T Nation

First Cycle, Critique and Opinions Please

Hi everyone, decided to take the jump and do my first cycle. 27yo, 183lbs, 10%bf

Please give me your thoughts and recommendation on this. Seems so hard to pinpoint the right method as everyone i ask has a completely different opinion. Looking at this presently,

1-8 test prop 125-150mg eod
1-8 aromasin at 12.5mg eod
1-8 hcg 250ius 2xweek

PCT

9-12 clomid 50/50/50/50
9-12 aromasin 12.5mg eod
Also maybe nolva at 40/40/20/20? Not sure on this however, seems that a lot of thoughts are this being the first cycle with moderate test only there is no need for nolva if clomid and aromasin present?

  • My ai dosage, should it be the same as on cycle?
  • Lastly cant seem to find any conclusive answers to weather to run a hcg blast as well even though running hcg through out cycle already? What if balls appear to be in good shape near the end of cycle still run blast if necessary?

That actually looks like very great cycle to me. By the way how tall are you?

Definitely don’t need to run Nolva too.

AI can be the same but go by how you feel too. You could maybe bump it up to 18.75mg eod or e3d but if you start feeling depressed or have any sexual dyfunctions bring it back down.

No need to blast hcg especially if they are normal size.

Hope this help and best of luck!

Thanks for your response juicer. I wold love to hear more opinions from others as well? Im 5’11

ANybody? Feedback would be greatly appreciated. From all i have gathered through my research this seems like the most recommended approach and setup for a newbie cycle. Ive already ordered the stuff and ill begin soon so if there are any issues here please let me know, thanks.

Alright so i dont understand this guys? Ive done my research, im pretty sure there is nothing more for me to read or find. Ive read about all the threads that are available on this that i can imagine. Why does it seem so difficult to get a few quick expert opinions on my cycle lay out? I thought we were all here to help each other?

Here is my cycle lay out once more with a few tweaks I’ve decided on. Please, im sure there cant be that much wrong with my cycle for anyone to think i havent done my research. All i would appreciate is a few quick glances and opinions on if im good to go, simply as it would ideally seem like the right thing to do from my end no?

1-8 test prop 125mg eod I chose 125mg simply because its the equivalent amount to 500mg of enan(which i was considering initially)
1-8 aromasin at 12.5mg eod will change to ED if i feel the dosage is not enough?
1-8 hcg 250ius 2xweek

PCT (starts 3 dys after last pin)

9-12 clomid 50/50/25/25
9-12 nolva 40/40/20/20 decided it i would rather be more on the safe side and do the clomid/nolva combo??
9-12 aromasin 12.5mg eod

No need to take offence, you have not been completely ignored. Cycle sounds really good. Train hard, eat well, and ask if you have further questions. GL.

Thanks for the response dementeddragon

[quote]rein wrote:
Hi everyone, decided to take the jump and do my first cycle. 27yo, 183lbs, 10%bf

Please give me your thoughts and recommendation on this. Seems so hard to pinpoint the right method as everyone i ask has a completely different opinion. Looking at this presently,

1-8 test prop 125-150mg eod
1-8 aromasin at 12.5mg eod
1-8 hcg 250ius 2xweek

PCT

9-12 clomid 50/50/50/50
9-12 aromasin 12.5mg eod
Also maybe nolva at 40/40/20/20? Not sure on this however, seems that a lot of thoughts are this being the first cycle with moderate test only there is no need for nolva if clomid and aromasin present?

  • My ai dosage, should it be the same as on cycle?
  • Lastly cant seem to find any conclusive answers to weather to run a hcg blast as well even though running hcg through out cycle already? What if balls appear to be in good shape near the end of cycle still run blast if necessary?
    [/quote]

i would ditch the clomid and run nolva by itself in PCT (20 mg/day is fine)… clomid has shown to desensitize the body to LH, btw.

why do you want to run HCG for the whole cycle? there’s no real reason to run it that long, unless you have an issue with “shrinkage”… most people are fine just running it the last couple weeks of the cycle, prior to PCT. there are some theories that HCG can desensitize the Leydig cells to LH, which means overuse of HCG could cause issues with the HTPA recovery.

All this is based on everything i have read really and from what ive gathered from everywhere to be the common, most considered approach at the moment. The general thought seems to be that 500ius a week is not enough to desensitize and is a minimal dose that mimics regular levels. The idea is also to keep the balls from shutting down in the first place rather than working to bring them back on at the end by blasting high doses.

[quote]rein wrote:
All this is based on everything i have read really and from what ive gathered from everywhere to be the common, most considered approach at the moment. The general thought seems to be that 500ius a week is not enough to desensitize and is a minimal dose that mimics regular levels. The idea is also to keep the balls from shutting down in the first place rather than working to bring them back on at the end by blasting high doses. [/quote]

hmm, i did some digging, and came up with this article. interesting theory, that suggests using 100 hcg daily beginning week 2 of your cycle:

HCG unraveled â??

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is a peptide hormone that mimics the action of luteinizing hormone (LH). LH is the hormone that stimulates the testes to produce testosterone. (1) More specifically LH is the primary signal sent from the pituitary to the testes, which stimulates the leydig cells within the testes to produce testosterone.

When steroids are administered, LH levels rapidly decline. The absence of an LH signal from the pituitary causes the testes to stop producing testosterone, which causes rapid onset of testicular degeneration. The testicular degeneration begins with a reduction of leydig cell volume, and is then followed by rapid reductions in intra-testicular testosterone (ITT), peroxisomes, and Insulin-like factor 3 (INSL3) â?? All important bio-markers and factors for proper testicular function and testosterone production. (2-6,19) However, this degeneration can be prevented by a small maintenance dose of hCG ran throughout the cycle. Unfortunately, most steroid users have been engrained to believe that hCG should be used after a cycle, during post cycle therapy (pct). Upon reviewing the science and basic endocrinology you will see that a faster and more complete recovery is possible if hCG is ran during a cycle.

Firstly, we must understand the clinical history of hCG to understand its purpose and its most efficient application. Many popular â??steroid profilesâ?? advocate using hCG at a dose of 2500-5000iu once or twice a week. These were the kind of dosages used in the historical (1960â??s) hCG studies for hypogonadal men who had reduced testicular sensitivity due to prolonged LH deficiency. (21,22) A prolonged LH deficiency causes the testes to desensitize, requiring a higher hCG dose for ample stimulation. In men with normal LH levels and normal testicular sensitivity, the maximum increase of testosterone is seen from a dose of only 250iu, with minimal increases obtained from 500iu or even 5000iu. (2,11) (It appears the testes maximum secretion of testosterone is about 140% above their normal capacity.) (12-18) If you have allowed your testes to desensitize over the length of a typical steroid cycle, (8-16 weeks) then you would require a higher dose to elicit a response in an attempt to restore normal testicular size and function â?? but there is cost to this, and a high probability that you wonâ??t regain full testicular function.

One term that is critical to understand is testosterone secretion capacity which is synonymous to testicular sensitivity. This is the amount of testosterone your testes can produce from any given LH or hCG stimulation. Therefore, if you have reduced testosterone secretion capacity (reduced testicular sensitivity), it will take more LH or hCG stimulation to produce the same result as if you had normal testosterone secretion capacity. If you reduce your testosterone secretion capacity too much, then no amount of LH or hCG stimulation will trigger normal testosterone production â?? and this leads to permanently reduced testosterone production.

To get an idea of how quickly you can reduce your testosterone secretion capacity from your average steroid cycle, consider this: LH levels are rapidly decreased by the 2nd day of steroid administration. (2,9,10) By shutting down the LH signal and allowing the testis to be non-functional over a 12-16 week period, leydig cell volume decreases 90%, ITT decreases 94%, INSL3 decreases 95%, while the capacity to secrete testosterone decreases as much as 98%. (2-6)

Note: visually analyzing testes size is a poor method of judging your actual testicular function, since testicular size is not directly related to the ability to secrete testosterone. (4) This is because the leydig cells, which are the primary sites of testosterone secretion, only make up about 10% of the total testicular volume. Therefore, when the testes may only appear 5-10% smaller, the testes ability to secrete testosterone upon LH or hCG stimulation can actually be significantly reduced to 98% of their normal production. (3-5) The point here is to not judge testosterone secretion capacity by testicular size.

The decreased testosterone secretion capacity caused by steroid use was well demonstrated in a study on power athletes who used steroids for 16 weeks, and were then administered 4500iu hCG post cycle. It was found that the steroid users were about 20 times less responsive to hCG, when compared to normal men who did not use steroids. (8) In other words, their testosterone secretion capacity was dramatically reduced because they did not receive an LH signal for 16 weeks. The testes essentially became desensitized and crippled. Case studies with steroid using patients show that aggressive long-term treatment with hCG at dosages as high as 10,000iu E3D for 12 weeks were unable to return full testicular size. (7) Another study with men using low dose steroids for 6 weeks showed unsuccessful return of Insulin-like factor-3 (INSL3) concentration in the testes upon 5000iu/wk of HCG treatment for 12 weeks (6) (INSL3 is an important biomarker for testosterone production potential and sperm production. 20)

These studies show that postponing hCG usage until the end of a steroid cycle increases your need for a higher dose of hCG, and decreases your odds of a full recovery. As a consequence to using a higher dose of hCG at the end of a cycle, estrogen will be increased disproportionately to testosterone, which then causes further HPTA suppression (from high estrogen) while increasing the risk of gyno. (11) For example, high doses of hCG have been found to raise estradiol up to 165%, while only raising testosterone 140%. (11) Higher doses of hCG are also known to reduce LH receptor concentration and degrade the enzymes responsible for testosterone synthesis within the testes (12,13,19 ) – the last thing someone wants during recovery. While these negative effects of hCG can be partly mitigated by the use of a SERM such as tamoxifen, it will create further problems associated with using a toxic SERM (covered in another article).

In light of the above evidence, it becomes obvious that we must take preventative measures to avoid this testicular degeneration. We must protect our testicular sensitivity. Besides, with hCG being so readily available, and such a painless shot, it makes you wonder why anyone wouldnâ??t use it on cycle.

Based on studies with normal men using steroids, 100iu HCG administered everyday was enough to preserve full testicular function and ITT levels, without causing desensitization typically associated with higher doses of hCG. (2) It is important that low-dose hCG is started before testicular sensitivity is reduced, which appears to rapidly manifest within the first 2-3 weeks of steroid use. Also, itâ??s important to discontinue the hCG before you start post cycle therapy (pct) so your leydig cells are given a chance to re-sensitize to your bodyâ??s own LH production. (To help further enhance testicular sensitivity, the dietary supplement Toco-8 may be used)

A more convenient alternative to the above recommendation would be a twice a week shot of 200iu hCG, or possibly a once a week shot of 500iu. However, it is most desirable to adhere to a lower more frequent dose of hCG to mimic the bodyâ??s natural LH release and minimize estrogen conversion. If you are starting hCG late in the cycle, one could calculate a rough estimate for their required hCG â??kick startingâ?? dosage by multiplying 40iu x days of LH absence, since the testes will be desensitized, thus requiring a higher dose. (ie. 40iu x 60 days = 2400iu HCG dose)

Note: If following the on cycle hCG protocol, hCG should NOT be used for post cycle therapy (pct).

Recap â??

For preservation of testicular sensitivity, use 100iu hCG ED starting 7 days after your first AAS dose. At the end of the cycle, drop the hCG two weeks before the AAS clear the system. For example, you would drop hCG about the same time as your last Testosterone Enanthate shot. Or, if you are ending the cycle with orals, you would drop the hCG about 10 days before your last oral dose. This will allow for a sudden and even clearance in hormone levels, while initiating LH and FSH production from the pituitary, to begin stimulating your testes to produce testosterone. Remember, recovery doesnâ??t begin until you are off hCG since your body will not release its own LH until the hCG has cleared the system.

In conclusion, we have learned that utilizing hCG during a steroid cycle will significantly prevent testicular degeneration. This helps create a seamless transition from â??on cycleâ?? to â??off cycleâ?? thus avoiding the post cycle crash.

References -

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^i’ve also seem some theories that assert that HCG can only delay testicular shutdown, and not prevent it. logically, even with the inclusion of it on cycle, the negative feedback mechanisms of the increased dosage of testosterone would still exist…

prolly explains why there are 15 different ways people use HCG…