first bulking cycle: I want to keep my gains!
12-01-2006 04:45 PM
first bulking cycle: I want to keep my gains!
I am planning my first bulking cycle. I am not a competitive bodybuilder, but more of a weightlifting enthusiast who wants to be more jacked. Since I have no fat on me (I'm guessing 7-8%), this means that I stand to benefit from some bulking. I do not want to compromise my health with this cycle, especially in the long term.
Along with staying healthy, my main goal for this cycle is to keep as much of my gains as humanly possible.
Me: 28, 6', 170, guessing 7-8% bodyfat
Short Term Goal: get to 180 ASAP as a waypoint, and stay above 180.
Long Term Goal: see how 190 works for me, stay there if I like it. Somewhere around 193 could be a good long-term weight for me.
Why on earth a guy who is 6' and 170 is even thinking about gear: I have 14 years experience with weight training! When I reached my full height 10 years ago, I weighed 145. So, 25 pounds of completely lean, permanent gains. And I am pretty strong. Strong, but not big. If you know any cute girls who are into guys who can get 3 reps at 270 on the lat pulldown machine, please introduce me. Until then, methinks I need some mass. 170 has emerged as a type of natural limit for me. When I try to exceed it by stuffing myself, taking creatine, and lifting 5x 1 hour per week, I end up exhausted and with digestive problems. I was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2004. Thank god I am not sick now. But the lining of my gut is sensitive, making creatine intake and caloric increases difficult for me to sustain. This, and I am natually pretty slim. So take a hardgainer who has reached a long-term weight plateau, and give him a sensitive stomach. Sounds like he should forget about making progress in terms of mass. Unless...
So mass is the order of the day, and it may come more slowly to me than to other first-cyclers. I want to make up for this by keeping my gains to the fullest possible extent. There are two possibilities I am considering. I have a feeling people on this board will prefer the one that involves taking test. I am particularly curious to hear responses that engage me as an individual, and less interested in responses that seek to establish that particular ergogenic aids "suck".
Anyone who has spent even a little time on these boards knows that test is the best mass builder. But I wonder if it is best for my needs. I could easily see myself blowing up to 180 on a test only cycle, then dropping down to 175 in spite of an anavar bridge and appropriate post cycle therapy. This doesn't interest me much.
If I take test, I want to combine it with something that will enable me to keep the majority of my gains. I am interested Schering Primobolan Depot, since it has a reputation for promoting gains that are easier to keep than anything else out there.
I don't want to do more than 7 weeks for my first cycle (5 weeks bulking, then a 2 week bridge), though I would consider extending this in a subsequent cycle depending on results. I am also going to stick with conservative dosages. Remember this is for an amateur who wants to avoid sides, not a 260 pound beast in the making.
Here it is: 250mg Sustanon plus 100mg Primobolan every 5 days for the first 5 weeks of the cycle (that's 7 doses, for a total of 1750mg Sustanon, 700mg Primobolan in the main part of the cycle). To consolidate my gains, I would take 250mg Primobolan at the beginning of weeks 6 and 7, plus 30mg anavar daily during weeks 6-7, then initiate PCT. I imagine I could get at least 7 or 8 pounds of quality, long term gains from this cycle if I play my cards right.
The only things that make me hesitate about this cycle are the possibility of losing the majority of my gains as well as some of my hair. I noticed fallout with DHEA, which I stopped with saw palmetto and rogaine. I would use both of these on this (or any other) cycle. I want to be big, not bald.
The other option involves a compound that may be particularly suited for my needs: boldenone (aka Equipoise or eq). Boldenone is famous for dramatically increasing the appetite. I need all the motivation I can get to eat, so boldenone may be the ticket for me. On the downside, it can increase the pulse and cause anxiety in high doses, so I would stick with 200mg every five days for starters. If I wanted anything like the aforementioned gains with this, I would need to add more of something, and that something could be Primobolan. I would take 300mg with each dose of boldenone. This combo would go for the first five weeks. Then I would run Primobolan 300mg per week plus anavar 30mg/day for the last two weeks of the cycle. I wouldn't blow up as much on this cycle, but I might just end up with the same long-term gains due to the appetite stimulation that comes with boldenone.
The combination of these two is described thusly by Peter "Big Cat" Van Mol (please don't characterize him as an "idiot" in your responses): "There is a slight merit in stacking Methenolone with boldenone, because apart from its 1-methyl group, methenolone is basically DHB, the 5-alpha-reduced form of boldenone. But since boldenone itself has very low affinity for 5-alpha-reduction, it should have a good synergistic effect stacking the two at 300 mg/week each."
Allow me to write out these cycles for head to head comparison. Remember that my goal is to gain at least 10 pounds of muscle that I can keep, but it is fine with me if this takes 2 or even 3 cycles, provided that I actually keep the gains.
Sustanon 250 + Primobolan Depot Cycle:
Days 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, 26, 31: Sustanon 250mg, Primobolan 100mg
Days 36, 43: Primobolan 250mg
Days 36-49: Anavar 30mg
Total Intake: Sustanon 1750mg, Primobolan 1200mg, Anavar 420mg
Total Cost: Sustanon $105 + Primobolan $180 + Anavar $10 (yeah, baby) = $295
Boldenone + Primobolan Depot Cycle:
Days 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, 26, 31: Boldenone 200mg, Primobolan 300mg
Days 36, 43: Primobolan 300mg
Days 36-49: Anavar 30mg
Total Intake: Boldenone 1400mg, Primobolan 2100mg, Anavar 420mg
Total Cost: Boldenone $70 + Primobolan $315 + Anavar $10 = $395
In terms of your responses, the only test I will consider for this cycle is Sustanon. If you wish to suggest other tests for future cycles I welcome this.
The Primobolan is more open to amendment, if you know of something that is better at producing long-term gains with minimal sides. I would consider masteron if you think it wouldn't kill my hair, but not deca (too many sides), unless something like 150mg deca every 5 days could be done without sides. Same goes for something like masteron or trenabol. Let me know.
I eagerly await your responses, and hope that I haven't gone on too long. Just don't say I didn't do my homework!
12-01-2006 08:02 PM
Originally Posted by washingtonirvin
12-01-2006 08:27 PM
Wow, thanks. Points all well taken. I thought I went on too long, but you're right, diet and PCT are essential, and I should include a summary of my training plans as well. I was a bit overconfident there... I am open to suggestions for the test component of this cycle, and thanks for yours. Additionally, it has dawned on me that the Boldenone should probably be used for 2-3 times as long as proposed (if at all). My reason for wanting to keep the cycle short is fear of side effects, mainly long term HPTA suppression in spite of PCT. I would like to hear feedback on the likelihood of this for a healthy 28y/o guy.
I will write out proposed diet and PCT tonight. In the mean time, it's hard for me to plan out my training... as it is, fatigue after a training day really sets me back, and one of the things I want most from gear is the ability to turn it up in the gym. Any suggestions for how to plan for new energy that result from these cycles. As it is, I experience substantial fatigue the next day from doing 6 sets of 8-10 reps using compound movements and free weights, and prohibitive/debilitative fatigue from doing a workout with 18 sets, 12 of which are compound movements with free weights, and maybe 6 are less taxing isolation exercises.
Energy is a scarce resource for me, and I welcome any ideas about how much of it these cycles could produce.
12-01-2006 09:23 PM
If you really want to gain 10lbs, go with prop and anavar. Prop at 75ED or 150mgEOD and anavar at 40mgED. Do this for 6 or 8 weeks and eat as much as you can. I'll bet you can get to that 180. Though to be honest, I don't think you're near ready for gear at 170lbs and 6'. I think you could easily get to 180 an even 190 at 6' without ever touching gear.
Also, wanting to do a short cycle for fear of supression, well running test at or above endogenous amounts for more than 4 weeks will drop your LH to at or near 0 anyway. Given that, why not just run a test-e cycle out to 12 weeks? Once your shutdown, you really can't get MORE shutdown. I would bet with 12 weeks and alot of food you could easily make it to 190lbs.
12-01-2006 09:25 PM
I can see your reasoning for everything you have layed out. What I would like to add is in my experience, test gains have been very easy to maintain. Recovery from test only cycles has been much easier for me than any oral cycles.
12-01-2006 10:22 PM
Yeah - you're 28 years old and naturally skinny - and have been lifting for 14 years - you know your body. Some guys are naturally 250 - some are 170 - most are 190. Your a big boy who can make his own decisions by now. So........
EQ would be usless with any cycle under ten weeks. It's a long acting ester and won't even start really kicking in until week 3 or 4 and then it stays in your system for a couple weeks after the last injection. If it's your first time pinning yourself - do you really want to be doing every other day injections? Why not go with a Test E/EQ stack? 2 injections a week. And anavar for 2 weeks is not long enough either. You wouldn't get anything from that. Var is not explosive like DBol or Superdrol - it's best used at a minimum of 6 weeks. I propose this:
12 week cycle
weeks 1-10 Test E 250-500mg
weeks 1-10 EQ 200-400mg
weeks 7-12 Anavar 40mg/day
weeks 3-12 HCG 500IU a week
weeks 13-14 Nolva 40mg/day
weeks 15-16 Nolva 20mg/day
and if you are really concerned with estrogen sides from the test - Arimidex at .5 mg every other day will take care of that at your dosages. Finasteride for the hair. The HCG is low dose sub-q shots that will just keep the boys going until PCT starts and you run no risk of HCG desensitization. Eat well and you can't miss. Low sides and clean mass. But the only way to hold the gains has been stated - you need to eat more than you do now in order to maintain more weight. You need to change your eating habits - like instead of eating every 2.5 hours - cut it down to every 2 hours.
12-01-2006 11:03 PM
Binging on Pure ****ing Rage
Cannot say I agree with the above whatsoever, sorry, don't mean to be a ****. Regardless of your age you should stick to one long-estered injectable for your first, IMO, as you will not be able to attribute any negative side effects, should they arrive, to either compound because you won't know. Stick with an oral, if you so choose, as the negative side effects of the longer acting ester most likely will not manifest themselves until a few weeks in, and by that time you could be finishing up depending on which oral you choose. At any rate, I don't think running 3 compounds for your first is a great idea.
12-01-2006 11:05 PM
It's your first cycle as it is so your going to keep most if not all of your gains anyway as long as you run proper post cycle therapy. I'd do the following:
Weeks 1-12 500mg Sustanon
Weeks 1-4 50mg Anavar
Weeks 12-14 50mg Anavar
Weels 1-14 50mg Proviron
Week 15: 60mg Nolvadex, 25mg ATD, 3 Retain, 12 PowerFull
Week 16: 40mg Nolvadex, 50mg ATD, 3 Retain, 12 PowerFull
Week 17: 40mg Nolvadex, 50mg ATD, 3 Retain, 12 PowerFull
Week 18: 20mg Nolvadex, 25mg ATD, 3 Retain, 12 PowerFull
So you've got the anavar to help kickstart your cycle, then for the last 4 weeks to help solidify gains, you should make some high quality gains from this cycle. Considering this is your first cycle and the post-cycle therapy that i outlined you shouldn't have any problems keeping all of your gains and gaining alteast 10lbs of new mass. I included Proviron in your cycle to help free up bound testosterone to make the test more effective but if you can't get it or want to keep costs down then don't use it and just keep nolvadex on hand if signs of gyno appear. Also if your only going for 10lbs of new muscle you could do that easily at your size naturally.
12-02-2006 12:01 PM
But what negative side effects is really possible with 250 mg of Test E? Minimal bloat - if any - and minimal hair loss - and minimal blood pressure. It's Test - your body has it already - and at 250mg - come on - that's HRT dosage we're talking about here. Anavar is the safest oral - and the safest steriod behind Test - it's been studied and proven as such for over 4 decades - it's used on children for months at a time. The only wild card is EQ - and it's mild also - especially at 200mg. I understand the caution - but Test and Var are as safe as it gets - especially at the doses we're talking about here. In fact if it was me - I would go for 500mg Test and 6-8 weeks of Anavar at 40-60mg. Safe and solid. But is one question mark really going to kill? No - and it's EQ - which is mild.
Originally Posted by Mulletsoldier
12-02-2006 01:08 PM
Washingtonirvin- your proposed dosages are too low. By running a cycle at those doasges you will in all likelyhood just replace your own testosterone production with synthetic so just up the dose. A simple first cycle suited for your needs would obviously be test prop&var and as CHAPS said throw in some proviron its good stuff. Keeping your gains all comes down to how your PCT is executed. Above all else you must take in more calories, especially during post cycle.
12-02-2006 01:24 PM
This is not exactly true. LH release isn't the only important factor in shutdown and recovery. For longer cycles, testicular atrophy is more important. There's a study discussed in Anabolics 2006 where subjects were given test enth 250mg for 21 weeks, and then LH and natty test were measured when they came off. LH began recovering immediately and was close to normal just 6 weeks after the last shot. But natty test levels continued to drop until 5 weeks after the last shot, didn't begin to climb at all until 11 weeks after, and were still only 85% recovered 18 weeks after.
Originally Posted by aspire210
"This lack of correlation makes clear that the problem in getting androgen levels restored is not necessarily the level of LH, but more so of testicular atrophy and desensitization to LH. After a period of inactivation, the testes have lost mass (atrophied), making them unable to perform the required workload. The protracted post-cycle window can, likewise, no longer be looked at as one of low testosterone and low LH. Much of it actually inolves low testosterone and normal (even high) LH." pg 68
Of course this problem can be avoided by using HCG on-cycle. But if HCG is not used, there is still an advantage to keeping cycles shorter rather than longer, even if LH production will be shutdown either way.
12-02-2006 02:13 PM
Binging on Pure ****ing Rage
No, it's not going to 'kill' someone, and while all those compounds are mild the fact still exists that anyone can have an adverse reaction to ANY compound. Seeing as EQ and Sust both contain relatively long esters, if those problems were to arise he would not be able to attribute it to either one, and they would take 2-3 weeks to subside.
Originally Posted by Stupes
Though I didn't see the dosages listed, but even still-the point remains. You do 3 compounds for your first cycle? Where is there to go from there? While these compounds are relatively safe (keyword being relative, let us not kid ourselves here) I still believe in getting the job done with the least amount of compounds. For a first cycle you wouldn't need anything else besides Test, and maybe a nice oral to start off with.
12-02-2006 02:14 PM
Binging on Pure ****ing Rage
Originally Posted by TeamSavage
Yeah, I read that as well. It would seem that study gives more credence to the 'burst cycles' proposed in BTPB.
12-02-2006 05:19 PM
This is all helpful. I am trying to discern some kind of consensus from your replies.
Since hairloss and estrogenic sides seem to be controllable, I am going to plan my cycle to protect my gonads. I will use hcg midcycle and toremifene post-cycle. So what will I use, how much of it will I use, and for how long will I use it?
The only bulking compound I will use will be Test Enanthate. The only bridging compound I will use will be anavar. I will pick dosages that suit me as an individual, somewhere between an HRT dosage and a competitive bodybuilding dosage. For starters, I will use 400mg of Test E per week. I will use this for at least the first two weeks.
At the beginning of the third week I will see how I feel. I will of course keep a log of my progress and do my best to prevent sides from emerging (with your help!). If the sides seem under control I will stick with 400mg. Ditto for the fourth week. I will see how far I can get in 6 doses. Hopefully I will be able to stick with 400mg for the whole six weeks. I feel that increasing the dosage beyond this would expose me to too many potential side effects, and going longer than 6 weeks would make me concerned about HPTA recovery. I will use HCG, but nonetheless I want to make sure I do this right.
So here it is, the simplest bulking cycle with a bridge that I could design:
Weeks 1-6: 400mg Testosterone Enanthate
Weeks 7-8: 30mg anavar daily
HPTA protective measures:
Weeks 3-7: 1000iu HCG twice per week
Weeks 9-10: 70mg toremifene daily
This pretty much settles the gear question for now. No eq this time around.
Clearly I will put on some mass with this cycle, though not as much as if I were to rock 500mg for 10 weeks. That's fine with me, and it puts more of a burden on me to eat properly.
Next step for me: design a diet. This will be more of a challenge for me than for most people because I have a sensitive stomach. I often stop eating even though I am still a bit hungry to avoid indigestion.
My metabolism is fast as shhhh it ... never stops. I would guess I burn 3000 calories per day.
I don't think I could stomach 5000 calories per day, and I don't think I would be happy with my gains at 4000. So I will pick 4500 as my daily intake.
To make this as fun as possible, my diet will be largely polymeric. Polymeric diets involve giving the body foods that require no digestion or just a simple 1-step digestion. Dextrose, for example, requires no digestion, while maltodextrin is digested in a single step. Free form amino acids require no digestion. Coconut oil is extremely easy to digest.
These will be my staples. Not typical perhaps, but they work for me. Don't expect me to add any whey protein any time soon.
I will have 2 Zymactive Proteolytic Enzyme tablets before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast, I will have bacon and eggs, both cooked with coconut oil, along with a bagel with melted swiss cheese and cream cheese.
For lunch I will have a 1/2 pound burger.
For dinner I will cook fish and eat it with rice and flaxseed oil.
In addition, I will frequent my favorite micro-restaurant here in NYC for Takoyaki (octopus balls) and pasta with squid and shrimp ever day.
In addition I will have two bottles of Twinlab's Ultra Fuel per day, and have 20g of amino acids with each bottle. That's 960 calories right there! I will have one before training and one immediately after.
Hmmm I'm still shy about a thousand calories, and I've already got 3 meals and a snack. So I will munch on: yogurt cranberries ed, as well as 2 or 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I eat like a kid.
Next: Training ... Fatigue is my biggest enemy here. I will keep this at bay by sleeping 8-10 hours per night. I will train 5 days per week, resting Wednesday and Sunday. Monday I will work chest and biceps. Tuesday I will squat, deadlift, and work my abs. Wednesday I will be very tired, but happy. Thursday I will work delts, arms, and traps. Friday I will do leg isolation exercises, plus forearms, neck, obliques. Saturday I will work whatever isn't sore. Sunday I will rest and watch Sleeper Cell.
Workouts will have 6-18 sets. If a workout has just 6 sets, you can rest assured that they will be compound movement sets with free weights, and that they will kick my a $ $. If this cycle gets me feeling as I did in high school (apart from the fact that I was weak back then), I might just kick it up to 18 sets.
How is this sounding?
12-02-2006 05:27 PM
oops ... I will also work my back on Thursday...
12-02-2006 05:31 PM
No offense but you have ALOT of reading to do if you think that is a good cycle idea. You might want to look up what a half life is and the half life of test-e, for starters. 2 weeks of var @30mg will lead to little if anything.
Originally Posted by washingtonirvin
1000iu hcg 2x per week? Thats alot of hcg. maybe 250iu 2x week? Also, start a little higher with the tor, work your way down and extend it to 4 weeks if your worried about suppresion like you claim.
I just think you have alot of research to do before you cycle. Thats my honest opinion.
12-02-2006 05:42 PM
I can see how this makes sense, but in order to draw these conclusions do they have a side by side with another control group that did use hcg? I'm not saying its wrong at all, I'll admit I tend to recover a little faster from shorter cycles than longer ones if everything else is equal. Just to me the difference isn't that significant, maybe an extra week or two, but this can be minimized with an excellent pct protocol.
Originally Posted by TeamSavage
This leads to my other question. When we use SERMS to drastically raise LH, I would bet that the level of testosterone is brought back much faster due to supraphysiological of LH that is forced. Is there any studies in Anabolics 2006 that put men side by side with a SERM and with nothing? My only point is I don't get how one can draw such a conclusion with so many variables acting on the situation and nothing to compare it to draw the conclusion.
12-02-2006 06:04 PM
Testosterone Enanthate has a half-life of 10.5 days. A half-life is the time required for the activity of a substance taken into the body to lose one half its initial effectiveness.
I will receive my Phd. from a leading research university this spring, and I have a publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
How about you, aspire210?
Why did you bring up the half-life issue?
As for the var, I plan on using it only to harden up the gains I have made, nothing more. I would have initiated pct during weeks 7-8, but there is that thing ... what's it called? Oh yeah, the halflife of test e.
12-02-2006 06:23 PM
Well my e-degree is in biological sciences and cloning with a minor in steroidology from havard. I honestly don't give a **** what you say you are doing with your life. You are using a long acting compound for a short cycle.
Originally Posted by washingtonirvin
I brought up half life due to the amount of time it takes for a longer acting injectible to each optimal serum levels. I got an idea, sit your ass down and map out the daily serum levels of testosterone, or you can customize the excell sheet I posted on here a few weeks ago. The general "kick in" time for test-e, where the gains start to actually show is around 4-6 weeks and they grow from there. You are quitting just as its getting good. Now do you understand why your cycle is just moronic?
Also, good luck "hardening your gains" on var. Var tends to kill appetite in a lot of people, you obviously already have trouble eating enough food, do you think takening a steroid that tends to decrease appettie will help you hang on to the minimal gains you have made from a horribly designed cycle?
Use a short ester for a short cycle, ie prop. Long ester for long cycles, ie cyp, enthane, etc.
Oh and on a final note, i was almost as heavy as you, with about the same amount of body fat before my first cycle. However, you've got half a foot of height on me. Why don't you learn how to really eat and train before you jump into steroids?
12-02-2006 06:46 PM
Those are valid points. Although I haven't read the original study, Anabolics 2006 gives the impression that there was not a control group. And I don't believe any P.C.T. was used, either. (I'm guessing there was none.) So it really doesn't speak directly to HCG use, as that part was my interpretation. But IMO, the important point is that focusing solely on LH when discussing suppression and recovery is a mistake. LH is certainly a factor, but there are other factors at play, and in all likelihood testicular atrophy is the most important (or "recovery-limiting") of these when discussing longer cycles. Even after this 21-week cycle with no P.C.T., LH recovered in just a few weeks, but it took much longer for natty test production to recover.
Originally Posted by aspire210
The study citied is:
Effect of long-term testosterone oenanthate administration on male reproductive function: Clinical evaluation, serum FSH, LH, Testosterone and seminal fluid analysis in normal men. J. Mauss, G. Borsch et al. Acta Endrocrinol 78 (1975) 373-84.
I'll see if I can get my scanner working and post a picture of the graphs provided...
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