#274 – Performance-enhancing drugs and hormones: risks, rewards, and broader implications for the public | Derek: More Plates, More Dates

There's no drug that's purely selective exactly where you want and it's perfect.” —Derek - More Plates More Dates

Read Time 88 minutes

Derek is a fitness educator and the entrepreneur behind More Plates More Dates and an expert in molecules commonly used and misused by bodybuilders and athletes. In this episode the conversation explores various compounds like growth hormone, testosterone, hCG, androgens, SERMs, SARMs, Clomid, estrogen, finasteride, aromatase inhibitors, peptides, and much more. Derek walks through the nuances of how these molecules are used by athletes to gain an edge while also exploring their potential side effects on disease risk, hair loss, fertility, and more. This conversation aims to reveal intricacies and provide insights into whether these compounds are uniformly harmful or if there are broader implications that could benefit the general population.


We discuss:

  • Derek’s interest in weightlifting and experimentation with anabolic steroids at a young age [3:15];
  • Derek’s experience acquiring steroids from underground labs and the potential long-term fertility concerns testosterone early in his bodybuilding career [12:00];
  • The backstory on More Plates, More Dates and Derek’s unique ability to blend scientific knowledge with personal observation [17:00];
  • Growth hormone—from extreme use cases to the more typical—and the misconception that it’s the “elixir of life” [21:30];
  • Growth hormone 101: definition, where it comes from, and the challenges of measuring it [28:45];
  • Does exogenous use of growth hormone compromise one’s ability to make endogenous growth hormone? [40:00];
  • The use of growth hormone in restoration of tissue during periods of healing [42:00];
  • Growth hormone-releasing peptides to increase endogenous GH: various peptides, risks, benefits, and comparison to exogenous growth hormone [48:45];
  • The role of growth hormone in building muscle and burning fat, and its effects on sleep and daytime lethargy [1:02:30];
  • The evolution of drug use in the sport of bodybuilding [1:10:30];
  • What explains the protruding abdomens on some bodybuilders and athletes? [1:20:30];
  • Death of bodybuilders [1:26:00];
  • The complex interplay of hormones, and the conversion of testosterone into metabolites like DHT and estrogen [1:33:45];
  • Post-finasteride syndrome, and how Derek successfully treated his hair loss [1:43:15];
  • Testosterone replacement therapy: compelling use cases, side effects, and optimal dosing schedules [1:57:15];
  • The use of aromatase inhibitors to suppress estrogen, and the misconceptions around estrogen in men [2:16:00];
  • The use of other hormones beyond testosterone for male sex hormone replacement [2:21:00];
  • The history of anabolic compounds, and the differing effects of various anabolic testosterone derivatives and related drugs [2:24:30];
  • Use of SARMs by bodybuilders [2:29:45];
  • Anabolic steroid and testosterone regimen of professional bodybuilders and the downstream consequences [2:36:15];
  • The challenge of accurate hormone testing in the presence of anabolic steroids and supplements [2:44:45];
  • The use of Clomid, hCG, and enclomiphene [2:47:15];
  • Concerns about fertility: comparing the use of testosterone and hCG [3:00:30];
  • The use of BPC-157 peptide for healing injuries [3:12:00]; and
  • More.


Derek’s interest in weightlifting and experimentation with anabolic steroids at a young age [3:15]

When did you get interested in lifting weights and nutrition?  

  • Probably grade 11
  • He was a rail (probably 138 lbs) and a basketball player
  • A lot of his friends were getting into working out, putting on muscle, and he was the last one to get into it
  • A lot of people can relate to being bit by the iron bug
    • Where you get the newbie gaines and the quick progress becomes addicting
  • Then you get on a full blown routine thereafter
  • He was skewed away from sports like basketball because his three-pointer and muscle memory was thrown off when he gained 30 lbs in a matter of months
    • Derek adds, “All of a sudden your mechanics don’t feel exactly the same anymore.
  • As you get into lifting weights, it’s hard to avoid some of the discussion around anabolic steroids, drug use, and bodybuilding
    • How are these insane brontosaurus physiques you see on stage achieved, and what goes into them?
    • You often heard it was some supplement source sold by somebody
  • As Dered dug into it more and started to learn about hormones, pharmacology
    • He had hair loss caused by androgens when he was experimenting with them as a recreational bodybuilder
  • He started to dig heavily into anti-androgens, 5⍺-reductase inhibitors, and he had this weird broad-spectrum pharma knowledge on weird niche stuff, but it was all overlapping with the basis of androgen therapy, synthetic derivatives

Just for a timescale here, are you in college now or still in high school when you developed this level of interest? 

  • His initial interest peaked in 12th grade
  • When he gets interested in something, he completely buries himself in reading whatever he can find
    • Back then it was a lot of underground forums with gym bros going back and forth talking about their experience with fill in the blank compound
      • A lot of it was just anecdotal
      • Not that there’s a lot of good literature anyways
    • He would go on the forums, learn and dig into whatever science he could understand:  conceptualize and get a framework of understanding about how hormones impact physiology, muscle growth potential, genetic variability 
  • In his first and second year of university, he got pretty hardcore into bodybuilding
  • He got up to 260+ lbs at his biggest, and that was when he discovered he had sleep apnea
    • His sleep apnea was severely exacerbated by getting that heavy that quickly
    • This gave him his first taste of side effects and potential downsides of bodybuilding
      • When you’re young (20, 21-years-old), you think you’re invincible and you can just blast compounds 

At 260 lbs, how lean were you, or were you relatively un-lean? 

  • Relatively un-lean

Were you using lots of anabolic steroids or just exogenous testosterone and calling it a day? 

  • A lot by our standards, but by bodybuilder standards not really that much
  • At peak exposure, he probably had a combined weekly dosage of 1500 mg to 2 g 
  • For reference, when a physician prescribes testosterone to a patient for replacement, they’re really only using testosterone (they’re not using nandrolone, oxandrolone)
    • From a dose perspective, Peter has probably never prescribed more than 150 mg a week of testosterone cypionate for physiologic TRT
      • So you’re talking 10, 12, 13x more than what we would consider physiologic level
  • Derek adds, “To conceptualize that, it does not equate to 12 to 13 x the results. That is something you learn pretty quick. There’s a severe diminishing returns as you escalate for sure, and you can even see this in the dose-response studies.” 
  • This was his first taste of side effects, and that led him down the rabbit hole of:
    • Learning about the actual implication of using this stuff
    • Getting diagnosed with sleep apnea, getting a CPAP machine, correcting his sleep apnea
    • Then also realizing that was a bandaid to the problem too, that he probably shouldn’t be 260+ lbs and taking this stuff

At this time, how sophisticated was your understanding of managing the side effects of these hormones? 

  • Peter thinks this is a great into to the story of how he is learning the hard way
  • His degree of sophistication was quite minimal
  • Back then you were told to take X amount of drug; has to be a base of testosterone at this dosage relative to your other synthetic androgens that you’re using alongside it
    • This was based on arbitrary bro rules passed down the grapevine
    • For example, your ration of test to deca must be 2:1 or you’ll get “deca dick” 
  • Nandrolone is a progestin that is derived from testosterone, but it is quite different in how it behaves
    • Interestingly enough, it is the base for some of these synthetic progestins that women use for oral contraception
    • That compound is riddled with certain side effects for people who are prone to more the progesterone receptor interaction 
    • And it has unique effects on cognitive health especially too, and even sleep quality
    • But back then he was told random things that were just passed down the grapevine based on no real science, it was just anecdote:
      • I tried it and this is how I felt, my penis worked or it didn’t work
      • Now it’s working, so this must be the correct way to do it 
  • There were also predetermined dosages of aromatase inhibitors, you have to be on a milligram of Arimidex every day or every other day because you’re on 500 tests or more per week
    • Stuff like that was seen as acceptable and smart ‒ taking preventative health measures by doing things like that is what we thought back then
  • Minor attention was paid to blood pressure
    • If you had a bloody nose in the squat rack, it was probably a sign that you should either lower the D-Bol or think about something
    • There was not much talk about angiotensin receptor blockers or even how to choose a compound more intelligently
    • It was often said, “You must have estrogen side effects or something.” 


Derek’s experience acquiring steroids from underground labs and the potential long-term fertility concerns testosterone early in his bodybuilding career [12:00]

What was your monthly cost of drugs at that point in time? 

  • Anabolics are not that expensive, a vial of tests is $60-70

 Is a vial of testosterone 2,000 mg (2 g)? 

  • Usually underground labs dose it at 250 per mL which is interesting because in pharma it’s in 200 increments
  • If it’s testosterone enanthate or testosterone cypionate, it’s almost always 250

Tell me about underground labs 

{end of show notes preview}

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Derek: More Plates, More Dates

Derek is a Canadian bodybuilder from Vancouver and the host of More Plates More Dates, a podcast, YouTube channel, and website. His YouTube channel has 1.39 subscribers, and he posts new videos almost every day. He uses these platforms to discuss men’s health, diving into the topics of bodybuilding, supplements, fitness, self-improvement, and more. [greatestphysiques.com]

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Website: More Plates, More Dates

YouTube Channel: More Plates More Dates

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    • Completely agree with Chris Boss – Mark Houston for HTN and CVD and Neil for HRT. Regarding the topic presented for this podcast – Eric Serrano is the best source.

  2. I’m traveling from Colorado to Scotland in a few weeks and would love to hear more about your jet lag prevention routine!

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