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If you’ve been trying to learn as much as you can about steroid cycles and in particular cycle length, then you’re almost certain to have come across huge amounts of information – not to mention a million different opinions – about what the best cycle length is for any particular goal or type of steroid you’re using.
There’s short and medium cycles, extra long cycles running for several months, as well as cycles that are considered a standard length in the 12 week range. So how can you know which one is right for you?
It’s not just a black and white decision because there are a lot of factors to consider first: Which compounds are you using? What’s your experience level? How well can you handle the side effects? What are your specific goals that you want to achieve from your cycle? That’s just for starters.
You need to learn the pros and cons of each type of steroid cycle length, who is best suited to certain types of cycles and what steroid compounds are best used for short, medium or longer cycles. There’s no one size fits all approach, so what works for the next guy might not be ideal for you at all.
This guide will focus on who and who should not be using certain types of cycles and cycle lengths, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of different cycle scenarios.
Just remember: the most experienced veterans have got where they are through plenty of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to tweak and adjust until you find the cycle length and format that works best for where you’re at now and where you want to be going. My guide has been broken down into the following sections:
Your First Cycle
You’ll find some conflicting opinions about just what is the best way to get into your first ever steroid cycle. And just like with most things steroids, the answer will depend on you as an individual. But there are still two main approaches that are recommended and having it come down to two broad choices allows you to stop procrastinating and actually start putting a cycle plan into action.
One school of thought is to go all out in your first cycle because you know the gains are going to be amazing. This means taking relatively high doses mostly of testosterone and starting at 500mg but potentially rising to 1000mg a week, and also including other compounds like orals. But this approach comes with a big risk for new users, especially when it comes to side effects.
You’ve never used steroids before so diving in hard with big doses puts you at a high risk of things not going well. Unless you have total confidence in being able to control side effects and you know what you’re getting yourself into, this kind of hardcore first cycle is not likely one you’re going to confidently choose to follow.
The second option and one that’s definitely more moderate is to use test in this first cycles at medium doses of about 500mg a week. No need to add any other compounds into this first cycle; instead you’re just evaluating exactly what testosterone will do for you without the influence of other compounds.
Then in future cycles you can add another compound to build upon the gains. While this is the more conservative path to take for a newbie, it’s one that comes with much lower risks. And since it’s only a first cycle it can be thought of as an introduction; you’re going to have a ton more chances in future to experiment with other compounds in more complex cycles.
Which one will produce better gains? It’s easy to think the higher dosed cycle will but if you’re battling serious side effects then your gains will suffer anyway. Any new user will still see substantial gains in a cycle of testosterone only at moderate doses.
Below is a cycle that anyone can use straight up or to use as a base to create your own specific cycle:
- Week 1-10 – 500mg/week Test Enanthate (Cypionate) (250mg/e3d)
- Week 1-12 – 0.25mg/eod Arimidex (reduce it to 0.125mg/eod in week 12)
- Week 1-4 – 30mg/day Dianabol (oral kickstart)
- Week 1-8 – 300mg/week Deca-Durabolin
- Week 1-8 – 300mg/week Trenbolone Enanthate (150mg/e3d)
- Week 6-12 – 50mg/day Proviron
- Week 1-12 – 20mg/day Nolvadex to combat gyno symptoms (itchy/tender nipples)
- Week 1-10 – 0.5mg/e3d Cabergoline (if you are having prolactin issues)
- Week 3-10 – 250iu/eod HCG (prevents your nuts from shrinking and makes recovery easier)
PCT Option 1: SERM for PCT
- Week 13 – 40mg/day Nolvadex
- Week 14-16 – 20mg/day Nolvadex
- Week 13 – 100mg/day Clomid
- Week 14-15 – 50 mg/day Clomid
PCT Option 2: Test Stasis and Taper
- Week 10-12 – Off (if your cycle was Test Enanthate or Cypionate)
- Week 13-14 – 80mg/week (40mg/e3d) Testosterone Enanthate (stasis portion to mimic normal hormone levels)
- Week 15-16 – 60mg/week (30mg/e3d) Testosterone Enanthate (taper portion)
- Week 17-18 – 40mg/week (20mg/e3d) Testosterone Enanthate
- Week 19-20 – 20mg/week (10mg/e3d) Testosterone Enanthate
By slowly reducing the dose you give the body a chance to gradually return to normal function and become less dependent on the compounds.
Editor’s Note: For real, NO-BS information on cycling steroids be sure to check out Straight from the Underground (my recommended underground steroid handbook). Everything in this book is based on first hand experience, not theory.
Consider the Test Taper Protocol:
You can go through a stasis period after the cycle which is like a waiting period and lasts about 4 to 6 weeks. The length of time depends which esters you’ve made use of, with 4 weeks being sufficient for any propionate based compounds, rising to between 4 and 6 weeks for enanthate and cypionate; with a greater benefit being seen closer to 6 weeks. Longer esters like decanoate require the maximum 6 week waiting period.
While in the waiting period of time you should be reducing the dose of aromatase inhibitors as well so that every compound or drug being used except for testosterone is being tapered off.
After the waiting period it’s time to slowly reduce the weekly dose for about 6 weeks until you’re completely off everything. Everyone will have a different choice of ester, with mine being enanthate because I can inject twice weekly. If using other forms like sustanon or propionate you can split the dose into three times weekly.
The beginning of the taper stage is also when you should begin using a SERM if you’ve decided to make use of one, however this is not a critical requirement so comes down to your own needs and preference. Studies either way have found that there’s no suppression of the HPTA when using a SERM with testosterone at low doses, or without using a SERM at low testosterone doses. Therefore tapering can be successful whether you use a SERM or not.
You might choose to include HCG in the cycle which helps retain normal testicular function and size; but HCG also needs to be stopped when the cycle ends and not used at all during the waiting period time.
With a cycle plan consisting of Testosterone enanthate where the dosage is split into two injections weekly:
- Waiting period – week 1-6 or 1-4: Test E 100mg per week (taper off Arimidex by week 3)
- Taper phase – week 1-6 (mg/week): 80mg/60mg/50mg/40mg/30mg/20mg. You can then start using your SERM of choice – either Clomid or Nolvadex – at the beginning of the tapering period.
If using Masteron then 50mg of that compound plus 50mg of Test E weekly. During the waiting period, use Test Prop which you now taper down with while maintaining the ratio at 1:1. Most users will start this phase at 100mg dosage.
For this mix you won’t require a SERM and you will probably find better libido health as well because Masteron encourages DHT which enhances the libido, but acting as an estrogen control. This makes Masteron a compound that really suits this strategy perfectly, perhaps more than any other compound, especially if retaining the libido is important to you.
During your post cycle therapy (PCT) there are some other drugs or supplements you can use to try and boost workouts and retain gains and these won’t impact your HPTA. Some considerations include HGH, Clenbuterol or IGF; you would want to be a confident beginner to give any of these a go.
Knowing what to take, how much and how often is just a small part of your cycle. Deciding what to eat and how to train will make or break your results. But first, let’s look at reasons why you SHOULD NOT cycle. If you fit into any of these categories then consider your decisions very carefully. You shouldn’t run a cycle if:
1. You’re under 25 years old
You still have very high natural testosterone so your ability to gain without using gear is the best it will ever be. If gains aren’t coming on naturally then take a closer look at your diet and training rather than taking up steroids at this young age.
You might feel ready at just 20 years old, but the youngest you should jump into gear is you’re late 20’s; 27 being an ideal target. Unless you’ve trained exceptionally heavily up to this point in your life and have excellent development already, you’re unlikely to have reached the peak of results that you can obtain naturally at this age.
2. You’ve done less than 5 years of training
Even if you’re over 25 years old, unless you’ve done at least 5 years of hard training already with a quality diet then you still haven’t reached your peak potential without using gear. You should get the absolute maximum out of natural training before you then turn to steroids to take yourself beyond these limits.
3. Your training and diet is rubbish
Steroids won’t do anything for you if you’re not going to use them with proper food and workouts. You will get to enjoy the side effects like water retention, but don’t expect any positive benefits. Without good training and diet, you’re just wasting your time and money on gear because those two things are literally everything whether or not you’re on steroids.
4. You’re currently overweight
Fat guys are not going to get ripped or shredded by suddenly starting to use gear. You must lose most of your body fat through common sense dieting and exercise before even contemplating the use of steroids. If you can’t lose that weight without steroids then you have no chance of making any progress while on them.
There’s mountains of information out there that covers anything and everything you need to know about diet and training. Learn as much as you can and find a strategy that is going to work for you then get to work getting yourself down to a decent weight before considering any steroids. Cutting cycles aren’t for fat guys who need a weight loss program. They’re for people already lean who want to eliminate smaller areas of fat to obtain a very chiselled, ripped or hard physique.
5. You have existing emotional issues
It’s well known that steroids can play havoc with moods and emotions. Roid rage is real for some guys, but not all will experience it and not all compounds bring it on as hard as others. If you already know you struggle to contain anger, you’re a top candidate for experiencing problems in this area when using gear and for some guys this is enough to stop them using it at all because steroids will enhance this negative trait; and this impacts not only yourself, but your partner, family, friends and employment.
If any one of the above 5 aspects apply to you, then YOU ARE NOT READY to get into steroids yet.
All of this should be sinking in before you even decide whether to dive into gear. Once you’ve decided to go ahead, then it’s time to devise a good plan that works best for you personally and this needs to be based on all the things you’ve already learnt about gear. Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions and advice from those who know a lot more than you.
Long Cycles (3-9 Months)
This category of cycle length covers anywhere from a 3 month cycle right up to extended cycles lasting around 9 months. This approach is for advanced users who already have a great amount of experience under the belt and are ready to dive into a much more extreme strategy where you’ll be using steroids for considerable periods of time.
Why Do a Long Cycle?
People have different reasons for undertaking long to extra long cycles spanning months. Some think that the gains made will be more permanent because your body is going to be in a heightened state of muscle growth mode and highly anabolic for a long time. There’s no specific evidence that states this is fact however, and mostly comes from anecdotal experiences of long term steroid users.
But perhaps the main reason for a long cycle is the obvious: the body has a longer time to build up muscle with the constant presence of anabolic steroids.
In theory this could mean a constant build up muscle over many months, but in reality all users hit a slow down and eventually a plateau. When this happens differs widely but most users will see noticeable stagnation in gains after three months or less.
So why continue on with a cycle into 4, 5, or even 9 months? Maintenance of gains, rather than continuing to pack on mass is the most common reason to continue on with the cycle over the long term.
Another strategy for a long cycle is for the advanced user and involves blasting and cruising. The early stages of the cycle involve using higher doses than normal – this is the blasting phase and allows a breakthrough of a plateau or stagnation in gains. Once blasting has finished, the cycle continues with more moderate dosing.
Anyone wanting to embark on a long cycle needs to have a specific plan and reason for doing so.
What are the Downsides to Doing Super Long Steroid Cycles?
It’s no shock to realize that the possible disadvantages to longer cycles are going to be at a maximum compared with much shorter cycle lengths where the body is allowed to recover fully with the steroids cleared from the system in between cycles. That won’t be happening when your cycles run for many months continually, so you need to be very prepared for the negative impacts that are almost certain to occur.
There are some users who are exceptions to any rules and some guys can definitely see continued gains during a carefully planned and executed long cycle. But the diet and workout schedule commitment needs to be spot on and some guys will tweak the cycle to include additional compounds like peptides. Again this is an advanced strategy that you’ll only be looking at if you have at least a couple of years experience behind you.
Unless money is no issue then you will be considering the cost of a long cycle and for some guys that factor alone is going to rule it out. While not all compounds are super expensive, the price of supplying months worth of just about any steroid, not to mention if you’re stacking multiple compounds, will quickly add up and can potentially go into the thousands of dollars.
Side effects are another major concern and drawback of doing a long cycle. Put simply any side effects will be more likely to become severe over time, and you’ll need to be on guard for the entire duration of the cycle in trying to mitigate the side effects. Shutdown of testosterone is a serious issue to consider and you’ll need maximum post cycle therapy which includes HCG in order to stimulate testosterone again when the cycle finally ends.
Primary Compounds for Long Cycles
There are very few compound options for a long cycle or a continuous use cycle. Most commonly Testosterone enanthate or Testosterone propionate is used either alone for the entire cycle or at least as the primary compound. There are several reasons why testosterone will be your focus in an extra long cycle:
- It is straight up testosterone so provides a replacement for natural testosterone. Since natural test is going to shut down during a very long cycle, if you want to maintain normal testosterone health such as keeping a libido, you’ll want to stick with synthetic testosterone as the main or only compound.
- Both of these testosterone esters come with a long half life compared with some of the other Test esters out there. This means you’ll be injecting less often, sometimes as little as once per week and usually no more than twice weekly. Additionally it will be easier to maintain optimal levels of the compound compared with shorter acting esters.
- Finally, we know testosterone has an anabolic to androgenic rating of 100 and 100, so you won’t be working with a compound that comes with super high values on either side.
The benefits of this long cycle using testosterone covers all the critical areas including increasing muscle mass through increased protein synthesis and nitrogen retention and maintaining existing muscle while reducing body fat. We know that testosterone just works and works exceptionally well so you can’t go wrong when using this compound in a long or continuous use cycle.
What about dosing? If you’re in the cruising stage of the long cycle, then doses range from anywhere from only 200mg weekly which is used mostly for hormone replacement purposes, up to 1000mg weekly for continued bodybuilding benefits.
Secondary Compounds for Long Cycles
While you can get by with just testosterone in a long cycle, many guys will add an extra compound for several reasons. One of those is to increase the anabolic benefits without increasing the androgenic side effects of Testosterone which comes with increasing the dosage of that compound to higher levels. By adding a secondary compound you get great benefit at a lower dose.
Depending on which compounds you add, your anabolic to androgenic ratio will change and you can tweak this to power up the anabolic rating if desired. Last but not least, other compounds come with additional benefits that can add a great deal to the cycle; in particular steroids which can help with joints and ligaments, increase the appetite or further aid in recovery. So you get different attributes and benefits with the addition of a secondary compound, on top of those that come with testosterone itself.
The next step of course is to select which extra compound you’re going to add to a long cycle. Not all compounds will be suited to a long cycle, but there are some which will add substantial benefits:
- Equipoise or Deca: Both of these have a long half life, work very well alongside testosterone and come with minimal side effects of both androgenic and estrogenic nature. They’ll give you a boost to strength and mass gaining without heavily adding to your side effect load.
- Primobolan or Masteron: Both also comes with a longer half life and give a big boost to hardening the muscles. If you want to encourage gains without water retention then either of these compounds are suitable as they won’t give you estrogenic issues.
Derived from testosterone, Boldenone undecylenate or Equipoise provides a similar anabolic effect to testosterone but with reduced androgenic effects, which means less estrogenic effects. A side effect that is often a positive of Equipoise is the way it can increase the appetite, encouraging more eating for bulking up. It also boosts pumps, stamina and vascularity.
You can get by with a once a week injection of Equipoise and doses when stacked with test in a long cycle usually two thirds to three quarters of your testosterone dosage. A downside of this compound is a possible rise in blood pressure, but most users won’t see much in the way of estrogenic side effects when used at moderate doses.
Deca has low androgenic properties but is powerfully anabolic. It comes with additional unique benefits like boosting immunity, bone density and joint health and these can be some of the main reasons people use it. Deca will aid in strength and mass gains without the worry of estrogenic side effects. It can cause some mild androgenic effects like hair loss but this is considered mild compared to other compounds. Gyno only becomes a concern at high doses.
Deca is a great choice for a long cycle where the body is under stress continually and where this compound will promote ligament, joint and bone health. You can generally inject Deca just once a week and maintain stable levels. Normally Deca will stop being used about three weeks before the end of your cycle, with doses up to two thirds of that of your Testosterone dosage.
Primobolan is a DHT derived steroid that works well when used for a longer cycle, has less suppressive effects compared to many other compounds as well as reduced androgenic effects. But to get good results you’ll want to use a higher dose of this compound and due to the higher cost of Primobolan, it might not be possible for everyone to afford its use long term.
To keep blood levels stabilized you’ll want to take Primobolan twice weekly with the dosage in the range of 300mg to 800mg weekly; keeping in mind that best results will be achieved at the higher end of that range. If using a high dose of testosterone and a low dose of Primobolan you probably wont notice the effects of Primo, so it’s best to at least equal the testosterone dosage, or make the Primobolan dosage a little higher.
4. Masteron Enanthate
Masteron is also based on DHT and is particularly useful for promoting muscle hardness because there’s no water retention or other estrogenic effects. Downsides include stronger androgenic effects like hair loss, acne and prostate growth which are more likely when the compound is used in a long cycle.
A twice weekly injection is ideal for Masteron and doses should be in the range of 200mg weekly up to 600mg weekly. Most users will have no need or benefit to go beyond 400mg because excessive muscle tightness can hamper performance.
You can mitigate and control some side effects of the above steroids by including one or more ancillary compounds in the cycle. These include:
- Estrogen causing gyno or water retention: Arimidex, Aromasin, Letrozole, Clomid, Nolvadex
- DHT side effects such as hair loss and BPH: Finasteride (Procepia/Proscar), Dutasteride (Avodart)
- High blood pressure: Ace inhibitors, Beta Blockers, Diuretics
- Prolactin side effects: Vitamin B6, Cabergoline, Bromocriptine, Mirapex
- Progesterone: Winstrol
- Testicle shrinkage: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Leutinizing Hormone (LH) will be shut down during a long cycle so HCG provide a way to maintain testicle size by stimulating receptors in the testes to produce testosterone. HCG should be used sparingly to avoid side effects which reverse the benefits.
Here is a general guide to using HCG. This covers two different methods – the recommended on cycle low dose of hCG (250iu/e4d), or the option of using HCG only for the last few weeks of the cycle (2500iu/week); but this is only if you didn’t use any hCG in the cycle itself.
When doing the method of hCG on cycle you must stop using it about two weeks before steroids are cleared from the system. This allows a total clearance from the body when PCT starts so natural testosterone production can recover as quick as possible once steroids and hCG are gone and the body is no longer reliant on external compounds. hCG provides a big benefit here of speeding up recovery once you start PCT.
Clenbuterol is a well known effective fat burner that suits pre-contest dieting stages as it has a powerful anti-catabolic property that will help stop muscle loss. Originally designed as an asthma medication in the beta receptor antagonist category of drugs.
Most users will pyramid the dosage but everyone will experience different levels of side effects and dose should be adjusted accordingly, and dose increases done gradually. 100mcg to 120mcg daily is the normal dosage range. A 2 week cycle is the recommended maximum with at least that same length of time in between without Clen being used.
Jitters are a common side effect of Clen, while Albuterol is often preferred due to less negative effects in most people. The dose of that drug usually sits between 15mg and 20mg daily, with multiple doses needed due to its short half life. Good diet and training will still be needed to get the fat loss benefits of Clen or Albuterol.
2. Ephedrine, Caffeine, and Aspirin (ECA)
This is an often used stack that will decrease the appetite and boost fat burning. They need to be cycled because they will start to have a reduced effect after a while.
3. Thyroid Hormone/Hormone precursor (T3/T4)
A synthetic thyroid hormone which directly affects that metabolism which the thyroid controls. This will result in a more efficient use of calories for energy.
This option is not suited to newbies at all and are aimed at much more advanced users; in fact even some of the most advanced bodybuilders won’t go here but those that do will see benefits for fat burning and building muscle thanks to the extra calories being burned away.
T3/T4 works well with Clen to enhance the effects, but you also need to be aware of possible impacts on natural thyroid function and for this reason it should also be used in a pyramid cycle for a short time.
For T3/T4 you’ll want to especially be careful with the down side of the pyramid where you’re tapering off the dose to allow the thyroid to return to normal function.
Insulin is naturally highly anabolic and occurs natural in the body as a critical component in how food is used as energy. Using insulin with anabolic steroids will enhance growth significantly. Most bodybuilders using insulin will take about 10iu daily where it needs to be taken several ties per day, as regularly as possible and with food that contains a good amount of protein and carbs; it’s best taken following training.
Insulin is not something to mess with and plenty can go wrong if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing – therefore insulin is wholly in the category of the most advanced and experienced bodybuilders only and should not be considered by newbies.
Other Growth Peptides
Peptides can be another useful inclusion in long cycles. This includes HGH, IGF-1 and potentially MGF. Long cycles suit these peptides well because they work on satellite cells over long periods and can encourage new cell growth or hyperplasia.
HGH promotes muscle tissue satellite cell activation and boosts IGF-1, also assists with joint cartilage growth, protein synthesis, skin health and the breaking down of fat for energy. These results are often best seen around the 6 month mark. Negative effects of HGH when used at high doses long term is organ and bone growth so this must be avoided.
Bodybuilders will use doses starting as low as 4iu up to 20iu with administration ranging from every day to every three days. Breaking the dose down is an individual preference, with some people experiencing some hand or feet swelling in doses of only 4iu.
HGH can be used either intravenously or intramuscularly. You’ll want to aim for early morning injections, or before training, or after training where growth of damaged muscles can be induced.
IGF-1 increases protein synthesis and muscle tissue satellite cell activation as well as cartilage health. It’s best used after a workout in a dosage range of 20mcg to 200mcg as an intramuscular injection, however doses above 50mcg put you at risk of organ growth so few people will find any need or benefit in exceeding that. Commonly combined with HGH to combat the negative feedback loop for natural HGH production.
Knowledge is still scarce on MGF but what’s known is that it’s a variant of IGF which could encourage growth of muscle cells. MGF can be used with IGF-1 at a dose of between 100mcg and 300mcg weekly, taken just once a week, while IGF-1 is used for the remainder of the week.
Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)
PCT is needed to get your normal testosterone function back on track after suppression. If doing a continuous cycle you won’t be doing PCT but every other cycle requires it. There are two main ways to go about PCT:
- Test Taper: this allows you to get back to normal functioning while keeping external testosterone at a base level, after which you begin dropping it down allowing the body to slowly adjust. As external test starts reducing, natural production increases until it’s functioning at a normal level again.
- HCG/SERM: this uses HCG to increase production, followed by a SERM to boost FSH and LH levels. HCG can be used during the cycle at maintenance doses (about 250iu every 3-4 days). Or it can be used at a higher dose in the last few cycle weeks in multiple shots about 5 days apart, starting at 3000iu on the first shot, down to 1500iu at the end. You then follow up using a SERM for 3 or 4 weeks. This can be Clomid with a tapered dose starting at 200mg on day one, slowly decreasing then reduced to 50mg in the last 2 weeks. Or Nolvadex can be used starting at 80mg on day one, dropped to 40mg for another week, and down to 20mg daily for the final few weeks.
Putting It All Together
Here are some examples of what a TRT and very long cycle could look like. This is basic guide that you can adjust and build on according to your needs.
- Week 1-20 – 200mg/e4d Deca-Durabolin
- Week 1-36 – 500mg/e4d Test Cypionate
- Week 1-36 – 200mg/e4d Masteron Enanthate
- Week 1-39 – 0.5mg/eod Arimidex (tapered in last 2 weeks to 0.25mg/eod)
- Week 1-52 – 4iu/eod HGH, 40mcg/day IGF-1 (post workout)
PCT starts week 37-42 with Test Cypionate at 50mg/twice a week. In week 43 begin dropping each shot by ~5mg until you reach zero.
Standard Cycles (10-12 Weeks)
The most common strategy taken by the majority of steroid users is of course the standard cycle length, and this is measured in the range of 10 to 12 weeks in length.
This format is suitable for almost anyone, and only those on the outer edges of steroid use at either end – either very new and nervous or extremely hardcore and wanting to extend use well outside the square – will find the standard cycle not to their liking. For the rest of us, this is an excellent way to get awesome results while limiting the time on cycle to a point where managing side effects well is doable.
Naturally the specific compounds you’re using are going to determine how you manage a standard cycle, but no matter what you’re using if your diet and training isn’t carefully planned and executed for the entire duration of the cycle, then your results will be disappointing no matter how powerful your chosen compounds might be.
Benefits of Standard Cycles
You can use a standard cycle length for any goal including bulking and cutting no matter what your experience level is.
Users bulking up will find the 12 week mark an optimal time to end the cycle because it’s usually around that point where gains can decline and stop altogether, making it inefficient to continue. It’s best to clear out all compounds, take a break then run another cycle later for more gains.
This type of recurring cycle plan requires sufficient off cycle time in between – usually this should be at least equal to the cycle length so full recovery can take place. But you’ll need to be able to maintain your gains between cycles too as you’ll only be doing two cycles annually of this length.
Another benefit is the cycle length allows the use of both short and long acting compounds so your choice of compounds is larger compared with shorter length cycles.
Lastly, this cycle length makes it realistic to use HCG during the cycle to help maintain normal testicular function; however most users will prefer to add HCG only for the last few weeks of the cycle as 12 weeks is generally considered too long.
Downsides of Standard Cycles
The main cons of this length cycle is cost if you’re using expensive steroids, as well as the fact side effects have more time to develop and progress. As expected, you will experience shutdown with most compounds when you don’t use HCG on cycle so you’ll need to have a PCT plan ready to implement.
Primary Compounds for Standard Cycles
The most common primary compounds are simply a testosterone ester (mostly Enth, Cyp or Prop), or Sustanon. These just work very well for a 10-12 week cycle and provide a balanced androgenic and anabolic ratio, while providing a positive boost to well-being and the libido.
Users who choose to add HCG can use different primary compounds as natural testosterone levels are then managed by HCG. This strategy is generally more suited to longer cycles though rather than the standard 10-12 week.
Test doses can start at 300mg weekly right up to 2000mg weekly for maximum gains at the high end. Increasing the dose beyond this point rarely provides benefits versus the more severe side effects. Instead of excessive test doses, users should consider a secondary compound or peptides.
Almost anything can be used as a secondary compound here as a stack. Most popular are the favored steroids including Dianabol, Anadrol, Equipoise, Deca-Durabolin, Trenbolone, Winstrol and Masteron, just to name a few and your choice will mostly depend on personal goals.
Secondary Bulking Compounds
Here you want to add strength and size. The previously discussed Deca and EQ are both useful for this purpose, as well as Dianabol (DBol) and Anadrol.
DBol is derived from testosterone and is an oral steroid. It comes with some significant gyno and water retention issues, but has great benefits for size and strength gains. With the water retention comes potential blood pressure increases.
DBol’s powerful protein synthesis and nitrogen retention effects are what make it appealing despite the side effects. Being a 17aa oral steroid it comes with liver toxicity risks so most users will want to use it for no more than 6 weeks in the cycle with doses starting at 10mg daily up to 60mg daily.
Anadrol is also a 17aa oral steroid which gives similar results to DBol. It is based on DHT though so doesn’t convert to estrogen. Despite this it can still cause some level of estrogen increase through other mechanisms, so can still produce gyno and water retention. When it comes to benefits, it is very similar to DBol and you’ll use Anadrol at doses starting at 50mg daily up to 150mg daily, with doses split throughout the day.
These are all excellent bulking cycle options as the add strength and mass, but users should be prepared for water retention to occur and therefore plan to combine these compounds with an aromatase inhibitor (AI) drug.
Secondary Compounds for Lean Mass or Cutting
For strength and muscle hardness we can look at several compounds including the already mentioned Primobolan and Masteron, but also Trenbolone, Winstrol and Proviron. Just make sure you use the short acting Masteron prop ester in a cycle of this length.
A 19-Nor injectable, Tren is a very powerful mass and strength builder. It can increase IGF levels and sensitivity plus boost protein synthesis. You won’t have water retention with Tren either because there’s no estrogen conversion. Acetate and enanthate are the two common esters of Tren.
Tren has shown to have fat burning effects as well as being anti-catabolic so it helps retain muscle. It’s super for cutting and general body recomposition but comes with downsides including being highly suppressive and known as a libido killer. It can bring about drastic mood changes and insomnia as well as androgenic effects like acne and hair loss. Therefore most users like to use Tren for limited periods of time to reduce side effect severity.
Additionally, because of possible issues with prolactin being elevated which can eliminate the libido, a prolactin antagonist is often recommended to be used with Tren to help maintain the sex drive. A typical Tren dose ranges up to 100mg daily.
Winstrol or Winny comes in both injection or oral form and is a DHT derived steroid. It has powerful protein synthesis and strength boosting effects and comes with the benefit of no water retention. It works well with testosterone, but users should be aware the oral form is quite hepatotoxic.
When used as an injection, Winstrol is taken at a dose of between 50mg and 200mg daily every two days while the oral form is used at 25mg-100mg daily. Expect a higher effectiveness from the injectable form and doesn’t come with the risk to the liver.
A DHT derived oral steroid that is a relatively weak compound compared with others, but you’ll find it is able to help free up testosterone because it doesn’t convert to estrogen since it’s based on DHT. Proviron therefore is useful for both cutting and bulking and for cycles where you’re using steroids that have higher estrogenic properties. Proviron can increase muscle hardness, but the downsides include liver toxicity risks and possible benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Users will use protocols with DHT in highly variable ways but mostly it’s used in the second half of a standard cycle length as well as continuing through PCT. Dosage usually sits around 50mg daily but can range anywhere from just 25mg daily up to 150mg.
Proviron, Masteron, Trenbolone, Winstrol and Primobolan can all boost strength and do so without water weight which makes them especially useful for cutting cycles where bloating is to be avoided and muscle hardness encouraged
Experienced users will often stack multiples of the above drugs with the testosterone base to additional qualities like DHT and 19-Nor. This is based on the potential high synergy of DHT, 19-Nor and Test.
In any case it’s well known that stacking allows the use of higher doses without necessarily adding the same increase to the side effect profile. This is especially so when using higher doses of steroids or where you want to focus on combating specific side effects that you’re more predisposed to individually, like high blood pressure or male pattern baldness.
This is where you use compounds that are fast acting, including both orals or short ester injectables, to kick off the cycle. If the cycle is to be based on slow long acting compounds, kicking off with fast acting ones provides a massive boost and quick results while you’re waiting for the slower acting compounds to really kick in.
You should therefore see results within just the first few weeks instead of waiting for the 4-6 week mark for the other compounds. Dianabol, Winstrol, Masteron, Anadrol oral and Testosterone propionate are excellent kickstart options
You can use the same ancillary compounds and peptides as listed for long cycles. There will be some usage difference with peptides such as not using a low dose of HGH long term.
Instead you can use HGH, IGF-1 or MGF to enhance gains, or make use of peptides during PCT for its performance enhancing and anti-catabolic properties to combat the catabolic state that often occurs during PCT when testosterone is low.
Some people experiment with combinations like HGH and IGF when on cycle at specific times like after a workout with mixed results.
When using peptides for a cycle of this length they take on a lot of importance as they’ll be encouraging new muscle fiber growth and enhancing the size of existing muscle, plus helping with gain maintenance during PCT and in between cycles.
Medium Cycles (6-8 Weeks)
A cycle of medium length will be shorter than a standard cycle, usually lasting between 6 and 8 weeks. There are some big benefits to a cycle of this length and it’s often used for cutting or when a user wants to get the benefits of extra high steroid doses without the risk of doing that longer term.
That strategy is often called a blast cycle and just by nature of this shorter cycle length, you’ll almost always be using faster acting short ester steroids. These are the two main reasons for doing a medium length cycle:
- Cutting: An ideal cycle length for fat loss combined with a diet that does not become unsustainable as it can for inexperienced users over longer cycles. Using the right compounds in a 6-8 week cycle can provide significant cutting and physical enhancement benefits.
- Blasting: For advanced users only because blasting involves very high doses of one or more short acting compounds; often used to smash through a plateau.
Pros of a Medium Length Cycle
There are a lot of benefits in doing a cycle of this length and many users will find it to be a good balance between getting results and controlling side effects.
- Perfect for muscle gains: The faster acting compounds you use in a cycle like this gets progress happening within the first week, so you’ll start noticing gains fast. The period of 6-8 weeks is perfect for making maximum gains, without getting to the point where your progress will start to diminish. You should be able to do 3 cycles annually of this length. creating a steady progress throughout the year.
- Side effects are limited: Most people can handle side effects for this time period, but anything longer can become more unmanageable. The longer things like gyno, water retention and liver stress occur, the harder they are to stop or repair.
- Quick testosterone rebound: If you use HCG during a medium length cycle you should have a quick recovery of natural testosterone and most guys will require only a few weeks of PCT beginning a few days after your last steroid dose. Suppression will still happen in a cycle of this length, and its severity will depend on compounds used, but again compared with doing a 12 week or more cycle you will find it easier and faster to recover normal function.
Cons of a Medium Length Cycle
There are some downsides to consider of doing a cycle of 6 or 8 weeks:
- Less compound options: You will mostly want to focus on short ester compounds that work fast enough to give you gains within this period of time. Longer esters can take several weeks to really kick in so there’s little benefit to using those if you’re only running gear for less than 8 weeks. This can limit your options but still provides plenty of excellent choices.
- Still requires PCT: While this will be true for almost any cycle length, testosterone shutdown is still a consideration for a medium length cycle even if the after effects and required PCT won’t likely be as long as cycles of a longer period of time. So users must be prepared to implement some form of PCT after the cycle and this can be minimized by making use of HCG during the cycle itself.
Primary Compounds for Medium Length Cycles
The most common compound used in a 6 to 8 week cycle is Testosterone Propionate, for multiple good reasons. This compound is ideal because:
- It’s highly effective for gains and maintaining lean muscle
- It has a standard anabolic to androgenic ratio of 100 to 100.
- All the benefits of testosterone are experienced including increased energy, libido and mental wellness
- Useful for almost all purposes including mass gains, cutting and even blasting
- Starts working quickly
The negative factors for using Test Propionate include the expected side effects we experience with any compound, as well as potential pain when injecting as this is known as one of the more painful injections to administer. The short acting nature of this testosterone ester means you’ll be injecting at least every two days, or possibly every day.
When it comes to dosing of Testosterone Propionate during this cycle length, measuring a daily dose anything in the 50mg daily to 300mg daily range can be considered according to your goals and experience level. If you’re dieting and just want to maintain lean muscle, a low dose is effective, while those looking to make solid gains will be dosing at the higher end.
There are some instances where you will look at changing it up and not simply using Test prop on its own in this cycle. If you plan to use HCG you can take advantage of the more limited suppression of testosterone and so add additional compounds like Trenbolone or Winstrol.
Another example where you might deviate from the basic cycle is where you’re using this medium cycle as a blasting phase as part of a much longer continuous cycle; in which case you’d significantly increase the dosage. This is an advanced user strategy only.
There are other options for primary compounds in a medium length cycle: consider DBol, Anavar and Primobolan as examples.
- Dianabol will be effective starting at just 20mg daily, up to 100mg per day. This compound comes with a lot of water retention so this will need to be offset with anti-estrogen drugs.
- An Anavar medium length cycle starting at 40mg daily and going up to 100mg per day will deliver more dry gains as well as fat burning.
- Lastly, Primobolan is a solid compound to consider in a medium length cycle, starting at 350mg per week, possibly raising this to 600mg weekly however higher doses will result in greater suppression This compound helps maintain muscle while dieting, and when used at higher doses delivers notable mass and strength gains.
Good options for secondary compounds include virtually any oral steroid or a fast acting injectable compound. Your chosen compound will be determined by what you have access to and your goals for this cycle.
By stacking one of these compounds in a medium cycle you’ll greatly enhance the results and there are many options to choose from: Dianabol, Winstrol, Anavar, Trenbolone acetate, Masteron propionate, Nandrolone phenylpropionate (NPP) – the list goes on.
Secondary Compounds for Cutting and Gains
Anavar is a popular oral steroid that will give you a boost in strength as well as fat loss and healing benefits, but little size gains, however it also has little to no water retention effect as estrogenic side effects are not an issue. It also won’t cause much testosterone suppression.
Anavar comes with potential toxicity issues to the liver but a medium length cycle should be manageable for most healthy guys. An ideal Anavar does for a secondary compound is up to 100mg daily. It will help you maintain gains and works as a compound to keep your progress steady, without delivering massive results.
2. Nandrolone phenylpropionate (NPP)
Nandrolone phenylpropionate (NPP) is another popular secondary compound option. It is similar to Deca-Durabolin but a short ester that comes with relatively mild side effects but also not as strong results in lean mass gains. It’s excellent for a cutting cycle as it comes with little water retention, with a bonus of providing support to the joints.
Doses are effective starting at 50mg every two days, with the potential to rise to 200mg every two days. Usually you’d want to dose this compound at less than your dosage of the primary testosterone compound.
Blasting and Stacking
When using a secondary compound for a blasting medium length cycle, your focus will be on gaining size and strength and here we can look at using Anadrol or Dianabol.
You can choose to stack either orals or injectables, but most people will want to stick with injectable compounds for a cycle of 6 to 8 weeks so you can avoid any risk of hepatotoxicity.
These extra compounds can include HGH and some users will include Clenbuterol for cutting, or T3/T4 to boost the metabolism.
Putting It All Together
A 6-8 week medium length cycle can take on many forms and configurations.
Short Cycles (2-4 Weeks)
A more uncommon approach is to go for a very short cycle of just 2 to 3 weeks. You’ll want to have a very specific reason for doing a cycle this short, as well as a deep understanding of the compounds you’ll use because some of the slower acting compounds will be almost useless for such a short cycle.
Guys who use short cycles usually fall into two categories: the already well toned individual who are happy with smaller gains to keep them going and who like the slow and steady gaining approach. The other category of users is those undertaking a blitz type cycle, which as a similar strategy to blast cycles. Here are the two main short cycle purposes in more detail:
Slow and Steady Gainers
To be in this category you’ll have already spent a lot time getting into shape and won’t be looking for massive gains or major changes to the body. Instead the goal is a steady gain and gains which are more subtle and small. These short cycles can be undertaken regularly with a rest period of three to four weeks in between each two to three week cycle.
The gains will be slow but they will happen and you can get these gains with minimal negative impacts on health and minimal testosterone suppression. You’ll see faster recovery after the cycle and an easier ability to maintain the gains.
Similar in goals to blast cycles, more experienced users will aim for a short cycle of just 2 weeks to blast a high dose and this is often used alongside other ancillary compounds like T3, HGH, IGF-1 or insulin. Over-training for this short period is the aim and users will do hardcore lifting while using very high doses.
The short cycle means testosterone shutdown doesn’t have time to ramp up, while there’s still more than enough time (when the cycle is done at high doses and with serious training) to bring about hypertrophy and hyperplasia.
Fast growth can be expected as the body goes into a form of shock at what is being thrown at it, but only for this brief period of time. Users will aim to continue building on these gains with other cycle plans once the blitz cycle ends.
Whether you’re going for a slow and steady gainer or blitz cycle, both these types of short cycles have similar pros and cons and a similar design of the cycle.
Pros of a Short Cycle
- Reduced testosterone shutdown: Compared with longer cycles, there’s much less time for your natural testosterone function to shut down within just 2-3 weeks because this is how long it usually takes for some significant shutdown to start developing. You will find that normal levels come back quickly at the end of the cycle as the steroids are quickly removed from the body.
- Minimizing side effects: We know that the longer steroids are used, the more severe side effects can become. A very short cycle again does not give the body much time to develop many of the side effects you’ll be wanting to avoid of an estrogenic and androgenic nature. Even usually liver toxic orals will be at a reduced risk in a 2-3 week cycle, and if any gyno does occur at high doses it should be easily manageable for this limited time period.
- Easier to focus: Putting your all into a two to three week time frame in terms of diet and workout is a lot easier to stick with compared with committing to a much longer cycle. This allows you to fully focus for the entire duration without lapsing in commitment. You’ll see less or no sudden changes in mood and energy that can zap your performance.
- Cheaper: Although you might be doing a number of these short cycles throughout the year, the cost of each cycle is going to be minimal which provides a benefit to those who can’t afford to stock up on compounds.
Cons of a Short Cycle
- Limited choice of compounds: The very short time frame you have to get results in this cycle is going to limit your steroid choices to the most fast acting options, as there’s no point in using a compound that takes many weeks to kick in.
- Short window for gains: It’s to be expected that the gains made during just 2 or 3 weeks won’t be huge because the body just doesn’t have a chance to pile on muscle during that time, plus the number of workouts you can sensibly fit in wont’ be huge either. Some guys will train twice daily in this cycle just to make as much gain as possible during this short time frame It’s also a good way to break through a plateau.
Compounds for a Short Cycle
You will be focused on the shorter acting orals and injectables while also finding that just a few weeks won’t be enough time for major shutdown to happen. A good choice is Test propionate as a base compound as it’s highly effective and will be one of the few steroids that will provide results over this short period of time. It’s a good option but not the only option you have.
To use Test prop in a short cycle, dosages of between 75mg daily up to 300mg daily are common depending on goals. Users who are blitzing will go for the higher dose, while those wanting more continual gains will go for the lower end. High doses are not tolerable by everyone and many will find something in the mid-range like 150-200mg daily to be useful.
For an advanced blitz cycle, Test prop is stackable with other orals or injectables to enhance results. Orals can be used at higher doses because the cycle is short enough to offset negative effects, with Dianabol and Winstrol being common options.
Winstrol stacks well with Dianabol at a dose of 50-100mg daily. In a Dbol only cycle you’d also look at the same dosage range.
Anavar provides another option where you’d take up to 120mg daily maximum, but this is mostly only useful for plateau busting.
Injectables with a short acting ester like Nandrolone (NPP) and Masteron prop, and Tren Acetate also work best. NPP should be dosed at no more than your dosage of testosterone, and generally you won’t bother running NPP on its own in this cycle.
Masteron can be used at up to 75mg daily but you might find some muscle tightness developing. Despite this many find it a good addition for a short cycle to encourage some hardness and a strength boost.
Trenbolone acetate will not be suitable for everyone in a short cycle and is a compound that comes with strong pros and cons. It’s very effective in the short term as far as results go, but it will result in the most suppression of all these compounds and this is not something guys want to deal with in a short cycle; in fact it’s one of the great benefits of such a short cycle length.
You can get around this somewhat by using HCG along with Tren Ace at maintenance doses but even then you could still experience some more severe side effects for the first week; this can wipe out half or a third of the entire cycle. This makes Tren Ace a compound only useful for guys who know they can tolerate the negative effects.
Using ancillary compounds isn’t a huge deal in such a short cycle. If using HGH it will need to be at a high dose to have any effect. It’s best combined with IGF-1 for two weeks. The most advanced users might consider T3 or insulin but these aren’t for beginners and come with risks to the thyroid if not done right.
Putting It All Together
There are many combinations and cycle plans you could come up with in a short 2-3 week cycle. When you’re doing multiple shorts with weeks off in between, Clomid or Nolvadex can be used but most guys will see a quick natural rebound of hormone levels even without these drugs.
Cycle Diet, Supplements and Training
Using steroids will all be for nothing if you don’t get your diet and training right. So what should you be eating when on cycle, and how should you be working out? Again this is highly dependent on your personal goals and the reason you’re doing a cycle to start with. Bulking and cutting are going to have two very different diet and workout strategies between them.
You could easily make the mistake of focusing totally on what gear you’ll be using and almost putting the workout and diet stuff to the side as last minute plan. But this is a recipe for failure: you should be putting more thought and planning in to your training and food plan otherwise there’s no point doing steroids at all.
It’s a cliche but it could not be more true: you’ll only get out what you put in. And that means the food and training you put in; the steroids are there to supercharge on these two critical inputs.
Most people won’t need to change up their diet or workout regime a whole lot compared to being on or off cycle. In some circumstances, like when you’re running a cycle for contest prep, more specific changes are needed to meet a goal but most guys will be sticking with a very similar program with some minor changes during the cycle, compared to when off cycle.
Letting yourself go off cycle with poor diet and exercise mitigates all the benefits and results but there’s no doubt the steroid are going to propel any on-cycle workouts to new levels compared with off cycle training.
Let’s look at both of these factors in more detail:
Whether you’re on or off cycle, you’re going to be training. What you’ll notice when on a cycle with almost any compound is your recovery will substantially improve. You will notice yourself recovering faster and needing less down time between sessions.
It’s not just the post-session recovery that’s going to improve big time though. Recovery between sets will be much more efficient and this is going to allow you to work out for longer since you’re essentially staving off fatigue. Obviously this then brings on faster results as you fit more and more into each workout.
The boosted strength and aggression that many steroids will deliver will see you lifting heavier and having a general higher intensity while working out. Most guys will find they can do two intense workouts a day and fit a week’s worth of workouts off gear into a few days while on gear.
Since each muscle or muscle group is recovering faster after being worked on, you can now target each muscle much more often because those recovery times in between are significantly shortened. That doesn’t mean over training or forgetting about all important rest and sleep, but what you will be able to do is fit up to twice as many workouts targeting a muscle group into the same time period. If you were taking a 5 day break after working one part of the body, you can see this drop down to just two or three days.
It doesn’t really matter what type of workout program you’re doing – anything from powerlifting, full body or specific methods – you can expect more explosive power and endurance, and also the ability to add on sets and reps as well as additional weight beyond anything you could do when not on cycle.
Trying to pull off too much weight is a common mistake for new gear users. You’ll be feeling the extra strength and the urge to be a hero will be strong, but while the muscles are quickly getting stronger with steroids, the ligaments will be lagging behind and here you’re at great risk of injury if you don’t adjust more gradually.
By all means push beyond the normal limits, that’s half the reason we’re using gear, but don’t be stupid about it or your cycle will come to an end early with injury unless you have a history of powerlifting or other type of workout where your ligaments are at a point they can handle the sudden extra load.
Some compounds are awesome for the joints and this has big benefits but also gives you some sense of invincibility, but again most users are still best advised to stick with standard rep ranges for injury avoidance. Some steroids are exceptional at helping heal injury and building cartilage, like Deca, but no compound is going to make you indestructible or immune to new injuries.
Your food intake is going to depend on what you’re aiming to get from your cycle with two broad categories being bulking or cutting, but some guys will have a different outcome in mind and the diet obviously needs to be tailored towards this – particularly in terms of whether you’ll be gaining mass or wanting to get leaner by the end of the cycle.
Contest prep is another goal and that requires a particularly well planned and often hardcore dieting regime. So what can steroids add to an already good bodybuilding diet? They basically help you get the most from your food by:
- Cleaner gains: more efficient use of calories and enhanced protein synthesis means better use of calories being made compared with when off cycle.
- Muscle retention: steroids encourage the maintenance of muscle tissue even when you’re dieting hard, so you can avoid the muscle wasting that you might ordinarily experience on a calorie deficit diet and this clearly has exceptional benefits for cutting cycles.
Every guy will have a different goal when bulking ranging from wanting relatively mild gains right up to maximum mass gains using the most powerful compounds and this is going to require eating more, and eating quality. Most will still wanting to be taking in at a bare minimum 1000 extra calories everyday.
But not just 1000 calories of anything; clearly you will need to focus on how much protein you’re taking and the quality of that protein. Protein intake should be around the 1gm per 1 pound of body weight as a guide, but hardcore guys will often double that.
Without this consistently high protein intake, growth will be limited and steroid use will become somewhat wasted because you just won’t be able to physically get the growth results you want. It’s not just protein you’ll be planning out – carbs and fats are just as critical.
Use your regular diet as a base to evaluate your usual daily intake of proteins, carbs and fats and then figure out exactly what you’ll be needing to add or increase to meet your goals when on cycle. Too often we think we’re getting enough calories but we’re not, and any deficiency is going to kill your results when on gear.
Even if you do end up eating a little less than you should be for mass gaining, you’ll notice a reduced tendency to lose muscle mass because the body is working at such an increased anabolic state with steroids in the system.
You should already have a solid grasp on the types of fats and carbs to eat, making sure quality healthy fats are included. Since so many compounds can have a negative effect on cholesterol levels, this is particularly important on cycle where you’ll be needing to maintain your omega-3 fatty acid intake; with oily fish being a good source.
Then there’s the issue of how often to eat. Three big meals a day is rarely the approach of bodybuilders whether on or off cycle. Instead, splitting meals into portions spread throughout the day keeps up your energy without weighing you down or causing fatigue before a workout. Anything from 5 to 8 meals per day is a common strategy.
If you’re going for clean eating throughout the cycle, as you will want to if you want maximum results, then it’s fairly simple to break down your diet intake into the main food groups:
- Lean meats: Lean beef, chicken, game meats and fish like salmon and tuna will make up the bulk of your meat based protein and being high calorie foods they’ll also be contributing the majority of your daily calorie needs.
- Vegetables: Most vegetables are suitable for including in any meals, but if you’re going for low carbs then leave our or minimize potatoes. Corn and peas are also relatively high carbohydrate foods. Leafy greens should also be included in the vegetable category as they’re rich in antioxidants and B vitamins.
- Whole grains: This includes all wholegrain varieties of bread, rice and pasta but again these are high carb foods so the inclusion of them (and in what amounts) is going to be determined by the goals of your cycle. Some guys include a lot of carbs in every meal, while others have minimal or none. Without a doubt though, wholegrain carbohydrates are going to feature heavily in the diet of any bulking cycle.
- Dairy/eggs: You can easily add some extra protein here but not everyone wants to go heavy on dairy because of the higher carb content in full yoghurt and milk. Egg whites are virtually a staple for a lot of bodybuilders and low fat options like cheese can be welcome additions to the diet on occasion.
- Good fats: These are critical to include and take in things like olive oil, nuts and fish oil or plant based oils like flaxseeds. These fats will help offset the impacts of some steroids on cholesterol.
- Fruit: Watch the sugar in fruit juices and stick to pure juice with no additives, as well as whole fruit but if you’re targeting a low carb diet then fruits are going to be a very small portion of your overall diet. Otherwise, banana, pear, berries and oranges are all worthy inclusion in moderation if for none other than their high vitamin content.
- Drinks: Easy to forget about, but beverages besides water can make or break an eating plan. There’s no point doing a hard diet if you’re chugging five cans of Coke everyday. It goes without saying that soda drinks will contribute nothing positive and our best bet is to stick with plain old water and avoiding processed sugar drinks.
Not forgetting the addition of supplements – just because you’re on cycle it doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily give up some of the basic dietary supplements which are staples for bodybuilders whether or not they use gear at all. These are the main supplements you might be using during your cycle, as well as in between cycles:
- Protein: Eating a lot of meat is not to everyone’s taste, plus it can get very expensive. Protein powder provide a simple way to ingest high quality protein and that’s the key: it must be a high quality formula and not one full of sugar or additives. Whey protein is the standard go-to source for most guys.
- BCAA: Making for a good pre-workout supplement, BCAA gives you a branched chain amino acid boost that improves performance and aids in recovery.
- Creatine: Creatine gives a boost to muscle growth and strength and is considered safe for long term use. Ensure you’re drinking enough water as creatine moves more water to the muscles so you might find yourself with increased thirst.
- Omega-3: Not everyone can or wants to get sufficient omega-3 oil from the diet so topping it up with a good supplement ensures positive benefits for cholesterol, anti-inflammation and general cardiovascular function.
Different supplements will work for you compared to what works for other guys, but most people will want to take these supplements for the entire year.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
You should already have a good idea of your bulking and cutting ability before starting to use gear. Steroids will drastically enhance your performance and results and you will be on a constant path of learning what works and what doesn’t for you as an individual.
Editor’s Note: If you’d like more real, NO-BS information on using steroids be sure to check out Straight From The Underground (my recommended underground steroid guide). Everything in this book is a real-life experience, not theory.