Figured with the PH ban some of you pill-popping boyscouts would look to peek into the darkside. There's not as much AAS info on this site so this should help.
Of course, this guide is for entertainment purposes only
Injectable steroids don't need to be methylated to survive the first pass effect of the liver, so basically the liver toxicity is negligible. This allows them to be run longer and stacked more aggressively. Shutdown, side effects, and gains occur as with oral steroids, the main difference is that oral steroids have a half-life measured in hours, and injectable steroids are usually esterified to extend their half-life so that it's measured in days (to allow less frequent injects). This means injectable cycles are usually run with more moderate gains over a longer period of time, which improves the keepability of the gains.
Now, any steroid molecule by itself has an extremely short half-life; a product made from pure steroid molecules without esters attached is called a suspension. You may hear of test suspension, tren suspension, and of course winstrol is a suspension (suspensions can be oil-based or water based, water supposedly hurts more). Suspensions should be injected twice a day, though people usually do 1x a day because they're so painful. Because they hit you so fast, and because no mass is lost to an ester, suspensions are much more powerful on a mg/mg basis.
Esters - The overwhelming majority of injectable steroids are esterified, so instead of being alkalated with a methyl group at the 17th carbon position, or left as a suspension, an ester is attached, which serves to extend the half life of the molecule by rendering it inactive until the ester is cleaved off.
An ester's half-life is roughly proportional to the length of the ester! So longer esters result in longer half lives which means it takes a lot more time for the steroid to kick in.
Ester Weights - The longer the ester, the longer the half life, and the higher the mass of the ester. Longer esters mean for every 100mg of steroid you use, less of it is actual steroid molecule and more of it is soon-to-be-worthless esters. So long-estered steroids are less potent, mg/mg, than shorter-estered steroids. I.E. 100mg of test prop is contains more testosterone than 100mg of test cypionate, because more weight is tied up in the larger cypionate ester.
Injection Frequency - Anecdotal evidence points to more frequent injects leading to less sides because of more stable blood levels (I speak of tren ace taken everyday vs. every other day). But some people break the rules, inject test enanthate once a week and it works great for them. Most of the time, short esters like test prop and tren ace are shot everyday or every other day and long esters are shot twice a week -- you could do some of them 1x a week but if you have to inject 4mL of oil you're going to need two injects anyway.
Short Esters Vs. Long Esters - Short esters have a reputation for causing less bloat than long-esters, some people swear this to be the case, some people run both and notice no difference. I haven't been able to find anything scientific to support the idea of longer esters causing more bloat... At any rate it is important to dispel any preconceived notions that shorter esters are for cutting and longer esters are for bulking, it's not that simple.
Sustanon - Sustanon had to be mentioned specifically because it is a blend of testosterone esters, usually it's 30mg propionate, 100mg decanoate, 60mg isocaproate, and 60mg phenylpropionate. The idea is to keep blood levels more stable by having several esters releasing in a cascade from shortest to longest. In practice, it functions more like enanthate, about 4 weeks to kick in. People often say to inject it more frequently because of the propionate in there, but 30mg out of 250mg isn't enough to worry about.
Ester Clearance - because esters take so long to build up, they also take a while to leave, which means even after you stop injecting a long-ester like Test-Cypionate, you're still on cycle for a couple weeks. So usually the PCT is delayed by about 2 weeks following a long-ester cycle. Of course, the exact amount of time will depend on the ester and the dose, if there was something stacked, etc. Starting PCT a little early doesn't hurt... But if you've got steroid molecules actively causing suppression, you cannot recover yet.
I've tried to show everything in this table but keep in mind the half-life numbers are very rough, and the kick-in time is based on my observations and varies based on a number of variables.
This should fill in most of the holes people here have with injectable steroids. Here's the rest
Concentrations - Long-estered steroids are usually available in higher concentrations than short-estered steroids. Test E is usually 250mg/mL, sometimes 300mg/mL, while test prop is usually 100mg/mL. Shorter esters also tend to be more painful than longer esters.
Sometimes you'll see really high concentrations, like testosterone at 400mg/mL (supertest). This is usually facilitated by using a ton of BA (benzyl alcohol), which means that the gear will hurt like a bitch to inject. So this overdosed gear is usually diluted with long-estered gear or with pure sterile oil or injectable B12 to make the injections more bearable.
First Cycle - Testosterone-only is what's recommended. Test enanthate, cypionate, or sustanon, so that you can inject twice a week and run about 500mg a week for 10-12 weeks. I think a good addition is an oral kickstart for the first 4 weeks, as the testosterone isn't doing much for those weeks and this can give you a big headstart with gains and strength to capitalize on for the rest of your cycle.
Injection Technique - Get out your vial of gear, syringe with drawing needle, shooting needle, and alcohol swabs. Wipe the rubber stopper on the vial with an alcohol swab. Take out your sterile syringe with drawing needle (18-20g usually) and draw into it as many mL of air as you plan on injecting. Push this into the vial and expel the air, and then draw the same amount of oil into the syringe. This step is to maintain atmospheric pressure inside your vial.
Next remove the syringe, hold it upright, and draw back on the plunger a little to clear the oil out of the needle. Replace this needle with your shooting needle (23g or 25g), and then still holding it upright of course, push the plunger until all the air is cleared out and there's a drop of oil at the tip.
Use the alcohol swab on the injection site. Bring the needle over the exact spot you want to inject and bring it down so that the droplet of oil at the needletip marks the entrance point (lubrication!), and then push it in. Sometimes a spot just doesn't work out (lol) and you need to find a new spot and try again (technically you should swap needles but no one ever does this). Depth varies, but generally a 1" needle is used and you need to inject into the muscle, NOT the fat. After a successful stab, you pull back on the plunger just enough to see a bubble forming in the bottom of the syringe where it attaches to the needle, you do not need to pull hard, if you are in a vein you'll know, as positive pressure will cause blood to gush into the syringe. Assuming you are not in a vein, go ahead and inject slowly. Remove the needle, wipe up any blood with the alcohol swab, massage the injection site a little, and you're done.
hCG = human chorionic gonadotropin
Because it is not uncommon for injectable cycles to run longer than oral-only cycles the athlete needs to address an additional risk. Once the body shuts down it's own testosterone production via the HPTA, the testicular function will drop significantly and, because this may be over a long period of time, the testicles can atrophy to the point where their long-term ability to function properly is at risk.
The testicles receive their signal to produce testosterone from the pituitary gland via Luteinizing hormone (LH). LH levels will rapidly decline when steroids are taken. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is an LH mimicker, found in particularly high levels in pregnant females to prevent the breakdown of the fetus. For an athlete on steroids, hCG can be taken to stimulate the testes to produce testosterone and to prevent atrophy. For a healthy male with normal testicular function, a dose of 250-500iu 2x/wk is usually sufficient (though everyones sensitivity may vary). hCG should usually be started in the 3rd or 4th week of the cycle (or whenever the body is completely shutdown) and run until just before PCT.
It is a misnomer that hCG should be used during PCT. hCG is suppressive to the body's natural LH level and the HPTA. It will keep the testes functioning normally in the absence of stimuli but when trying to get the body back on its own normal track it is counter-productive.
On a related note, an endocrinologist, Dr. Simeons, theorized that the hCG 'programmed' the hypothalamus to catabolize adipose fat tissue only and not break down lean muscle tissue (essentially the mechanism by which it protects the fetus in pregnant women). He tested his theory by putting obese men on low doses of hCG and a 500 calorie/day diet. The results were incredible. A substantially higher percentage of the weight loss was adipose fat instead of muscle. However, it is important to note the hCG does NOT induce ANY fat loss itself. Rather the hCG spares the muscle tissue during catabolism.
hCG often comes in crystalline form and must be dissolved with anti-bacteriostatic water in a sealed sterile vial and then refrigerated to prevent degradation of the compound. It is usually injected using insulin pins (29gauge) and is usually injected subcutaneously (into the fat layer, using a pinched fat flab on the stomach) although it can also be injected instramuscularly.
*This part on hCG has been contributed by CrazyChemist.*
Injection Volume - You will learn to strike a balance between injection frequency and volume. If your cycle calls for 600mg of test enanthate a week, and yours is 200mg/mL, then you need 3mL a week. You can do a single 3mL injection (not usually recommended, as with most 3mL syringes this means you cannot aspirate), two 1.5mL injections, or three 1mL injections.
Smaller injections cause much less site pain, but then you need to do more of them. Larger injections get the job done faster, but the site will usually be much more sore and for a much longer time, sometimes over a week, although the variability is very high.
Keep in mind that bigger muscle groups can handle larger injection volumes better. If you are doing a big injection of say 2.6mL, it's better off going into a glute than your deltoid.
I feel that if you are using a 3mL syringe, your maximum injection volume is around 2.7-2.8mL, you want to have enough space to move the plunger enough to be sure of your aspiration, fortunately due to the positive pressure of blood in a blood vessel, aspiration does not require that you pull the plunger back very far.
Site Rotation - You have 6 injection points, you have left deltoid, right deltoid, left quad, right quad, left glute, right glute, and you rotate through these however you see fit based on your volumes and frequencies. It is not necessary to involve every injection site. If you are injecting 2mL twice a week, you can put 2mL in your left quad and 2mL in your right quad and there's no need to involve glutes or deltoids... I have done lots of quad-only injecting because it's just way easier to inject there (I have done this even with everyday injects, finding different sites slightly up and down the quadricep). On the other hand, you may find 2mL injections cause too much discomfort and stick to 1mL injections and do four 1mL injections a week, involving only quads and glutes... Or you may bring deltoids into the rotation so that everything is hit less often.
It's up to you of course. I think the same kind of common sense applies here as with lifting weights, i don't work a muscle if it's already sore and I don't inject a site if it's already sore.
Needle Size - The gauge is the diameter of the needle, where smaller numbers mean larger diameters. Typically you'll want something like an 18g to a 21g as your "drawing" needle and either a 23g or a 25g as your "shooting" needle. And if it's not obvious enough after you see that those two ranges don't overlap, then know that you should never shoot with the needle you drew with. The tip is very, very sharp and just the act of poking it through the rubber stopper dulls it. When you inject with a dull needle it hurts more and shreds up your insides a little more.
22g is the largest you would ever want to inject with. Bigger than that will start to get painful...
I personally prefer 23g over 25g, the reason being that with a bigger diameter, you don't need as much pressure to get the oil out. This means with a 23g you don't need to press down on the plunger as hard, or as long, to do your injection, which is very nice when you're doing it awkwardly and one-handed.
For needle lengths, .75" is the minimum size, usually used only by lean guys. 1" needles are pretty standard, and 1.5" needles are recommended for glute injections for everyone carrying some fat on their asses. What size you use doesn't matter a ton, as you could use a 1.5" and only go halfway into a lean site, although this is quite a bit trickier than simply burying a .75" needle. All that really matters with the length is that you get past the fat and into the muscle, and that you aren't stupid enough to jab the needle into a bone or something (lol).
Basically a 1" needle will suffice for everything, and if you are concerned about your ass-fat, burying it all the way in should do the trick, unless your bodyfat is quite high. An inch of fat is a lot.
This guide should help understand what distinguishes injectable steroids from oral steroids, the "prohormones" that are so popular here. The main thing is to understand esters and how they determine half life, injection frequency, ester clearance, the concentrations attainable, etc. To gain a better grasp on injectable steroids and how to plan injectable cycles, you should read about all of them and learn exactly what they do. Learn what side effects they exhibit, and how to counter-act them. Remember that most cycles are usually run over a base of testosterone, this is for it's androgenic power and ability to keep your libido going while other compounds crush your natural testosterone levels.