For decades, bodybuilding coach Chad Nicholls helped create Mr. Olympia champions. In a Desktop Bodybuilding interview, Nicholls discussed athletes pretending to be natural while taking selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs). In addition, he explained the utility of cortisol blockers and testosterone.
Guru Chad Nicholls shaped the Men’s Open division, having guided several high-profile names to gold. During the late 1990s and 2000s, an unproven Ronnie Coleman connected with Nicholls following the advice of his rival Flex Wheeler. Within a year of their bodybuilding partnership, Coleman won his first Mr. Olympia title in 1998. Under the tutelage of Nicholls, Coleman tied the all-time Sandow record with Lee Haney at eight.
In addition to working with ‘The King,’ Nicholls started training Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay, who went on to secure a pair of Mr. Olympia titles in 2020 and 2021. While Ramy came up short in fifth place last December, he made a quick turnaround at the recent Arnold Classic in fourth.
Taking a rest from contest preparations, Nicholls took part in a candid podcast to discuss the inner workings of a bodybuilding prep, most notably, the use of SARMs, testosterone, and cortisol blockers.
Chad Nicholls Takes Shot at Athletes Using SARMs Claiming Natural, Says Gear Hasn’t Changed Much Era-to-Era
According to Nicholls, athletes who use SARMs and claim natural aren’t ‘really natty.’ He argued that they might as well ‘jump to the dark side’ instead.
“I think the side effects that come with SARMs are relatively close to the side effects of what you would get from the real thing. I think there are a couple things out there as far as cutting agents that could definitely be added to a protocol as far as leanness and conditioning, but if you’re talking you know serious muscle gain and stuff like that, I know a lot of guys like to say they’re on SARMs and still claim natty or whatever, it’s – fuc**ng get real man. If you’re taking SARMs, I don’t care what you’re taking you’re not natty. You might as well make the jump to the dark side there.”
During the 90s, Nicholls shared that the purity of steroids was higher than it is today. He believes the doses haven’t changed much in the last 30 years, however.
“Pretty close. Pretty close. I mean there’s some things that have changed a little bit. Back in the 90s we’re talking about a lot of American pure gear. So, we’re talking about stuff that’s coming directly out of a hospital or a pharmacy versus now we’re talking about stuff that’s not as quite pure, still – those things all factor in, those things all change a little bit.
Purity, amount, how is everything going to be taken, but overall, when you’re talking about how much you’re going to use, it’s pretty close [from the 90s]. There’s always going to be guys that need a little bit more than others and other guys who don’t need very much. I think the key is finding out what is the least amount to get the biggest results right. It’s simple,” Chad Nicholls said.
Nicholls Says Best PED to Grow Muscle With Is Testosterone, Touches on Cortisol Blockers
Nicholls credits testosterone as the best PED for growing muscle in the shortest amount of time. He also said he’s seen athletes find great success micro-dosing testosterone.
“Testosterone. You know, but here’s the thing about testosterone, everybody thinks it’s this and that or whatever, but everybody is a little bit different. I think the key is, I’m big on using testosterone as a base. But you also have to see how your body responds to it, some people respond really really well to a slow Ester, so it could be Cypionate, but based off of how well your body metabolizes that and utilizes it within the system and how your body basically sets a baseline of testosterone; sometimes guys run better with that and a combination of like propionate, because of how it kind of spikes but then the one keeps it a little bit more steady.
Other people because of that spike, doesn’t respond well. The key is finding out where your body really gets the best benefit from the testosterone and which one of those esters or which combination of esters is best for you.”
“I’ve seen some guys make some really good progress over that way [testosterone] because you’re still stable. You’re using less but you’re taking it more often. The body is much more stable, especially if you’re just starting out like if you’re just getting started and stuff because a lot of the ups and downs can throw that body so far out of whack and the progression even slows down based off where you should be just natural.”
Next, Nicholls discussed the utility of cortisol blockers and mentioned some of his athletes currently use them.
“Ornithine, it was a cortisol blocker. It also blocked estrogen too, so it was utilized as – yeah, it would block estrogen a little bit, it would also block cortisol. The crazy thing about, it would basically it didn’t block it completely but what it did was regulated it. So there was never a high level of cortisol spiking in the system.”
“Some guys have access to it right now. I know, I’ve got some guys that have been using it a little bit and stuff. Again, it makes you feel pretty much like shit. You’re tired as fu**. It’s really hard on the stomach so you have to take it with food. Usually, no longer than four to five weeks, 250-milligram capsule usually, most people don’t go over 500.”
Nicholls says the dosages of steroids haven’t changed much since the 1990s, but there are some bodybuilding veterans from that era who disagree. Rich Gaspari recently took aim at Open Bodybuilding by suggesting that athletes are over-depending on drugs rather than quality training and nutrition.
Bodybuilding is a sport that requires dedication, discipline, and hard work. However, some athletes may utilize performance-enhancing drugs such as SARMs, to gain an edge over their competitors. Nicholls’ experience and knowledge can help aspiring bodybuilders make informed decisions about their respective careers.
You can watch the full video below, courtesy of the Desktop Bodybuilding YouTube channel: