Planning your first cycle? Follow these “rules”
Often times we just go way overboard when trying to plan a cycle. Over thinking is what most would call this phenomenon. In order to create some clarity for first time cyclers I have outlined some very simple yet very effective rules to follow when planning your first hormonal cycle. Perhaps these should not even be referred to as “rules” but rather guidelines. When cycling you should remember there are always exceptions to the rules. But for the majority of first timers these guidelines will provide you a safe, effective, and educational first cycle.
1. The simplest and number one rule to follow when designing your first cycle is to use only one hormonal compound. There is absolutely no need to stack multiple compounds in your first cycle. The primary reason being that stacking multiple compounds can potentially lead to additional side effects. If you run into any severe side effects on cycle it’s easier to just discontinue the cycle with one compound rather than try to determine which compound is causing each side effect. Also when you add compounds, it can often multiply the degree to which you are experiencing a side effect (for example elevated blood pressure).
Another reason to use only one compound is that it gives you specific knowledge as to how you react. Whether you gain mass like crazy or have uncontrollable hair loss it will provide you this insight for future cycle planning. Use only one compound!
2. The second rule to follow is to maintain consistent dosing patterns. There are various half lives and peak concentrations of different compounds so dosing can vary. I will not go into this in great detail but this is all information you can find available on the various message boards that are chalk full of useful information. In general the majority of oral compounds have a half life ranging from 5-12 hours. What does that mean in regards to dosing? It’s simple really; you want to dose a consistent amount at equal intervals. For example hormonal Compound A may have a half life of 8 hours. You decide to dose 25mg’s of Compound A per administration. Therefore you might split your dosing up as follows:
8:00 a.m. - 25mg’s
2:00 p.m. – 25mg’s
8: p.m. – 25mg’s
The first thing you might ask after viewing the above is “what about the hours between 2:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.?” In reality to maintain the most stable blood levels of the compound you would want to dose again at 2:00 a.m. However, SLEEP is much more important then getting in another dose. Also these hormonal compounds have a tendency to cause insomnia in some individuals so you want to avoid taking them to close or during your normal sleeping patterns.
Also keep in mind the vast majority of the time dosing parameters are subscribed by the manufacturer and outlined on the label. They may or may not be an effective dosing schedule so it does not hurt to follow the above guideline or ask an experienced user. Also take the time to check out the manufacturer’s website. Companies like Advanced Muscle Science have charts available that outline dosing and effective cycles.
3. Be prepared, but don’t go overboard. Support supplements are often a hotly debated topic. You will commonly see individuals supplementing several different supplements to try and mitigate negative side effects. DON’T fall into this trap. Not only is it wastefully expensive, but it also complicates things and can actually lead to additional sides because of various unknown reactions and can even diminish gains. Am I saying that you should not attempt to mitigate sides while cycling? No. There are several ‘support’ products on the market that are cost efficient, and worth adding to your cycle. I will outline a few below that I feel are efficient. There is a reason these products are popular and they are specifically designed to control various side effects or negative health impacts of cycling. You DON’T need all of these, even cycling without any is fine. But if you have a little bit of extra cash they will be worth your time and money to obtain. In no particular order:
• AI’s Cycle Support OR Purus Organ Shield – Both are relatively cheap and effective.
• Creatine – It’s cheap. Proven. Use it. You can find creapure creatine for a good price from Primordial Performance
• Pre-Workout Concoctions – If you really need a boost this is something you can invest your money in. However your motivation and aggression are usually very high during a first cycle. Most guys will not need these supplements and depending on the formulation these supplement can actually add to sides such as increased blood pressure. Choosing a stimulant free product may be your best choice while on cycle. Advanced Muscle Science makes both a cognitive pre-workout called Lucidrol as well as a shooter called Hyper-pump.
• Fish Oil – Too many great health benefits not to use. Iherb.com usually has several brands at decent prices.
4. Post cycle Therapy. The theme of this rule falls right in line with the above rules. Don’t go overboard. There is no reason to run multiple compounds. Your only goal is to return the body to homeostasis. For the most part, time is likely your best tool when it comes to returning your body to normal hormonal levels. But there are some basic supplements you can use to jump start this process. I will outline the major ones below. But in general if they are not listed then they are NOT absolutely necessary:
Note the SERM vs OTC PCT debate will likely continue to rage on for years. I am not here to say which is “right or wrong” but rather to simply present the basic purpose of these supplements. It is still your choice which route you go with so please do not assume I am siding with one or another.
SERM’s – These are considered a must by many for PCT as they have shown proven results when dealing with a suppressed hormonal system. However be advised it is illegal to possess these items without a prescription. These can be obtained for ‘research’ however. Dosing can vary greatly depending on the SERM so please search your favorite supplement/bodybuilding board for recommendations. Examples of SERM’s include clomid, nolvadex, toremifine, raloxifene, etc.
OTC Anti-Aromatase (AI’s) – If you choose to avoid a SERM an anti-aromatase is likely your best option to restore your hormonal system. Again dosing varies however most manufacturers will provide you a recommended dosing strategy on the label. Again it doesn’t hurt to search your favorite board for more information.
Support Supplement – As stated above a simple ‘all in one’ type support supplement is also useful during PCT.
Test Booster – There are hundreds if not thousands of ‘testosterone’ boosters available. Find one that has good user feedback and quality customer support. You don’t have to research this issue to death. Just get one and your libido will thank you.
5. Ask questions but do your research! There are a variety of great message boards on the interwebz with knowledgeable individuals. Seek them out and post your questions. But please run searches on the board you frequent as your question has likely been answered time and time again. If you still want that social stamp of approval post your cycle up and get some feedback. Make sure to include your training and supplement history. This gives guys a general idea of where you’re at in your training and nutrition knowledge. There is no need to cycle if you are not even 21 years of age. And if you have never touched a weight in your life nor have no idea how many calories are in a gram of protein then you shouldn’t touch prohormones! I’m doing you a favor by telling you to stay away from them if you’re only learning the basics of training and nutrition. That, or post your cycle plan, and enjoy the flaming.
6. The final and perhaps most important rule is to stay disciplined. Stick to your plan. Usually your first cycle is always your best for a variety of reasons. Don’t skip workouts. Don’t skip meals. Don’t skip hours of sleep because your buddies are out partying and you want to join them. Make sacrifices during your cycle and PCT and you will reap the rewards when it is all said and done.
The six “rules” listed above should not be the end all resource for your cycle plan. But do utilize them as guidelines to follow as you research and absorb the incredible amount of information available online. Train hard brothers.