reality, they would probably never take injectables again if this was their first cycle.
Testosterone acetate is a fast-acting form of test, with a half-life of 2-3 days, although slower-acting than suspension.
Gains will come by fast; however, frequent injections are needed (although not as frequent as test suspension).
One injection a day is required with test acetate.
A large needle is not needed, and injections are not painful.
Testosterone propionate is also fast-acting, albeit slower than suspension and acetate. Injections are required every other day.
Propionate may appear to be cheap; however, it is dosed at only 100 mg/ml, whereas other forms of testosterone are commonly dosed at around 250 mg/ml. Therefore, it actually works out to be expensive.
Typically, test propionate has a price approximately 50% higher than other forms of testosterone.
Furthermore, we find propionate injections have a tendency to hurt, to the extent of us seeing people limp afterward. Therefore, beginners do not usually opt for propionate.
Testosterone Cypionate & Enanthate
Bingo. These are the esters used by most beginners because they require fewer frequent injections (once every 4–5 days).
I have listed cypionate and enanthate together because the body absorbs each compound at a similar rate.
Users will need to wait a little longer for them to kick in; however, this form of testosterone is often comfortable and enjoyable for beginners to take.
Injectable testosterone undecanoate is a very slow-acting form of testosterone. A unique advantage is that it can be injected just once every two weeks.
However, we find it takes a long time to peak in the bloodstream, with a half-life of 34 days (1). Thus, users will need to be very patient, as it can take a month to kick in.
Testosterone undecanoate is also available as an oral steroid, known as Andriol (or Testocaps).
In oral form, undecanoate is very fast-acting, with plasma testosterone levels peaking approximately 5 hours after a dose.
Another benefit of andriol (oral test undecanoate) is that it bypasses the liver and is absorbed via the lymphatic system. Consequently, it is not hepatotoxic and poses no threat to the liver, according to our LFTs (liver function tests).
Tablets can be more convenient for beginners than taking injections; however, an oral undecanoate cycle is typically very expensive, with roughly 8 capsules (280mg) needed per day to elevate testosterone levels enough for significant mass gains.
For example, the price of Andriol from a medical practitioner may cost roughly $40 (2).
With a dose of 280mg, this would last 7.5 days. Thus, a cycle lasting 6 weeks would cost $240. Therefore, injectable testosterone is a lot more cost-effective for beginners.
Note: If beginners plan on taking Andriol (oral undecanoate), they should consume a meal with every tablet containing at least 20g of dietary fat, which we have found to greatly increase absorption. Without this, Andriol’s bioavailability will be very low.
Sustanon 250 is a blend of four different esters, being:
- 30 mg propionate
- 60 mg phenylpropionate
- 60 mg isocaproate
- 100 mg decanoate
Thus, by containing different esters, it is both fast-acting and slow-acting. In real-life terms, this means it will kick in fast, require frequent injections (every 2 days), and remain in your system for a lengthy time due to the presence of decanoate.
Sustanon 250 is not inherently the best form of testosterone, as some people claim. We do not see it build more muscle or strength than other esters; it is just a different blend.
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Testosterone Cycle (For Beginners)
Testosterone cypionate and enanthate are the most popular types of testosterone for beginners.
This is due to them being cost-effective, not painful, and not requiring overly frequent injections (every 4-5 days).
This is a typical beginner steroid cycle. These are conservative doses, so the side effects are going to be minimal. This will help prepare the body for higher dosages in future cycles.
When using cypionate or enanthate, the bottle will typically be dosed at 200 mg/mL.
To save complicated mathematics, you could perform 2 injections a week, which would require 100mg per injection (0.5 ml) for the first 2 weeks.
Then, on weeks 3-5, this will be 2 x 150mg (0.75 ml) injections per week.
And for weeks 6-7, it will be 2 x 175mg (0.875 ml) injections per week.
It is advised not to miss injection times, as delaying will cause testosterone in your blood to spike and then drop. We find this can amplify side effects and reduce gains.
We have seen users gain 20 lbs from this initial cycle.
Testosterone Cycle Before/After
This transformation is from a bodybuilder on YouTube who used testosterone propionate for his first cycle.
These results (above) are typical in our experience, with every muscle group blowing up noticeably.
The only difference with this transformation is that if you are eating in a calorie surplus, your body fat may increase. Whereas if you are eating maintenance calories or are in a deficit, it will decrease.
Second Testosterone Cycle
A follow-up cycle to the above test cycle would be as follows:
In this cycle, the dose increases (up to 500 mg), and the cycle is extended by an extra 3 weeks. This second cycle can add another 10 pounds of lean mass on top of the initial gains experienced from the first cycle.
Testosterone Side Effects
Testosterone is a mild steroid that is prescribed regularly by doctors for TRT (testosterone replacement therapy). However, testosterone can still cause the following side effects:
- A decrease in HDL (good) cholesterol (3)
- Increased risk of hypertension (4)
- Acne/oily skin (5)
- Water retention (6)
- Gynecomastia (7)
- Hair thinning/loss
Blood pressure is unlikely to elevate to high levels, as testosterone only has a mild effect on cholesterol values. However, beginners may want to get a check-up with their doctor before starting their first cycle to ensure their blood pressure is not initially high.
Acne and oily skin are other adverse effects we see due to testosterone’s androgenic nature. We find users who have suffered from acne in the past are more susceptible to this, due to a genetic predisposition to increased sebum production (the oily substance) on the skin.
Gynecomastia is possible when taking testosterone due to the steroid aromatizing (converting into estrogen). When estrogen levels skyrocket, excessive breast tissue can form in men, causing gyno or manboobs.
We have had success with aromatase inhibitors (AI), such as Arimidex, to significantly decrease the chances of gyno happening. However, a drawback to taking AIs is that they can exacerbate blood pressure.
Thus, a good idea would be to monitor your nipples, and if they start to become excessively puffy, you could run an AI from that point onward. Arimidex works very quickly, with 1mg shown to decrease estradiol by 70% in just 24 hours.
The higher the testosterone dose, the higher the chance of a user developing gynecomastia.
We have also observed testosterone-accelerating hair thinning on the scalp due to high DHT levels. However, this side effect usually reverses itself post-cycle. If steroids are cycled for extended periods of time, such thinning or recession may become permanent.
Best Stack for Beginners
Anavar (Oxandrolone) is arguably the safest of all steroids for beginners, with it failing to cause excessive levels of cardiovascular and hepatic strain.
The main benefits of Anavar are:
- It builds muscle
- Significant increases in strength
- Enhanced fat burning
- No harsh side effects
- It is an oral
The drawbacks of Anavar are:
- You won’t build as much muscle as testosterone
- It is expensive
Therefore, if a beginner wants to build a ton of muscle from their first cycle, Anavar isn’t the best choice. However, if they want to get ripped; building some muscle while simultaneously burning fat, Anavar is a great choice. Especially for beginners who want to avoid needles and are anxious about the side effects of steroids.
Anavar is well-tolerated by most users, in our experience. Furthermore, in research, it is commonly prescribed to women and children (8) to help them gain lean mass. These are great indicators of its safety profile.
Even though Anavar is an oral compound (like testosterone undecanoate), it is not particularly liver toxic. In Anavar’s case, this is because the kidneys help to process oxandrolone, reducing the hepatic toxicity and workload on the liver.
This cycle is suitable for beginners, using modest dosages. In follow-up cycles, users may start on week 1 using 20mg per day, with cycles lasting up to 8 weeks.
If beginners would like further muscle and fat loss gains, they can stack Anavar and Testosterone together. However, the risk of side effects increases slightly compared to running Testosterone alone.
The main disadvantage of running this cycle is the increased endogenous testosterone suppression post-cycle; however, this can be corrected with an effective PCT.
Beginners taking this cycle will gain approximately 25 pounds while burning a noticeable amount of fat.
At these dosages, Anavar’s side effects are going to be very minimal. However, we still commonly see the following effects:
- Testosterone suppression
- Increased LDL cholesterol
- Hair thinning
- Oily skin
It is also common for Anavar users to report no side effects when taking this steroid.
Testosterone suppression is almost certain (9); however, this effect is only mild to moderate in our testing. Some beginners will choose not to take a PCT after Anavar, as endogenous testosterone levels typically recover quickly. However, when stacking it with testosterone, a PCT is recommended.
Some hair thinning is possible due to Anavar being a DHT derivative (10), although if a person’s genetics are not predisposed for male pattern baldness, Anavar won’t suddenly cause it.
Dianabol (Methandrostenolone) is a very well-known steroid, famous for being one of the favorite steroids of the ’70s among Arnold Schwarzenegger and classic bodybuilders. It is still widely used today, with it remaining one of the best steroids for building size and mass.
Dianabol is an oral steroid, and beginners can take it if they want big muscle gains but want to avoid needles.
Dianabol is not excessively harsh when taken in modest doses during a first cycle. However, the side effects are likely to be more pronounced compared to the previous Testosterone and Anavar cycles.
We have found Dbol to be one of the best steroids for strength, commonly adding up to 70 lbs on compound exercises (during a first cycle).
Dianabol Cycle (Warm-Up Cycle)
Because Dianabol is stronger than the other two steroids on this list, the above cycle can be performed as a warm-up cycle before hitting higher doses. Beginners will gain around 15 pounds with this cycle, which is a lot of muscle for how modest the doses are.
The main goal of this cycle is to prepare the body for the next cycle, which will yield bigger gains.
Dianabol Cycle (For Beginners)
With higher dosages, this cycle will add roughly another 15 pounds on top of the 15 pounds previously gained from the warm-up cycle.
If beginners do not utilize a warm-up cycle and start with this, they will gain roughly 30 pounds, making it more effective than taking testosterone by itself.
Dianabol Side Effects
We have found Dianabol to cause the following reactions:
- Increased blood pressure
- Liver damage
- Hair loss
Dianabol will raise blood pressure more notably than testosterone or Anavar. Therefore, it is recommended not to use an AI before any signs of gynecomastia occur. Also, to decrease any such elevations in blood pressure, it would be best to perform cardio 3–5 times per week.
Gynecomastia is possible with Dianabol (11), and thus the same protocol should be used as with testosterone, only introducing Arimidex when early signs of nipple swelling appear (if at all).
Unlike Anavar and Testosterone, Dianabol is particularly hepatotoxic; thus, some liver support should be taken during your cycle. A recommended supplement is TUDCA (tauroursodeoxycholic acid), which we have seen effectively decrease raised liver enzymes, reducing hepatic stress.
Dianabol isn’t as androgenic as testosterone; thus, oily skin and acne are less likely, however possible.
Hair loss is less likely compared to testosterone due to less androgenicity, which is why many bodybuilders from the ’70s retained their hair follicles compared to bodybuilders today, who are practically all bald. The reason is that IFBB pros today are taking heavy dosages of very androgenic compounds.
Other Steroids for Beginners
Testosterone, Anavar, and Dianabol are the three most common steroids used by beginners and are arguably the most optimal.
However, there are other steroids that can be taken by beginners. For example, Turinabol is another compound that can be taken by beginners, although it will be harsher than Anavar, albeit less than Dianabol.
Deca Durabolin is certainly mild and suitable for beginners; however, it isn’t typically used by itself. Instead, it can be added to testosterone or Dianabol for increased muscle gains. However, this would not typically be stacked as a first steroid cycle but in a later cycle instead. This is because Dianabol and testosterone are harsh enough by themselves for a beginner cycle.
Steroids to Avoid
Some bodybuilding coaches recommend their clients take the above compounds as a first cycle, which can be dangerous.
Anadrol is one of the most toxic steroids we have come across, with even experienced bodybuilders struggling to tolerate it. Blood pressure can rise to very high levels on Anadrol, and thus the cardiovascular strain is deemed excessive for beginners. There is also the risk of hepatic strain on Anadrol.
Trenbolone is another harsh compound that people often react negatively to, despite its amazing results. The post-cycle crash on Trenbolone is also severe, leaving users feeling mentally low as well as having their testosterone shut down. Oral Trenbolone (methyltrienolone) is even more toxic than standard injectable Trenbolone, with our LFTs indicating liver toxicity, even in conservative dosages.
Some beginners will take Winstrol as their first cycle, which will be harsh on the body. Winstrol is similar to Anavar in regards to gains, with Winstrol being slightly more effective. However, Winstrol’s side effects are a lot more severe in comparison, with testosterone getting shut down, liver damage, and blood pressure rising to high levels.
Winstrol is also a lot more androgenic than Anavar, so oily skin and hair loss are more likely to become an issue. The only main advantage Winstrol has over Anavar is that it’s considerably cheaper; however, as a first cycle, beginners are recommended to put their health first (instead of their wallet).
Superdrol is one of the most hepatotoxic anabolic steroids available, along with methyltrienolone. Although significant strength and lean muscle gains can be experienced on this steroid, the risks are enough to discourage seasoned steroid users from cycling this steroid regularly, thus deeming it very unsuitable for beginners.
The best steroids for beginners, in our experience, are:
- Deca Durabolin
The best type of testosterone for beginners is typically cypionate or enanthate. These are cost-effective injectables that do not need to be injected as regularly as other forms of testosterone, with such injections not causing any notable pain.
In regards to which steroids to use, it will depend on the person’s goals and budget.
If money was no object and a beginner wanted to stick to orals, they could take Testosterone Undecanoate or Anavar. Or, they could take both of these compounds at the same time for further results. However, stacking these two together will cost around $500.
However, if a person was on a normal budget, they could opt for Dianabol or Testosterone Enanthate, running just one of these.
For bigger gains in size and mass, Dianabol would be the best choice, followed by testosterone.
If the main goal is to burn fat and get ripped, Anavar would be the best choice.
The worst steroids for beginners are Anadrol, Trenbolone, Winstrol, and Superdrol.
We find these four to be excessively harsh on the body, inevitably causing long-term damage. Taking these during a first cycle is like jumping in the deep end when first learning how to swim.