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Deca-Durabolin, based on the Nandrolone steroid, is one of the oldest steroids which has stood the test of time and remains a favorite to this day. It is one of the most popular steroid choice for a range of reasons.
Deca has countless benefits for bodybuilders and athletes in all the areas you’d expect from a high quality steroid, but also for reasons that are truly unique to Deca in the area of healing and recovery.
My Deca-Durabolin cycle guide has been broken down into the following sections:
- What is Deca-Durabolin (Nandrolone)?
- Deca-Durabolin Benefits (Deca-Durabolin Effects)
- How to Take Deca-Durabolin?
- Deca-Durabolin Dosage
- Common Deca Cycles and Doses
- Deca-Durabolin Results: What Should I Expect?
- Side Effects from Deca-Durabolin Cycle
- Testosterone Recovery After Deca-Durabolin Cycle
- Deca Post Cycle Therapy
- Common Q&A Related to Deca-Durabolin
- My Conclusion and Recommendation
What is Deca-Durabolin (Nandrolone)?
Deca has a half life of between 6 and 12 days and a very long detection time of about 18 months; something to keep in mind if you are a professional or competitor.
As mentioned, this is a slow and long acting compound and studies have shown that even a low dose injection of just 50mg results in effects that can last up to 20 days. For this reason, Deca does not require the frequent injections that so many other steroids do.
Nandrolone has long been used by bodybuilders for building mass as well as athletes because of the extraordinary relief and therapeutic abilities this steroid has, which was also originally what it was developed for in medical use.
Deca has a chemical structure very similar to testosterone but the slight difference is enough to give Deca some advantages. This includes having a lower androgenic ratio and slightly higher anabolic effect, and a slow release which means you only have to inject Deca once a week and the effects last a considerable time.
Compare that with many other steroids that require daily injections and you can quickly see that this is a big reason why Deca is so popular – even the most injection-adverse person can usually live with a once weekly dose.
Deca is also known as a good beginner steroid because despite its powerful anabolic effects, its side effects are relatively mild compared with many other steroids and it is well tolerated by most people.
Deca-Durabolin Benefits (Deca-Durabolin Effects)
As you would expect from such a respected steroid, the positive effects and results that Deca can deliver are impressive. This includes:
Big gains in lean muscle mass
This is obviously the reason that most of us want to use Deca. It excels in promoting massive gains in lean muscle. To achieve the very best results that Deca is capable of giving you in this area, it’s critical that your diet supports your gains. That means consuming more than enough calories, but making sure they are quality calories that promote muscle gain and not fat.
The ways that Deca is able to make the body grow muscle tissue is described below and is mostly centered on enhancing protein synthesis and the production of growth hormone.
Boosts protein synthesis
By speeding up the process of repairing muscle tissue damage at a faster and greater rate, Deca helps you pack on the gains. Deca acts as a powerful hormone to stimulate and regulate protein synthesis which is not only critical for muscle growth, but also to stop the breakdown and loss of muscle.
Enhances output of insulin growth hormone (IGF-1)
This hormone contributes to both muscle and strength gains. IGF-1 is naturally increased every time you exercise without the use of steroids, but Deca supercharges this process beyond what the body is capable of alone. IGF-1 is a growth hormone so is literally responsible for growth of the muscle at its most basic. It’s a vital hormone for increasing lean mass, enhancing protein synthesis, burning fat, and for the repair and recovery of muscle tissue.
Increases muscular nitrogen retention
This is one of the more effective areas of Deca, even compared with a lot of other powerful steroids. Even in a low dose, nandrolone considerably boosts nitrogen retention and this is critical for keeping the body in a prime anabolic state for muscle growth and to avoid entering a catabolic state where muscle tissue is lost.
Therapeutic pain relief and recovery
Deca increases collagen synthesis and bone mineral content and directly contributes to the repair and recovery of muscle tissue and joint pain. Experienced athletes will use Deca solely for this purpose at low doses, but all users of the steroid will greatly benefit from its therapeutic properties.
For most users, Deca only requires once a week injection thanks to its very long lasting effect. Levels rise 1-2 days after injecting then continues to slowly release for up to three weeks.
Low androgenic effects and mild estrogenic activity compared to testosterone
With only one fifth the aromatizing tendency of testosterone, Deca produces less androgenic side effects. However this will usually be offset by the addition of testosterone in any Deca cycle.
Once you’ve finished a Deca cycle, including any other additional steroids, a post cycle therapy (PCT) schedule is essential to recover your natural hormone function. The timing of PCT will depend on all the steroids in your cycle, but if you are running Deca until the end then PCT will not need to begin until three to four weeks from the end of the cycle due to the long lasting effects of the Nandrolone decanoate steroid.
How to Take Deca-Durabolin?
The great thing about Deca as an injectable steroid is that we don’t need to inject daily or even every other day; once a week is perfectly fine for this steroid. Depending on your dosage and tolerance to injections, you might want to split your dose into a twice weekly injection to reduce the quantity being injected at one time. Like all anabolic steroid injections, the best injection sites are large strong muscles such as the upper thigh and buttock.
Your goals are going to determine your dosage of Deca. This is a versatile steroid that is used for a variety of reasons, so before deciding on your dosage consider what you are aiming to achieve: strength and size gains, longer term therapeutic benefits, or for cutting.
When making use of Deca purely for its therapeutic benefits, a low dosage of just 100mg-200mg once or twice monthly is highly effective.
But most users will be focused on the mass gaining benefits of Deca and it’s here that we need to raise the dosage, but not to excessive levels as this is a steroid that is very effective at moderate doses, with high doses having any benefits greatly compromised by increased side effects.
At a bare minimum to experience the anabolic properties of Deca, a dosage of 300mg weekly is recommended, however 400mg is considered the most effective dose to get the best results while keeping side effects under control.
More advanced users wanting the most extreme gains are known to boost dosage to 500mg, 600mg and even up to 800mg but this is strongly advised against for all but the most experienced bodybuilders who know exactly how to combat side effects; keeping in mind that you will almost always be combining Deca with other steroids that come with their own negative effects.
While females have been known to use Deca, this must be done at very low doses of no higher than 50mg weekly and for short periods of time of no more than 6 weeks maximum. Even though Deca has relatively low androgenic effects, these are still powerful on the female body and while not all women using Deca at low doses will experience virilization, when it does occur the long acting Nandrolone Decanoate will take several weeks to clear the system and have these effects reversed; this is a reason that women considering Deca may use the shorter acting Nandrolone phenylpropionate ester instead.
Common Deca Cycles and Doses
You can expect to see impressive growth and muscle during a Deca cycle regardless of what level you’re at. The differences in cycles between beginners and advanced users comes down to two main factors: the dosage of Deca, and which other compounds you will stack this steroid with. Overall, expect a cycle length of at least 12 weeks for a beginner, stretching to 16 weeks for advanced users. As a slow acting compound, Deca needs a longer cycle for you to allow the steroid the time it needs to reach its full potential in the body.
Beginner Deca Cycle
Beginners to Deca will want to pair this steroid with testosterone in a basic stack to ensure your test levels are not shut down. Testosterone Enanthate and Deca is a common combination with a cycle length of 12 to 14 weeks. Deca at 300mg to 400mg per week will prove highly effective for any beginner, with Testosterone Enanthate at up to 500mg weekly is a necessary addition to ensure testosterone levels are maintained.
With a 14 week cycle, Deca would usually be stopped at week 12, so PCT can begin soon after the effects of the long lasting Deca are near their end point. Arimidex at a dose of 0.5mg daily will greatly assist in reducing side effects.
Intermediate Deca Cycle
Intermediate users will look at using Deca-Durabolin with at least two other compounds, with Dianabol, testosterone enanthate or cypionate being popular choices. This 12-week cycle consists of 500mg per week of testosterone running for the entire 12 weeks, with 400mg weekly of Deca for the first 10 weeks only. Dianabol should be used only for the first 6 weeks at a dose of about 30mg. Throughout the entire cycle Arimidex should be taken to combat estrogen side effects at a dose of 0.5mg.
Advanced Deca Cycle
The most experienced users might increase the dosage of Deca up to 600mg weekly, although at 400mg most guys will find they are getting excellent results and not crossing the threshold into more severe side effects. An advanced Deca cycle then consists of a weekly dose in the range of 400-600mg for 14 weeks, and if the goal is serious bulking, combining this with several other compounds: Testosterone Cypionate (check my Testosterone cycle guide) at the desired dosage (e.g. 500mg weekly) ran for the entire 16 weeks, Dianabol for the first 6 weeks at 50mg daily, and an addition of HGH also taken for 16 weeks as it is known to work extremely well in a bulking cycle with Deca.
Deca only Cycle
A cycle using Deca only is very uncommon and discouraged, for good reason: this steroid will shut your natural testosterone production down so you’ll experience some nasty effects. Expect problems like fatigue and lethargy, mental decline and low or no sex drive.
If you want to minimize the use of other steroids when on Deca, a low dose of testosterone is often used. Even 200mg weekly will go some way to helping with testosterone levels, but keep in mind that testosterone will come with its own side effects and for that reason, pro users who know what they’re doing with Deca will run it alone in a cycle at 500mg weekly and deal with any side effects as they come.
Deca-Durabolin Results: What Should I Expect?
The results you can get from Deca will depend on how you use it, and what you do in terms of your workouts and diet while on it. This is of course will all depend on your goals. Getting big, preparing for competition or improving and recovering from athletic performance: these are all within the realm of possibilities with Deca. When using Deca you can expect to see:
Slow and steady, high quality gains in mass
With less water retention than other steroids, Deca’s gains come on steadily but at a notably higher quality than you’ll see with some other steroids that give you more rapid results which can disappear just as fast. Patience is rewarded with Deca with stable gains in size that (with the right diet and training) you’ll be able to retain.
Excellent recovery and relief pain and muscle wear and tear
This makes Deca a very popular and useful off-season steroid where you are lifting heavy and need the extra therapeutic benefits. Deca works to physically repair tissue and does not just hide muscle pain, largely due to its positive impact on improving collagen synthesis. Expect to see faster recovery so you can workout again sooner, and with less aches and pains that you’d normally experience after intense workouts.
Some gain in strength
Although this is not an area that Deca excels in it indirectly improves strength through the enhancement of IGF-1 and the joint repair and strengthening effects which can only be a positive in improving your overall strength and endurance.
As with any steroid, your results with Deca will be determined by your workouts and diet and the greater effort you put in, the greater the rewards will be. This is a steroid that requires patience in seeing results, but one that will also benefit when combined with more fast acting steroids in a cycle.
Side Effects from Deca-Durabolin Cycle
Compared with most other steroids, Deca has pretty mild side effects in most users, but as always it’s going to largely depend on your dosage and tolerance levels. And once you know how to best use Deca to reduce side effects you will likely find that this is a highly tolerable steroid.
Despite having relatively low androgenic and estrogenic activity, Deca does have stronger progestin activity and this can bring about issues that are very similar to those caused by steroids that have a higher aromatizing effect.
One of the most talked about problems with Deca is in the area of libido and erectile function because of the way the nandrolone hormone suppresses testosterone; however this is not limited to Deca and is the case with most other anabolic steroids.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t be concerned with potential side effects, in particular:
Because nandrolone is a progestin it has the effect of bringing about breast tissue growth through estrogenic activity, and this is the cause of gyno.
Just like gyno, water retention can also appear because of heightened estrogenic activity caused by the progesterone hormone. Water retention needs to be kept in control, not only for the sake of your gains and appearance, but to mitigate the additional impact on blood pressure.
Baldness and acne
These androgenic effects are much more likely to occur if you are genetically predisposed to one or both, however that does not mean you will necessarily experience them with Deca as it is not as potent in this regard as most other steroids.
Testosterone suppression and libido/erectile dysfunction
Nandrolone itself is known to be highly suppressive of your natural testosterone production, potentially cutting it down to zero in some cases. This problem alone is sometimes enough to stop guys using Deca because of the stories they’ve read online.
While nandrolone does not necessarily directly raise cholesterol levels, it is known to reduce the good cholesterol type (HDL). The higher your Deca dosage, the more risk of cholesterol becoming unbalanced, with low doses at 100mg showing in some studies to have no negative impact on cholesterol. Maintaining a diet low in simple carbohydrates and high in omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil will significantly assist in helping you retain good cholesterol health.
Thankfully we can take measures to reduce or even avoid these side effects altogether when using Deca-Durabolin. If you’ve been using other steroids for a while, you will already be familiar with taking anti-estrogen drugs to combat estrogenic side effects.
Whether you use SERMs or aromatase inhibitors (AI’s) completely depends on your preference and which other steroids you might be using in a cycle and what their particular estrogenic effects are, however specifically relating to Deca, AI’s are considered superior particularly when it comes to controlling water retention. Additionally including a testosterone compound, even at a low dosage, in your cycle is considered critical to avoid the effects of suppression.
Testosterone Recovery After Deca-Durabolin Cycle
Deca will greatly suppress or even shut down your natural testosterone production completely, leading to associated side effects relating to sexual health and even mental health, amongst other areas. This is the case because testosterone is so central and critical to so many aspects of male health. Therefore, getting your T levels and production back on track as soon as possible after a Deca cycle is vital. This is where your post cycle therapy protocol is so important as regaining testosterone function is one of the two big reasons we do PCT (the other being to retain our hard earned gains).
Deca Post Cycle Therapy
As with all steroids, post cycle therapy (PCT) is critical after using Deca. This is a long lasting steroid with effects that will remain active several weeks after your last injection. For this reason, most people will use Deca in a stack with other steroids and stop Deca 2-3 weeks before the end of the entire cycle, so you can start PCT sooner and retain the gains made with this powerful steroid.
We know Deca is stronger with progesterone effects than purely estrogenic, which is why using something like Arimidex while using Deca is always recommended. Moving to PCT and starting on Clomid is a common choice; taking Clomid for three weeks at just 50mg daily will assist greatly in recovery, retaining your gains and getting natural testosterone production going again. Half a mg of Arimidex should be continued all the way through the end of your cycle, during the waiting period before starting PCT, and while using Clomid during PCT itself.
How long does Deca-Durabolin take to work?
Deca isn’t a fast acting steroid but when it kicks in, mass gains are high quality over time. The slow acting nature of Deca means it is best used in longer cycles – it is not unusual to run this steroid for 14 weeks and during this time you will see steady, sustained and clean gains that don’t come on suddenly nor disappear suddenly. For best results Deca should be used for at least 10 weeks where you give the steroid enough time to deliver what it’s capable of.
Does Deca-Durabolin cause water retention?
Deca can cause some rise in estrogen levels and this can lead to some water retention and associated raise in blood pressure. Using a moderate dose of Deca and keeping a quality diet will help you control water retention and bloating, as will using a good anti-estrogen medication, with SERMs such as Nolvadex being an ideal choice because of its more cholesterol friendly impact compared with aromatase inhibitor drugs.
Is nandrolone decanoate the same as Deca-Durabolin?
Yes. Nandrolone decanoate is a Nandrolone compound and is the chemical name of Deca-Durabolin. There are other Nandrolone compounds, like Nandrolone Phenylpropionate which is much faster acting but shorter lived than Nandrolone decanoate. While the phenylpropionate is used by some people, the most widely used form of Nandrolone is still Nandrolone decanoate (Deca-Durabolin).
Where do you inject nandrolone decanoate?
Deca-Durabolin is an intramuscular injection and the most common sites for injecting at the large muscles in the buttock, upper thigh or upper arm. The good news for those of us who are not enthusiastic about regular injections is that you can get away with a once weekly injection of Deca, although if you’re taking a higher dosage some people prefer to split it into two injections per week to reduce the amount in each injection.
How long should you cycle Deca?
This depends what your purpose is. Most people use it for bulking, but some also for cutting. A common moderate bulking Deca cycle stacked with other compounds like Testosterone Enanthate and Dianabol would see Deca used for the first 10 weeks of a 12 week cycle. This allows you to start PCT soon after the end of the entire cycle, while the effects of Deca are still running their course in conjunction with testosterone and other compounds.
Can you drink alcohol when on Deca?
Drinking alcohol when you’re using any steroids – and even when you’re not – is never recommended. Not only is it a great way to have your gains go backwards, but will also cause more stress to the liver. Even though Nandrolone decanoate is not known to be liver toxic, most other steroids are and since you’ll likely be using other steroids in your cycle it’s simply safer to avoid alcohol completely; your muscles will thank for you it too.
Can you stack Deca?
Deca can be stacked with other steroids as long as you’re educated about the effects on natural hormone function. When done properly, Deca works well when stacked with other compounds such as the fast acting Anadrol, and is very commonly stacked with Dianabol.
Above all, a basic stack of Testosterone and Deca is considered almost essential if you want to mitigate the suppression of natural testosterone that occurs. Any form of testosterone stacks well with Deca including the most common esters and Sustanon 250.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
Deca is well known for its power in stimulating massive gains in lean muscle mass. This is the most common use of this steroid for bodybuilders, and even more so because the gains with Deca are known to be of high quality without the severe water retention that is so often seen with other steroids. Experienced users also use Deca for cutting because of its ability to retain muscle tissue.
Perfect for bulking and strength, Nandrolone boosts collagen synthesis and bone density which strengthens joints and provides support for your mass gains while increasing capacity to continually lift heavier weights.
What do you think? Are you going to add Deca to your steroid cycle? Or you actually did it? Share your favorite Deca cycle or stack in the comments below.
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.
PS: If you aren’t sure what steroid compounds you should add to your cycle, leave a comment below and I will see if I can give you any ideas.