End of Cycle Concerns
When it comes to maintaining gains, what you do at the end of your cycle is most crucial. First, we have to find a way to restore endogenous Testosterone production while fighting the catabolic effects of being in a hypogonadal state (which is the end result of sudden cessation of steroids).
It's been demonstrated in normal, healthy young men that suppression of endogenous Testosterone production leads to a marked decrease in muscle mass and an increase in fat mass, and this is the reason why we experience the "loss of gains" after cessation of use in addition to the "shitty" feeling in general. It has nothing to do with the body having a mind of its own and dictating exactly how much muscle mass it will and will not allow you to have. (18)
So, what do we do? Simple, we must first get T levels up to normal, while at the same time not suppressing endogenous Testosterone production. How can this be accomplished? Well, the best choice is Androgel since its pharmacokinetic properties allow for an increase in Testosterone yet no suppression of LH and endogenous Testosterone production.
The next best thing would be to use around 100 mg of Testosterone enanthate weekly as the peak seen is still very close to remaining within the physiological range. (19) In addition to this, you should be taking 50 to 100 mg/day of clomiphene so that you can restore endogenous Testosterone production quickly and thus wean yourself off of the Androgel.
While that will take care of steroid-induced low endogenous Testosterone levels, you'll still lose some muscle. After all, you weren't simply in normal physiological state while using androgens. We've lost the great nutrient-partitioning effects of androgens and thus need to make some quick adjustments.
Here's one way to think about it: If you were to be ranked on a 1-10 scale in terms of lipolysis and protein synthesis, 5 would be your average physiological state, 3 would be when you're hypogonadal (post cycle), and anything in the 6-10 range would be where you're at when using supraphysiological doses of Testosterone or other androgens. So, using Androgel and clomiphene will ensure that we at least get back to a 5 and thus minimize loss of gains, but the next step is necessary in order to keep us at a higher range and thus further minimize loss of gains.
We need to pick some compounds which also have nutrient partitioning effects yet don't affect hormonal levels. Biotest's Methoxy-7 and a beta-2 agonist like ephedrine are the perfect combination. Both compounds will allow for an increase in nitrogen retention, as well as an increase in lipolysis and/or inhibition of lipogenesis.
When these two compounds are added in, we're much closer to the range in which our gains were made and thus, we greatly minimize or completely prevent any loss of gains and prevent any fat gain. Similarly, you could also use forksolin along with Methoxy-7 and leave the ephedrine out. (20-23)
Androgel, Maintaining Gains and Message Board "Gurus"
Q: Concerning your ideas about maintaining gains from your Steroids for Health article, you said Androgel will work provided that an estrogen antagonist or aromatase inhibitor is used concurrently. But Androgel is nearly impossible for me to get, so what about the next best alternative you wrote about: 100 mg/week of Testosterone enanthate? Would propionate work as well? Also, where?s the data to shut those people up who insist it can?t be done?
A: Your alternative will still work well when you consider the peak concentration of Testosterone in the bloodstream. We have data supporting that suppression of LH can be prevented when elevating Testosterone up to a peak concentration of 2,044 ng/dl, provided that an estrogen antagonist or aromatase inhibitor is used.
When I recommended the 100 mg dose of Testosterone enanthate, I was basing that on the pharmacokinetic data which demonstrated that a 200 mg dose in seven eugonadal men resulted in a mean peak concentration of 1,965 ng/dl and 100 mg of enanthate given to seven eugonadal men resulted in a mean peak concentration of 1,181 ng/dl.
Oh, and before some genius decides to say "you can?t use that data because the person is in a hypogonadal state after a cycle and those people were eugonadal," I want to point out that the peak concentrations when administered to hypogonadal men would be even less, as common sense would tell you, so it makes an even better case for my 100 mg/week of enanthate.
If common sense isn?t enough, research has shown the mean peak Testosterone concentration following the administration of 200 mg of Testosterone enanthate to seven hypogonadal men was 1,233 ng/dl. As you can see, the peak concentration is nowhere near 2,044 ng/dl. So, you could technically use 200 mg/week with my post cycle protocol and still be fine, but I?m going to stick to my original recommendation of 100 mg/week.
As for using the propionate ester, I suppose you could but I don't have exact data on it. With what I do have, I'd say 25 mg every three days or so would be okay.
Lastly, as I've been saying to people for the past few years, I only recommend that you use Testosterone when employing such a protocol as it's the only androgen where we have data demonstrating that at a certain blood level (? 2,044 ng/dl), LH isn't suppressed provided that an estrogen antagonist or an aromatase inhibitor is used concurrently. From this, we can then apply our pharmacokinetic data we have with administration of various forms of Testosterone and figure out a protocol.
These two key pieces of information aren't something that'll be easily located with other androgens. Fluoxymesterone (10 mg every six hours) may be an exception as we have data on that, but again, to make things less complicated, I suggest you only use Testosterone.
Oh, and administration of even 10 grams of Androgel won?t get total Testosterone past 1,100 ng/dl so considering that, I recommend only 5 grams. There?s no way that suppression is an issue provided an estrogen antagonist or aromatase inhibitor is used. I also go more in depth about the studies listed in the upcoming print issue, explaining why it was shown to work, as well as explaining the involvement of the AR (Androgen Receptor) and ER (Estrogen Receptor), so be sure to check it out.
The data I?ve presented here as well as that in the upcoming print issue of Testosterone will shut those people up once and for all. That and the fact that every person who?s used my protocol (and reported back to me) has retained or even made gains while recovering endogenous Testosterone production. I?ve presented both "real world" and scientific evidence so there?s no doubt in my mind it works. (19-24)
When I make recommendations, I?m not simply pulling things out of thin air; I?m basing them on some pretty solid data. Unfortunately, not everyone will simply take your word for it and that?s fine. To those who don?t believe me, look up the referenced studies in their full text yourself and then maybe we can drop the idea that our HPTA works via magical mechanisms, where it literally "senses" things and "can?t be tricked" as if it thinks or has cognitive abilities to begin with.
Of course, there will be those uneducated message board imbeciles (oops, I mean "gurus") who'll try to dissuade you from thinking this can be done despite the evidence demonstrating it can be done and the complete lack of evidence supporting the idea it can?t. To them, data is just a bunch of words on a piece of paper they don?t understand. They?d rather believe in magic or Jo-Jo the local gym clown instead of the principle matters and research involved with molecular biology and endocrinology.