In my experience I think maximizing gains comes down to two things: total levels of estrogen and testosterone, and ratio between these two. While increasing test levels will certainly help, I have found that great gains can come from having a proper estrogen balance to go along with the test. I have also found it harder to control estrogen levels (keep them within a certain range) with increasingly higher doses of test (e.g. It’s easier to have a balance between the two at 500mg/wk than it is at 1000mg/wk).
For some reason I have a hard time finding a suitable dose of AI or SERM to keep my estrogen in check to maximize gains. Though in the process of experimenting (detailed below) I found that the levels of estrogen certainly do play a role. I start by taking my dose of test (dose doesn’t matter here as all doses elicit this effect). If I don’t take any AI with my test my gains seem to increase to an extent and then level out and diminish as my estro levels and side effects increase. If I take a huge shot of AI to combat these estro effects and drop my estro down to essentially zero, the effects of the test increase dramatically and then eventually plummet as my estrogen goes from too much to too little. As my estro is then essentially zero, I will stop taking all AI and let estro levels climb again. While estro levels are climbing the effects of the test become super pronounced and then drop off gain, similar to the beginning of the cycle.
I have repeated this yo-yo effect of estro levels while keeping the test level constant with doses ranging from 200mg/wk up to 2000mg/wk. In the process of raising and lowering estrogen, each time it seems to hit a “sweet spot” for about two days where I get super horny, get amazing muscle pumps and fullness, feel strong and exceptionally motivated, have a great sense of wellbeing, and get a ton of acne and oily skin. After I leave this sweet spot all of these factors return to baseline almost overnight. It’s actually quite amazing how quickly these change, and just the fact that they ALL change, which would suggest that the effects of testosterone are mediated by estrogen to some degree.
With higher levels of test this period shortens to about a day, and with lower levels of test this period lengthens to about three days, which leads me to believe that having more test leads to much quicker changes in estrogen levels, thus entering and leaving the level of estro associated with the “sweet spot” much more quickly compared with lower test levels. Since this portion of my theory is backed up with general physiological principles, I don’t think I’m too far off with my thinking here.
So as far as “does estrogen play a role and how much is needed,” I can’t answer that with a direct statement. But I can say that too little is counterproductive and too much is counterproductive. I can also say that with this method I’ve “felt” and experienced positive and negative side effects from a 500mg/wk dose of test that are more or just as powerful as 2000mg/wk of test, provided the levels of test and estro were balanced. More is certainly not better in my experience.