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Advice on Mag-10/Bulking cycles

I'm planning out two upcoming Mag-10 cycles and was hoping for some advice from the T-forumites. They will be my first two cycles. I'm getting married in Mexico in early December, and would like to gain 10-20 lbs of muscle and maintain or decrease my body fat. I'm currently 27, about 175 lbs at 6'1", and somewhere between 12-15% BF. I've been training for 5 years, 3 years consistently with T-mag as a reference and have made significant body composition and strength gains over that time. I do have difficulty gaining LBM when following Massive Eating protocol, as I tend to gain a lot of fat without anabolic support (that and the limited time-frame convinced me to give Mag-10 a try).

I had originally planned to do the Growth Surge project (I'm actually in an extended stage 1 now) for the first bottle of Mag-10, take two weeks off (stage 3), then either do another Growth Surge stage 2 or two weeks of Joel Marion and Charles Staley's Cheater's Diet/EDT. The Cheater's diet would either be the one workout or two workouts per cycle version (see John Berardi's website for the full article) depending on what happens to my BF during the Growth Surge.

I'm now wondering if my BF is too high now for the Growth Surge program. Hence, I have several options. 1. Reverse the order, doing the Cheater's diet first. However, given that mass is more of issue for me (I'm tired of being a skinny bastard) and Mag-10 is above all a mass-gaining aid, I'm not sure if that's ideal. 2. Do two milder bulking cycles to reduce fat gain. 3. Just say f*ck it and do two bulking cycles, then hope I can diet the fat off (but spare the muscle) in the month before I leave. 4. Something else, depending on the advice I receive here.

Thanks for any and all advice. I've been reading a lot, but can't seem to come to a conclusion, so I was hoping for some advice to help me decide. - - - flee

Flee,

It’s advised that you do a “maintenance period” after a mag-10 cycle to solidify the gains that you made so no matter how good it is if you come off a few cycles and hit CHeaters diet/EDT you might lose some of that hard-earned LBM because the program is hypocaloric in nature. Also, because you’re at a highish bodyfat you might find that you pick up a lot more fat from the bulk than if you dieted down to about 10% or less. If you’re planning on dieting you might do it now and save yourself some work in the end.
Now, if you really wanted to maintain your bodyfat and gain muscle you’re going to be walking a fine line; you might get away with this by working out your maintenance and then upping the cals by 750 a day and protein to above 400 grammes a day and hope that the Mag-10 will take care of the “excess” for you. Oh, yes, train your ass off as well. You’re going to have to watch your % BF and adjust cals accordingly. Also read, “militant hypertrophy” and “Intolerable” in past t-mag issues to find out how insulin works so that you can tailor your eating to minimise fat. Carbs can make you gain fat or muscle…the difference between one or the other is just timing.
Good luck!
BMF

Thanks for the reply, BMF. I take it you don’t feel the Mag-10 during the second cycle (if it was Cheater’s/EDT) would be sufficient to keep muscle gained during the first Mag-10 cycle (Growth Surge) with only two weeks between (moderately hypercaloric)?

Perhaps two more moderate Growth Surge cycles would be better? i.e. 400g pro, 500 carb, but not adding the extra 15% to Massive Eating protocols (monitoring BF as I go)?

Also, thanks for the article tips. I've been swamped lately and hadn't read the intolerable series. I'm glad I did (although many of the ideas are practices I already follow). - - - flee

Flee, I don’t mean this as a flame, but I have to question some of what you wrote. You said (1) that you’ve been training T-mag style for the past three years, and (2) that you’ve made “significant body composition and strength gains over that time”. Yet, you weigh 175 or so at 6’1", and you have a relatively high % of bodyfat.

I don’t know…have you tried gaining weight yet, or has all of your training been directed at strength? You sound like you’ve been reading a lot, but what about your time in the gym? And what about a food log? Got any data that could help us out here? And how old are you?

As for the program order, definitely try the CD/EDT protocol first. If you do it right, you won’t lose much (if any) weight. And you can go right into the GSP workouts without any problem. I know; I’ve done it myself.

The only thing that you might want to do is use 4-AD-EC instead of MAG-10 if you’re worried about suppresion issues. But honestly, for the month or so that you’ll be on it shouldn’t be too much of a problem for you, assuming that you take a decent break afterwards.

But post some more info. Maybe we can help out with more specific information about you.

char-dawg, thanks for your reply…now to your questions/comments. First off, I’m 27.

When I started working out, I was much heavier (fatter!) than I am now. Like a lot of people, I got obsessed with getting lean and dieted myself down to below 160lbs. Over the last three years I've added about 15 lbs of muscle, though gaining size was not my main priority. Even following Massive Eating protocols, I tend to gain fat with high calories, so I've been taking the 'slow and steady' weight gain approach. My other mistake has been a tendency to overtrain (too much time in the gym, competitive soccer, kickboxing).

My BF is higher than it has been for the last couple years right now, largely because I spent most of my summer studying for my candidacy exam (I'm working on a PhD), during which time I really didn't work out much or maintain my diet as strictly as normal. Since the exam, I've been doing Ian King's Busy Schedules workouts since I've been pressed for time, and eating just below maintenance (generally around 2600 cal, Don't Diet protocol).

I kept a food log for years, but haven't recently. I will be keeping a log for these cycles and the off periods. Do you need any other information?

Also, when you did the CD/EDT, did you do it with one workout or two workouts? In the original, it was one workout per cycle, but the version on JB's website has a version with two workouts and more overfeeds as well. I'm wondering which might be better. Thanks again - - - - flee

Flee, thanks for the info. Yes, that helped. (Not the least of which that now that I know you’re 27 I won’t have to automatically say “You shouldn’t use MAG-10!” like I would to an 18-year-old. :wink: )

I did the CD/EDT cycle twice. The first time was as Joel posted it on the Lair board, the second time was with some modifications of my own. I wrote about these in my Hot Rox contest report, which I’ve excerpted below. (I haven’t read the new version on JMB’s site yet, so I can’t comment on it.)

Hot-rox contest report - Part Three

I went back on the CD/EDT protocol on April 24th, after having given myself some time off from the androgens. This time, I tried it using MAG-10 and Hot-Rox. My intention was to be able to provide a heads-up comparison between the first and second cycles, so as to compare MAG-10 versus the earlier androgens that Biotest had put out, and Hot-Rox compared to MD-6 plus T2-Pro. I figured that I could do a really quality study on my own body, since I would be able to regulate absolutely everything, right down to eating exactly the same food.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it turned out. (It’s never that easy…) I forgot to factor in that this would be the second time in a relatively short period that I’d be attempting to significantly alter my body composition. I know that MAG-10 is more powerful than the other androgens, both from personal experience on other cycles and basic logic. Yet, ten days into the second cycle my LBM retention wasn’t as good as it had been the first time around. Just goes to show that no program, no matter how well-designed, works forever. There will come a point of diminishing returns, and in my case, at least, that point comes fairly quickly.

However, despite this, the fat-loss was comparable to the first cycle - in fact, it was slightly better! Ten days into the second cycle, I had lost an additional 2.3 pounds of fat, as compared to 2.1 the first time. Mind you, this was after a cycle of CD/EDT and another cycle of 5x5 with slightly restricted calories, and eating exactly the same foods as on the first CD/EDT cycle. This to me indicates that Hot-Rox - at three pills a day, not four - is actually somewhat more effective than a full-dose combination of MD-6 and T2-Pro taken together. The only drawback was that Hot-Rox didn’t do quite as good a job of controlling food cravings as MD-6 did. Perhaps future formulations can address this point.

In any case, halfway through my second CD/EDT cycle I took a very close look at the day-to-day breakdown to see what could be done to improve my results. (For those not familiar with the CD/EDT protocol, it involves a four-day cycle: going extremely hypocaloric for two days; a third day with another half-day at hypocals, work out and hypercal re-feed; and a whole fourth day of re-feed. Then repeat.) The data for the first half (i.e., the first eight days) of the second cycle looked like this:

(The first number is LBM change; the second number is fat change. So the first Diet Day 1 would read as +0.3 lbs LBM, -1.4 lbs fat.)

Diet Day 1 1st time +0.3, -1.4; 2nd time -0.4, -1.3
Diet Day 2 1st time -0.5, -0.6; 2nd time -1.4, -0.2
Workout Day 1st time +1.5, +1.3; 2nd time +0.3, +0.8
Full Re-feed Day 1st time +1.1, +0.5; 2nd time +1.7, 0.0 (No change)

Looking at the numbers, you can see that Diet Day 1, for example, was an unqualified success. Subtracting fat gain from LBM gain, you get a net gain positive gain of 1.7 pounds the first day and 0.9 pounds the second. Good results no matter how you look at it.

However, Diet Day 2 was setting me back. Although there was a very slight plus the first day (0.1 pounds, which could have been anything), the second time around there was a whopping -1.2 pounds, totally negating the gains made on DD1 and then some.

To combat this bodycomp loss, I decided to modify things a bit. First, after some playing around with different HIIT protocols I didn’t feel that any of them were really that good for retaining LBM. So I decided to make my DD2 HIIT a weight training session instead of running, swimming, jumping rope or anything else. (Cue collective gasp from the audience…)

It’s not as far-fetched as it seems; if you think about it, most weight workouts are basically HIIT sessions in a sense anyway: you exercise intensely for a brief period of time, then rest. And we all know that LBM retention is going to be better with weights than with anything else. So I thought: why not add a light pumping session into the mix, placing it on the second diet day of the cycle? I also decided to eat a little more on DD2, part of the extra cals coming from Surge after the workout, and part from a hamburger patty taken in as my post-Surge meal.

(The hamburger was selected to try to limit any leptin response as much as possible, since leptin manipulation is the whole basis of the CD/EDT program in the first place. I was willing to go with the Surge because it was coming during and immediately post-workout [and would therefore be absorbed immediately], but I wasn’t going to have a plate of pasta or anything after that.)

So on my third DD2 I gave it a shot, and was rewarded the next morning with no change. My skinfolds were exactly the same as the day before, if not slightly better (not enough to log in, though), my weight was exactly the same, I looked better in the mirror, and I felt better as well. So that was an unqualified success. However, the real test was yet to come: would eating more on DD2 affect leptin levels enough that I wouldn’t get as good a re-feed response as usual on Workout Day and Re-feed Day?

The answer was no. My results for the 36-hour re-feed were a net gain of one pound to the positive, which fell perfectly within the range already established. (My first two 36-hour re-feeds during this cycle gave me results of +0.8lbs and +1.2lbs, respectively.) So I was back on track, and resolved to eat slightly higher calories during my two diet days for the last part of the cycle.

Beginning and ending stats for this cycle were:

April 24th: LBM 151.7 Fat mass: 23.7 BF% 13.5
May 9th: LBM 154.0 Fat mass: 22.0 BF% 12.5

Hope this helps you out. If you want the whole report, along with pics, you can call up my contest report and read the entire thing.

Oh, and one other thing. If you do decide to do any kind of diet, you really should go ahead and get some Hot Rox. The stuff does work.

Think I already mentioned this in one post earlier today but HotRoxx is terrific at muscle preservation, and of course burning fat and appetite suppresion.

It would go great during a Mag10 or 4ad cycle and afterward. I would also suggest Methoxy for post cycle to solidify gains and of course Tribex, all based on your money situation though…

Wow, char-dawg, thanks for the detailed response. The second version of CD/EDT I referred to goes as follows:

Day 1: morning and evening cardio ? strict diet

Day 2: morning and evening cardio ? strict diet

Day 3: morning cardio, diet until workout session A, overfeed

Day 4: workout session B & overfeed

Day 5: no workout - overfeed

Day 6: repeat

I'm thinking I might give it a shot. I could then adjust my second cycle depending on fat lost/LBM gained or lost.

As for Hot-Roxx, the company I order from in Canada doesn't carry it. To be honest, I doubt I'll be able to afford it. I could do an EC stack, but I'd like to evaluate the effectiveness of Mag-10 alone, so I doubt I will. I do have Tribex/M for the two weeks between cycles and two weeks after the second. Agathos, I may look into getting some Methoxy-7 to retain gains if I can afford it, thanks for the tip.

One more question, what caloric level do you think I should go for during the two weeks between cycles? Maintenance, or slightly above or below?

Thanks again - - - flee

Keep your calories and especially protein at maintenance if not slightly higher in between to help maintane your gains, make sure not to decrease carbs too much as well.

If you manage to use Methoxy it will “lock in” your mass gains and harden you up, not really burn any fat mass, but you will defenitely notice a hardening affect.

Thanks, Agathos. Maintenance and above was what I was planning (maybe slightly hypercaloric in first off week, Massive Eating cals in the second week prior to second Mag-10 cycle). I doubt I’ll be able to afford Methoxy for the 2 weeks between cycles, but might be able to during recovery after the second cycle. - - - flee