This is the scenario: a guy, say age 21, becomes serious about gaining muscle. He’s 5′ 10″, 7″ wrists, 9″ ankles, average genetics for muscle size-and-proportioned. He’s played sports, but never done more than an occasional resistance workout. Now, he begins a good training-eating-and-resting program. With his genetics, he has the potential for naturally gaining 45 pounds of lean mass if he stays consistent with progressive training/proper eating for a continuous 3 to 4 years.
But, about three months after beginning his training, he starts taking steroids. He does three steroid cycles in the following 18 months, and includes proper post-cycle therapy. That entire time, he’s continuing to consistently train and eat properly. Before the end of two years, he’s gained 45 pounds of lean mass (which with steroids, by the way, is not necessarily typical but neither improbable). At that point, he permanently quits using steroids, but he does continue properly training and eating for another two years. At the end of four years, he carries the same 45 pounds of lean mass.
It all comes back to the tanning analogy for me. Who is going to be darker: the guy who spends fifteen minutes a week tanning or the guy who spends thirty minutes a week tanning? Assuming all else is equal, the athlete who puts in more work will better. Drugs, in the end, do allow you to do more work and you should take advantage of that fact. Most don’t.
Everyone has a different tolerance for volume. I’m not suggesting you immediately jump into a high volume routine. What I am suggesting is, just like a tan, over time, you have to continually expose yourself for longer and longer times in order to keep making gains. Your natural limit will eventually be defined by what you can realistically recover from. Drugs push that line a lot further down the road.
With that said, I don’t think there is any real difference in how natural and enhanced lifters should train . If you’re autoregulating the volume and intensity for both groups, the issue takes care of itself. Over time, after years of training, you’d notice that the enhanced lifters would, on average, being doing much more volume. That said, there will still be some individuals who do significantly less volume because that is simply what works best for the body.
Regardless, in a majority of cases, the best athletes will be the ones who best tolerate the largest amount of volume. Whether you’re natural or enhanced, your goal should be, eventually, to work up to the highest level of volume you can personally handle. Just like with a tan that is the only way to keep getting darker.
In the end, in my opinion, the only real difference is that enhanced lifters will be able to push themselves much farther than they otherwise would while making better progress in the process. However, the process remains the same for both groups: gradually add volume over time until you simply can’t anymore.
If you’d like to learn more about performance enhancing drugs , again, I won’t hesitate to recommend Llewelyn’s Anabolics which contains more than 800 medical references on the subject. Don’t get broscienced; inform yourself with actual science.