By Charles Bausman
Last week, we asked whether or not Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) would be beneficial for the tactical athlete. With an overview of the pros and cons of its use, as well as the legalities (illegal without a prescription from an MD), it would seem that PEDs could provide an advantage for those in inherently dangerous jobs.
With little experience of our own, especially it’s use while in a tactical career, we wanted to know what those who follow MTI have used, and if it has benefitted them. The majority of respondents were military, but the law enforcement and fire/rescue communities were represented as well.
In total, 67 athletes responded to the survey. Of those, it was a near 50/50 split for those who had used PEDs, and those who had not.
The benefits of the of PEDs based on survey feedback appear to support it’s use, although education of safe use and effective training protocols is a necessity. With that said, the results of the survey were overwhelmingly supportive of PED use for the tactical athlete.
Increases in strength, lean muscle mass, and energy levels in conjunction with decreased recovery times were reported across the board.
Older athletes seemed particularly encouraged by the results from PEDs use, especially after many years spent in the tactical realm.
Conversely, several respondents stated that the increased muscle mass did slow their run times. Only two respondents stated that they experienced the often cited side effects such as acne, testicular shrinkage, or mood swings.
The majority of those who reported previous PED use utilized testosterone injections. However, multiple respondents’s described various stacks of PED’s used in conjunction with one another, or while cycling off. Within this group, 19 reported they had been prescribed the PED legally, 12 acquired “by other means”, and 3 who fell into both categories.
The overwhelming majority of respondents (despite whether they had used PED’s or not) stated that PED’s should be legal for the tactical athlete under appropriate medical supervision. In fact, 53 of 57 suggested that it would be beneficial.
The majority also responded that they would turn a blind eye to a subordinate using PED’s, although many stated that it was dependent on the users’ education and responsibility when using.
Below are respondent answers to our survey questions.
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What positive results did you experience (from PEDs use)?
- Much better recovery from using testosterone and increased overall weight gain and strength. Much greater strength and sex drive as well as overall confidence and happiness.
- Higher strength numbers across the board, mental sharpness, and intrinsic motivation sky rocketed.
Increased recovery and strength in the gym. Able to train harder for endurance without affecting strength.
Recovery, well-being, joint recovery, strength
The positives where gain in mass and strength. When I joined the Army I was 170, I was lean already and didn’t put on any mass during basic, airborne, or RIP. Try carrying a heavy pack at 170. It gets easier when you weigh more, I bumped up to 190 in 6weeks. I stayed lifting consistently old school, free weights style. Strength soared.
- Increased lean muscle mass, strength, decreased fat. Better quality sleep Quicker recovery, less muscular soreness
- I am turning 40 this year and about three years ago I had no energy and put on the belly fat. I had been diagnosed in the past with depression and taken medications. I didn’t like the side effects and continued to feel like crap all the time. I would workout one day and then feel exhausted for several days and could not make any gains in the gym. I changed doctors and he tested my blood. Found out my testosterone levels were way below the normal levels. Now I take a shot once a week and feel like a new person. I lost 50 lbs overall but made significant gains in muscle strength. I could workout day after day and recover properly. I am still older and the joints ache, but the muscle recovery and endurance has been a life changer.
Felt like a monster. Absolutely loved it. Bigger, Stronger, Faster. Recovery was insane. At 197lbs I was squatting over 500lbs and running a sub 4 marathon. Never felt better.
- Testosterone,all positive. More energy, strength, overall attitude and mood is better. Sex drive is through the roof.
- Increased strength, lean muscle mass and decreased body fat. Recovery was highly increased which meant I could train harder, longer, more often, and with more volume.
What negative results did you experience?
- Compartment syndrome in my shins (muscle becomes too pumped and starts to stretch the fascia surrounding it). This created serious problems for me during runs and dropped my two mile over a minute and a half.
- Need to use a PCT or post cycle therapy to help get your testosterone levels back to where they should be. Maintained most of my strength but also some weight so that should be expected.
- Stigma of PED’s. No physical or psychological negative results.
- Extreme shin pain when running & rucking if dosed too high. Excess weight gain if diet was uncontrolled that negatively impacted cardio. Mood swings if estrodiol crashed too low (with androgen & aromatase inhibitor use)
- None. No testicular atrophy, no acne, no hair loss
- The negative results where in my cardiovascular ability, which more than likely had to do with the weight gain. I couldnt run as fast for as long without having to stop and walk a bit (6+mile runs.)
- Increased hunger, slightly decreased cardiovascular endurance in some instances
- The only negatives that I have seen is if I let the prescription run out and don’t have the injection for a couple of weeks, I feel my energy levels dip.
What PEDs did you use?
- I am a former active soldier and current guardsmen. Went on Doctor monitored test while in army in 2008, had fucked up my own hormonal productions through some anabolic and test use. Did injections for about 8 years, just last year started pellets, think they may have better applications for operators/soldiers at times. Reason being is they are put under skin and slowly release over 100 days. A medic could put them in for a longer deployment cycle. You can also have special pellets that have some arimidex in them to limit aromatization. You can’t get a huge burst like injections. but a consistent 10-18 mg a day release and your body draws more from the pellets depending on training load. My doc gets for a whole year of pellets (3 installs) for around 2000. Just something to look into for people wanted to pass along some knowledge!
- TE, HGH, and Winstrol (Stanozol). DO NOT EVER take Winstrol….it fucked badly with my cholesterol levels as well as my heart function.
- Test and HGH only
- Testosterone w/ Anastrozole (keep estrogen in check).
- Testosterone, Equipoise, Anavar
- First oral Winstrol-good results. Second – injectible Winstrol – mediocre Years later – stacked Test Proprionate and Deca Durabolin – phenomenal increase in LBM, strength, initial weight gain with subsequent weight loss, rapid recovery training 2x/day 5-6x/week. Three years ago Dr. scripted test same as you Rob. No major gains but recovery improved. Felt better.
- Testosterone. Will try that combined with an anabolic steroid in the very near future.
- Dianabol. Then a cycle of trenbolone 2years later. Both for 6week cycles
- HGH, Testosterone and Oxandrolone. Moving into testing SARM’s IE MK-677 (GHRP) and Ostarine. There is good info on Inj. GHRP like Semorelin and CJC1295 DAC which produce more of a GH bleed vs GH Dump that HGH provides.
- test-injectable by nurse
Do you believe PEDs have benefits for the tactical athlete? Why or why not?
- Yes. Outmatch the enemy.
- I believe they do have benefits for the tactical athlete if used correctly. I think they can seriously help older tactical athletes recover faster and increase their performance. However, I have decided at this time (young 20s) to not use PEDs again because overall I do not feel I need them and would rather continue improving on my own.
- Absolutely and especially if they were under a controlled environment and with doctors or others who may be able to apply their knowledge to the process. I would add that I never had any “road rage” or negative side effects that I had always heard of.
- I never took them for Law Enforcement or military. I wish I had. Fire/Rescue was more physically demanding but I was also older and really benefited from the boost. I believe that PED’s should be utilized under Dr’s surveillance.
- Yes. They don’t need to be carried in field conditions to be effective. Using them in garrison under a doctors supervision and following a strong training regimen, the benefits will carry over when use is discontinued during field operations. They can still produce stronger more durable and more confident soldiers.
- Yes, clear benefits in strength and recovery (only considering AAS and AIs/SERMs). However the possible side effects outweigh the benefits in most units including: The effects of higher doses (bodybuilding levels) of AAS on cardio and natural hormone production. Possible psychological effects with varying hormone levels that are different in individuals. Questions on how PEDs will be used in the field: supply, use, control. May introduce a reliance on PEDs when most units are better served by self discipline and a can-do attitude. In a competitive environment there will always be the temptation to dose too high. Low dose aromatase inhibitors may be the safest and most useful for all round tactical athletes in improving recovery by stopping testosterone drop in heavy training/op tempo with minimal side effects.
- Potentially, there should be a study against the application during training where it can be controlled. Would these benefits last through during operations where the doses would stop. This could then suggest that athletes given doping bans for a defined period isn’t fair as they would still have a benefit and advantage to the use of PED.
- Absolutely. Depending on operational tempo or training schedule, the physical work load can be tremendous and without adequate recovery can lead to overtraining and injury. Tactical athletes do not have the time or resources to utilize other recovery methods (ice baths, sauna, massage, etc).
- Depends on the persons strength and size. I believe once a soldier has a certain level of strength and a certain size that anything that builds him up more becomes a problem. With that said if you are weak and or simply to light to to carry your load. You may need that extra kick.
- I believe this is definitely an area that warrants more research. I believe there is the potential for positive benefits to the Tactical Athlete. However, optimal dosing schedules and the “right cocktails” are unknown due the their current legal status. If you are fighting fair then you tactics suck. We should be providing our Tactical Athletes with every advantage we can, as safely as we can.
- Yes it does If you look at research, the PED’s are shown to promote all positive effects in the adult mature male ( 30 yers old and older ) With the mental and physical demands that the TA has to go through along side the shift work, poor diet, and bad sleep patterns the PED assist the TA in recovery, increased immune system, and sleep cycle
- Yes. Especially older athletes. I am 40 and can keep up with my 30 yr old subordinates after about 6 months on program. Whereas previously I would be in the hurt locker for about 3 days.
- Yes. The physical demands of the job continually take a toll… even more so as we age. The 24hrs shifts, combined with the cumulative sleep deprivation and stress build up are a hazardous cocktail that further exacerbates issues such as physical recovery times, mental acuity, mood levels, depression etc etc etc.
- I sure do. Our performance can mean the difference between life and death. We need the edge.
- FUCK yes…like Rob said, we don’t play a goddamn game when downrange. We’re trying to run down shitheads and whack them, and I’ll take any advantage to do it.
- No, what happens when the athlete is no longer able to procure the PED? It might help for temporary quick fixes, but in the long scheme of things. Consistent job related training easily surpasses any PED
- Yes, in the short term. Obvious benefits are the short period required to build the strength. At some point though, they will stop taking them and then what will be the damage done to the body when it doesn’t have anything to aid it in repair? Will the body quit production of natural testosterone leaving the person with the permanent need for supplements?
- Yes, it is apparent that as we age, like oxidation on a car, it still performs but at what level? Reading your post, that is not unlike many men who at a young age have a high test level genetically but as we age it drops but stays “normal”. Low normal is not normal for the majority of men who as young men were athletic. PED’s as a tactical athlete are vital in my opinion as it begs the question, “what if my performance was 5% better on that day, that person may have lived, not been burned, or maybe I would still be alive.” As an LEO dealing with the criminal element, they do not obey the laws in any way, I/we need an advantage. I have many firefighter friends that utilize Boldenone Undeclynate or EQ for performance as with my LEO friends. Not only does Test improve performance it improves moods IE getting off Anti depressants, SSRI’s etc.
- Yes, if used in low doses (roughly 200mg/week) as prescribed. Improves sleep, training capability, and recovery, which are all vital to the tactical athlete.
- Absolutely. I agree with the article that tactical athletes are looking for any advantage we can get, because our lives and the lives of others depend on us. If there are means to safely improve our ability to train and deploy longer and be able to recover faster then we should have the ability to do so. We are not trying to cheat a game of rules, but win the fight. From my experience and what I have read and from people I know, the PED’s aren’t going to make a fat lazy guy a supersoldier. They will simply help those who are willing to put in the work to have a greater work capacity and a more rapid recovery.