This article is the sole opinion of Nick Trigili. Generation Iron Brands LLC does not condone, support, or advocate any form of illegal drug use.
The Middle East
We’ll start off part two of this series on foreign AAS use with a quick recap of what is being discussed. One of the most integral (like it or not) and incredibly misrepresented component of bodybuilding is Anabolic-Androgenic Steroid (AAS) use. However, it’s not only very narrow-minded but very incorrect to assume that AAS use among bodybuilders in the US is identical to the types of use you see overseas. Just as we covered the massive difference both in mentality and compound choice and cycle methodology in Mexico and much of Latin America, we’ll now be diving into the remarkably similar world of Eastern European and Middle Eastern bodybuilders and their typical approach to AAS use, with Part 2 focusing on my experiences with Middle Eastern bodybuilders and their methodology.
Both Eastern Europe (specifically Russia) and the Middle East (you know who I mean) generally have very liberal, if not nonexistent laws penalizing AAS possession and use. This, naturally, has resulted in a culture in which the big guy in the locker room actually doesn’t mind telling you his stack and even what brands he prefers, without anyone batting an eye. However, this trend is pretty universal in places in which AAS is legal or treated as any other pharmaceutical you can be prescribed as a pharmacy. The most notable differences I observed was the TOTAL absence of the “always use a test base” doctrine most US bodybuilders of the past thirty years have been raised with.
In countries like Kuwait, UAE, and Iran it is extremely common to use EQ as a “base” for cycles. Equipoise is easily available due to its pharmaceutical uses, has relatively mild side effects, and the cumulative effects of long EQ based cycles are far more appreciated than in the US. More bodybuilders in Kuwait, for example, are willing to wait for slow, solid gains and the ability to train harder with EQ’s endurance boosting properties than I’ve seen at home. In the US, it seems like every novice and even some advanced bodybuilders simply have zero patience and want instant results, packing themselves full of dbol and deca to see mass gains (which are really mostly subcutaneous fluid) right away. This sort of “build up to a physique” instead of “make a great physique now” mentality has also led to the greater popularity of long ester compounds, oftentimes for the sake of convenience, and the most common oral steroid I saw in use by men was anavar.
A lot of bodybuilding males in the US would laugh and dismiss anavar as a “girl” steroid. I’m not sure what’s girly about dry gains, low sides, and great effects on overall body composition, but the common use of anavar by even top Iranian Pros (not IFBB, but nonetheless serious monsters and serious competitors) I spoke to has very much changed my views on this oral. It has relatively low hepatotoxicity, not a lot of sides, and in high doses adjusted for male bodybuilders, the pure LBM gains give US dianabol a serious run for its money.
The firsthand experience that you can run EQ as a non-test base or even as a standalone shocked me a bit I must admit, but looking at the results that I saw being hammered out in the gym; it must be working. Having said that, the biggest difference I saw in the Middle Eastern approach to AAS was a willingness to be patient that I wish we saw in more up and coming guys in the US. You don’t need to, and almost certainly won’t, get huge in 12 weeks. Instead, I think we should all take a cue from our cousins in Kuwait, Iran, and Dubai and seriously emphasize patience as coaches and as role models to other bodybuilders back here in the US. Taking your time and using less “hardcore’ compounds but being more consistent and in generally better shape due to lack of sides like appetite loss, the dreaded “test flu”, and a tendency to only look at the numbers climbing on the scale, regardless of whether it’s just water retention, or even worse: fat you gained from your all out “mega cycle”.
If there’s one thing I took away from watching from my Middle Eastern colleagues, it’s this: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and even if it was it would have shitty muscular density (something Middle Eastern bodybuilders have in spades) and an unhealthy attitude towards a sport in which one of the factors most critical to your success is longevity.
Nick Trigili is a respected IFBB Pro bodybuilder and trainer. Check him out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more informative content. Also make sure to visit his official personal training website – World Class Trainers.