T Nation

Cycling with Low(ish) Test


#1

Hey guys, quick question here. For guys with lower than optimal natural test levels, what have your experience(s) been running a typical 10-12 week Test cycle? With natural test levels in the 400-500 ng/dl range, it's not exactly the ideal muscle building range but also not quite low enough for doctor prescribed TRT. With a solid natural base, perfect pct, and keeping training and diet optimal, how plausible is it to retain the majority of gains after a cycle?

Also, has anyone seen their natural levels improve after a cycle? With the added lean body mass and potential loss in body fat, would that be enough to jump natty test by say 50-100 NG? Is their really a major difference from a muscle building perspective, of a 25 year old with a test level of 450 vs a 25 year old with a level of 650?


#2

400-500 isn’t really even close to low enough for TRT. That’s really a pretty solid level for a lot of people. It’s not ideal, but there’s little difference between being at 500 and being at, like, 800.

Your natural levels will almost certainly not improve after a cycle. I’ve never heard of that happening.

When you run a cycle, you will lose some strength immediately, during PCT. And given enough time, you will end up losing most of your gains. There is some evidence that some physiological changes are basically permanent after 1 cycle, but it’s not a huge difference-maker. If you train hard and eat well, it can take awhile, but odds are, after 9 months or so, you won’t have anything left from your cycle, assuming you only do 1. And then you’ll likely be stuck with lower test levels than you had before you started. This is why nobody ever just does 1 cycle…


#3

Test improving after a cycle, absolutely not. During a cycle use hcg and after a cycle you have to do every possible to get it back to what you started with by using pct protocols.

As for gains loss. I dont see why you wouldnt keep most of your gains from a cycle if you continue to eat and train well. When I say gains I am referring to lean muscle. Initial hormonal strength and water retention will drop.

There is alot of talk about how much you lose regarding how far a particular cycle pushes you over your genetic potential. If Mr.O stopped cycling and continued to train and eat well, the gains lose would be dramatic. If you stopped cycling after a 10lbs lean mass gain after say a 12 week plan of 500mg test e, im sure you would keep most of that. Its all in relation to how extreme you go and how well your training and diet contributes to your progress.


#4

[quote]AndyJones1992 wrote:
Test improving after a cycle, absolutely not. During a cycle use hcg and after a cycle you have to do every possible to get it back to what you started with by using pct protocols.

As for gains loss. I dont see why you wouldnt keep most of your gains from a cycle if you continue to eat and train well. When I say gains I am referring to lean muscle. Initial hormonal strength and water retention will drop.

There is alot of talk about how much you lose regarding how far a particular cycle pushes you over your genetic potential. If Mr.O stopped cycling and continued to train and eat well, the gains lose would be dramatic. If you stopped cycling after a 10lbs lean mass gain after say a 12 plan of 500mg test e, im sure you would keep most of that. Its all in relation to how extreme you go.[/quote]

You will still lose 5-7lbs of intramuscular fluid.


#5

[quote]laxtreme56 wrote:
Hey guys, quick question here. For guys with lower than optimal natural test levels, what have your experience(s) been running a typical 10-12 week Test cycle? With natural test levels in the 400-500 ng/dl range, it’s not exactly the ideal muscle building range but also not quite low enough for doctor prescribed TRT. With a solid natural base, perfect pct, and keeping training and diet optimal, how plausible is it to retain the majority of gains after a cycle?

Also, has anyone seen their natural levels improve after a cycle? With the added lean body mass and potential loss in body fat, would that be enough to jump natty test by say 50-100 NG? Is their really a major difference from a muscle building perspective, of a 25 year old with a test level of 450 vs a 25 year old with a level of 650?[/quote]

You need to understand this first.

You may never regain your naturals no matter how aggressive your PCT is. PCT is done to expedite recovery. If you are genetically destined for HPTA failure, there won’t be a difference. A SERM restart only works in certain cases.


#6

[quote]dt79 wrote:

[quote]AndyJones1992 wrote:
Test improving after a cycle, absolutely not. During a cycle use hcg and after a cycle you have to do every possible to get it back to what you started with by using pct protocols.

As for gains loss. I dont see why you wouldnt keep most of your gains from a cycle if you continue to eat and train well. When I say gains I am referring to lean muscle. Initial hormonal strength and water retention will drop.

There is alot of talk about how much you lose regarding how far a particular cycle pushes you over your genetic potential. If Mr.O stopped cycling and continued to train and eat well, the gains lose would be dramatic. If you stopped cycling after a 10lbs lean mass gain after say a 12 plan of 500mg test e, im sure you would keep most of that. Its all in relation to how extreme you go.[/quote]

You will still lose 5-7lbs of intramuscular fluid.[/quote]

Agreed, hence “When I say gains I am referring to lean muscle. Initial hormonal strength and water retention will drop”


#7

you will lose all of your gains if you only do one cycle.

if you wait too long between cycles, you will have lost just about all of your gains.

this is why, as most guys progress with aas, their cycles become longer and longer, and the periods between cycles become shorter and shorter. it is not long (in general) before they are on constantly, and stay on forever.


#8

there’s a lot of current research looking into the permanence of the gains from androgens… this is part of the push in sports for lifetime bans.

we tend to forget all the mechanisms that are affected while one is using AAS. it’s just not RBC, not just extra fluid in the muscles, improved nutrient utilization, increased neural efficiency, but some of the muscle fibers actually gain additional cells. the muscle fibers aren’t just gaining nutrients, but they’re gaining long term cells, as well.

and another factor is the aging of muscles… as men age, they tend to have a shift from type II fibers to type 1 cells. however, androgens might prevent this from happening…


#9

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:
as men age, they tend to have a shift from type II fibers to type 1 cells. however, androgens might prevent this from happening… [/quote]

… so you’re saying steroid users could potentially live forever? That’s basically what I want to read into this.


#10

i doubt a cycle will ever help someone’s testosterone production, unless they were pretty fat, and lost enough bodyfat that reduced their aromatase (as has been mentioned already).

as long as one avoids over-training while “off,” gets plenty of healthy fats, zinc, magnesium and vitamin D and does a good PCT, i think should be good. this is also why most of us here recommend bloodwork pre and post cycle… to ensure that one is recovered.

i’m of the opinion that a lot of people can retain most of their gains and continue cycling for years. the exception here would be competitive bodybuilders or powerlifters, who use a lot more androgens than other athletes. i think a lot of folks forget the varying degrees of doses that are used by different athletes…


#11

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:
as men age, they tend to have a shift from type II fibers to type 1 cells. however, androgens might prevent this from happening… [/quote]

… so you’re saying steroid users could potentially live forever? That’s basically what I want to read into this.[/quote]

LOL!

yeah, i dunno…

there are some interesting products being looked at (things that increase telomerase activity, AGE breakers, etc) that could help one live longer with less disease. add in an optimized hormone profile and nootropics, and i think we’d be just like the cast of “the Expendables”…


#12

[quote]AndyJones1992 wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:

[quote]AndyJones1992 wrote:
Test improving after a cycle, absolutely not. During a cycle use hcg and after a cycle you have to do every possible to get it back to what you started with by using pct protocols.

As for gains loss. I dont see why you wouldnt keep most of your gains from a cycle if you continue to eat and train well. When I say gains I am referring to lean muscle. Initial hormonal strength and water retention will drop.

There is alot of talk about how much you lose regarding how far a particular cycle pushes you over your genetic potential. If Mr.O stopped cycling and continued to train and eat well, the gains lose would be dramatic. If you stopped cycling after a 10lbs lean mass gain after say a 12 plan of 500mg test e, im sure you would keep most of that. Its all in relation to how extreme you go.[/quote]

You will still lose 5-7lbs of intramuscular fluid.[/quote]

Agreed, hence “When I say gains I am referring to lean muscle. Initial hormonal strength and water retention will drop”
[/quote]

I see no biological basis for not being able to keep gains as long as the user isn’t past his natural limit. If we’re talking about real world evidence, the only ones I’ve seen losing their gains are those who either started too early without sufficent training experience, those of a certain mental disposition who have an exceedingly hard time during PCT, or unable to cope with the loss of motivation after a cycle.


#13

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:
as men age, they tend to have a shift from type II fibers to type 1 cells. however, androgens might prevent this from happening… [/quote]

… so you’re saying steroid users could potentially live forever? That’s basically what I want to read into this.[/quote]

LOL!

yeah, i dunno…

there are some interesting products being looked at (things that increase telomerase activity, AGE breakers, etc) that could help one live longer with less disease. add in an optimized hormone profile and nootropics, and i think we’d be just like the cast of “the Expendables”…[/quote]

Screw The Expendables. Is there a possibility of becoming the Highlander? In a world where a fucking Frenchman doesn’t play a Scotsman?


#14

[quote]dt79 wrote:

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:
as men age, they tend to have a shift from type II fibers to type 1 cells. however, androgens might prevent this from happening… [/quote]

… so you’re saying steroid users could potentially live forever? That’s basically what I want to read into this.[/quote]

LOL!

yeah, i dunno…

there are some interesting products being looked at (things that increase telomerase activity, AGE breakers, etc) that could help one live longer with less disease. add in an optimized hormone profile and nootropics, and i think we’d be just like the cast of “the Expendables”…[/quote]

Screw The Expendables. Is there a possibility of becoming the Highlander? In a world where a fucking Frenchman doesn’t play a Scotsman?[/quote]

LOL!

i dunno… i’m reading about injectable curcumin (the stuff Walkway mentioned in another thread), and it seems pretty interesting, too…


#15

#16

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

Omg hahaha