The Recommendations For The Enhanced Lifters

Christian Thibaudeau

Co-founder of Thibarmy, Trainer

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The Recommendations For The Enhanced Lifters

The Recommendations For The Enhanced Lifters

Talking about natural lifters is super popular but nobody talks to the enhanced lifters. And while enhanced lifters can get away with a lot more when it comes to training and dieting, it doesn’t mean that there is not an optimal way for them to do things.

In this video, I present some training recommendations to enhanced lifters and (more importantly) what to do to try to prevent the potential physiological and psychological issues that they can encounter when they go off-cycle

Let’s get to the video!

In Case Of You Didn’t See The 8 Recommendations For Natural Lifter, I’ll Drop The Link Below 

And Of Course, If You Didn’t See The First One, Please Watch The Video On Natural Vs Enhanced Training; A Full Webinar Explaining The Differences Between Both Types Of Lifters.

The 8 Recommendations For Enhanced Lifter

Recommendation for naturals #1

An enhanced lifter can get away with more training stress, but what is optimal for a natural lifter will work even better for an enhanced lifter.

  • Steroids not only increase recovery capacity and thus allow you to get away with training that would normally be sub-optimal by being excessive, but it also magnifies the gains for a certain stimulus.
  • A training program that is optimal for a natural lifter will thus provide a lot of gains to the enhanced lifter too.
  • Good examples include Fortitude Training by Dr. Scott Stevenson, DC Training by Dante Trudel and the training of Dorian Yates.
  • One of the drawbacks of « going all-in» with volume and overall training stress is that it can make it harder to maintain (or continue gaining) when you go « off ».
  • Ideally, an enhanced lifter would use the safe training philosophy as a natural one, only the « training dosage » would vary.

Recommendation for naturals #2

Start with a “natural” level training stress and titrate up very gradually

  • Just because you are enhanced doesn’t mean that you should go « all-in’ right away.
  • It’s smarter to start with a more conservative training approach and gradually increase training stress depending on how your body is reacting.
  • Again, the same general approach, different training dose.

Recommendation for naturals #3

Don’t let steroids be an excuse for not training properly

*This is not something we see in all or even most steroid users.

1.Not trying to learn more about proper training, because you are already getting enough gains (a lot of bodybuilders are more interested in learning about drugs than proper training or nutrition).

2.Not learning to train hard because they don’t have to. Learning to rely on quantity rather than quality.

3.Not learning what works naturally first.

Recommendation for naturals #4

The longer you are « on  » (and the higher the doses) the more likely you are to lose muscle and hvae psychological side effects and the longe it will take to get back to normal

  • A longer cycle is more likely to lead to a cortisol rebound during the off period.
  • Steroids can directly stimulate the dopaminergic and serotoninergic receptors1
  • These receptors can be made resistant to dopamine and serotonin by being overstimulated by the steroids.
  • When you go « off » if those receptors have been made resistant and you not longer have the strong stimulus from the steroids, you can showcase low dopaminergic and serotoninergic activity leading to a drop in motivation, anhedonia, drop in libido, lower self-esteem, anxiety, depression, etc.
  • The length of the neurotransmitter issues can last up to 5-6 times as long as the « on » period was2
  • Some steroids also lower GABA levels and/or activity (equipoise being the worst) which can lead to anxiety, sleep issues an increase in appetite and less effective glycemic control.


1. De Souza Silva, Mattern, Topic, Buddenberg  & Huston (2009): Dopaminergic and serotonergic activity in neostriatum and nucleus accumbens enhanced by intranasal administration of testosterone. European Neuropsychopharmacology Jan;19(1):53-63.

2. Kailanto, Kankaanpää & Seppälä (2011): Subchronic steroid administration induces long lasting changes in neurochemical and behavioral response to cocaine in rats(link is external). Steroids Nov;76(12):1310-6.

Recommendation for naturals #5

Unless you are a pro, include as much time  « off » as time « on »

As we just saw, the longer you stay « on » the more likely you have long term side-effects:

  1. Psychological addiction (from the very important dopaminergic and serotoninergic stimulation)
  2. Psychological side effects like anxiety, drop in motivation, decreased sexual desires, anhedonia, apathy, drop in self-esteem, etc.
  3. Muscle loss
  4. Cardiovascular and kidney issues are due in large part to the increase in blood pressure and heart rate caused by the increase in adrenergic/adrenaline activity as well as changes in blood lipid profile and cholesterol levels.
  5. The less time you can spend « on » in any given period, the less likely you are to showcase these issues.
  6. Brian Batcheldor’s approach of 2-3 weeks on and 2-3 weeks off
  7. The issues with the « blast and cruise » approach

Recommendation for naturals #6

The last 1-2 weeks of a cycle is when you need to work on lowering cortisol as much as possible. You don’t want high cortisol levels going into your « off » period

  • Lower training stress
  • More « off » days
  • Higher carbohydrate intake
  • Glycine (3-7g) post-workout and in the evening
  • Phosphatidylserine (600-800mg)
  • Magnesium (taurate or glycinate) (2-3x 250-500mg)

Recommendation for naturals #7

The first 3-4 weeks of your « off » period is the worst possible time to try to get leaner (the « if I can’t get bigger, I’ll get ripped » philosophy).

  • The early post-cycle period is all about lowering cortisol to maximize muscle maintenance.
  • Follow the preceding recommendations for the first 3-4 weeks of the post-cycle period.
  • A caloric deficit (especially with lower carbohydrates) will increase cortisol levels.
  • The last thing you want in the post-cycle period is to increase cortisol even more.
  • Pre/Intra workout carbs (and protein/amino acids) are even more important during this period

Recommendation for naturals #8

During your « off » periods you very well may have a lower tolerance to training stress than natural lifters

  • A lot of the muscle lost post-cycle comes from the fear of losing muscle and subsequently doing too much work.
  • It’s the time to focus on lower volume, higher intensiveness, lower overall frequency.
  • Focus on training efficiency: getting the proper stimulus with the lowest workload possible
  • This is where having done a very high workload « on » cycle can hurt you: you could have desensitized your muscles to the training stimulus and it’s hard to stimulate further growth with lower volume work, even if the intensiveness is high.
  • This is why, even when on, you should not do high volume for more than 4 weeks in a row. Include periods of lower volume to stay sensitive to the training stimulus.


For those of you who read and watched the entire free webinar and articles – GREAT JOB MATE!

This was the last video of this micro-series.

In the meantime, if you want more great Thibarmy resources, make sure you download our free guide on “How to Lift for Maximum Hypertrophy”.

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– C