T Nation

Can Gains Be Kept With LowTest

I’m not happy with the level of gains I’m keeping after my first cycle. Rather than debate the effectiveness of my pct, training, and diet post cycle, I’d rather know if you vets feel if a person were suffering from low test levels (ie around 220) and you were close to your genetic potential before a cycle what is the liklihood of keeping much of those gains once you’ve returned to your shitty test levels. Even with good training diet etc.?

So you think that you where at your genetic potential before this cycle and you know/suspect that your test levels where on the low side (220). Now you’ve run a cycle and you’re not realling feeling that confident/you’re lossing size on your pct. You think that the reason you’re losing size is because prior to the cycle you where close to your genetic potential AND you had low natty t-levels.

Assuming that’s the case let’s look at a few things. For sake of anyone new or just reading this article from a search engine and trying to learn something, let’s lay out what your cycle was and if this was your first cycle. I’m kind of under the impression that it’s your first, so correct me if I’m wrong. Based on what you ran, IMO you can make a better estimate on why you are or maybe thing you are losing muscle. For example if you ran compounds that would cause alot of water retention and/or didn’t use an anti-estrogen during your cycle then you’re bound to notice some loss in lbs on the scale. So that’s one thing to consider.

Next the whole genetice potential issue. I really have to wonder when/if one have ever reached the genetic potential in terms of muscle growth. Can you truly say that every muscle group in your body was developed to it’ fullest natural potential. Ie. You couldn’t have possible gained another 20-30 lbs on your squat going at it naturally. Hence making your legs that much larger, and able to support that much more weight, and making the rest of your body that much more condusive and enviroment for more muscle growth (assuming the right nutrition is in place). I kinda doubt you or anyone truly can.

Now if you add AAS in the equation then I think you’ll most likely reset where one’s genetic potential used to be. Granted this would depend what AAS are used, and for how long, and if they’re used with things like igf-1/hgh.

As for low t-level? Well I’m not sure unless you got tested why you would think you where low in the first place. How many of the syptoms where you showing and for how long? On top of that having low to normal t-levels doesn’t absolutely mean you’ll lose your gains post cycle. Keeping your estrogen levels in check, cortisol levels at bay, and your diet on point all weigh in heavily. BTW, I’m really not sure how they could be that low right now if you’re running a decent pct. However, you did only mention that you had low/thought your natty t-levels where low before this cycle so I might be missing theh point. If you are running a decent pct then I think you shouldnt’ be worried about your t-levels right now. No you won’t feel like you did on cycle, obviously. There will be some transistion and I think that’s it’s impossible no matter how good your pct is to not notice/feel it. EVEN IF IT’S JUST PSYCHOLOGICAL.

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A little more to the point, yes you can expect to retain and grow muscle with low (220) test levels. Free testosterone is the key number to be concerned with. Free-test may be low with low test levels, but it may not.

Hopefully, you had both tested.

Sorry I didn’t give you more data. It was first cycle (test only 10 weeks closed out with prop so it cleared out of system pretty quick). I did take .5mg adex eod during cycle. I’ve been off now almost a month and a half. I feel pretty much like I did before the cycle (lower energy, not sleeping as well, sex drive down, more soreness after training, some of the fat I lost on cycle has come back, some of the muscle I gained on cycle has left, however strength is still much higher than pre cycle).

My reference to my genetic potential is not to say I’m absolutely at the top of my game. But I’ve been training at a very high level for over 20 years with a number of powerlifting and bodybuilding competitions with modest success all naturally till now. I have certainly hit a plateau the last 2 years as far as muscle mass and strength are concerned. My gains on cycle were non existant in my best body parts (chest, shoulders, tri) and best in my weakest areas (legs, bicepts).

Yes, I was tested for the first time a few months before my cycle and my test was low (around 220) I’m not sure the free test figure but I know it was similarly low (I’ll try to find it). so I’m sure I am low again.

So I hope this background info helps. The bottom line is when you’re 41 and your test is low and you do a first cycle that provides you with great gains above what you could naturally do with proper diet and training, then you go off and your test eventually presumably goes back to it’s normal low level isn’t it going to be dam difficult to keep those gains even with proper pct, diet and training. If my body was capable of carrying that extra 20 pounds of muscle with a test level of 220 I really think I would have done it with out the juice. And since I did use the juice to achieve it isn’t it reasonable to assume someone in my situation is going to be less likely to be able to keep much of the gains.

At your age and your experience level I would say you are quite accurate in you assumptions, it will be difficult to maintain that extra weight. Obviously after 20 years of training (similar to myself) you know your body well and the cycle probably took you beyond what you can maintain naturally, but even if you retain half of it you have progressed. The other option is of course to use an HRT program to maintain high/normal levels constantly which at your age should be easy to find a doc to cooperate. That is what i do now, although unlike you i used large amounts of anabolics in the past. My hat is off to you for training 20 years naturally, that is a serious accomplishment and you deserve much respect.

Alrighty,thanks for the responce it was very useful. First off it sounds like you have “MORE” then a little experiance with the iron. Very nice to see that as I can’t even get into how much I cant’ stand getting posts like this from 18 year old kids!!!

Anyway, let’s take a look at what we have here. Test only for 10 weeks with ari at .5 mg eod, and your pct was??? A test taper and arim? Did you use anything else?

Beyond there’s your particular situation. Now I’m not the most knowledgeable guy here, he’s on vacation, just kidding guys LOL! While test alone isn’t a terrible cycle, stacking the right compounds seems to work well for both synergy and for locking your gains in a little better. BTW, anyone who doesn’t agree please let us know why. Then on top of that even though you did run the arimidex with your test, there’s going to be some water/nutrient retention that could/should be accounting for your losses. BTW, how much of what you’ve gained have you lost so far. What does your diet look like now that you’re off, and what did it look like while you’re on. Just asking, but I’d imagine you have that pretty much locked down. How bout your training to while we’re at it?

Here’s something to consider, you where low before. We’re all familiar with the sides of low natty t-levels: lethargy/low energy levels, poor recovery from lifting, difficulty holding/gaining muscle, and a greater tendency to gain fat. Then you ran a cycle and made some gains. The cycle ends and you’re pretty sure your test levels are returning to their previous levels (low levels). Which makes complete sense, it’s not like running the cycle would ever leave you with higher t-levels then before your cycle. So you are back where you should expect to be. I will say that perhaps trying something like a tribbulus, potency wood, fenugreek, avena sativa, maca type of natty t-boosting product might help. ORRR! how bout HRT, not breaking your balls but you’re in the age range that would make you a prime candidate.

As for holding your gains where you’re at now. I’m going to go out on a limb here. First off, I think that you won’t loose all of your gains from this cycle. If you where as close to your genetic potential as you think you where, and it sounds like you where, then gains will be hard to keep. So more complex and longer cycles or more complex and shorter cycles ie. 4-6 weekers with 6-8 weeks off, might give you gains that you’ll hold onto better being that you’re trying to go above what your genetics should dictate. I’m kind of bassing this on what I see with various groups of people who use AAS and other ergogenic aids. For example, the guy who started before he reached his potential can gain 20 lbs and hold alot if not damn near all of his gains. The guy who either got up to his gentic potential with or without AAS is most likely going to have to start using things like growth/slin/various AAS and using for longer periods of time (like competitive or pro bb’s). On top of that there’s some reason to believe that if you’re on longer you’ll establish muscle that’s more likely to stick around vs. only going on for 10 weeks. Which kind of makes sense, granted you recover from the longer cycle.

My pct was just nolva and adex.

As for your theory that proper stack will cause better retention than test only. Perhaps in actuality you just get more gains (which I think is indisputable) and then even though you may lose the same proportion of the gains you’d be happier since the amount of retained gains would be higher even if the same percentage.

Diet is similar. I try to get 6-8 protein meals a day I don’t worry about fat, carbs, cals as I’m not worrying about leanness. Virtually no supplements other than a little extra protein powder.

Training is every muscle group every 5 days or so. Start with a large compound exercise for each muscle group after warming up/building up I do 2 or 3 sets to failure (keeping reps up around 5-8). Then either one more compound exercise for 3 sets or maybe 2 smaller isolation exercises for 2 or 3 sets each at a lower intensity level.

I’ve lost about half of my size gains but my strength is still much higher.

HRT- Before deciding on this cycle I was looking at hrt but decided to experiment with my first cycle first. Then after learning a little from the experience decide wether I can accomplish my desires with either

  1. 3 or 4 short cycles a year with nothing in between.
  2. 2 longer cycles per year with nothing in between.
  3. hrt only
  4. occasional cycle with hrt between.

In general, I’m not real anxious to go hrt because it is a point of no return type of decision I believe. What do you guys think of the above 4 choices. I just want my joints to feel better and to be able to progress with decent mass gains.

I just found the blood test from before my cycle. total test was 282 and free test was 43. LH is 1.4 dht is 31 and free dht is 2.76. t3 is 3.6 estradiol is 28. What the hell is IGE (223)?

bump my ass