Training article for PCT?
- 08-15-2007, 12:31 PM
Training article for PCT?
I recieved this in an email, and I was wondering if it has any merit. For my PCT which starts next week I am basically going to use the same routine with just less volume. I am on a 5 day a week routine. This plans say 3 days a week. Which should I decide on?
Coming Off A Cycle
by Marcus Haidam
A few minor inconveniences aside, the only really bad thing about steroids is
that you have to come off of them. Technically, of course, you don't HAVE to,
but this article isn't intended for those who fall into that category. Nor is it
intended for the athlete who uses a gram per week for long periods and then
typically uses insulin, DNP, prostaglandins, and other such compounds if they
ever do actually come off (That topic, though quite fun to fantasize about, has
nothing to do with most athletes). The recommendations in this article will do
very little for maintaining the unnatural degree of muscularity attained with
such methods. It's instead intended primarily for the moderate user, whom I'll
(arbitrarily) define for our purposes as someone using 400-600 mg/week of
steroids -- or very high doses of prohormones (1g/day of a topical, 100+mg/day
intranasal). I don't recommend continuous lower intakes as suppression will
still occur without the concomitant dramatic increases in LBM.
To start, we should mention a little bit about the "on" part of the cycle. We'd
like to maximize gains and, at the same time, put ourselves in an optimal
position to keep them once the cycle is stopped. What to do during the cycle
could be an entire article itself, so I'll merely cover the areas where what we
do has a direct influence on the recommendations while coming off.
Training during the cycle should be high volume because muscle contraction
upregulates androgen receptors (AR), and with supraphysiological levels of
androgens, it's in our best interest to have as many AR's as possible. It will
be very difficult to overtrain while "on", assuming optimal nutrition and rest,
so basically do as much volume as you can handle and still have energized
workouts and muscles that are not sore. This might be as much as 2 workouts/day
(of about 45 minutes), 6 days per week for the genetically gifted)
We should avoid going to failure as it will ultimately limit our volume, plus
we'll want our CNS fresh when we come off the cycle. So, no HIT ****, if you
please. HIT type training is primarily effective in a situation where
overtraining of the endocrine system has occurred (from 2 hour a day workouts)
leaving the athlete with a poor testosterone to cortisol ratio. Again, we have
supraphysiological levels of androgens, so that issue goes out the window.
The eccentric portion of the exercises won't be overemphasized because steroids
cause increased muscle protein breakdown/fiber damage (with an even greater
increase in muscle protein synthesis), so the high degree of muscle fiber trauma
inflicted by eccentric training isn't only unnecessary, but it's probably
The preceding training strategies will not only maximize our gains while on the
cycle, but as you will see later, will leave us primed for optimal retention
when we come off.
Our other area of focus will be the hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular axis
(HPTA). An 8-10 week, 24-7 cycle will almost certainly cause full suppression
despite any strategies we might undertake, so it's a mute point in that
situation, but with the 2 week mini-cycles that are becoming increasingly
popular, it's likely that we can still have significant testicular function when
our cycle is stopped.
There are two mechanisms by which negative feedback inhibition of the HPTA
occurs, estrogen binding to the estrogen receptors (ER) and androgens binding to
the androgen receptors(AR), both of which occur in the hypothalamus. We could
prevent binding to the AR by using a receptor antagonist, but it would also
antagonize the AR in the muscle, thus defeating the purpose of taking steroids
-- unless, that is, significant non-AR mediated anabolism occurs, as has been
suggested by some.
Editors note: I really wish someone would take 100mg/day of d-bol with
cyproteron acetate (AR antagonist) and see if they Get Hyooge (tm) or not --
that would go a long ways toward settling this dispute.
Another option here is to be "on" only during the mornings, using either orals
or intranasal (or possibly a fast acting topical when/if an effective one
becomes available), leaving us with normal systemic androgen levels at night
when LH release occurs. This has been found to avoid significant alterations of
the HPTA, even with as high as 100mg d-bol/day.
The final option is to decrease estrogen binding in the hypothalamus. This can
be accomplished by lowering systemic estrogen with an aromatase inhibitor
(and/or choosing anabolics that do not readily convert to estrogen) such as
Arimadex, Cytadren, and perhaps high delivered doses of chrysin (whose in vivo
potency equals that of Cytadren, but whose oral bioavailabilty is extremely
poor, making sufficient delivery by that route basically unattainable for all
practical purposes). We can also block access to the ER with an antagonist such
as Clomid, Proviron, or Nolvadex (which, unfortunately, also interferes with a
couple of enzymes involved in steroid production in the testes, thus canceling
out its benefits on the AR, making it inferior to Clomid in that regard). Or, we
could use a combination of aromatase inhibition and receptor antagonism. This
strategy should prevent negative feedback to some extent, perhaps leaving us
with testosterone levels of 400 instead of 200 (again, being rather arbitrary).
We have done all we can during the cycle, and now we have stopped and must do
all we can to preserve our gains. If steps have not been taken to reduce
estrogen binding in the hypothalamus, that should begin immediately. Clomid is
the preferred choice in this area at 50-100mg/day, but an aromatase inhibitor
should be just as effective, but its use should begin a few days earlier as it
won't do anything for estrogen that's already present. Ideally, both methods
should probably be used.
We must also now decide if we want to completely stop cold or use a morning only
system in an attempt to maximize anabolism for as long as possible while still
allowing HPTA recovery. If we choose the latter, it would probably not be a bad
idea to time workouts to occur during this period - both for CNS effects and for
anabolic effects. In deciding which is the best choice, the basic questions to
be answered are: Does this method even provide significant anabolic benefit??
How much, if any, does it inhibit natural testosterone production?? And most
importantly, do the positives of the first outweigh the possible negatives of
the second?? My guess based on the available data and anecdotal reports is that
is does. I would recommend this strategy for 2-3 weeks. At that point either go
off completely or start a new "on" cycle.
When we stop our cycle, androgen levels are going to be below normal. That is a
given, even with the afore mentioned strategies. What we can do something about
is whether the other anabolic hormones (insulin, IGF-l, GH, thyroid, etc.) are
maximized or not. Being handicapped by the first, we want to make the second as
optimal as possible (hint: DO NOT START A DIET AT THIS POINT!!). Overeating
(editors note: gluttons "overeat", athletes "overfeed") has been shown in
numerous studies to maximize these factors, so I recommend continuing with above
maintenance calories for the first week of "off" time. This will result in a bit
of extra fat gain, but I've found it (when combined with all the other
strategies in this article) to allow for almost total retention of LBM gains
(again this is on a "moderate" cycle). As testosterone production returns to
normal, calories can be lowered to maintenance or below.
During the cycle, we trained using a high volume approach. During the "off"
cycle, we will change things up (which, in itself, will be helpful for growth).
As much **** as HIT gets (and deservedly so), it does have its uses. This is one
of them. As mentioned earlier, the primary benefit of HIT type training is its
beneficial effects on the endocrine system, and that will be very helpful now,
as we desperately want to maximize testosterone levels.
Long workouts lower testosterone to cortisol ratios, so we are going to keep our
workouts under ½ hour, no more than 4-5 times per week. We are going to stick to
heavy, basic movements such as squats, deadlifts, pullups, etc, which also tend
to increase testosterone levels. We'll also make heavy use of eccentric training
during this period, as it is the eccentric part of a lift that causes most of
the muscle fiber damage of weight training (hence, most of the gains). I have
had a good deal of success doing one set per exercise, 2 sets per bodypart of
drop sets that consist of 2-3 eccentric reps at 110-120% of 1-RM, followed
immediately by 2-3 eccentric reps at 90-100% 1 RM, followed immediately by 2-3
full reps at 80-85% - taking 5-6 seconds for the eccentric portion on all 3
Clearly, if you are doing the mornings only "off" cycle, then the appropriate
prohormone or oral is a necessity. I think creatine and a protein powder should
always be used, and glutamine or BCAA's in fairly high doses (20+g/day) might
also be helpful, but other than that, I won't make any specific recommendations
at this time. I have a few thoughts on a combination of supplements in
conjunction with a specific training method that I think is very promising , but
I think I will refrain from mentioning it until a bit of real world testing is
- 08-16-2007, 02:34 PM
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