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How Fast Do Steroids Get You Big?

How Fast Do Steroids Get You Big?

Anabolic steroids have a reputation for being able to help people pack on muscle incredibly fast. But is this reputation justified? Just how quickly can you realistically expect to get “big” using steroids versus natural training alone? In this post, we’ll break down the timeline.

What Factors Influence Muscle Growth Rate?

There are a few key factors that influence just how quickly your muscles will grow when you start hitting the weights:

Genetics – Some people are simply genetically programmed to build muscle faster. Their bodies ramp up protein synthesis quicker in response to training stimulus.

Diet – Consuming enough protein, carbs, healthy fats, and total calories is crucial for fueling rapid muscle gains.

Training Volume – The number of challenging sets per muscle group will impact hypertrophy response.

More volume speeds growth.

Hormone Levels – Anabolic hormones like testosterone, IGF-1, and growth hormone greatly accelerate the pace of muscle building.

Quality of Training – Utilizing proven strength training principles like progressive overload optimizes the growth from workouts.

Recovery Habits – Supporting the body’s rest and rejuvenation through sleep and proper nutrition helps maintain a positive muscle protein balance.

Expected Rate of Muscle Growth Naturally

Expected Rate of Muscle Growth Naturally

For men who are beginners to weight training and in their 20s, it’s realistic to gain around 20-25 pounds of muscle in the first 12 months of disciplined natural training using progressive overload principles and consuming a hypertrophy-focused diet.

However, the rate of muscle growth will gradually slow as you become more experienced. The more muscle you accrue, the harder further gains become.

Intermediate lifters in their 20s and 30s may expect to gain around half that rate, putting on 10-12 pounds of muscle in a year, or about 1 pound per month.

Some advanced lifters eventually reach a plateau where despite training hard and eating right, they simply cannot add more than 1-2 pounds of muscle per year without pharmaceutical enhancement.

Rapid Muscle Growth Using Anabolic Steroids

Anabolic steroids accelerate muscle growth by enhancing protein synthesis and nitrogen retention in muscle tissue. They allow lifting heavier weights due to strength increases, further spurring growth.

For beginners, around 15-20 pounds of muscle can be gained in 12 weeks on an oral steroid like Anadrol or Dianabol at 50mg daily. More muscle can be gained with additional calories.

Intermediate steroid users often gain 10-15 pounds of mass with 12 weeks of injectables like Deca at 400mg or Testosterone Enanthate at 500mg weekly in a lean bulk.

Even very advanced users who are near their genetic potential can continue putting on 5-10 pounds of mass per 12 week cycle if nutrition and training are dialed in.

These rapid muscle gains do plateau eventually though, and higher steroid doses merely increase side effects. Cycling off steroids for periods helps restore receptivity.

Rapid Muscle Growth Using Anabolic Steroids

Why Steroids Build Muscle So Much Faster

There are a few key reasons why anabolic steroids can help you pack on muscle much faster than training naturally:

Hormone Level Optimization – Supraphysiological androgen levels maximize anabolic signals for growth. Testosterone alone can elevate protein synthesis by up to 30%.

Enhanced Recovery – Less cellular inflammation and damage during workouts. Reduced catabolism between workouts. Faster recovery from microtrauma enables more frequent training.

Increased Training Capacity – More total work can be performed each workout. Users can withstand higher volumes and intensities. Overload is consistently applied.

Nutrient Efficiency – A higher percentage of calories and protein are shuttled toward constructive ends rather than storage. Enhanced ability to operate in an anabolic state.

Myonuclei Addition – Steroids facilitate the addition of myonuclei in muscle cells. More nuclei enable the ability to sustain larger muscle cross-sectional area.

The Downside of Ultra Rapid Muscle Growth

While steroids offer quick muscle gains, there are some downsides to packing on mass at such an accelerated pace:

More Fat Gains – It’s common to gain more body fat as well at fast bulk rates. Getting ultra lean requires cutting cycles.

Increased Strain on Body – Rapid mass gain stresses soft connective tissues. Tendon, joint, and ligament injury risk climbs. Careful cycling is required.

Health Side Effects – The body can struggle to adapt to added mass so quickly. Estrogenic and androgenic side effects also become more prevalent.

Regulatory Scrutiny – Gaining over 15-20 pounds of muscle in several weeks naturally is essentially impossible. Rapid gains raise suspicion.

Muscle Memory Downregulation – The body adapts to stimulated growth rates. Slowing to more normal gains later can be discouraging. Potential psychological dependence on drug use.

The incredible potency of anabolic steroids allows extreme muscular gains in short periods of time. But balance is required to avoid overtaxing the body’s recovery abilities and homeostasis.

Why Steroids Build Muscle So Much Faster


In summary, a disciplined natural trainee can expect to gain 20-25 pounds of muscle in year one, and closer to 10 pounds per year by year three.

With anabolic steroids, 20 pounds or more of mass in 12 weeks is possible for beginners. Even advanced lifters continue gaining 5-10 pounds of muscle per cycle.

However, health risks also climb quickly at supraphysiological doses, and rapid gains are harder to maintain once steroid use ceases. Moderation, diligent cycling, and a long-term perspective reduces harms.


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