T Nation

First Cycle Advice for a 38 Year Old After 5 Years of Hard Training?

Hi All,

I would greatly appreciate some advice please. I am seriously considering a one off cycle and wanted to share my current state and goals in hopes of getting some solid advice.

I am almost 38 and my recent bloodwork (attached) has me in the low/normal range. I thought for a couple years now I may have low T but this appears not to be the case.

Current Physique:

  • 225lbs Weight (102kg) at a BF of approx 21%

  • 6ft Tall

  • At my heaviest 5 years ago I was 288lbs, I then cut for 2 years to 178lbs and bulked back to 235lbs for 2.5 years. 3 months ago I started cutting again. I have mild lose skin on my lower abdomen as a result of being so overweight at one point.

I have been training hard for 5 years (2 years cutting 2.5 years bulking and a few months cutting again)

In the last 3 months of cutting weight I have experienced a significant loss of strength while only dropping 10lbs and keeping a high protein intake of 1.1g per lb. In the last few weeks I reduced my calories further to 2,200 calories per day and the same protein intake and am dropping 2lbs per week. Below are the changes to my lifts as a result of my cut:

315 x 1 precut to 275 x1 during my cut

Strict Overhead Press
165x1 to 154x1

341 x 1 to 308 x 1

I lift consistently 3 times per week and do BJJ 4 times per week.


  • Bodyweight not to exceed 214lbs or 97kg post cut/cycle. This is because I want to compete in BJJ and this is the upper limit of the right class.

  • Lean and muscular while looking natural. Don’t want to look like a huge bodybuilder, more physique/genetically gifted athlete. I would be very happy with 10 to 12% body fat.

  • Decent Strength (bench 315x5, squat 425x3)

  • Do no permanent damage to my body.

Health Situation and Concerns:

  • I don’t want to risk serious damage to my body or reproductive system. I will be taking blood-work regularly of course.

  • I want to be able to keep most of my gains post cycle and want to limit things to one cycle, if possible, to minimise long term damage.

  • I am open to TRT/HRT to keep me in the high normal range long term, when the time is right.

I don’t know how aggressive my goals are given my age and lifting history. I am looking for the safest and least harmful option that can achieve my goals. Please assume cost is no issue and everything pharma grade is readily available.

My Preference (ANAVAR):
An 8 to 10 week cycle of Anavar. Is this doable and would I likely reach my goals during and post cycle? If so what is an ideal dosage please?

This is my preference because my research shows minimal sides with Anavar and I prefer an oral for only one cycle unless it is far inferior or I can’t get to my goal or will lose it all post cycle. I don’t like the idea of regular injections of I can avoid it, but am open to it, if necessary.

2nd Option (not preferred):
250mg Test per week for 10 weeks. I don’t want to look huge and bloated. I also don’t want to gain significant weight. I prefer not using injectables unless my goals are unachievable without it.

Lastly, I am open to running HCG or any other suggested things in tandem.

Thank you all in advance for taking the time to read this and help me out.

There is always this risk when using AAS.

Your not gonna do this with a anavar only cycle.

Use testosterone as a base that’s the bottom line. The bloat will go away after the cycle. If you want add the anavar as well. Generally first cycle should be simply testosterone but I personally see no issue with adding anavar the last 4-8 weeks.

Your body fat is still high right now. I would really suggest getting that a bit lower before using steroids to “cut” at 21% you should have no issue getting to 15-17% without gear.


What are you doing for pct?

Thank you for quick response.

I understand the risk but want to minimise it.

Is there any type of oral testosterone that isn’t really harmful compared to IM?

I am dropping weight at the moment and will get to 215lbs in the next couple of months I hope.

I welcome advice on PCT.

Thank you

There is a oral version of testosterone but it is not healthy. My understanding is it’s very hard to metabolize. And is dosed relatively low if I remember correctly.

Everyone has a different opinion of what is to fat to use gear. I’m relatively open minded with people using gear at higher bf but I still think 20% is kinda the fine line. There is no need for any healthy man to every go above 20% body fat. The reason I suggested dropping bf before cycle is because you will simply be happier with the results.

Nolva 40/40/20/20
Make sure you have your pct on hand before starting cycle.

Now let’s address the oral testosterone question one more time. I take it your not fond on using needles?

Noted on PCT and I will 100% do that.

I am not super scared of needles, but would prefer avoiding if possible. If the safest option that achieves my goals involves needles then so be it.

If I were to diet down and drop another 10lbs before starting is my goal achievable? Is it likely to stay post cycle? I am ultimately after a sustainable post cycle physique rather than just looking amazing on cycle.

Safest, most efficient, and best option to retain gains is having a solid testosterone base IMO.

Its hard for me to tell you if your goals are achievable I don’t know how your body responds to training. There is just to many variables.

I will say your goals are pretty ambitious to accomplish in 1 cycle. That’s a steep drop in BF% your aiming for.

Ultimately your diet and training will determine your results. As far as maintaining post cycle again your diet and training are your best Tools. Altho you will probably find afterwards this will not be your only cycle.

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This ties into my other thread where I asked what type of physique is achievable on TRT when T sits at the top end of the normal range.

If coming off of say 250mg of Test a week cycle, I would likely lose most of what I achieved, I would prefer to just stay natural.

Alternatively, if following up with PCT and possibly TRT (again in the high normal range) would keep me in a healthy state while keeping my gains long term that would be amazing.

Would I likely feel a difference on TRT based on my current T levels?

Thank you for all the help!

I can’t suggest wether or not trt is right for you. That’s a life long commitment that you and only you can make.

I will say this.
Your testosterone levels while altho are within range they are low. So yes you will feel a difference.

As far as the physique question. I saw your Pics and yes those bodies are 100% avomplishable with trt, diet, and training. It doesn’t happen over night tho.

Thanks Zeek1414 for your advice and guidance.

I train hard man and it’s been a long 5 year journey brother. Weighing all my food for 5 years.

I guess I expected more given the amount of effort I have put in… obese at 288lbs to skinny at 178lbs to chunky and stronger at 235lbs and now going back down.

If I am honest I think I am little lost. I feel like I likely have lowest T but bloodwork shows it is normal but lowish.

I just want to look and feel great long term while minimising the risk of long term damage.

No prob bro glad to help.

Your T is low tho its within range but it’s low. The range they use is bullshit. If I were you I would look into trt then possibly a cycle in the future once your trt is dialed in. Or if you cycle first start trt after. But that’s a commitment you have to make

I am going to drop another 10lbs to get to 215. I think it is better to not be carrying so much fat either way.

Once that is achieved I am going to get another set of bloods done.

When looking at my current bloods, my thinking is, if my Test levels doubled I would only be 10% above the normal range. Surely having double or close to double the T in my body would make a difference in how I feel and look. It is difficult for me to understand what this difference would actual mean in real terms.

Definitely go with testesterone and testesterone only

Orals are more harmful and lesser beneficial

I would say 500mg per week testesterone

And 4 weeks Nolvadex pct 40/40/20/20

During cycle use hcg and if necessary arimidex