Muscle Sport Magazine


Leigh Penman, MSM’s Resident Steroid Expert, Shares Her Knowledge

By Leigh Penman

Thank you for sending me your questions. I will continue to answer as many of them as I can here on site. I recently received the following question regarding EPO use:

Q: I am a runner, but I think I have poor blood (RBC – 4.6, Hemoglobin -15). I used EPO for 5 days but after each dose I felt tired. My dosage was 10 000i.u/day – a total of 50 000 over 5 days. I have not taken it for ten days now. Could you advise me about my dosage?

A: When using EPO, in order to achieve the best results many athletes use the following protocol:

Week 1 and 2: Inject 4000 units three times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri)
This amounts to a total of 12 000 units per week. This will gradually increase hematocrit levels by 5-10%. After the initial treatment a single 4000-unit injection is taken per week.

When injecting EPO the use of two injection sites is preferred. This translates to 2000 units to the right of the navel, 2000 units to the left of the navel. This technique has been observed to achieve the best results.

In addition to this it is wise to take supplemental iron, vitamin E, folic acid and vitamin B12 on a daily basis when using EPO. These nutrients are essential to the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. Vitamin E also serves as a protective measure when it comes to avoiding potentially life threatening blood clots. Remember also that EPO should always be stored in the refrigerator and removed prior to injecting to allow it to reach room temperature.

Also, since the reference ranges for RBC are 3.80-5.10 mil/ and hemoglobin 11.6-15.2g/dl I would hardly accuse you of having ‘poor blood’.
Side effects from EPO administration include high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, nausea, shortness of breath, diarrhea and an increase in potassium levels. Fatigue could be related to blood pressure. Have your BP checked or buy yourself a BP monitor (a very worthwhile investment). Also – I know you don’t want to hear this – EPO is a potentially life threatening drug. If you are not an elite level athlete you are taking a significant risk with your health.

Q: I am thinking of adding Insulin to my off-season cycle, as I want to increase my appetite. Can you advise me on this?

A: Insulin is a very dangerous drug to mess around with and my first instinct is to tell you to stay away from it. If your appetite is all that is worrying you I would suggest Equipoise and Vitamin B12 shots (both available from Also, anyone who is thinking of using insulin for athletic purposes should be aware that it is so powerful that if it is overdosed a coma can quickly set in. Overdosing can happen pretty easily since several factors can influence the way your body responds to it. Insulin also comes in fast acting and slow acting forms. Using this drug without medical supervision or monitoring for signs of hypoglycemia is extremely dangerous. There have been many cases of bodybuilders going into hypo-glycemic shock when using insulin incorrectly.

Insulin is also a double-edged sword when it comes to weight gain. Increased insulin activity leads to an increase in fat storage as it inhibits the release of stored fat and promotes the production of enzymes that pull fat into the fat cell. So, yes, you will increase your appetite and yes, you will gain weight, but will it not all be lean muscle tissue.

The use of insulin requires education, instruction and medical supervision. To ignore any of these factors is not only fool hardy but also potentially life threatening.

Leigh Penman, in addition to be a staff writer at MuscleSport Mag, has been writing for bodybuilding magazines, websites and nutritional supplement companies since 1985. Whilst residing in the UK, she earned the reputation of being one of the top female writers in bodybuilding-related media. Her credits included being a contributing editor on all the magazines in production as well as filling the shoes of Ladies Editor and Showbiz Editor on two publications (the later being on Arnold’s sanctioned magazine, ‘Bodypower’). During this time she also competed successfully on four occasions (placing in the top four in all contests).

Relocating to New York in the late 1990s she focused her writing attention to crystal healing techniques and metaphysics – however, she still maintained a five day workout schedule during this time and gained her personal training certificate.

Having also studied pharmacology in relation to sports performance, her writing began taking her in that direction until the present day which sees her embarking on a return to the magazine world, as well as extending her web-related work in the bodybuilding and fitness field.

Leigh has been working out for close to thirty years so she is clearly a writer who ‘walks her talk.’
She can be contacted personally at

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