T Nation

Advice on Avoiding Pitfalls

Looking for some help on avoiding the pitfalls of short to medium cycles. I have done a large degree of research but there are numerous and varying opinions regarding the information I am after. I would appreciate peoples personal experiences regarding the following (likely cycle 300 mg test prop split into 3 a week, plus 50 mg winstrol per day,duration around 4 weeks I have had great success previously using this);

  1. HCG during the cycle appears to be the way to successfully maintaining testicular function. On a 4-week cycle would a small dose on a weekly basis be enough, eg 500 iu 1 x per week. If not what do you feel is the minimum frequency and dose during this type of cycle.

  2. During the cycle if HCG is used will nolvadex help prevent diminishing response of Leydig cells to LH? I cannot find any research backing this up does anyone have any references?

  3. Does proviron really increase free T during a cycle or is this a myth? A second point on proviron as a DHT based compound does it really increase erection frequency and hardness or is this another urban myth? I am concerned about keeping sex drive after the cycle - if proviron works do small doses shutdown HPTA or prevent it being restarted, again opinion on this appears divided?

  4. After this cycle would a simple PCT of clomid be enough. How long should recovery take after this cycle (or am I asking how long is a piece of sting)?

Thanks for any info - really appreciated

  1. You could forgo HCG on such a short test prop cycle. It would still be beneficial, but you would recover well even without the HCG. If you go for it 250iu EOD is good or some use 250iu 2x/w.

  2. I don’t know if Tamoxifen citrate (nolva) will help re LH, but an AI (aromatase inhibitor) is recommended at low dose in you case since you intent to use test prop at fairly low dose. It is normally recommended to go with 500mg test prop/w since your endogenous test production will be shut down anyway by 300mg/w. 500mg is considered more beneficial for gains while not being more suppressive than 300mg. Test prop should be dosed ED or EOD at least.

  3. I don’t believe proviron will provide much benefit. Maintaining low normal male estradiol level is more important for libido. You should have hreat libido from the test prop without proviron.

  4. Post cycle you should recover quite quickly. Nolva starting 3 days after your last test prop injection for 3-4 weeks at 20mg/d should suffice. If you are not feeling back to normal, you could do another week of 10mg/d.

Thanks Dynamo a couple of questions

  1. Would Letrozole at 0.25 mg ED be a suitable dose of AI for this cycle - or would it be too strong?

  2. If 500 mg is no more suppressive than 300 mg it makes sense to go with the larger dosage. But what are your thoughts on 6 weeks versus 4 - much difference in suppression/recovery time?


Letrozole is more powerful than Adex or Aromasin. It is a very good AI - maybe the best - while the others are very effective too. It is important not to overdo the dose of the AI you select as that drives estrogen too low undermining gains and also causing sore joints (from dryness), poor libido and grumpy morale.

0.25mg letro/d will be high for most on the cycle you outlined (500mg test prop/w & winstrol - the winstrol is a non-issue since it doesn’t aromatise). I say for most people because we all respond differently. Some aromatise more and some are AI over responders. Most will fall into the norm.

I haven’t used Letro yet and have been quite happy with Adex, but around 0.25mg letro EOD might be good place to start and readjust after several weeks according to how you are responding:

Increase dose if:

  1. You are bloated
  2. Have sensitive nipple flare-up
  3. Poor libido
  4. Notice you are more emotional than normal

Decrease dose if:

  1. Your joints get achy
  2. Poor libido
  3. Grumpy morale
  4. Fuzzy headed

As you see, some of the symptoms of too high estrogen overlap those of too low estrogen. Experience will help clarify that. Good strong libido is the clearest indicator of ideal low normal male estrogen level, which is the target.

Going from 4 to 6 weeks would be a fine modification. You’ll see more gains and feel less like you are stopping just when things get interesting. Recovery should be fine with or without HCG, although HCG is more warranted for a 6 week prop cycle than a 4 week one.

PCT for 6 weeks prop would be the standard Nolva W1:40mg/d W2:40mg/d W3:20mg/d W4:20mg/d

The winstrol could be continued for the full 6 weeks too if you like. 6 weeks is the outside threshold recommended for orals.

[quote]Cymru wrote:
Thanks Dynamo a couple of questions

  1. Would Letrozole at 0.25 mg ED be a suitable dose of AI for this cycle - or would it be too strong?

  2. If 500 mg is no more suppressive than 300 mg it makes sense to go with the larger dosage. But what are your thoughts on 6 weeks versus 4 - much difference in suppression/recovery time?


If you decide any liver toxic AAS (winstrol, dbol etc). I would recommen nolvadex 10mg daily. It would be benificial for your lipid profile, as any 17AA steroid would destroy your HDL within a week.

Actually - having used Letro extensively myself - i find that with Adex the advice given above by DH would be fairly accurate - as in you can tell with some experience when to adjust the dose.
With letro this is not really the case, and most find that without a blood test it is near impossible to realise exactly the correct dose. This is due to the fact that libido takes a good hit on letro as standard (IME and the experience of others) - so whether 1mg a day or 0.125mg a day libido seems to be reduced.

As for the ‘300mg is no less suppressive than 500mg’ fact - with this same reasoning why not use 1g?

The thing is it doesn’t work like this. Just because suppression will be no more (IMO 300mg over 4 weeks with a SERM may well be easier to recover than 500mg in the same fashion - just personal opinion) does not lay the path to increase the dose.

It depends on the goal, sides, age - all sorts of factors.

For example, i have a fair amount of AAS use under my belt, but this doesn’t necessarily mean i need to use over 500-750mg of Test when i use it. As many would have you believe that as you get more experience, the doses NEED to climb proportionately.

Not only this but when (yes, when) i do choose to use just 200 or 300mg of Test i find that the results are very pleasant indeed, with less concern for fat, estrogen, water, aggression, acne and likely MPB too (recently shaved my head so who cares right?!.
I find that the effect is noticeable in muscularity but it is ‘lighter’ it is more pleasant to run (i personally have a dark cloud descend with higher amounts of Test - <300mg reduces this significantly)

500mg will increase the gains compared to 300mg sure, but it will also increase some of the sides - depending on your own physiological make up and reaction to the application of the hormone in supra-physiological amounts (that’s a mouthful!).
I find that the difference in mood between 300mg and 500mg is very noticeable. I still run 800mg too - but i am making a point. Simply that suppression is not the be all and end all of it.

As per your question about if 6 weeks is no more suppressive than 4 weeks - it is. Generally speaking, for the same total dose of AAS used of the same type of AAS - if that dose is spread over a long period vs. a short period… the person who ran the same amount over less time will have an easier time recovering - all else being equal of course.
However - IMO 6 weeks is a good length of time to use… it is just long enough to get past the best of longer estered drugs with a front load, and it is short enough that you recover significantly easier than say a 12 weeker, which is very common. FWIW i also regularly employ 4 week cycles… or more accurately 28 day cycles.


Sorry - to add… i do like the inclusion of Proviron in cycles simply as an androgen which improves the look to my body and also improves my libido - even on test.
However masteron does all this but also is anabolic - so i much prefer that these days (it is fast becoming a favourite actually in both low and high dose cycles)

However… Winstrol and Test cover the bases for high anabolism and high androgenicity. As for the SHBG benefits Proviron has - it DOES bind to it, but this has no real world effect… (;))

Generally for most these days it ios considered obsolete. The aromatase binding it provided is covered to a much higher degree with AI’s, the SHBG benefit has been proven useless, the androgen level can be provided by much more anabolic compounds - leaving it really rather useless these days other than as a hormonal libido enhancer in pre-pubescent boys (IIRC).

It can be used during off periods to ‘pep’ libido - but only if the HPTA can handle it - i suspect it would be suppressive to someone with a less than fully functioning HPTA.

Thanks all - the information is great. The knowledge base of this forum never ceases to amaze me, I have just submitted a PhD thesis on Test/endocrinology and there is more info here than in either of my supervisors!

Can anyone help with the following information - if I intend to use 250 iu shots of HCG I will need to store it after mixing. I have read anti-bacterial water should be used and stored in the fridge. Any ideas for a reliable source?

In the past I have only ever really suffered 1 x side effect that bothers me - after a cycle involving injectable (it never occurs in oral only cycles which have been dianabol or winstrol) I have found it hard (no pun intended) to get an erection - both in terms of rigity and the time it takes. This lasts for a number of weeks (4-5). My thoughts are there can only be 3 possible reasons (only T ever used so no preg issue?).

  1. No endogenous (or exogenous) T
  2. No estrogen
  3. Too much estrogen

Some questions - the half life of estrogen is low so I am perplexed why we worry about high estrogen after a cycle? As soon as T has fallen below normal physiological levels - estrogen cannot remain high for long? Can someone correct my thoughts - where does this estrogen come from? If I am correct then how can E cause erection problems post cycle?

Too low an estrogen - or estrogen not getting to receptors that I can understand - either none present or SERM preventing receptor binding.

Too low testosterone - yes.

Any way I can tell what causes the problems - without bloods. Finding the cause helps find the solution. Bloods would be difficult - I am in a position where any steroid use would be a major issue and cause hugh repercussions.

Brook -if it is T lacking - how long proviron take to kick in post cycle and eleviate the problem (or would it)? If struggling I may try this method and run proviron at a low dose along with PCT and see what happens?

I have noticed that you have a decent understanding of endocrinology - but this doesn’t mean you have an understanding of AAS application. I now see why i find endo’s frustratingly naive on the subject (you aren’t THAT bad don’t worry). Simply because they are two very different yet related subjects.

I guess it is similar to asking a health nutritionist about optimal dieting for a show! it ain’t happening! Anyway…

Estrogen is high as you know due to the aromatase. When we stop a cycle then the Androgen level drops faster than the Estrogen level - this is when E becomes the dominant hormone and the regular issues occur.

You are correct in that the E will not stay elevated for ever, but long enough to cause issue to start with… and as it lowers, T does not rise proportionately. So then one finds oneself in a position where E and T is low (E isn’t so low as to bottom out AFAIK, and what is more important than the individual levels is the ratio of the hormones).

So post cycle many find that libido is low due primarily to the test level. The estrogen will also affect this in the beginning but it is the Test that is the long lasting evil here. The higher estrogen level will affect emotions, bodyfat, gynecomastia… the normal shit we love.

You SHOULD know that Prolactin is released post orgasm and is one of the reasons for the sexually satisfied feelings and inability to repeat the exercise immediately.
You should also know that the higher the E level, the higher Prolactin will raise - so don’t assume that if you haven’t used a progestone that you won’t get a raised prolactin level. You still can.

Of course all these evils can be avoided with the intelligent use of an Aromatase Inhibitor.

As for your Proviron plan. Nah - don’t do it.

Proviron has been shown in some studies that it does not inhibit the HPTA in doses around 50-75mg/day. However IIRC these studies were done in men who had fully functioning HPTA’s to begin with - so i for one personally expect the outcome to be vastly different in someone with a suppressed axis already.
If you DO want to try it - i would say try 25-50mg a day, but TBH be wary of a reduced ability to recover.

The best plan is to expedite recovery… this would be done by doing as many of the following as possible:

Use AI on cycle.
Use short acting drugs (at least towards the end of the cycle).
Transfer to PCT ASAP.
Use SERM during PCT
Avoid long periods of suppression - IMO <8wks.
Use HCG during the cycle upto beginning PCT.
Use Cabergoline with Progestins.
You could try 0.25mg caber 2x/wk during PCT - it should assist libido

As for bloods - you can order saliva tests online that are discreet and anonymous too. They are like $100 off the top of my head and after my many run-ins with the NHS, i will be adding them to my Favourites i think.

(FWIW - I know that many drugs are not as suppressive as many think - myself included at one time too - for example Dianabol can be used for a whole cycle and still allow a small trickle of Test to be produced - not to mention the very short half life allowing recovery to begin the same day as cessation. Think about it like this - A decent dose of Dbol is 30mg a day over 6 weeks (1260mg)… this is often a TOTAL dose equivalent to 2 weeks on Test! If you were to use Test Suspension for 6 weeks at 30mg a day [shot in the AM also] i am pretty confident that recovery would be as easy. ESPECIALLY if this was ran alongside AI, SERM and a little HCG…)

Thats all the main shit i can think of right now - :wink:

[quote] Brook wrote:

Use AI on cycle.
Use short acting drugs (at least towards the end of the cycle).
Transfer to PCT ASAP.
Use SERM during PCT
Avoid long periods of suppression - IMO <8wks.
Use HCG during the cycle upto beginning PCT.
Use Cabergoline with Progestins.
You could try 0.25mg caber 2x/wk during PCT - it should assist libido

Good post brook. I also read recently about how even testosterone use alone can cause a prolactin increase. I think I would say that a bit of cabergoline post cycle would be good addition to assist recovery and libido regardless of the compounds used.

Brook - thanks for the info

I have access to saliva testing i can do it myself. I have some previous blood results from 2-3 years ago, I know the free T from the saliva will not be comparable to previous total T in blood but I will try and calculate the differential and see if current levels of saliva T represent past levels of total (1-3%).

On the dianabol - I took part in a study looking at the effect of steroids on T etc. I had had a 4 week break after 4 weeks on around 20-30-mg of dianabol a day (with no PCT - I had not heard of it) my total T was at the upper limits for any age group (I was around 36-37 years at time). They analyzed my bloods 2 x for growth hormone because results were so high. I can t remember exactly which growth factor it was (I think IGF-1) but it was higher than 12 out of 14 individuals using the product. I will dig out results from files in work and post (I have never used growth). My T to Epi T (in urine) was out of range and I would have failed an IOC test at the time (5.8 - 1) - but I believe that this was a natural phenomena - in my experience this is a poor test. No steroid metabolites were found in blood or urine.

So what? It confirms that suppression cannot always be as bad as we assume and it must be possible to return to previous T levels? (unless mine were abnormal previous -but I know it is not the case as I passed numerous IOC tests - I was always clean as an athlete and never used during my career).

You have given me an idea to run this study - I will try for ethics. Should be easy to find a dozen or so gym rats who will saliva sample before cycle, after cycle, during PCT and after PCT. Might provide some good info which is definitely missing from the literature. I have seen very little on recovery that was not based on individuals - the link below is a good abstract for those interested


Has anyone any info/ref regarding nolvadex protecting leydig cells from becoming desensitized to HCG and hence LH

Thanks again.

All info/ideas appreciated

Wow, I am learning a boatload on this thread! I’m running about the same cycle as you Cymru.

How have you found it?

I’m actually waiting for my Test Prop to come in any day now! lol can’t wait… I’ve been on the stanozolol at 50mg EOD (NOT a lot!) for a week now waiting for it… I should’ve wait before starting it!

I’ll keep you posted as I progress along!