Am I ready for steroids? This is a question most of us in the bodybuilding community have asked ourselves at some point. In this article, we will look closely at the many factors that influence our decision to cycle and some of the reasons why some people are simply not ready.
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|Article Cliff Notes
Age and Training Experience
Before someone begins their first cycle of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), they should make sure they have the necessary experience in the gym. This person should be at least the age of 25 years and have a minimum of 5 years of consistent training.
Twenty five (25) is the minimum age because between the ages of 12 and 26, a male’s hormone levels will steadily rise and peak. As a result, there are enough hormones in the body that it will essentially act as a mild cycle with a proper diet and training routine. If exogenous testosterone was introduced in the body at too young of an age, there would be nasty side effects such as stunted growth, stretch marks, hair loss, acne, water retention, and gynecomastia. In addition, It may cause issues with puberty if taken during that phase.
Five (5) years of training is a good benchmark because one should reach their genetic limit before looking into performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). This will also ensure the habit of consistent training and dieting is already present in that person’s lifestyle.
The first major thing potential users need to understand is that steroids are not fat burners. If fat loss is your main goal, you are not ready for a steroid cycle. In fact, it can be dangerous to run a steroid cycle if you have a higher body fat.
When you have high bodyfat levels, the first major issue is an elevated level of estrogen conversion. Why? Simply because the aromatase enzyme, which converts testosterone to estrogen, is found in fat cells. This means that the more fat cells you have, the more aromatase enzymes in the body. Therefore, higher estrogen is what is responsible for the side effects of increased blood pressure, gynecomastia, shrinking testes, fatigue, and erectile dysfunction just to name a few. In addition, if you have a higher body fat, you are also at a higher risk of having high blood pressure and cholesterol. While high blood pressure and cholesterol are side effects that come with steroid use, high bodyfat would be compounding these potential problems. A general rule is to be at most 15% body fat but ideally 12% before running a cycle of AAS.
Diet and Lifestyle
Steroids are “performance enhancers”, not miracle drugs. In order to have your performance enhanced, there has to be a performance to begin with. A consistent training routine and solid diet is the key to building muscle. In fact, a steroid cycle will give tremendous results if these areas are where they need to be. However, If you are taking steroids as a shortcut or a” get fit quick” plan, you will see little in results and lots of unwanted side effects.
If you are thinking of doing your first cycle, you should know how many calories you need to eat per day to maintain your weight, lose weight, and gain weight. This will be essential in developing a plan consistent with your goals. Furthermore, you should be a generally healthy person who is not out binge drinking every weekend or using recreational drugs. These choices would only lead to more stress on the liver and other organs during a steroid cycle.
If you have determined that you are old enough, have enough training experience, and are healthy and ready for your first cycle than this is where to start.
Just like any new compound introduced to the body, you will hyper respond to your first cycle. This is similar to someone having their first few alcoholic drinks. It will take them much less to feel the effects than a more experienced drinker. For a first cycle, Testosterone by itself is recommended. Usually, the cycle is done with Testosterone Enanthate or Testosterone Cypionate because they are long test esters. This allows the user to only inject twice per week. In addition, it is essential that an aromatase inhibitor (AI) like aromasin or arimidex is used to prevent estrogen related side effects.
The final and most important part of the cycle is the post cycle therapy (PCT). This refers to the weeks after the steroids are no longer being administered where the body recovers its natural testosterone production. This is also what allows us to keep our hard earned gains.
The following is an example of a first cycle:
- Week 1-10 Testosterone Cypionate 500mg (250mg injected twice per week)
- Week 1-10 Aromasin 10mg EOD
- Week 1-10 N2Guard 5 caps ED
- Week 11-16 - Perfect PCT
First Cycle Alternative
There is nothing wrong with deciding that you are not quite ready for your first steroid cycle. In fact, it is admirable when someone is truthful with themselves and makes an informed decision.
Whether it be high body fat, inconsistency in diet or training, or other reasons, there are alternatives when it comes to steroids. A great alternative would be SARMS (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators). They will give many of the same effects of steroids without the estrogen conversion and side effects associated with AAS.
Here is an example of a SARMS stack as an alternative to a steroid cycle:
-Based on a SARMS Triple Stack protocol-
- Week 1-12 Ostarine (mk-2866) 25mgs/ed
- Week 1-12 Andarine (S4) 25mgs/ed (split dose 12.5mgs am/pm)
- Week 1-12 Cardarine (GW) 20mgs/ed
- Week 1-12 N2Guard 5caps/ed
Mini SARMS PCT - 4 weeks
- Clomid at 25mgs/day
- Nolvadex at 20mgs/day
- HCGenerate ES at 5 capsules/day
- N2guard at 3 capsules/day
Want to read about your 1st cycle on our forums? check out these threads:
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