Monday, November 05, 2007

Streoid Diary: Clenbuterol


I'm doing this for research. And vanity, naturally. But remember – research. I'm possibly working on a project which invloves writing about steroid use, but I know nothing about them, and don't want to approach it from a simplistic angle. Plus I'm a vain old bugger, and a curious one too.

So, I do a bit of research and discover Clenbuterol. Clenbuterol is not a steroid, but it's similar (readers with chemistry degrees are banging their heads on desks. Remember, this is not Tomorrow's World). Apparently very popular with gym-mad city mums and whippet gays, it is praised for stripping off fat and increasing muscle tone. Or so a couple of articles say.

So, I decide it's a good place to start, and buy some. It is, naturally, not available in any pharmacy. So I get it off ebay. From a man with a Russian name. It takes 2 minutes, and I've purchased a £20 “Clenbuterol Information Pack” which contains a free course of medication. I feel daring, but bet it never turns up.


Bless ebay! My legally dodgy drugs have turned up. Now it's got a bit serious. Do I take them, or just brag about it?

I sit down and read the information pack. The list of side effects looks interesting. So do the possible benefits. But will it really strip fat from my body and inflate my arms? Or just melt my liver?

The information pack tells me that Clenbuterol was originally marketed as asthma medication, until doctors noticed that their patients were looking remarkably buff. It was swiftly banned in athletics, but curiously, my leaflet tells me that 60% of American athletes promptly registered as asthmatic.

I find a flip side on a US site for ladies health, where their medical expert says that it was popular for increasing perfomance of racehorses, but that any meat contaminated with Clenbuterol is labelled unfit for human consumption. Hey lady, I think, who'd want to eat horse anyway?

So, I start the pills. It's just one 20 mg tablet today. It's apparently important to start the fortnight cycle with a low dosage and then build up.

Dose: 1 tablet
Weight: 73.5 kg
Side effects: None

Hangover. I've drunk a normal amount, and yet my body is not happy. I blame the drugs.

I take 40mgs today, and see what happens. It takes about an hour. One of the ways Clenbuterol works is by raising the body temperature by 1 degree. And suddenly, I'm feeling a bit warm and tingly. Not sweaty, just tingly. Interesting.

The “muscle cramps” have started as well. It's like being stabbed in the arm or leg with a really hot needle, but for less than a fraction of a second. It's a curious feeling. The pain's gone before you get a good chance to complain about it. Hmmn.

Headache comes on after lunch. And gets really bad when I'm at the gym. I take some pills, and it goes away. What persists is an odd feeling of dislocation and unfocus. Like being a bit drunk. I find my sentences are drifting. My appetite is also down. I go to the supermarket, forget why i'm there and come back with clingfilm, toilet cleaner and a tin of ravioli.

Dose: 2 tablets
Side effects: Muscle cramps, headache, warmth

Hungover again. Quite mild, but still unusual. I take 80mgs, and within an hour am feeling a little toasty. By lunctime I've noticed that my hands are shaking. Only very slightly, but still. Thinking about it a little, all of me appears to be quivering gently. Jubble. Jubble. Jubble. Like I'm near a very big speaker, but I can't hear the music.

I have a quick look for other people's experiences of clenbuterol. There's this website forum where people called BabyPhat and Jenefer alternately shout and plead with each other. No one says when you're supposed to wake up and go “wow! I'm as skinny as a rake”. There's a lot of defensiveness. People post to say things like “The only solution to manageable weight loss is diet and exercise. And anyway ephedrine is much safer and easier to get hold of.”

I'm still looking for a hint of what to expect. Clearly some people on there have taken Clenbuterol, and have experienced whacky side effects. But hey, all i'm thinking so far is that it's a chilly day and i'm feeling toasty. It's like i'm wearing a hot water bottle. But not in a bad way.

The online medical Doctor does say that hospitals have reported some horrific reactions to Clenbuterol, which sounds worrying... but actually, this turns out to be in cases where heroin addicts have had their supply cut with it. So I can relax – I may just lose a liver, not my kidneys too.

Things are feeling quite tight. Which might be a breathing thing. Oddly when I go to the gym, it's extraordinarily tough. I do the same exercises at the same weight as normal, but it feels as though I'm tearing muscles apart. This has to be a good thing.

Strange things happen in the evening when I smoke. Quite anxious.

Dose: 4 tablets
Side effects: Trembling, headache


I have a six pack! Fucking hell. After three days? I just nip back and check in the mirror. Ooooh. I mean, it's not actually a proper six pack that you could bounce off, but it's like someone's marked out the foundations. “Put six pack here”. There's space at the top and the bottom, and a neat line down the middle and ooh. I wonder if i'm just kidding myself. And I'd quite like to have a lot of sex, right now. But somehow posting on Gaydar “Hey guys! I woke up with a six pack and would like to use it...” seemed odd. Even by gaydar standards.

Sudden desire to clean the house topless. Or go shopping topless. Or whatever it is that people who live in West Hollywood do. Perhaps I should clean the car shirtless. That's a socially allowable thing. Only I don't own a car. I can't even drive. Perhaps I can hire a car, and clean it. No, wait that sounds weird.

Also, no hangover this morning. And the muscle cramps I'm getting used to.

The hangovers and mild anxiety make sense. When I was on beta blockers briefly last year – I didn't get nervous, but I also didn't get hangovers. Or if I did, they slid in gently over a morning. But then, that's cos Beta Blockers slow down the metabolism. Which explains why I put on 6 kilogrammes on them. So it only seems fair that Clenbuterol gives you a hangover and the jitters. But I'm not employed, so my stress levels are pretty much at zero. Apart from a moment at the self-service checkout in Tesco, but that's only human.

I have now found a few “Clen diaries” online kept by proper body builders. They're a bit helpful, but they're not great reading. Here's a sample entry: “upped dose to 180mcg clen, t4 200mcg. i will start ramping clen dose starting tom. no sides at all. i love this clen! could have gotten to 200 or even 220mcg but dint want to waste the clen."

I'm sticking at 80mgs for today. I don't know if I should go any higher. Men can, clearly, but it already seems to be working well, and I don't want to run out of pills before the end of the cycle.

I'm getting increasingly worried about the quality of information on the internet. Some of it is very good. Some of it isn't. For instance, this looks like a helpful article, but repeats itself halfway through several times, and then ends “Ha Ha” and has a link to how cats carry the plague. WTF, as I believe we say.

Later in the day – I notice my pecs have got bigger. By the evening the six pack has deflated slightly. And, despite drinking loads and loads of water, there's a burning pain when I wee. Clearly cut down on the diaretics, and up the water. So an evening of caffeine free diet coke.

Appetite is really down, but oddly when it returns it's ravenous.

Dose: 4 tablets
Side effects: Trembling, slight headache


Another slight hangover this morning. Take today's dose and the trembling in my hands starts. It's quite severe today, but not serious – I wouldn't darn socks or touch up pics for my gaydar profile, but so far it's been fine for typing, chopping carrots and lego, so we're looking good. Soup's suddenly eating soup with an edge.

Worrying chat with my new dentist. She'd like to give me a filling next week. She asks among other things if I'm taking anything for breathing difficulties or have been prescribed steroids recently. I lie. I wonder if that's a stupid thing. Paranoid, I decide to reschedule the filling until the cycle's over. I don't want to die in a dentist's chair from a vanity pill. It's not going to look good.

Despite noticeably improved chest definition, I still have love handles. So I look like a pear that does sit-ups.

Clenbuterol isn't recommended for people with stressful jobs. Being unemployed I'm fine, but a slight problem with a direct debit sends me into a right state. I can hear my voice trembling when I ring the bank and feel my heart pounding and I think, “clearly, not a drug for racing car drivers”.

Dose: 4 tablets
Side effects: Trembling


I wake up with a burning pain in my chest and difficulty breathing. This is it, I think, the rare “breathing difficulties” that are reported. And then I belch and realise that the burning pain is just indigestion from last night's pizza. Ah well. It's easy to blame every little niggle as a side-effect of the miracle drug.

There's an overall tightening of the stomach. Things are less springy, and my leg muscles seem more defined. I catch myself squeezing bits, like a lady with new breasts. Jubble jubble.

At the gym, I make a hurried attempt to measure my body fat with calipers. It's not a roaring success as I don't know what I'm doing. Seemingly at 37% body fat I'm clinically very obese, if not dead. I'll try and get it properly measured at some point. But do notice that I've lost 200g since last I measured myself.

To put it in perspective, that's not a great drop. When I did a no-alcohol, protein-only diet years ago, I was losing about 4kg a week. The most I've lost this week is a kilo. But it's a week that's included a vast amount of booze and a pizza. So, hey. And no. I've never had 37% body fat.

Dose: 4 tablets
Side effects: Trembling


I don't make it to the gym today. Instead I meet a friend for lunch which goes on till about 10pm. Interestingly, the loss-of-appetite makes an appearance. When I crawl in, I just have a few slices of ham and some tomatoes.

Oddly, cigarette cravings reduced a bit. Hmmmn.

Dose: 4 tablets.
Side effects: Trembling


Business as usual. Take tablets. Feel a warm flush after a quarter of an hour. Then fingers shake a little after half an hour. Hey ho.
Great workout at the gym (how weird it is typing that), with trainer commenting “Your body shape's really changed recently. In that you no longer look like shit.”

After the workout, we're stretching, and trainer John notices my hand playing the Murder She Wrote theme on an invisible piano. “Is that normal?” he asks. I assure him it is. The shaking subsides. “Could be MS,” he tells me. I don't tell him it could also be pony pills.

Appetite again tiny. Odd.

Dose: 4 tablets.
Side effects: Trembling


The impossible happened. Pullups are the hardest exercise to do. You dangle from a bar and lift your own bodyweight. I've never been able to do them, unless helped by a grunting personal trainer assuring me “...uhnf, you're doing all the work... gasp... no, mate, it's really all you... oh god, my back...”. My trainer and I tried them a fortnight ago, and just couldn't.

But today, I was resting in between another exercise, passed the bars and thought “let's just have a go.” All of a sudden, I was going pullups. Bad pullups, but pullups all of my very own. Wow.

Of course, these things have their downside. I get back from the gym, and a nice guy I'm supposed to be meeting texts to postpone. And I send him a vile text back, and then spend half an hour actually quivering with rage. Even my breasts are spasming angrily.

Thinking back over the past few days, when things haven't gone completely my way, I've reacted very badly, very quickly, without a pause for thought. It's like these pills have unleashed my inner twat.

I try and imagine how I'd be coping right now with these pills and a stressful job. And it's not good. It's like putting unfiltered teenage me in charge.

Dose: 4 tablets.
Side effects: Superhuman strength, Behaving like a grumpy arsehole.


As I get out of the shower, the phone's ringing. It's a recruitment consultant. She seems lovely, but clearly hasn't read my CV. The red mist descends and the urge to snap at her and hang up is enormous and scary.

From what I've read, you can “stack” clenbuterol, taking it simultaneously with a steroid. Instead, I'm stacking it with Beechams Kalms.

Searched for the baby steroid Dianabol on Ebay. It recommended a Dinobots T-shirt.

Dose: 4 tablets.
Side effects: Red mist.


Nothing interesting happened today. Kalms have sorted out the mood swings nicely. The abating of side effects echoes the advice that after a fortnight your body starts to counter the chemical.

Dose: 4 tablets.
Side effects: Mild, mild trembling. Like a slightly nervous rabbit.

DAY 12

Managed more pull-ups at the gym. Other than that, getting used to seeing more ribcage. Tomorrow, I start to wind down the cycle.

Dose: 4 tablets.
Side effects: None.

DAY 13

Am going round Habitat with my friend the student nurse. We weigh each other in the bathroom section. I am pleased to notice that I weigh a shade over 70 kgs. While holding a litre bottle of water in my hand.

The nurse gets on to the scales. “Damn. 60 kilos. No matter how hard I try, I just can't put on weight. Ooh, you're scowling at me. You're kind of hot when you do that. For an old fat man.”

Dose: 2 tablets.
Side effects: None really.
Weight: 70.5 Kgs. Ish.

DAY 14

So, what have I learned after a fortnight on drugs that are only really legal if I'm a pony? Clearly, that drugs make you sexier. And behave like a twat.

I've also learnt that next time I try something like this, I should measure it more carefully. The weight loss/increase in muscle tone has been visibly dramatic. Some of that may be down to visiting the gym six times a week. But the drug has definitely helped remarkably. Still got some love handle left, though.

I've lost more weight before over a similar period (either through giving up booze, Atkins, or food poisoning), but this has certainly been quite straightforward and painless. The aggression has really been the only irritating side-effect. Other than that, Clenbuterol has left me lithe and whippety.

So what am I going to do? Yep, a course of drugs that achieves exactly the reverse.

NEXT: Steroids.


Lippy said...

Your research shows a somewhat worrying comitment to the body beautiful. My mad brother ( the one who is the bodyguard for the African president) took steroids for a while. Well lets face it he would wouldn't he. He became enormous and his neck dissapeared completely. Didn't rate it as a look myself. But he did end up married to the hostess (girl not drag queen) from the most popular gay bar in Durban, perhaps I just have the wrong perspective.

Perry Neeham said...

Take a tip from an expert: the only drugs worth taking risks for are those that make you feel good, not look good.

Qenny said...

Sounds like something I could do with, although I'd probably end up divorcing my husband if I had mood swings.

Skip said...

well quite! i like my neck. and am now pretty much happily back to the shape i was before - but have learnt some fascinating stuff about the mood swings and what it feels like to be in a meeting with someone while toying with what their head would look like on a stick.

Shannah said...

The way you describied your clenbuterol experiences had me rolling with laughter! I recently tried it myself and had similar side affects such as the hand shakes but I really didn't connect the mood swings with the drug until you mentioned it in your blog. I DO work a highly stressful job AND I'm a woman who has to endure PMS symptoms once a month as well so I'm sure that isn't the best mix, fortunately there were no casualties at work but I did notice that I snapped a few times, having mini-tantrums over things that probably could have been handled better had I not been ingesting horsey pills on a quest to get back into the jeans I wore in high school! Unlike you, I did not see any hopeful results (besides the 1 lb I dropped in week one, could have been due to eating one biscuit less than normal or something other than the clenbuterol). Anyway, after two weeks, weighed again and was back to my original weight of 160 :-( I am about to attempt the clen/cytomel cycle because I apparently have a gullible side to me that believes there is some miracle weight loss combination out there (other than eat less, move around more). So now I am curious since it is February and a couple months since your clenscapades, whether you are still seeing promising results and I guess to make sure you are still alive and/or not on a liver transplant list. You can email me at - I'd love to hear more about your experiences with weight loss miracle drugs! -Shannah

S said...

Very funny and informative! Chers for the effort. Just started on a two week cycle myself. On day thre and only noticed a kilo weight gain so far; let's hope it's muscle...

Off to read your other escapades.