Still one of my favorite threads in all the years I've been here.
Short cycles, some thoughts
I began BBing with a trainer from Germany. In educating me, he related to me that, in his time BBing there, European BBers were relatively without American influence. Common practice called for the use of short halflife ester injectables, the variety of which was very much greater than exists today, combined with mild orals like Anavar and Winstrol and, sometimes, Dbol. Short cycles(2-4 weeks) were also the norm. Most interesting, use of test was very uncommon, and considered a horror. What was commonly used was Parabolan, what we, today, call Trenbolone. Eight week cycles were virtually unheard of, and the desire to pack on 20-40 pounds in such a short time was unthinkable. European BBers took a much more unhurried pace of growth. Young, competitive BBers were very much smaller than those found in the US, today, due to this orderly pace of growth. It was only the very rare, genetically unusual BBer who was big at a young age. Europeans simply had a different outlook and different standards.
Early on, my trainer lamented the situation he found in the US: heavy dependance upon test, long halflife esters used in long cycles, gross overeating, poor estrogen suppression, acceptance of high bodyfat percentages, and excessive lbm development in short timespans. He was horrified at what he envisioned would be the longterm consequences of widespread use of these practices. He was associated with IFBB pros, like Zhur, el Sonbaty, Schlierkamp, and Ruhl, while in Europe. He was well aware of the health complications associated with extreme muscularity. He kept reiterating "BBing is a sport for life".
While still a natural, I began to examine how an entire philosphy of AAS use might be developed, based upon the European experience. By the time it was appropriate for me to begin AAS, years later, I already had a plan. Initially, I quietly used myself as a lab rat. The results became quite visible, and, before too long, questions followed. My trainer asked that we work together, to develop a new way for his athletes to grow. And here we are.....
Characteristics of AAS:
There are two clearly discernable characteristics of interest to BBers. Anabolic: muscle growth/hypertrophy. and Androgenic: strength, aggression, fat burning. Most AAS possess these two characteristics in varying ratios, and in various strengths. For example, Halotestin may be seen to produce a pure androgenic response, but no anabolic response. Deca, on the other hand, will produce anabolism with no significant androgenic response. Test produces roughly a 50 percent anabolic response, and 50 percent androgenic response. Then there is strength of response. Winstrol is a moderate, pure anabolic. Anavar is a moderate, pure androgen. Trenbolone is a very powerful androgen(80 percent of total response), much more powerful than the androgenic characteristics of test. Tren's anabolic characteristic(20 percent of total response), is weaker than that of test. And so on. I have built a complete table of response characteristics of all the AAS components we use.
Site injection and localized growth:
Time and time again, we have seen localized growth response to site injected, esterless and short halflife AAS. I no longer accept that a positive response is anecdotal. It's just too commonplace, in my own work. Consequently, we no longer waste gear in glutes and quads. We identify and then site inject any and all lagging bodyparts, in a rotating injection program. And we have seen some startling responses. In nearly every case, we prefer tren and an esterless AAS, for the most powerful response. There must be weak-, or non-responders, but I have yet to find any. I owe much, in this particular area, to the work of Paul Borreson.
Cycles are assembled by, first, determining the end response characteristics desired, and assembling components whose AAS characteristics interlock together to produce that end response with a minimum of overlap, over the cycle timespan desired. Consider this cycle: Nandrolone phenylpropionate(EOD), tren(EOD), Winstrol depot((ED), optional Anavar(ED). I've remarked, elsewhere, on the desireability of pairing tren with Winstrol. We require the use of a pure androgen for EVERY cycle, to insure strength, onging muscle definition, density, and post cycle androgenicity, so Anavar is our choice for this cycle. Here, Tren is our primary androgen, and nandrolone our primary anabolic. All of these agents are selected for their lack of water retention. All are either short acting or esterless, so that meets our requirements for site injection. And, yes, we do site inject it all. We begin by frontloading the estered injectables, up to three days before cycle day zero, and add the orals and esterless injectables at cycle day minus one. On cycle day zero, the AAS is already active, with blood levels increasing. We end the injectables and orals, suitably in advance of the end of the cycle, so that, on cycle day 15, the AAS is non-inhibitory, and HTPA recovery begins immediately. Add on 14 days further system recovery, and then a cycle can begin anew. Seven weeks, total. Over a year, this might be acccomplished seven times. When HCG, and an anti-e at suitable dosage, are added to the Clomid, the HTPA may be recovered in only 2 weeks. This shortens the next cycle availability point by one week.
Yes, it's a lot of injections. And the Winstrol hurts.
What might be expected, in the way of results? Bulking, we have seen as much as 10 pounds lbm. Average is five pounds. Over a year, that's 35 pounds. You say, "Hell, I can grow that much in 8 weeks". I say, let's see how many times a year you can accomplish that, and over how many years do you think you will continue to accomplish that? We have this steady, measured growing, going on and on. My guess is that this approach, using only a modest bulking diet, rather than the typical American pig-out bulking diet, can be accomplished for years and years. Due to short cycle length and rational diet design, there is very little fat gain. No pressing need to cut. No need to look like the typical big, smooth BBer, who only looks cut once a year. Our people are lean, defined, and feel healthy, all the time. They only spend two weeks out of seven(or six), cycling. And, since they get normalized quickly, they can train and grow natural, more quickly, because there is none of the weeks and weeks of getting that slow AAS out of their systems. The BBer doing the typical 8 week long acting ester cycle, exists for weeks in a kind of limbo, where the blood levels are not high enough for anabolism, but are still inhibitory, and he must wait all that extra time. My people are off, longer than they are on. Their bodies, free of drugs.
We tend to avoid test. Not completely; just most of the time. What we found is that, anytime you use test, it magnifies the sides of whatever you use with it. Tren, used in rational dosages, is relatively free of sides, and causes fewer overall sides during cycles. We use tren, like the typical BBer uses test. With tren, you get much more response, with much lower dosages, with greater androgenic intensity. Someone once wrote that tren was "the gear of the gods". Indeed, the Europeans brought to BBing AAS, a very great gift. We do use test, but only for very specialized purposes.
We only use one type of eight week bulk cycle. That for Boldenone, which now can only be obtained in a very long halflife ester. We are working with a supplier, and are patiently awaiting him to provide us with our first esterless Boldenone. Testing will begin immediately afterwords, to develop new dosage and protocols, following which, we expect to end our use of nandrolone phenylpropionate. Too many of our clients exhibit some degree of bloat from progesterone aromatization, emerging from the nandrolone. We consider any bloat, from any origin, entirely unacceptable, on health and esthetic grounds.
Bodyfat gain on cycles:
Ever notice how productive of muscle, a cycle usually is, during the first four weeks, and how it slows down and bodyfat accumulates, during the second four weeks? You end up eating more, in the attempt to return things to the former rate. More bodyfat. Finally, the whole process slows down for good. What's going on? The common explanation is that you are getting bigger, so that requires more nutrition. We say no. We say the body realizes what is going on, it exhausts and compensates, and body metabolism and developmental processes simply will no longer support this process. But you continue to eat. And that food has got no place else to go, but be turned into fat, with unproductive lbm production.
Our short cycle designs, whether for 2, 3, or 4 weeks features tren, as a foundation, which is a potent fat burner, due to powerful androgenicity, and will not aromatize to estrogen. And a diet, which is clean, and appropriately sized for rational lbm gain, while minimizing conversion to fat. Later, the body is clean of AAS, and primed for most sensitive and effective response, before the cycle begins. The conversion from nutrition to muscle takes place under optimum conditions, at low bodyfat levels. The AAS ramp-up is swift and full, and the cycle ends before the system can de-sensitize and cause spillover of nutrition to bodyfat.
Estrogen pileup is another cause of bodyfat accumulation, during the typical 8 week, long halflife ester cycle. I suggest that readers visit the AE zine Issue 46, and download the blood concentration calculator from the excellent article on blood concentration of various halflife esters of AAS. Then, plug in your long halflife ester cycle components, and witness the startling blood level concentrations of what you are injecting, late in the cycle. Using the typical paltry anti-e dosages of the typical BBer, is it any wonder that, late in the cycle, estrogen levels build up out of control, and bodyfat follows?
Estrogen and anti-e:
It is an obsolete belief that estrogen is necessary in any cycle. Indeed, ANY amount of estrogen is BAD in any cycle! There is not one study which supports the notion. But the idea lived on in yet another obsolete notion; that water weight is good weight, in a cycle. That, water introduced into the muscle, causes increased lifts, and by lifting heavier, greater growth is obtained. The experts would purposely advise minimal amounts of anti-estrogen drugs, only to minimize the chance of gyno, but to insure lots of this, supposedly, desireable water weight. On the AE boards, I have witnessed these experts advising NO anti-e's, but only to have some Nolvadex at hand, to deal with gyno, should it appear. Not only do you end up with fake strength and fake muscle size, but, at the same time, the estrogen buildup causes high blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance, and a host of health issues. There is water buildup in the lower back to the extent that posts frequently document BBers in pain, cramps, and difficulty, attempting deads. The champions of this approach say "Oh just take some ibuprofen, and you will be just fine". Try asking your liver what it thinks about that approach. Following the cycle, the water disappears, along with the strength and size it fooled the user into believing was real muscle. This often causes depression, and chases the user into a course of Creatine, to re-introduce that fake size and strength. The muscle character appears smooth, and the density is poor. When the BBer diets down, all this is lost, and the truth is seen. It's no wonder that certain other experts advise that BBers never come off AAS, so this scenario may never be exposed for what it is: a rollercoaster of reality versus water weight. I agree with them. It is not healthy to run back and forth between lost size and fullness caused by water weight. But it also is not a good thing to stay on AAS, all the time, either. This is a totally brain dead approach to AAS use. And the BBer who engages in it never attains the quality, defined physique he deserves. It's just alot of smooth water weight and high bodyfat.
And bodyfat. Everyone should know that the presence of excess estrogen causes fat deposition. The greater and the longer the exposure to elevated levels of estrogen, the greater the bodyfat accumulation. Endos, listen up; stay away from any situation which creates elevated estrogen levels. Everyone, listen up; it is OBSOLETE cycle technology to enable anything but minimal levels of estrogen, at any time. Estrogen is evil, and it is NOT your friend. Using anti-e's cannot reduce estrogen to levels below which the male body cannot function properly. It requires very little estrogen to function, and no anti-e removes it all.
What to do? Begin, with an entirely different approach. Say that ANY water weight is BAD weight. That estrogen must be banished, to the fullest rational extent. And that the muscle you grow and see is, in fact, muscle, and not water. That the muscle produced will be dense and well defined. A quality physique. How, then does one obtain that increased strength, which the water provided, to enhance growth during the cycle? As stated, we first kill off the estrogen and bloat. Second, we emphasize the introduction of powerful androgens into the cycle structure. I am speaking, once again, of tren and anavar. Together, these components make you VERY strong. And with NO bloat or estrogen required. The concentrated androgenicity encourages intense, aggressive workouts, while also encouraging fat burning. It is very commonplace to observe body recompositions during such cycles. In other words, you get big and lose bodyfat, simultaneously. The androgenicity also produces significantly increased muscle density and definition. At cycle end, what you end up with, is the real deal. Solid muscle, growth, and increased definition. No need to rush to the nearest container of creatine to stem your losses. And that strength is yours, to keep. And no test.....
Now, go back to that blood concentration calculator, and compare the blood concentrations of the typical 75 mg EOD of tren, to what you were subjecting yourself to, with that long halflife ester cycle. No stress caused by estrogen pileup, either. Now, you tell me which alternative is better.
What do we use to suppress Estrogen? Well, we formerly used grams of Arimidex per day. Arimidex is now an antique for us. We use Femara. We prefer one 2.5 mg tab ED. Our clients are kept dry as a bone. We will begin to study Aromasin, in mid-September. Aromasin utilizes a different approach to Estrogen control, which promises to be even more powerful than Femara. But research indicates that IGF-1 production is not suppressed by Femara, but may, in fact, be enhanced by it. We do not see that with Aromasin. Time and experimentation will tell.
Most importantly, we keep our people on anti-e, post cycle, during the HTPA recovery process, and later. This both speeds recovery of the HTPA, as well as minimizing fat buildup, while hormone levels fluctuate wildly.
Androgenicity and quality:
BBers commonly justify their long cycles by saying that they need the long cycle to enable "consolidation". They observe that this effect only occurs late in the cycle. Why is this? It's because the androgen level of the Sustanon test, typically used, takes that long to pile up and affect the muscularity of the BBer. But what about Trenbolone? Almost without fail, users commonly report density and hardening to appear within a few weeks. Why is this? Because the androgenic response of tren is so much more powerful than that of test. You can get this response to produce quality muscle at dosages of only 75 mg EOD, in less than a month. In a Sustanon test, it takes many weeks to accumulate an immense blood concentration, to achieve the same result. It is commonplace to observe tren users burning fat, while they cycle. Sust users never report this effect. Why? Once again, the androgenic response of tren is so much greater than that of test. Intense androgenicity induces fat burning. If Anavar is added, the androgenicity effect is intensified, still further.
Ever hear of the term "muscle maturity"? It describes muscle which is dense and defined. The commonly accepted belief is that it takes years and years to acquire this muscle characteristic. But why? Because, using test, the exposure to the muscle hardening androgenicity only occurs for about two weeks in the typical long cycle. And that cycle can only be repeated a few times a year. In the tren/anavar-based short cycle, the exposure to muscle hardening androgenicity occurs for longer periods, and the cycle can be repeated many times a year. "Muscle maturity", and quality, appears with rapidity, and not with years and years. I see muscle quality in only one year of regular short cycling, which I never see in the typical long cycle BBer, unless it occurs for years. Which would you prefer?
The issue of health:
There are those who say the typical American method of cycling, using long acting ester cycles, for 8 weeks or more, and eating 7-10,000 calories per day, for all that time, is no danger to health. To that, I say this: in the millions of years of human evolution, at no time, ever, has the male of our species been exposed to the barrage of hormonal, metabolic, and developmental pressure and manipulation, as occurs during the long acting ester eight week cycle. Do you really believe our bodies were engineered and evolved to deal with this attack, as well as the stress of being forced to add 20-40 pounds of lbm and bodyfat in this same timespan, over and over, again? Don't be a fool. If you believe so, then you are whistling past the cemetery. And there are additional fools, who would have you believe that staying on this course, continuously, can do you no harm. This is, currently, an unprecedented, uncontrolled lab experiment, taking place all over the world, with thousands of men as lab rats. The long term outcome cannot be predicted by anyone, today. True, every single one of us will die, someday. My people and I have no intention of hastening the ar***** of that inevitable day, just to look big in a coffin, as we are laid to our eternal rest. What the hell is YOUR hurry? And, what if you don't die? What if you are forced to leave your beloved sport, and spend the rest of your days, living with hypertension and heart damage due to tachycardia. And kidney damage caused by the hypertension. And still other health issue possibilities. Is this any way to live? It's a personal value judgement and risk assessment process. Step back for a moment, and re-evaluate your position and priorities..............
I have presented, above, only the most basic introduction to my philosophy and approach to short cycling, and offered only a simple example out of a program which I spent years developing. I have devised an entire series of special-purpose cycles, each of which embody most, if not all of the above principles.
The purpose of the short cycle is to employ moderate dosages of short halflife ester and esterless injectable and oral AAS, combined with moderate and healthy diet, to promote moderate stress anabolic growth, over time. This same process results in very high quality muscle production, which only increases with each cycle, and minimal health impact. It assumes a long term outlook. It is intended for the mature and rational BBer, who expects to remain in the sport for the rest of his life. If you truly love BBing, you never want to leave, and you want to keep your interest and grow, then consider how the short cycle might be what you need for your future in our beloved sport.