T Nation

First Cycle - Not the Usual b/s


Dear All Knowing,

(Long first post alert)

I am contemplating my first cycle, so I obviously have a few questions that the search functions couldnt answer for me. I have had a good read around and I feel that I have a good base knowledge, limited because of my lack of practical experience.

I am a member of various other boards and I do hate it when someone comes on, blurting out requests for information without reading up first, I hope I'm not repeating any common questions but if I do� I�ll be more than happy with a link and a light flaming.

Here is some background info on me so you guys can make more informed responses:

I have been doing various sports, seriously for the last 10 years or so. I currently practice MMA, play soccer and I lift twice a week. In the correct seasons I will replace soccer with distance running and an additional weights session. I am currently on a 2 day push/pull split to allow for the new soccer season. I would typically do a 3 day split, time and recovery allowing. I have been lifting over 2 years.

I would like to add 5 to 10 lbs of muscle with as little water retention as possible and no added fat. My body fat is currently around 14%, I want this figure down in the single figures in the end. I suffer from joint problems, my knees especially (meaning no Winstrol for me.)

I am not needle shy, an infected injection site you can see is better than a failing liver that you can�t do anything about but having said that I would prefer not to be injecting myself every day. The sports I do mean that I need the flexibility that any swelling could affect and I don�t want to get dumped on my tender depot sites every other day! Though my other half is willing to assist me with my injections, I'm lucky enough that she isn't judgmental / listened intently to my explanations.

Conditioning is more important to me than size. (At least in the short term.)

Height: 185cm
Weight: 198lb
Age: 24

If there was ever an individual, that was paranoid about gyno and angrodenic side-effects, it is me. I am looking at a dose of 400mg of Test E per week, expecting to take 10mg of Nolvadex per day, cycling for 6-8 weeks followed by a by-the-book PCT. I intend to use this as my beginners cycle, adding new parts to the stack each time until I feel I have the best stack for me. I haven't looked into what would be next, it will hinge on how I react to my first cycle. Here are my Q�s:

  1. I work in an office, it is small enough yet large enough for whispers and rumors to become serious questions in the HR office. What did you guys do, those who did anything at all, to make people less aware or to make your growth more gradual? From what I have read, even the minimum test cycle will have me stretching my shirts within 2 months.

Next to that, how did you keep it from your families? Those judgmental ones? I mean we all want to add mass right, having it our way we would have it now, tomorrow, yesterday, whenever� But AAS are such taboo products and carry such a stigma and people who are close to you, they know how big you are, or were until last month� then all of a sudden - Boom.

I can hardly expect Aunt Edna and Uncle Bert (examples) to sit and listen to me tell them about proper nutrition and exercises never mind AAS. An HR department would just simply look at the legality of products and because of my job they can force me to take drugs tests. (Though I don�t truthfully know if this applies to drugs that aren�t non-recreational. I�m assuming worse-case scenario as I�m hardly about to ring up and ask.)

  1. When we take AAS, our recovery rate is increased substantially. How substantially? I understand this is subjective to the individual and the AAS taken. How long should I expect, say it would normally take me 2 days to recover from a good weights session (including one of the big 3 compound lifts) before I could go hit the weights again? This is with 8 hours sleep and 2300kcals a day. (I understand I'm clutching at straws here.)

  2. When we lift drug free, the purpose of our diet and weight sessions is to stimulate the release of testosterone as well as stimulate muscle growth. Compound exercise is the order of the day, I just looked at my workout plans and I have 1 isolation lift in there.

Am I correct in assuming that since when taking Test, we don't need to focus our time on compound movements, instead spending most of our time creating as much trauma per muscle as possible to force mass hypertrophy? I expect this is going to be done best by isolation exercises?

Also, I was / am a believer in not training to failure when lifting drug free, CNS fatigue soon became apparent in me but with increased CNS function I can imagine that the benefits of training to failure would out-shine any negative aspects. Is this assumption correct? Finally, are these assumptions correct when we talking about other AAS (not Test?) As they effect the body in different ways.

  1. When training during PCT and between cycles, do we revert to our old training pattern or do we continue on the schedule we used when we were drug assisted?

  2. I clean bulk (1950�s style including eggs, milk, steak, fish etc.) eating 2600kcals, I cut at 1900kcals. What level am I supposed to eat at when assisted? Since protein synthesis goes up in scale with the amount of testosterone in the diet, do we increase our protein intake proportionally? If so, to what extent? Also, do we still need the same amount of fat in the diet and can we be less strict with our carbohydrate intake?

Many thanks for ready, any feedback at all will be most welcome.



Lift harder and more often, then consider AAS. You haven't worked out for that long really, and at 2x a week you can make adjustments to your routine and diet and see gains without AAS. You can achieve a significant amount of progress before you even need to consider taking AAS. Also, if you practice MMA then don't do AAS. They regularly do drug screenings, so be smart.


This is exactly the kind of post that pisses Brook off!


Let me just make sure i have everything before i begin (if you still want me to..):

You are 6'1", 200lbs, you don't train to failure and you lift just twice a week.
You eat around 2300kcals and (clean) 'bulk' with 2600kcals.

You think that isolation moves will be more suited to a drug assisted trainee.

You want to gain 10lbs of muscle and lose 10lbs of fat (5%)

You want just lean gains with little water and no fat and you are using 10mg of Tamoxifen to avoid gyno - of which you are more scared of than most men.

You are worried your cycle will turn you into an obvious steroid using bodybuilder and need advice on how to convince others this is not the case.

Seems fair enough.


Thanks Joeykk... I'll take that on board. I'm not at a stage that I'll get screened with my MMA at the moment anyway.

Well Brook you could of replied and pointed me in some better directions or you could of replied with sarcasm...

So one by one...

No I dont train to failure... I subscribed to Casey Butt's theories on the matter. I train at 80% most of the time.

I have a maintanance calorie mark of 2000kcals and add fat easily so any more than 2300 and I start to add a lot of fat. It's not as if I have only every trained twice per week, it's only been the recent months I've been working as I am... I actually created periodization (though that's not the goal.)

The isolation / compound thing makes sense to me, and I thought I'd explained that clearly, at least the thinking behind it. If I'm wrong then I'd like to know, and why... I only gained the knowledge from someone else in the first place, it's not something I just made up after all.

I'd prefer lean gains and I don't know about being more scared of gyno than most men, I'm just very mindful of it.

I'm not worried that I'll become an obvious steroid using bodybuilder, that's rediculous. I asked a legit question... or do AAS not create newbie gains in that way as I'm led to believe?


just keep it simple, the biggest mistake most guys make is coming on the internet and asking questions. Brook has been at this a long time, but if he looked back at his first cycle i know he would probably see he was confused a bit as well (making an assumption here, i know i was, of course i started before the damn internet but i digress).

Anyway people hate to admit it but the reality is yes if you train exactly as you are and add the test cycle you will make additional gains, will you reach your goals, no one can tell you that one way or the other. Could it be critiqued and dialed in, yes, but do you really care? If so, just accept the beatings and work it out these guys will help you out, if not i would advise do what you want and then you will know how well it worked, pretty simple concept. Used to be, we took what ever we could get our hands on, and you know what, it worked pretty damn well, there were no internet gurus, no research chem companies, no nothing, you just took what you could get and worked out.


At 6'1 and 200 pounds, you are a twig. Yes, you are, I was once that weight at 6'1.

If you can't make gains without AAS, why do you think you'll make them with AAS?

You only train twice a week because of work. AAS wont provide you with the time to train. How many big guys do you think got big because they trained twice a week or whenever they felt like it?

As far as your family goes, lie to them. Work, wear bigger shirts. I can wear a large T-shirt and look quite big, or I can wear a XXL and look like I am just a big boned guy.

I have no clue how you could gain weight on 2600 calories, although it may be possible. I have a slow metabolism (no thyroid at that!) and it takes me over 5000 to grow. When I was your weight, it was taking close to 3000. I have a feeling you gain fat easily on 2600+ because you're lazy, and only train twice a week.

On a lighter note, you type well, and have good spelling. Hopefully you will fix your training and diet first, and then come back to us when you are actually ready for AAS.


off subject..but how the fuck did we all become level 0 again??? i was level 5 the day they started it??????


I have been reading articles and sifting through forums on here since 2004. I was 17 years old then. It wasn't until last year that I even decided to become a member (quite hesitantly I might add), and three months subsequent to my registration I finally garnered the courage to post.

It is one thing to throw in comments here and there, maybe discuss something more general than fitness related topics, but to actually 'contribute' is a whole different story. It takes time to learn and apply everything you read or hear of, it takes even longer to retain information (and a piss load of redundant reading and application). Fuck, off subject...now its apparent why I only have 47 total posts in a little more than a year. Damn it. Later.


Cool story bro


Figured a comment like that would show up. Thread's dead anyway.


I am not aware who that is. And 80% of what exactly? There needs to be something that the '80' is a percentage of.
There is no reason any natural trainee should never go to MMF - that is not to say that any natural trainee can go to MM on each and every set (high volume), as they probably cannot for any length of time.

Never doing so, and working with an intensity of 80% (we aren't talking load here where 80%1RM is a measure of the load to be used - useful in progressive step loading plans) that is cutting your gains short, add to that the ~2000kcals on a large frame, plus just 2 days a week of moderate intensity training, i struggle to see where you missed my overall point; you are falling way short of needing PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS to progress.

Will they work? Fuck yes.
Could you progress by reassessing your goals and training (to match) and eating more than a woman on a diet? Fuck YES.

You created periodisation? I think Tudor Bompa might have something to say about that. Are you fucking serious?

Back to reality - If you add LARGE amounts of adipose tissue at that intake of calories then you need to look into your insulin sensitivity (and your macro breakdown to boot), as you are skinny and (claim to) do a lot of exercise...
Of course it could be that the small amount of fat seems much larger to you than it actually is. One of the two has to be the case from where i am sat, i suspect a little of both.[/quote]

The isolation / compound thing makes sense to me, and I thought I'd explained that clearly, at least the thinking behind it. If I'm wrong then I'd like to know, and why... I only gained the knowledge from someone else in the first place, it's not something I just made up after all.[/quote]

I once approached a woman in a gym, she was doing a very basic exercise in a way that TOTALLY neutralised the load, thus the desired effectiveness.
I kindly suggested a very small change to make the move more effective, to which she rudely dismissed telling me; a 'Personal trainer' had advised her to do it that way and she had 'faith'.

This was humourous to me, a trainer, on a number of levels; but the point is, you may believe that your source of advice is the best it could possibly be, yet STILL be wrong, and until you fully understand the fundamentals of the subject at hand, you may never know.

If she understood the kinesiology of the muscles involved, it would never have been a issue, but she had faith in another's understanding, which sadly was also lacking.

It isn't so much that compound moves in and of themselves stimulate the secretion of anabolic hormones (of which more than T and GH exist), but closed kinetic chain compound moves.
That said, the more muscle stimulated at once, the more likely the increase of secretion of anabolic hormones - simply because physiologically, the body thinks that if you are working THIS hard, something MUST be wrong - I think of it as similar in action to the fight or flight response, and in hormones being secreted to assist immediate performance, whereas in this case they also allow a higher level of performance in the future (hopefully)!

But if you are pumping a lot of T (in this case) into your body, then this isn't quite as big a factor... But the secretion of GH/IGF (IGF in the liver IIRC with relation to the GH, but then the muscles too due to the stimulus - although this may all be bollocks) will still play a large part.
Not to mention the simplest fact of all - you are stimulating the repair and growth of more muscles with exercises that involve more.
Increasing proprioceptive function, training the CNS - which directly affects strength, and that is just off the top of my head, a quick google search would bring more to the table let alone a mere hour of research...

But will you get more from training than a natural trainee? Clearly. Does that in turn mean you can drop the big lifts using massive weights (etc)? Nope.

The point was - you want it all. Lose fat, gain muscle, aromatising compounds with no ai yet little fat and water..

Now, if you had read as much as you claim to have, you would have come across AI's more than once, with them being so integral to modern day steroid use and all.
10mg of Tamoxifen is a particularly pathetic choice of estrogen control, so much so that before i could afford to use Anastrazole in my cycles, i would have more control than 10mg of Tamoxifen!

Yes. Yes that IS RIDiculous, isn't it. what was i thinking? Wait, what?

Of course you will gain 'well' on your first cycle, but you wanted conditioning (which very generally speaking is a drop in fat over an increase in muscle size, although technically it is both - and you also confirmed this goal in your own words), so you will be controlling calories, restricting carbs and doing cardio to manage your weight, am i correct?

That's for starters - but even if you put on a solid 20lbs, this is not going to put you in a position that merely more exercise and a force-feeding diet (standard bb bulking diet) cannot explain away.
Shit, with improvements in bodycomposition (as is all you want) most times you can say it is a tan, or that you dropped fat and it just shows what was already underneath!
You will likely still use the same size shirt you did before, and if not then keep it as you probably will again.

You are worrying about things that with your goals, training, diet and body type, should honestly never have to worry about.

I also think if you want to focus on your physique based goals (as opposed to performance ones) as is evident by your OP, then you need to prioritise your training towards the goal - as clearly 2x/wk lifting is doing nothing but maintaining your current 'state'...

Sure, for your sports 2x lifting is ample to keep a level of muscular conditioning (if it is a decent program..) for sports performance, but if you are focusing on your ohysique - then you need to change how you train.

I do this for a living - so try to read through my bullshit and get something from the post, it's in there i promise, it's just under a lot of... as i said, bullshit. :wink:

My problem is not what most of the silent, mostly lurking 'Brook' objectors think, it is merely a dislike for people opening posts with "I have read all there is to read and have amassed no small amount of knowledge in the area" when what has really happened is they have amassed the same amount of misinformation we ALL have when starting out.

No - we aren't born with knowledge, we cant even manage to shit outside of our immediate vicinity - it comes with being a mammal; but not a single knowledgeable poster here has got what they know from a few months of cruising message boards and reading profiles either.

Don't try to run before you can walk - yes, yes it IS the usual B/S. But that is fine - as long as you can see that you are no different to the rest of us.


MP, your posts always contain a sort of wisdom that transcends a lot of the book knowledge and even general experience. Good stuff.

You know, the world of self-improvement has it's own philosopher, Jim Rohn, of whom I'm certain you are aware. He's sort of the self-improvement teacher to other self-improvement teachers (though the regular Joe can certainly learn a lot from him, too). Reading your posts, I feel like you are our steroid forum philosopher, in this same manner, in that even those vets here who have years of experience and knowledge under their belts would still do well to shut up and listen to your posts.

Now I don't know if you really want the title of "Steroid Forum Old Wise Man," but you certainly do deserve it :wink:


Thanks a lot for your responses... I have taken a serious look at my goals, methods and work schedule.

Do I want the moon on the stick? Yes, I do. But dont we all? Anyway, after reading the above I have decided that I dont have the dedication to lifting to replace other sports with extra sessions and so yes, there is a good 15lbs of muscle to be made through drug free training first.


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HEY, i'm not that much older than the rest of you f**kers, its just that i literally starting lifting at ten years old and never stopped. And, while not really proud of this, started the steroids at age 18 ... thus the 20+ years of usage experience....I WILL COME TO JAPAN IF NEEDED, LOL...seriously though i think i lean toward the other side in that i am probably TOO simplistic sometimes , i certainly pick up new knowledge from you guys as well.


Heh. Please don't take me the wrong way, MP, I genuinely meant what I said in the most complimentary fashion. I just happen to still be young enough, myself, that anyone over 2 years my senior gets labeled with the blanket term "old." :wink: In the future I'll go with BBB's suggestion.


all in good fun my friend


jesus you two, get a room already!