Human Growth Hormone Injections for Bodybuilding: Benefits, Side Effects and Tips

photo of man with muscular body

Updated October 2023

The sport of bodybuilding and strongman competitions started in the late 19th century in Europe but gained huge popularity worldwide in the 1960s with the rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was the symbol of manhood, and men flocked to the gym hoping to achieve Schwarzenegger’s chiselled, muscular physique. But the human body is only capable of so much.

Some people are genetically gifted and can achieve results without the help of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). However, Schwarzenegger admitted to using steroids when competing in bodybuilding competitions, including Mr Universe and Mr Olympia. There has been a lot more research conducted since the 1960s, and without a doubt, the risks of steroids are serious. Schwarzenegger’s former campaign spokesman, Rob Stutzman, has said: “If he knew then what we know now, he wouldn’t have done it.”

This surge of bodybuilding competitions led to the founding of Gold’s Gym across the United States, so men everywhere had a place to pump some iron and build their physiques. The most well-known bodybuilding organisation, the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB), was founded in 1946. There are federations in over 196 countries, and the United Kingdom Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (UKBFF) is the British branch for bodybuilders in the UK.

You may be considering or already taking human growth hormone injections with the belief they are safer. In our research on human growth hormone (HGH, hGH, or GH) for bodybuilding, we found it’s a hot topic. There are many differing opinions on whether the benefits are worth the risks.

Human Growth Hormone Uses

Human growth hormones have been used therapeutically for over 45 years. The FDA has approved the use of human growth hormones for children with idiopathic short stature and adults with AIDs and growth hormone deficiency. Human growth hormones are also used by bodybuilders and athletes as a way for people to prevent or slow down ageing. However, there is very little evidence that human growth hormones reduce signs of ageing, but they may make you feel younger and more energetic.

One indisputable thing is the safest way to use human growth hormone injections is under a medically supervised programme. In our London clinic, we also offer post-cycle therapy drugs to men who take steroids and performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). If you want more information, book a free consultation to speak with one of our men’s health experts.

Human Growth Hormone vs Steroids

We will start by saying that we don’t advocate using any performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). We are just providing information so that you can make educated choices based on medical research.

Steroid use became popular in the 1960s and 70s when the number of bodybuilding competitions and organisations grew. They were legal at the time, and even before Schwarzenegger openly said he used steroids, it was obvious to almost everyone that his size and muscle mass were not achieved naturally. Very quickly, performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) became the norm for bodybuilders and athletes who were trying to push the limits of their bodies.

Since PEDs such as steroids can cause many side effects, human growth hormones seem to offer an alternative way to improve muscle mass and reduce body fat. Human growth hormones and steroids are illegal in the UK for non-medical use and banned in most countries by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), established in 1999. Of course, not everyone in the gym uses steroids or competes in bodybuilding competitions, but if you do use steroids or human growth hormone injections for bodybuilding, athletic, or aesthetic reasons — you are far from alone.

Why Use Human Growth Hormone for Bodybuilding?

One key benefit shown by the research of using human growth hormone injections is an increase in lean muscle mass and a decrease in body fat. So, if you have a hard time putting on muscle or keeping off fat, you may see an improvement after using human growth hormone injections.

There isn’t much evidence that growth hormone alone can improve speed, agility and strength, so many people tend to use them in combination with anabolic steroids. Many who use growth hormone (GH) in combination with steroids say that if they only use GH, they see little improvement. Results will vary, but the overall consensus is that growth hormone is not the miracle some claim it to be.

What Are the Side Effects of Growth Hormones?

When used under medical supervision for a condition, human growth hormone injections can have tremendous benefits. But if you don’t have a growth hormone deficiency or illness that requires GH, you are putting yourself at risk if you use it without medical supervision.

Common side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint problems
  • Nausea
  • Increased insulin resistance
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Swelling in the arms and legs (oedema)
  • Enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia).

Another side effect of using too much GH is acromegaly, a condition that can cause excessive growth of the face, hands and feet. This is why bodybuilders and athletes who use human growth hormone injections regularly cycle it with steroids to try to mitigate the side effects. Talk to a doctor immediately if you are taking human growth hormones and experiencing any of the above symptoms.

There have been no long-term clinical studies of medically supervised GH treatment, so the long-term effects of the treatment are still unknown.

Detailed Guide to Growth Hormone Injections

Injections can be a daunting prospect for some. By preparing yourself mentally, you can eliminate unnecessary anxiety. Here are a few variables to consider before taking GH if you want to avoid any complications and extract maximum value from it. The below is for informational purposes only, and at Harley Street MD, we would never endorse the use of GH without medical supervision.

Proper Storage

Growth hormone injections require proper storage. If you store the cartridges in conditions that are too hot or cold, then you’ll reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. For ideal usage, store your cartridges in a refrigerator at two to five degrees Celsius. Don’t worry; if you happen to leave it out overnight, you’ll still be able to put it back in the fridge and continue use.

Time of Application

GH injections work best when you take them just before bed, preferably about an hour before you lay your head down. Additionally, it’s important to stay consistent with your schedule. For example, if you take your GH at 10 p.m., try to make sure you take it at that time every night.

Other pointers to keep in mind include not making up for missed dosages by overdosing and ensuring that you don’t take the treatment before 5 p.m. unless under special circumstances. If you have any concerns, you can contact us for speedy consultation.

Injection Site

There are eight possible locations where you can inject yourself with GH. It’s recommended you choose four of those possible eight and cycle between them every application. The sites include the backs of each arm, the top or outside of either thigh, the sides of your belly, or the outer portion of your bum.

We recommend you keep a journal documenting which site you injected last and at what time to avoid confusion. It might be beneficial to log when you use a new cartridge so you can keep track of expiration dates and dosages.

Cartridge Usage

If you’ve done a bit of research into GH, you’ll have found that it’s very expensive. To prevent any waste, you must use your cartridges properly. Make sure you use all of your cartridges completely, and if you’re still short of a dose, then you can begin your next cartridge with a second injection.

Then, make sure to dispose of your cartridges and needles properly. You might have been given a container to dispose of your sharp needles. If not, then please make sure to follow your local waste and hazardous materials disposal guidelines.

Diet, Nutrition and Lifestyle with Growth Hormone Injections

Certain lifestyle factors naturally boost GH in us, but we can’t change our genetic makeup at the DNA level (yet). GH helps trigger what lies dormant or underdeveloped in us. Although diet, nutrition and lifestyle alone can only go so far, these three factors are crucial to making the most out of your growth hormone injections.


When it comes to dieting on your GH cycle, there isn’t much to it. In general, you want to follow disciplined principles that would apply to anyone seeking a better dietary plan and lifestyle. Cut out over-processed, high-sugar junk and eat more whole foods packed with nutrients and vitamins.

There’s no need to follow any specific diet plan like keto if you don’t want to. But you’re also free to do so if you wish. Try to eat around 0.7-1 lb of protein per pound of body weight to lean yourself out and become stronger.


You should be getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients from a properly balanced diet. However, some recommended supplements include creatine, omega-3 and magnesium glycinate. You can do some more research to find out what you might be deficient in and make up for it with whole foods or supplements.


Getting enough exercise is crucial to making the most of your GH cycle. No matter your goals, from being a bodybuilder to a leaner, healthier version of yourself, you need to be working out. Understand your exercise goals and find a plan that suits you. However, we recommend training at least three times a week and regularly getting some zone 2 cardio. By following these tips, you’re sure to notice some sizeable differences.

If you think you have a growth hormone deficiency or are considering using human growth hormone injections, book a free, no-obligation consultation with our men’s health experts so that we can help you through the process.

Founder at Harley St M.D.
Dr. Chia Tan is a UK trained medical doctor that specialises in cosmetic and aesthetic medicine and testosterone replacement therapy. He is qualified as a medical doctor since 2003 and has since trained extensively. He has been featured in several leading magazines as well as invited to appear on TV to discuss aesthetic medicine and the latest cosmetic procedures.
Dr. Chia Tan
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