PART I – YOUR FIRST CYCLE
There seems to be two schools of thought on first cycles:
One camp says juice hard your first cycle (about 1-1.5g/week), primarily test (500-1000mg/w) and then a secondary compound and orals to make up the rest because you will make you best gains on your first so you might as well max it out. My issue with this approach is there is a very high potential for things to go wrong so you need to be really well prepared, well educated about dealing with sides, and you need to trust your ancilliary source (to mitigate side effects).
The other camp says use a moderate amount of test only *500-600mg/w) and use more test/different compounds on successive cycles to continue making gains. Save the Deca, Tren, Masteron, EQ, Winny, HGH, IGF-1, etc, etc that you have heard about to get more out of future cycles…chances are this isn’t going to be the only cycle you run so add them into future cycles one at a time so you know what works best for you and you continue to see big gains in future cycles. They don’t really work better than test, they just work different so you might as well start with just test to see how your body reacts to it…I will go over all the other compounds in the later sections so just forget about them until you understand this one.
I am not sure anymore which camp I am in…I think the more conservative one just because it is an easier learning process and a bit safer but that is not to say it will produce better gains. That would require a lot more research of both protocols head to head.
This is an ideal first cycle for everyone or at least a base to build on:
(NOTE – W X-Y means start of week X to end of week Y)
W 1-10 Test Enth 250mg E3D
W 1-12 Adex 0.25mg EOD (reduce to 0.125mg EOD in last week)
This would be an example of a camp number 2 keep it simple cycle. You don’t really need to get more complicated than this but if you want to below are some typical inclusions for a first cycle…
Optional secondary additions
W 1-4 Dbol 10mg 3x/d if you want an oral kickstart or just a little something extra thrown in mid cycle when your test is kicking in (seems most lately are going with the latter)
W 1-8 Deca 300mg/w if you want some additional bulking help
W 1-8 Tren Enth 150mg E3D if you want additional strength help
W 6-12 Proviron 25mg 2x/d if you want some help with libido
W 1-12 Nolva 20mg/d if gyno symptoms (itchy/tender nipples) start to show
W 1-10 Caber 0.5mg 2x/w if you are having prolactin issues (difficulty getting an erection when on tren or deca)
W 3-10 HCG 250iu 3x/w if you want to prevent your nuts from shrinking and make recovery easier
Post Cycle Therapy starts week 13
It is the same with either approach…you just have to make sure that your gear is cleared from your system before you start PCT (or it won’t work because you will still be getting suppressed from the gear).
PCT Option 1 (SERM PCT)
W 13 Nolva 20mg 2x/d or Clomid 50mg 2x/d
W 14-16 Nolva 20mg/d or Clomid 25mg/d
PCT Option 2 (Test Stasis and Taper)
W 10-12 Off (if your cycle was enth 2 weeks is enough to drop down to normal levels)
W 13-14 Test Enth 40mg E3D (stasis portion to mimic normal hormone levels)
W 15-16 Test Enth 30mg E3D (taper portion)
W 17-18 Test Enth 20mg E3D
W 19-20 Test Enth 10mg E3D
The taper gradually takes your body below normal androgen levels slowly enough that it is able to kick in and compensate. There is a much more detailed explaination of this in the “Test Taper Protocol” sticky thread so I suggest you read that if you are interested in this approach.
Now that you know what to take lets talk about who should cycle and what to eat and train.
You should not cycle Steroids if:
1. You are under the age of 25
The reason is that your natural test is still very high and you are able to make very good gains without gear. There is also a very good likelyhood that you are going to end up messing up your endocrine system because you are still in a period where it is fluctuating. If you are not making good gains you need to look at your training and nutrition.
I personally waited until I was 27 to start taking gear even though I was ready to rock when I was 20 so I know how you feel but you need to trust that with proper diet and training you can make gains naturally. The rare exception is individuals with a lot of training experience in their teens who have already acheived a very high level of physical development (230lbs+) and is already at or near their genetic limit. If you are one of the rare individuals who has already reach a very high level of development through consistent training the absolute earliest you should consider gear is 20.
2. You are over 25 but have been training less than 5 years
If you have not been working your ass off in the gym for at least 5 years naturally with good nutrition you have a lot of natural potential left. It is best to exhaust as much of your natural potential possible before resorting to gear. Gear should be the final piece of the puzzle to your ideal physique. By gearing up too soon you may be short changing yourself.
3. Your diet and training is crap
Gear is not a magical pill. It makes hard work more rewarding, it doesn’t give results for doing nothing. All you will get is some temporary water retention which will be gone when your cycle ends. Diet and training on gear is everything. Period. You should have a very good idea of what you are going to eat (including macronutrient breakdown) and what your training plan is going to be. If you aren’t already eating properly you can make some very good gains by doing so first naturally. If you aren’t already training properly you can make some very good gains naturally…make use of that then think about gear. This site has a wealth of info on both topics. If your training and diet is off you will just waste your money doing a cycle.
4. You are a fat guy looking to get “cut”, “ripped”, or “shredded”
If you are a big fatso and think gear is going to make you slim and jacked it isn’t going to happen. Fatloss comes from proper diet and training. If you can’t cut down without the gear you will have just as much trouble on the gear. If you are looking for something to aid fatloss try a fatburner and then add on muscle once you have cut down.
It will look a lot more impressive and be a lot more successful….again this site has a wealth of info on losing fat…I highly recommend checking out the Velocity Diet that Gus is doing in the Physique Clinic…it shows what proper training and dieting can do. The anabolic diet is great for guys, I suggest checking it out as well because if you are fat you are likely fairly insulin resistant so cutting carbs will likely provide very damatic results. You get to eat a lot and because of what you are eating your natural testosterone will be high.
Cutting steroid cycles are run by vets that already know what they are doing, have diet and nutrition down, and are just looking for the last little tweak to their already lean physique. Once you have achevied that status you can look at cutting cycles.
5. You are emotionally unstable
Gear can mess with your emotions. If you are an unhappy/depressed person that thinks being geared up is going to make your life better chances are you are going to feel good for a little while when on and then when you come off you are going to be lower than when you started and likely downright suicidal.
If you are a livewire that goes off in a rage when you drink, do drugs, or when someone pushes your buttons guess what? Gear is going to make this worse. If you have trouble controlling your anger then gear will make it more difficult. You will likely end up acting like a bit of a maniac and alienate your friends.
If you have answered yes to any of the above 5 questions you are not ready for gear.
Read this. Re-read this. Let it sink in. Then read everything in the Newbie thread stickied right beside this thread if you haven’t already. Then come up with a plan that works best for you based on YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF GEAR. Post it on the board and get feedback once you know that you are serious and have most of the details figured out.
– Long steroid cycles –
(3-9 months or continuous use)
This is an approach often taken by those with a great degree of experience or older users that no longer have a need of their natural test (or who’s natural test is too low to bother with as is the case with Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT).
It is believed that longer cycles will result in more perminent gains because:
1. The body has more time to adapt to the new muscle mass…this point is very debatable but the general idea is that the body has time to adjust the new ‘set point’ of mass.
How it does this is not fully known and may be total speculation…I believe it has to do with satellite cells which will be discussed in more detail later.
2. There is more time during the cycle to build muscle tissue. At some point (which varies from user to user but are generally around the 2-3 month mark with long esters) gains begin to diminish such that eventually little to no further gains are seen and the continued use is simply maintenance of the existing muscle.
However with very long cycles some users are able to make continued gains either through very strict training and diet or the addition of peptides.
Often times brief periods of high doses (blasting) are employed to see continued gains followed by long periods of low to moderate use (cruising). This allows users to break through plateaus that are reached when gains diminish to the point of little to no growth.
The biggest downsides are:
1. Cost is increase with cycle length (obviously)
2. Many side effects become more pronounced over time
3. Shutdown is very severe such that to recover natural test (if coming off at all) is only posible with the use of HCG to stimulate the testes or by tapering with Test to try to allow the users HPTA to return to normal gradually. This is of course not an issue with continuous use because there is no need to recover if not coming off.
Primary Steroid compound
Testosterone Enanthate or Cypionate is usually the only or at least the main compound for long cycles. This is because of:
1. Effects on libido. Synthetic Test is the only compound that is a substitute for natural Testosterone in this regard so it is really the only choice when shutdown is guaranteed if the user (assuming they are male) values their ability to get an erection and desire to have sex.
2. Long half life (reduced injections and more stable levels). The Enanthate and Cyponate ester versions are most commonly used because injection frequency can be reduced to about once every 4-7 days.
3. The even balance of anabolic to androgenic qualities.
Here is a list of possible androgenic and anabolic qualities so you know what this means:
ANDROGENIC (ANDROGEN RECEPTOR MEDIATED EFFECTS)
– increased male charicteristics like agressiveness
– increased sex drive
– increased oil production
– thickened face and body hair
– growth of prostate tissue
– increased adrenalgenic activity
– decreased catabolic activity
– faster recovery/tissue repair
– reducion in fat deposits
ANABOLIC (NON-ANDROGEN RECEPTOR MEDIATED EFFECTS)
– increase muscle mass
– increased immune fuction
– male pattern fat deposits
– reduced body fat
– increased electrolyte retention
– increased hemoglobin and red blood cell count
– increased calcium deposits in bones
– increased nitrogen retention
– increased protein synthesis
– decreased catabolic ration
4. Test works really well. Study after study confirms it. Test adds muscle, burns fat, and does all sorts of great things. It is the king.
Typical doses are in the range of 200-1000mg/week (with HRT users simply looking for better quality of life at the low end and experienced bodybuilders at the high end) wich is the dose for cruising.
The blasting dose is much higher but as previously mention it will be covered in the shot cycle section because that’s really what it is.
The reason for adding secondary anabolic compounds is to:
a) increase the total adrogens in the cycle without increasing the specific sides of test, the primary compound…users will reach a point where their tolerance for the sides from test outweigh the benifits of increasing the test dose, at that point adding other compounds allows the users to take in more total androgens without an equal increase in sides.
b) change the anabolic/androgenic ratio to acheive different goals
c) add unique characteristics to the cycle inherent in certain compounds such as healing of joints, increasing libido, increasing hunger, or increasing blood volume
Secondary steroids that are well suited to longer cycles are:
– Equipoise and Deca due to their long half life, synergies with test, and low adrogenic/estrogenic side effects. Both provide anabolic properties (compared to increasing the dose of Test) such that they yield additional mass/strength gain without adding strong androgenic/estrogenic sides.
– Masteron Enanthate or Primobolan due to their long half life, synergies with Test, hardening effect, and effect on Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) and estrogen conversion. Both povide androgenic properties with no water weight gain or estrogen issues.
1. Equipoise (a 1,2 double bond derivative of Test) is roughly equal to Test in terms of anabolic qualities but with half the androgenic/estrogenic properties and has a side effect of increasing appetite (which aids in bulking) and EPO (thus blood volume giving greater pumps, vascularity, and improved stamina).
The reduction in adrgoenic properties and estrogen conversion reduce the need for ancilliaries when increasing overall doses of AAS. Having an Undecylenate ester it doesn’t need to be injected often to maintain stable levels (about once every 7 days).
Equipoise can be run at levels lower than, equal to, or higher than test in the cycle but most opt for levels about 2/3 to 3/4 that of the test. The one main concern with EQ is blood pressure increases due to increase in blood volume.
From personal experience a dramatic increase in systolic BP was seen which a slight increase in Diastolic BP. Estrogen is still an issue but at half the conversion rate of Test it is only a problem if using very high doses.
2. Deca (a 19Nor derivative of test) is a very anabolic drug with little androgenic/estrogenic qualities and has a side effect of aiding the joints and immune function. This adds mass and strength without the androgenic/estrogenic sides.
This makes Deca mild in terms of hairloss, Benign Prostate Hypertrophy (BHP), blood pressure, lipid levels, and gyno (although 19-Nors are able to elevate prolactin levels which may lead to gyno as well).
Deca converts to Nor-Estrogen which acts much more weakly on the receptors so gyno is less of an issue unless very high doses are used. Nor-Estrogen is believed by many to be the reason for Deca’s ability to aid joint lubrication/health while on.
Deca has also been shown to aid in collegen synthesis and bone density. Deca is commonly used by those who are suffering from previous injury or illness so it makes sense to use it in a long cycle where their will be continuous stress on the joints, bones, and ligaments.
The Decanoate ester produces stable levels even when only shot once a week and because of it’s side effects of improving joint health and immune function it is a great addition to a long cycle where the body will be under prolonged stress.
Deca does have a very dramatic negative effect on libido due to it’s 19-Nor structure (able to activate the progesterone receptor) so dose is typically lower than test at a rate of 1/2 to 2/3 that of the Test and use often restricted to just a portion of the cycle (ending at least 2-3 weeks prior to Test).
Deca is often combined with Winstrol to offset the progesterone receptor effects it has or to counter the prolactin effects it is combined with cabergoline or bromocrptine…newer treatment seems to be Mirapex (Pramipexole) which I’m not that familiar with.
3. Masteron Enanthate (a DHT derivative) binds strongly to the Androgen Receptor. Like other DHT compounds it adds muscle hardness/density and aggression without water retention or estrogen issues.
DHT has a stronger affinity for SHBG and the aromatase enzyme but will not convert to estrogen once bound leaving it inactive. This means it will leave more unbound Test in the system which provides a boost to libido and will also intercept a good deal of the aromatase enzyme before it has a chance to convert Test to estrogen so it actually acts as a weak anti-estrogen.
It also adds lean tissue without any water retention so a user after a lean look will benifit from adding it to the stack. The drawbacks of Masteron are it’s strong androgenic sides – negative effects on hairloss (MPB), hairgrowth on the body, and growth of the prostate (BPH) although many believe the last to be more a culprit of estrogen than DHT. Either way these symptoms may become an issue with long term use.
Typical dose of Masteron Enth in a cycle is 200-600mg/w and needs to be shot at least twice a week to keep levels stable. Many users find the benifits begin to diminish over 400mg/w. From my own experimentation I have found over 300mg/w to give too much tightness in the muscles which negatively impacted performance but all users are different. Generally levels run are equal to or lower than Test.
4. Primobolan is another DHT derivative that is well suited to long term use. It is very similar to Masteron structurally and has similar actions. Because of it’s structural differences it has a few unique twists. It has a lower rate of andrgenic side effects and is generally considered milder on the system in terms of suppression.
It has also shown a positive effect on the immune system. The drawbacks are that doses need to be slightly higher to see good results and the cost is typically extremely high which makes long term use very very expensive.
Typical dosage of Primobolan in a cycle is 300-800mg/w and needs to be shot at least twice a week to keep levels stable. Results in the higher range have shown much better results.
Primo dose can be higher, equal to or lower than that of Test however if a very high dose of Test is combined with a low dose of Primo the effects of the Primo may become hard to notice or become nullified due to binding with SHBG. For this reason many users will opt to use Masteron over Primo in a cycle due to cost.
Ancilliary compounds used are for combating side effects:
1. Estrogen causing gyno or water retention
– Arimidex (AI…~50% reduction)
– Aromasin (AI…~85% reduction)
– Letrozole (strong AI…~98% reduction)
– Clomid (SERM…weakly blocks the E receptor but does a good job of stimulating LH and FSH)
– Nolvadex (SERM…strongly blocks the E receptor and does a good job of stimulating LH and FSH, also has a positive effect on lipid levels)
2. DHT side effects such as hairloss and BPH
– Finasteride/procepia/proscar (DHT conversion blocker…note this just blocks the conversion of test based androgens to DHT by reducing type II 5 alpha reductase enzyme, it will not block injected DHT based steroids)
– Dutasteride/avodart (DHT conversion blocker that blocks the type I and II 5ar enzyme)
3. High blood pressure
– Ace inhibitors
– Beta Blockers
4. Prolactin side effects
– vit B6 (some assistance but weak)
6. Nut Shrinkage
– Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)…this is an artificial way of keeping your nuts up without your body’s natural Folicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) or Leutinizing Hormone (LH) which get shut down from gear.
It is a peptide hormone produced during early pregnancy…it has an effect of stimulating the lydig receptors in your nuts which tell them to grow and produce testosterone. There is a negative feedback in this process and the lydig cells can be downregulated so it’s use needs to be minimal.
These side effects are dependant on the genetic sensitivity of the user and dose of AAS so their use varies.
Anabolic steroid cycles (10-12 Weeks)
As the name Standard Cycle suggests pretty much anyone can employ this strategy and it is often recommend to newer users because the results it gives are very good (note it is the same as the first cycle approach).
The 10-12 week cycle approach can be used for bulking or cutting for both new and experienced depending on compounds, training, and diet. This time period leaves a lot of options for compounds so users have very few restrictions in terms of drugs. Training and diet is covered at length in other places so I will leave that up to you. I will say that training and diet are paramount to attaining your results regardless of what you are running in terms of gear.
1. The 10-12 week period is optimal for muscle gain because this time period is generally the area where gains begin to diminish to the point of little to no gains (with longer acting compounds wich are generally used for 10-12 week cycles) so at this point it is benificial for the user to clear the drugs out of the system and return to normal so that another cycle can be run and more gains can be realized. You are making the most of the gear while you are on cycle and getting off once gains have slowed to the point that it is no longer productive.
The general pattern for recurring cycles is time on being equal to time off to allow the HPTA to recover fully, receptor sensitivity to be restored, and the system to get back to normal.
The big challenge with the 10-12 week strategy is to recover quickly to try to keep a maximal amount of gains from each cycle so that the user is constantly progressing through the years. This approach gives the user 2 cycles a year, if even 5lbs LBM gain can be kept from each cycle it would result in a yearly gain of 10lbs!…that doesn’t seem like much until you realize that if that progress can be maintained you will gain 100lbs over a 10yr period of cycling.
2. As mentioned above the 10-12 week strategy can be used for bulking or cutting and because of the length long or short acting compounds can be used. Slightly different compounds tend to be used for different goals but the time period is suited to many.
3. The use of HCG during the cycle to maintain baseline testicular function now becomes realistic although 10-12 weeks is a fairly long period to use this drug because you are still altering the natural operation of the HPTA and will still have to restore the other natural Leutinizing Hormone (LH) levels once off (you just won’t have to wait until those levels result in normal testicular function again because you have maintained it through the cycle with the use of HCG) so many users opt to use HCG at the end of the cycle or to use a test taper protocol. I won’t argue the pros and cons of each strategy here because it has been argued at length. The user should research each method on their own (through use of the search engine) and come up with a plan.
The biggest downsides are:
1. Cost is still a concern if using high doses and or very expensive AAS and Peptides.
2. Many side effects will have a chance to become pronounced over this period although not as badly as a longer cycle (>3 months).
3. Shutdown is (still) all but guaranteed (when not using HCG during cycle) unless using very mild compounds at very low doses such that to recover natural test is only posible with the use of HCG to stimulate the testes and or a SERM like Nolva and or Clomid to help raise LH, or by tapering with Test to try to allow the users HPTA to return to normal gradually.
Test Prop, Enth, Cyp, or a blend like Sustanon is usually the main or only compound for 10-12 week cycles for the same reasons as it is for long cycles:
1. It works well
2. The anabolic/androgenic ratio is balanced
3. Libido is enhanced
4. The user feels great
The only deviation from this strategy would be if HCG is being used throughout, at this point it becomes realistic to use other compounds as the primary because the user’s natural baseline test levels will be maintained by the HCG. Again this is not such a common strategy with a 10-12 week cycle because of the length of time the HPTA is disrupted.
Typical doses are in the range of 300-2000mg/week (with users simply looking for better gains, recovery, and energy levels at the low end and experienced bodybuilders at the high end). Some users venture into the realm above 2grams a week (although not many) but at this point it is debatable if additional gains vs side effects are worth it and the user is better off adding secondary compounds and or peptides instead.
SECONDARY STEROID COMPOUNDS
Pretty much anything goes in terms of secondary compounds. The most common secondary compounds used in stacks are Dianabol (DBol)(a test based oral derivative), Anadrol (Drol)(a DHT based oral derivative), Equipoise, Deca Durabolin, Trenbolone (Tren)(, Masteron, Primobolan and Winstrol (Winny) depending on the goals of the user:
BULKING – adding size and strength
Deca Nandrolone and Equipoise have already been discussed and have the same use in a 10-12 week cycle as a longer cycle so I will focus on Dianabol and Drol.
1. Dianabol is a test based oral (17 alpha alkalated) derivative that adds a considerable amount of water retention, size, and strength but also blood pressure issues. It converts to estrogen so gyno issues are common when not using a SERM or AI…especially when using high doses or being stacked with Test and other armoatizing compounds.
It’s actions are mostly non-AR mediated (anabolic) and has a strong effect on nitrogen retention and protein synthesis. Dbol is of course hepatoxic because of the 17aa so it’s use is generally restricted to about 6 weeks at a dose of 10-60mg/d (spread through the day) making it an ideal compound for a kickstart or short cycle which will both be discuss later.
2. Drol is a DHT based oral (17aa) derivative that has a different structure than Dianabol but many of the same results so we can treat it similarly. While it shouldn’t convert to estrogen due to its DHT structure it does somehow increase estrogen levels unless an AI is used so you get the same effect in terms of water retention and gyno. Otherwise this drug gives very similar results to DBol and we would use it for the same reasons and in the same manner except in terms of dosing. Typical dose of Drol is about 50-150mg/d (spread through the day).
The use fo Deca, Equipoise, DBol dianabol , and SuperDrol are all typically to add additional water weight, strength, and mass so they are typically used in bulking cycles unless they are being combined with an Aromatase Inhibitor (AI) which will restrict the estrogen/water issues.
LEAN MASS OR CUTTING – strength and muscle hardness
Masteron and Primo have already been discussed and again their use serves the same purpose so I will focus on Tren, Winny, and Proviron.
NOTE with the shorter cycle length it becomes realistic to use the shorter acting version of Masteron (prop) which will be discussed later in the kickstart section.
1. Tren is an injectable 19-Nor derivative that usually comes in either the Acetate or Enanthate ester (there are some new Tri-ester blends but we’ll ignore those for now). Tren has strongly AR mediated effects and is extremely powerful at building mass and strength. It has also been shown to greatly increase IGF-1 levels in the muscle and increase IGF-1 sensitivity. It doesn’t convert to estrogen and there is no water retention issues with Tren.
It is great in terms of protein synthesis but it also has very strong anti-catabolic effects (negating the effects of cortisol), has shown fat burning properties, and has been shown to actually work very well in a calorie reduced state. For these reasons Tren has a reputation of being a drug capable of pretty radical body recomposition and a great drug for cutting.
The big drawbacks for Tren is that like Deca it is extremely supressive and absolutely kills libido. It binds to the progesterone receptors, can decrease thyroid production, and can increase prolactin levels (none of which are good). It also has side effects such as sweating, oily skin, acne, hairloss, BPH, insomnia, lethargy, mood swings, reduced aerobic capacity, and a reputation for being hard on lipid levels.
Some of these side effects can be managed by keeping levels more stable (ED injections with Tren Ace or E3D injections with Enanthate help) but still there is a pretty long list of negatives. Duration of use and or dose should be limited. Typical dose is 37-100mg/d (dose is often 3/4 of the test base or an equal dose up to 100mg/d) although it seems more recent experience of many users is that tren sides are greatly reduced when run with a low dose of test (around 200mg/w test). This makes users less susceptable to gyno issues on tren and also seems to help with insomnia. Users should run tren with at least a low dose of aromatizing steroids to avoid having their estrogen levels crash completely (sometimes HCG or Dbol are used to accomplish this instead of exogenous test). Having your estrogen drop super low will crash your sex drive, give you joint and mood issues, and just generally make you feel like crap. Users should also have access to a prolactin antagonist (bromo, caber, miropex) to deal with potential prolactin issues. Elevated prolactin will crush your sex drive and potentially make you impotent. This seems to be a very personal reaction where some people need it and some people don’t (some people see a very elevated sex drive on tren). personally I do need it so I won’t ever use tren without caber. I would suggest you at least have some on hand in case you do because being unable to get your dick up sucks.
2. Winstrol is a injectable or oral DHT derivative with mostly non-AR mediated effects. It is very powerful in terms of strength increases, protein synthesis, and doesn’t aromatize or increase water retention. It also has a very strong affinity for SHBG so it make a good partner for Test and it is believed to block the progesterone receptors making it a good match for 19-Nors.
It’s negatives are that it is suppressive, is very hepatoxic in the oral form, and will have a negative effect on lipid levels. Though it has been shown to increase collegen synthesis it is generally accepted that it has a negative effect on joints and ligaments.
Typical dose for winny is 25-100mg/d in the oral form or 50-200mg/d EOD for the injectable…note – reason doses are the same is not due to effectiveness. The injectable version is twice as effective as the oral due to the first pass but higher quatities can be used because of the hepatoxicity of the oral version. Because of it’s negative effects on lipid levels it is best to restrict use of winny to short durations. For this reason Masteron is often chosen over winny when running longer cycles.
3. Proviron is an oral DHT derivative and as such fairly androgenic however it isn’t a very strong compound overall (even though it binds to the AR stronger than Test). It does however have a very strong affinity for the aromatase enzyme and SHBG…Being a DHT it does not convert to estrogen so basicaly it helps to free up more Test from becoming bound to SHBG or being converted to estrogen.For this reason it can be used to assist in bulking or cutting and is usefull on long heavy cycles where estrogen and SHBG are of concern. It adds a bit of muscle definition and hardness as well as a fairly notable increase in libido. It has very little effect on LH and FSH levels even at higher doses so it is also realistic to use as part of PCT or as a bridge between cycles.
As for drawbacks it is liver toxic (though fairly mild compared to other compounds like Winstrol) so its use should still be restricted in length but it is not a primary concern. Being a DHT it also has the negative side effects DHT brings like MPB and BPH so users with these concerns may want to pass.
Protocols with DHT vary pretty greatly but generally it is used in the later half of 10-12 week cycles (when SHBG levels have started to rise) and run right through PCT. It is fairly weak as an anti-estrogen so unless the cycle is fairly light (say 500mg/w Test) users are better off with an AI for this purpose. Standard dose is anywhere from 25-150mg/d with most users around 50mg/d.
Masteron, Primo, Tren, Winny, and Proviron all add additional strength without water weight gain so typically they are used during lean mass or cutting cycles where the user wishes to add muscle hardness and avoid bloating however they are by no means restricted to these types of cycles.
Stacking of Steroids
Often times experienced users will stack one or more of the drugs above with the Test base to add 19-Nor and DHT qualities or Class I and Class II properties depending on what theories of androgen stacking they prescribe to. One theory is that stacks of Test, 19-Nor, and DHT based compounds is the most synergistic means of stacking. Another theory is that stacking Class I with Class II (Androgen Receptor (AR) mediated vs non-AR mediated) effects is the most synergistic means of stacking.
One thing we know for sure is that stacking does allow users to increase doses without adding an equivalent level of side effects. This becomes important when running higher levels of androgens or trying to manage side effects because of tolerence of the user or specific genetic issues such as hairloss, blood pressure, etc.
The kickstart of Steroids
The kickstart is the use of fast acting compound(s) (orals or short estered injectables) to begin the cycle. They are used when the base compound(s) are long acting (long estered) such as enanthate, cyponate, decanoate, or Undeclynate where their effects are not felt by the user for a few weeks after use begins.
This allows the user to see/feel immediate results on the cycle during the first few weeks while waiting for the long estered gear to go to work. This period is generally 4-6 weeks.
Best compounds for the kickstart are Dianabol (oral), Superdrol (oral), Winstrol (oral or inj), Masteron (prop inj), Testosterone (prop inj), and in some cases Tren (ace inj) although because it is so suppressive users tend to only use it as part of a kickstart if they are also using Test Prop otherwise shutdown and suppression of libido would occur before the long acting esters have a chance to go to work.
Ancilliary compounds used are the same as those used for very long cycles.
Peptides used are the same as well but their use differs slightly. Because the length of the cycle is only 10-12 weeks then the long term low dose HGH use doesn’t really apply (we are not talking about TRT or life extention people with this approach). Typically with 10-12 week cycles HGH, IGF, and MGF will be added in during the cycle for certain periods to enhance the gains and try to create hyperplasia while androgen levels are very high (make hay while the sun is shining). Peptides also seem to work very well when used as part of PCT because they allow performance enhancement and some anti-catabolic benifits without impact on the HTPA recovery. During PCT the body can enter a very catabolic state when test is low and the body is at a mass level which is perceived as being above normal, even low dose GH (4iu 3x/w) seems to really help to hold onto the gains from the cycle during this time until HTPA recovery is complete.
Many are currently experimenting with different protocols such as combining HGH and IGFduring the cycle on certain days (ex post workout on weight trainin days). So far many users have reported similar or improved gains when using larger quantities HGH with the standard IGF dose EOD (post workout) as opposed to a smaller HGH dose ED. Results have been mixed when using IGF as part of PCT but many have reported that it provides a more gradual return to normal.
Whatever the protocol for the peptides used they become VERY important to experienced users who will be doing a number of 10-12 week cycles because they help attain hyperlpasia (create new muscle fibers) along with the hypertrophy (increase of existing muscle fibers) provided by the gear which will result in more long term gains which can be maintained when off synthetic androgens. They also provide assistance during PCT which allows more mass to be retained between cycles which is critical.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
So what would a sample 10-12 week cycle look like.
W 1-4 DBol 10mg 3x/D
W 1-10 Test Enth 250mg E3D
W 8-12 Proviron 50mg/D
W 12 Nolva 20mg 2x/D
W 13-15 Nolva 20mg/D
W 16-20 Tribulus (optional)
W 1-4 Drol 50mg 3x/D
W 1-12 Test Enth 400mg E3D
W 1-9 Deca 200mg E3D
W 8-12 Winny (oral) 50mg/D
W 1-14 Adex 0.25mg ED (tapered in last 2 weeks to EOD)
W 12-14 HCG 5000iu E5D x2, then 2500iu E5D x2
W 15 Clomid 50mg 3x/D
W 16 Clomid 50mg 2x/D
W 17 Clomid 25mg 2x/D
W 1-10 Test Prop 100mg/D
W 1-10 Mast Prop 50mg/D
W 1-10 Tren Ace 100mg/D
W 1-11 HCG 250iu E3D
W 1-11 Adex 0.5mg/D (tapered in last week to EOD)
W 1-10 HGH 4iu, IGF-1 40mcg (Mon, Wed, Fri post workout), MGF 150mcg (Sat, Sun)
W 12-16 Test Prop 30mg EOD
W 17 Test Prop 20mg EOD
W 18 Test Prop 15mg EOD
W 19 Test Prop 10mg EOD
W 20 Test Prop 5mg EOD
Medium lenght steroid cycles (6-8 Weeks)
Medium length cycles seem to be favoured for 2 reasons.
1. Cutting/lean mass cycles
Used in a cutting cycle the user can attain very good dieting results with the aid of the gear over just 6-8 weeks of hard work.
2. Blast cycles
Used either on their own or as part of a contiuous cycle
blast cycles use very high doses for a short period to minimize the negative effects of the high dose.
Because of the short duration the compounds used for both are often short acting injectables and orals.
1. Optimal Muscle Gain
The 6-8 week period is optimal for muscle gain with shorter esters/orals (remember they kick in after 3-4 days rather than 3-4 weeks so gains start almost immediately)because this time period is generally the area where gains begin to diminish and shutdown becomes more severe so at this point it is benificial for the user to clear the drugs out of the system and return to normal so that another cycle can be run and more gains can be realized. With time on equal to time off the user can fit in about 3 cycles a year.
2. Limiting Duration
Limiting time of the cycle cuts down on the negative sides (BP, gyno, liver tox, etc which become greater risks with extended timelines). The suppression is of course not as bad as a 10-12 week cycle but unless you are using very mild compounds shutdown is still going to occur. In reality this may just mean a little shorter PCT or a little smoother recovery because LH and FSH levels will bounce back a little quicker.
3. HCG during the cycle
The use of HCG during the cycle to maintain baseline testicular function now becomes a very useful tool. Because the use is restricted to only 6-8 weeks LH and FSH should return fairly quickly and as long as HCG doses are kept to physiological levels (say 250iu E3D) then desensitizing of the lydig cells should be minimal. PCT in this case would just consist of a few weeks of Clomid or Nolva starting 3-5 days after the last injection.
1. Limited compound selection
The drawback is you need to get in all the gains you can in only 6-8 weeks. For this reason longer (enth, cyp, deca, undeca) esters don’t make a lot of sense since they are really only kicking in around week 3 or later so this restricts us to (mostly) just short esters.
Unless HCG is used during the cycle shutdown is (still) all but guaranteed unless using very mild compounds at low doses. This means that PCT is still necessary.
Test Prop is usually the main compound for 6-8 week cycles for the below reasons:
1. It works well
2. The anabolic/androgenic ratio is balanced
3. Libido is enhanced
4. The user feels great
5. It can be used for cutting or blasting
6. It is fast acting
The only real drawbacks with Prop are of course the usual Test side effects and the pain (literally) of injections. Test Prop tends to be a more painful injection because of the high BA content and it needs to be shot ED or at least EOD so this is an issue with some users.
Typical prop doses are in the range of 50-300mg/d (with users simply looking for a little help to retain muscle mass while dieting at the low end and experienced bodybuilders at the high end).
The deviations from this strategy would be:
1. if HCG is being used throughout
With this strategy it becomes realistic to use other compounds as the primary because the user’s natural baseline test levels will be maintained by the HCG. This means a stack like Tren and Winny could be used.
2. This is part of a continuous cycle where the user is already running Test Enth or Cyp as the main compound so they would just up the dose for the blast period and add in any secondary compounds.
3. If only mildly suppressive compounds are being used (DBol, Anavar (Var), and Primo are the best options) where endogenous test levels won’t bottom out that hard during the cycle.
– DBol only cycles would be around 20-100mg/d (even up to 100mg/d it only decreases endogenous test to about 40% of normal and doesn’t have a huge impact on LH or FSH) so this actually becomes realistic for a 6 week cycle…a great deal of the gains will be water weight though.
-Var only cycles would be around 40-100mg/d…even less suppressive than DBol (the gains wouldn’t be nearly as impressive as DBol but much drier/more permenant), it also has reported fat burning properties so it would be another good inclusion to simply maintain muscle mass on a strict diet. Perhaps good as well for an athlete looking to add a bit of strength while maintaining a weight class.
– Primo only cycles would be around 350-600mg/w (split into E3D injections)…it’s use during a strict diet would help keep muscle mass and have some other positive effects on health/immune system but would likely cause suppression at the high end dose when it is really starting to provide benifits in terms of strength and lean mass. It would also have to be used for a minimum of 8 weeks and even that is likely a little too short.
Pretty much any oral steroid or short acting injectable out there will work. The most common secondary compounds used in stacks are DBol, Drol, Var, Winny, Nandrolone (NPP only), Tren (Ace only), Mast (prop only), and rarely Primo.
CUTTING or LEAN MASS – adding strength/burning fat
Trenbolone, Masteron, Primobolan, and Winstrol have already been discussed and have the same use in a 6-8 week cycle so I will focus on Var and NPP.
1. Var is a 17 alpha alkalated oral that adds a strength without much water retention or size. There are minimal sides – no estrogen issues, no hairloss, and even minimal suppression of endogenous test. This means no ancilliary compounds needed and possibly not even PCT. It also seems to have added benifits of aiding in healing and fatloss. Though the gains from Var are very small they are very easily maintained as is the fat loss.
It’s actions are mostly non-AR mediated (anabolic) even though it does bind fairly strongly to the AR. Var is of course hepatoxic because of the 17aa but much less so than Dianabol, superdrol, or Winstrol even at higher doses. It’s use should be limited in length but 6-8 weeks should have minimal impact.
A Var only cycle as discuss above would be in the range of 40-100mg/d. This would produce a mildly suppressive cycle. If stacking it with other compounds (where suppression is already a done deal) it could be used in slightly higher doses (60-150mg/d). It would need to be used in the higher range to “feel” it if used with stronger compounds like test prop.
I personally think the best use for is in a mild cycle where suppression is avoided and gains can be easily kept. This will not produce huge results but will keep steady gains coming.
2. NPP is the short estered cousin of Deca and has many of the same actions (so I won’t go into too much detail) but seems to be a bit weaker in all aspects (less mass, less strength, less water, less supression). It is fairly mild in terms of sides and doesn’t hold nearly as much water so it’s use in a cutting cycle is possible and it seems the gains are more easily maintained (but this may just be due to the reduced water retention). It’s generally used as a secondary to Test to add a bit of anabolic properties and aid the joints a bit.
Typical NPP dose would be equal to or less than that of the test dose being run with the average in the range of 50-200mg EOD.
BLASTING – strength and size
DBol and Drol have already been discussed and their use in a 6-8 week cycle is pretty much the same as a kickstart that just lasts a few weeks longer. Otherwise the same drugs as above in the cutting section would be used but the diet and training would be altered to match the goals so I will leave them.
Same guidelines still remain for stacking (AR with non-AR mediated or combo or Test/19Nor/DHT). Due to the shorter length of the cycle the overall dose of the stack can be bumped up a bit but it will largely be based on tolerance of the user.
The big difference would be the fact that orals can be used either alone or stacked through the whole length of the cycle. Stacks of orals become a possibility (such as Drol/Winny) where an oral only cycle can have both a non-AR and AR mediated compound. I still think that injectables are the way to go over orals in a 6-8 week cycle because of hepatoxicity (with the exception of maybe anavar) but out of convenience or because of fear/incompetence with injecting it is an option.
Ancilliary compounds used are the same as those used for 10-12 week cycles. The duration obviously isn’t long enough for the fat loss benifits of HGH so this would probably be run through the year rather than just on cycle. The addition of Clenbuterol and or T3/T4 would possibly be used as well in a more advanced user.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
So what would a sample 6-8 week cycle look like. Again I am not saying anyone should do this just that it would be a common protocol.
W 1-6 DBol 10mg 3x/D or Var 20mg 3x/d
MILD CUTTING CYCLE
W 1-6 Primo 200mg E3D
W 1-6 Winny 25mg/D
W 9-12 Tribulus
ORAL STEROID STACK
W 1-6 Drol 50mg2x/d and Winny 25mg 2x/d
W 7-9 Clomid or Nolva
MODERATE LEAN MASS
W 1-8 Test Prop 100mg EOD
W 1-8 Tren Ace 75mg EOD
W 1-8 Mast Prop 50mg EOD
W 1-9 Adex 0.25mg EOD
W 2-8 HCG 250iu E3D
W 9-12 Nolva or Clomid
W 1-8 Test Cyp 150mg E3D (as during normal TRT or cruise)
W 1-8 Test Prop 200mg ED
W 1-8 NPP 100mg ED
W 1-8 Adex 0.5mg ED
W 9 resume normal TRT or cruise cycle doses
Short steroid cycles (2-3 Weeks)
Shorties seem to be favoured by 2 groups of people.
1. Slow and Steady Gainers
These are people who are already in good shape (not looking for radical body recomposition or huge mass gain) and want to just help facilitate steady gains. They may be people who need to “fly under the radar” for one reason or another or may be quite happy with simply making small steady gains.
By doing a series of 2-3 week cycles with 3-4 weeks off in between steady gains will keep coming, albeit slowly, but steadily. By restricting the cycle to 2-3 weeks the negative health impact is very minimal but most importantly the suppression of endogenous FSH/LH/Test is pretty minimal (unless very high doses or 19Nors are used) so recovery is very fast and gains are maintained.
2. Blitz cycles
This is a strategy sometimes employed by experienced users and isn’t so different from Blast cycles. It is basically 2 weeks of all out high dose androgen use, often accompanied by HGH, IGF-1, Insulin, and T3.
The strategy is to overtrain to the point that you have actually depressed your endogenous test levels and upregulated your androgen receptors, then blast your system with very high dose androgens while lifting like a maniac for a period that is too brief to cause much testicular shutdown but long enough to cause hypertrophy and more importantly hyperplasia. Basically you are shocking your system into a very brief but rapid period of growth which can be built upon after the cycle is over.
The overall design of both is very similar as are the pros and cons.
1. Minimal Shutdown
Because the duration of use is so short there is very little suppression of natural test production. The testes usually only start to shrink after about 2-3 weeks into the cycle so if you clear the androgens at that time there is no waiting period for them to return to normal size. LH and FSH levels bounce back very quickly and in many cases actually have a rebound above normal such that endogenous test levels climb above normal for a few weeks and the user continues to see gains after androgens have been discontinued.
2. Limiting Side Effects
With such a short cycle negative sides don’t have very much time to manifest.
BP may be elevated but for such a short period that it isn’t a big concern.
Gyno may be an issue at higher doses but can be treaded easily with Nolva until the compounds clear.
Liver tox is really only a concern with longer cycles so even very high doses of orals have little impact.
Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) and Benign Prostate Hypertrophy (BPH) are really not a concern unless the undividual is planning to do many 2-3 week cycles per year.
Acne and other skin issues seem to start around 2 weeks in for most individuals as well so the short duration tends to make them less of a factor as well.
3. Gradual Gains
This is important for anyone who needs to keep their androgen use somewhat under wraps. Some people due to their jobs or family situation simply can’t gain 20lbs without a certain risk of having questions asked. 20lbs over the course of a year is a lot different that 20lbs over the course of 6 weeks. If it is noticed it can be attributed to consistent training and diet.
4. Consistent focus
If the user is running a series of short cycles with little to no supression there are smaller swings in weight, mood, strength, diet, and consistency. I think this is one of the biggest strengths of a cycle plan like this. Because there is slow but consistent gains the focus of the individual stays consistent. Consistent training, eating, and living year round. There is no big weight gain but there is also no big comedown where a user may feel depressed and lose motivation for a few months and undo all their accomplishments.
1. Limited compound selection
Short esters and orals are really the only option to actually see any benifit and not continue supressing endogenous test after the 2-3 weeks is up.
2. Limited gains
Gains from only 2-3 weeks are small (1-3lbs) and likely mostly water if they are even moderate (5-15lbs). The fact of the matter is that 2-3 weeks is not that long a time; the user doesn’t have a chance to even get in that many workouts unless they are training twice a day. It may be that the user is simply able to break through a weight plateau they couldn’t have otherwise.
Because 2-3 weeks isn’t long enough to cause serious shutdown (for the mopst part) there are a number of short acting injectable and oral options.
Test Prop is a great choice for 2-3 week cycles for the same reasons as previously stated but in this scenario we are chosing it as the preferred base compound more out of reasons of its effectiveness. It is one of the few compounds that will have much of an effect over that short a period. It is not the only choice though, just a good one.
Typical prop doses are in the range of 75-300mg/d (with users simply looking for continued gains at the low end and blitz cycles at the high end). Because not everyone can tolerate the high end of the scale Prop doses are often restricted to about 200mg/d and stacked with orals or other injectables for Blitz cycles.
Because their duration is limited to only 2-3 weeks high dose orals can be used (Dianabol, Drol, Winstrol, and Var are all fine although Var would probably be much better off being run longer).
Dianabol only cycles would be around 50-100mg/d.
Drol only cycles would be around 100-200mg/d.
Winstrol would be best stacked with either Dianabol or Drol at a dose of about 50-100mg/d.
Var only cycles would be around 60-120mg/d but wouldn’t be good for much besides a bit of a boost in breaking through plateaus.
Short acting injectables that would work best would be Nandrolone (NPP only) and Mast (prop only), and Trenbolone Acetate but only if used with HCG because it can still cause pretty severe shutdown even after only a few weeks.
Typical NPP dose would be equal to or less than that of the test dose being run with the average in the range of 50-100mg ED. It would probably be pretty worthless run on it’s own but would make a fairly good addition to the test. My only worry with it would be Nandrolone’s ability to become re-esterfied in the body which may hurt recovery when doing a short cycle approach.
Mast Prop would be run in the range of about 37-75mg/d. Even at the high end listed many have difficulty with too much tightness in the muscles. It can’t be run in doses high enough to really do that much on its own over just a few weeks but it is a great addition to a short cycle of test to add a bit of strength and hardness.
Tren Ace is a bit of a wild card in a shorty. On the one hand it is probably the most effective drug in terms of short term results and maybe one of the few drugs that really makes sense for this protocol to be truly successful and on the other hand it is about the most suppressive which defeats the purpose of the protocol (avoiding shutdown in the first place). For this reason the use of maintenance dose HCG (250iu 2x/w) is really the only way it will work. The other problem is that most Tren users report fairly strong sides for the first 5 days or so that they are on the drug to the point that sleep and workouts are impaired…if the cycle is only two weeks long you really can’t sacrifice 5 days of gains so it’s use would also have to be restricted to those individuals that tolerate it well.
Stacking is almost a necessity in the short cycle approach because you are working with the upper limits of tolerance for most drugs and stacking lets you increase the overall level of androgens. Same guidelines still remain for stacking (AR with non-AR mediated or combo or Test/19Nor/DHT) although for reasons discussed 19Nors may not be the best approach for some.
Ancilliary compounds used are the same although their use isn’t as big a concern because the duration is so short.
The use of HGH would have to be high dose to really do anything and preferably combined with IGF-1. 2 weeks is a good timeline for IGF-1 alone so it could be run during the cycle or run during the off weeks. Use of Insulin and T3 is a more hardcore approach but effective if you don’t kill yourself or permenantly damage your thyroid.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
So what would a sample 2-3 week cycle look like. Again I am not saying anyone should do this just that it would be a common protocol.
Note – for the off weeks between short cycles Nolvadex or Clomid can be used although FSH/LH levels should rebound pretty quick and will actually jump above normal on their own.
ORAL ONLY (2on, 2off, 2on, 2off, 2on, 4off)
W 1-2 Drol 50mg 3x/D and Winny 25mg 3x/d
W 3-4 off
W 5-6 Drol 50mg 3x/D and Winny 25mg 3x/d
W 7-8 off
W 9-10 Drol 50mg 3x/D and Winny 25mg 3x/d
W 11-14 off
INJ ONLY (3on, 4off, 3on, 4off, 3on, 8off)
W 1-3 Test Prop 75mg/d and NPP 50mg/d
W 4-7 off
W 8-10 Test Prop 75mg/d and NPP 50mg/d
W 11-14 off
W 15-17 Test Prop 75mg/d and NPP 50mg/d
W 18-25 off
NO TEST (2on, 2off, 2on, 2off, 2on, 4off)
W 1-2 Tren Ace 100mg/d, Winny 25mg 3x/d, HGC 250iu 2x/w
W 3-4 off
W 5-6 Tren Ace 100mg/d, Winny 25mg 3x/d, HGC 250iu 2x/w
W 7-8 off
W 9-10 Tren Ace 100mg/d, Winny 25mg 3x/d, HGC 250iu 2x/w
W 11-14 off
BLITZ (2on, 8off)
W 1-2 Test Prop 150mg ED
W 1-2 Tren Ace 100mg ED
W 1-2 DBol 10mg 5x/d
W 1-2 HGH 2iu 4x/d
W 1-2 IGF-1 40mcg Post Workout
W 1-2 Insulin 6iu 2x/d (morning and post workout)
W 1-2 T3 25mcg 2x/d (tapered for another week after)
W 1-2 Letro 2mg ED
W 3-10 off
– Steroid cycle Diet, Supplements, and Training Info –
Another very often asked question is:
“how should I eat and lift when on cycle”
The answer is that your diet and training should be about the same on or off with some minor tweaks. What I mean is that you should already have a good plan in place for diet and training…if not you shouldn’t be doing gear.
I will go over each in more detail below.
Training on steroid cylce
The only differences should be that you can work out longer because you will recover faster between sets, you will be able to lift heavier because of the increased strength, your workouts can be more intense from increased agression, and you can do it more often because of improved recovery. I can easily do 2 a day workouts on gear but my training is pretty similar to my training otherwise, I just condense the timeline and increase the volume.
Instead of working a muscle group once every six days you can now do it once every 3 days. If you were doing full body training 3 times a week you can now do it 6 times a week. Overtraining is a lot harder to do on gear but you need to make sure you are eating and sleeping enough that the gear can do it’s job.
This seems to really help bodybuilding type programs when you are doing a crap load of sets. It will also help a powerlifting program where you are doing heavy compound movements because you will recover better between sets and have more explosive power. Whether you’re doing West Side, German Volume Training, or Full Body, or whatever the important thing is that you really focus in the gym (even the best program sucks if you don’t put your best effort into it). Whatever you are doing it will work as long as you are doing it properly. Add weight, add reps, add sets and you get stronger because that is the body’s only choice. Whatever you do – do it balls to the wall and you will see results.
The only word of caution is to not drop below the 4 rep mark for sets that you can perform with good form. I have heard of many a guy on juice tear a biceps or fuck up a disk or something because he was being a hero and going for 1 rep PRs. There is a strong desire to do so because you are so much stronger you will want to know what your “geared PR” is but resist the urge, it’s masterbation for your ego. The only exception would be if you are a powerlifter or someone that is used to training in the very low rep range all the time (ie your ligaments have adapted to that type of training over a long period of time).
The problem is that your muscles are rapidly getting stronger because of the gear but your ligaments are not…this is especially true with drugs like Deca Durabolin, Trenbolone, and Winstrol that add a lot of strength very fast without giving the body time to adjust. Some drugs will also give a false sense of security because the joints feel great (well lubricated and loose) or actually help repair old injuries (Deca is good for this because of it’s effect on cartilage which was covered earlier) but this doesn’t mean they are indistructable so use your judgement. You will make very good gains sticking to the 4-12 rep range…work with that.
Diet depends on your goals but basically:
1) you can bulk steroids better/cleaner
Your body can make use of more calories on cycle because your body is in a state of accelerated protein sysnthesis and your body on gear will make better use of calories you put in even if they are a little sloppy (nutrient partitioning will be improved such that more cals will go to your muscles).
2) you can diet better
You can also maintain more muscle mass in a fasted state so dieting hard will not have the muscle wasting effect that it normally would.
For bulking or gaining you should be taking in at least 1,000 extra calories a day and upping your protein intake so that you are getting a MINIMUM of 1gm/lb of body weight (many pros recommend upwards of 2gm/lb), that’s a lot of protein but it is needed to really see results. I think eating clean is still a good idea but it is crutial to eat enough to grow. A lot of people who have trouble gaining don’t eat enough. If this is a problem without gear it will be a problem when on the gear. Figure out what you need and make sure you have an idea of what that actually entails in terms of a daily food breakdown. Plan out your meals and see what the total Protein, Fat, and Carb breakdown is. It is often much less than you think it is.
The flip side for dieting is that you can also get away with eating less and not losing muscle mass like you would naturally. This means cutting at least 500cals/d while still maintaining the minimum 1gm/lb of bodyweight for protein. Make sure you are getting healthy fats so that you can absorb all the necessary fat soluble vitamins and if you are restricting carbs make sure you have some in your system while training and right after so that you have energy to train and you are replenishing glycogen stores after.
The same general rules apply for eating – 5-7 small meals throughout the day. Don’t go hungry or go to sleep on an empty stomach. eat slow digesting foods like protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. don’t eat crap (fast food, fried stuff, processed grains, sweets) you can gain weight without this stuff (or very little of it if you are very lean naturally), the guys that say you need to eat like that on gear are usually either taking so much gear that they could eat scrap metal and gain or are big fat guys or both.
Typical “clean foods” are:
– Lean Meats/seafood (chicken, lean beef, bison, venison, moose, horse, shrimp, scallops, tuna, salmon, or any other fish as they are all fairly healthy)…this should make up the bulk of your calories so that protein intake is high enough to get the daily minimum.
– Eggs and Dairy (whole eggs, egg whites, milk, low fat cheeses, yogurt), for those that can tolerate dairy it is a good addition to get some extra protein. Remember that milk and yogurt have a fair amount of carbs so if restricting carbs it will need to be reduced or eliminated.
– Vegetables (especially leafy green ones which are higher in fiber and anti-oxidants), if you are restricting carbs then tomatos, peppers, potatos, and yams should be reduced but otherwise veggies should all be fair game. veggies are fairly filling but low desity calorie wise so if you are having trouble eating enough while bulking it may help to restrict veggies a bit.
– Healthy Fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, natural peanut butter, macadamia nut oil, fish oil, milled flax seeds), the body needs healthy fats to absorb fat soluble vitamins and keep LDL/HDL ratio in check so make sure you are getting some.
– Fruit (pure fruit juices and whole fruits like oranges, berries, bananas, pineapple, etc)…fruits are a great source of anti-oxidents and a good source of carbs. If you are restricting carbs then you need to avoid fruits and definitely avoid fruit juices.
– Whole Grains (oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread), obviously these need to be eliminated if cutting out carbs. Carbs are very anabolic food so they are definitely needed if bulking.
– Beverages (water, geen tea, coffee, diet soda) these are about the only drinks that don’t contain a ton of sugar. The sugar used in drinks is often glucose fructose which is thought by many to be one of the root causes of the obesity/diabetes problem so it goes without saying it should be avoided.
The following supplements are ones that I think are good and work for me. Different ones may work for you so please take everything with a grain of salt.
– Protein Powder – This is about the only way I can manage to get my daily protein requirement in because meat is expensive and it takes longer to digest so eating a few pounds of it a day is tough. obviously it is important to choose a good one so you aren’t just taking in a whole ton or sugar and crap. Biotest’s is good. It’s not the only one I like but it is what I drink most often. Things to look for is: fast and slow digesting proteins, good quality of protein, and fairly low in carbs so you aren’t just getting a glass of sugar.
– Fish Oil – good for a lot of reasons: joints, lipids (LDL/HDL ratio), cardiovasclar health, reduces inflamation, immune function, etc…Omega-3’s are very good for you and fish oil is very high in it.
– Creatine – this is one of the most popular of all time supplements and works well. It’s now considered safe to take year round just make sure you drink lots of water with it.
– BCAAs – I have finally jumped on the BCAA band wagon. I find that I perform a lot better in the gym and on the field with them (I usually take about 10 before training and find my energy level is much better). If it is sparing muscle in the process then that’s great but the number one thing for me is that my workouts are better on it.
You should really already know how to gain or cut naturally before trying to do so on gear because it may take you some time to figure your body out. All the gear will do is make the results better. This site is a wealth of info on bulking and cutting so use the search function and come up with something that works for you and then figure out a cycle that complements it.