So You Decided to Start a Steroid Cycle

Congratulations! Now that you've mastered your dieting skills and achieved your peak physique naturally (that's the only right timing for starting a steroid cycle), you're ready to introduce the first anabolic agent into your bodybuilding routine. Whether it's an injectable steroid or an oral — doesn't matter: here's how to cycle it right and avoid all the beginner's mistakes.

Essential Terms

Primarily, to create an optimal cycle, you need to understand some concepts:

  • Aromatizing steroids – medications that have the ability to be partially converted into estrogen (testosterone, methandrostenolone and methyltestosterone);
  • Non-aromatizing steroids – steroids, which cannot be converted into estrogen, or can be poorly converted (oxandrolone, drostanolone, trenbolone, primobolan, turinabol, boldenone, nandrolone, stanazolol);
  • Steroids with a progestogenic activity (progestins) – possess the ability to bind to the progesterone receptors (nandrolone, trenbolone).

Now — we're ready to start. 

Buld Your Protocol

In simple terms, planing your cycle is not so far from a basic algorhythm. It's a bunch of conditions that you can answer with "yes" or "no" only. With certain answers, specific measures are required. Here's a full list of them, at least for the beginner level:

  • If the cycle includes only non-aromatizing gear, like Anavar, no pharmacological additions to the course are required (no AIs needed);
  • If aromatizing compounds are included in the cycle, such as Testosterone Propionate, it is recommended to add an aromatase inhibitor (Anastrozole, Arimidex or Aromasin) to prevent estrogen gynecomastia and excessive accumulation of water;
  • if you're going to take AIs, it is necessary to control the level of estradiol by doing tests. It should not fall below the normal level for your age;
  • If your cycle consists of progestins, in order to prevent gynecomastia, triggered by prolactin, it is recommended to add a blocker of prolactin (bromocriptine or cabergoline), best taken at night;
  • If you prefer oral steroids, a subsequent testosterone base should be added (primarily Testosterone Enanthate or Propionate) to avoid shutdown and get muscle mass (1)
  • If you want to stack multiple compounds at once, make sure you know how your body reacts to each of them separately, in order to avoid "mysterious" side effects that you — most likely — will not be able to link to the source in the middle of a cycle.

Manage Your Progestines

The combination of these medications depends on what kind of ethers of anabolic steroids are on the course:

  • Bromocriptine (not expensive, but has a lot of side effects), should be taken 2.5 mg per day;
  • Cabergoline (expensive, virtually no side effects), should be taken 0.25 mg every fourth day.

Using a blocker of prolactin is necessary to control the level of prolactin, to prevent its falling below the norm. If the test results show that the level is lower than it must be, then you should either reduce the dosage or the frequency of application.

When You Need Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in Your Cycle

The use of HCG is justified only in long courses (more than 10-12 weeks) to prevent testicular atrophy. It should be noted that the testicular size does not always correlate with the degree of atrophy (2). 

Usually HCG is prescribed at the end of the course (the last 2 weeks course, 250-500ME 3 times per week depending on the degree of atrophy). In case the course is really, really long (more than 20-24 weeks), the introduction of HCG is feasible even in the middle of the course.

Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) is Crucial

It is important not only to properly design a cycle of anabolic steroids, but also to carry out the post cycle therapy in order to restore the function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis. Every course should be followed by the PCT, no matter whether it was oxandrolone solo or the combination of testosterone+deca+methane.

The PCT aims at stimulation of body testosterone production, otherwise the cycle will be followed by weight and libido losses. Every PCT is based on antiestrogen (toremifene, clomiphene, tamoxifen), so, first and foremost, the PCT must contain antiestrogen and atribulus, as well as vitamins and zinc.

  • Nolvadex (Tamoxifen) is strong and cheap, but likely to cause unpleasant side effects;
  • Clomid (Clomiphene) is less effective than tamoxifen, more expensive, but much less toxic.

Starting from the second week of the PCT, one can include tribestan (tribulus terresteris) in a dose of 750mg daily, zinc-containing supplements and vitamins according the prescription. 

Only one PCT compound shall work at a time, not all of them at the same time!

Hepatoprotectors, such as Carsil and others, are not recommended, since they may cause biliary retention. Besides, it is advisable to monitor the liver condition by means of blood tests (in case of liver damage, there are ALT and AST levels increased).

  • If over time after the withdrawal of oral or any 17-alpha alkylated drugs (meaning all oral steroids) the liver condition has not been normalized, Heptral is recommended for intravenous administration. Even though it's extremely rare situation, it's a serious reason to head right to the hospital;
  • If the cycle involved progestin, but you didn’t take cabergoline/bromocriptine for prevention, either of these drugs should be included into the PCT and taken along with antiestrogens.

The beginning of the PCT depends on the kind of AAS esters taken during the cycle. If there were short ones, the PCT should start in a day after the last intake, and if there were long ones – in 1-4 weeks after the last injection, depending on the half-life of the longest AAS.

Important Notes

Here are some more "If"'s and notes that dont fit in other categories but still should be there:

  • If the cycle includes progestin, it is not recommended to take tamoxifen for the PCT, as it increases the amount of the progesterone receptors.
  • Proviron is sometimes used as an androgen in a course of the PCT, when a lack of testosterone causes potency problems. However, one should remember that Proviron (Mesterolone) may suppress gonadoliberin and LH production and impede testosterone secretion recovery.

The use of highly potent drugs should be carried out exceptionally under the doctor’s supervision! Only a medical expert is able to design an optimal and safe cycle, assessing possible risks, individual characteristics and peculiarities of a particular organism.

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