T Nation

How Long Between Cycles?

What is your guys opinion on how long someone should be off a cycle, before they start another?? I’ve read that it varies and depends on the individual…what do you think?

Short answer;
off time = on time
I am sure there are other specifics and even exceptions but that is the general rule of thumb.

if you are on long cycles, then i would take at least 8 weeks between. with shorter cycles, usually twice the cycle length. this issue really depends on what you want to achieve, both with the steroid use and the break in between.

[quote]1fastford wrote:
Short answer;
off time = on time
I am sure there are other specifics and even exceptions but that is the general rule of thumb.[/quote]

100% precisely the rule I go by

[quote]ubl0 wrote:
if you are on long cycles, then i would take at least 8 weeks between. with shorter cycles, usually twice the cycle length. this issue really depends on what you want to achieve, both with the steroid use and the break in between.[/quote]

So a 6 week cycle- one would take off 12 weeeks.
While a 15 week cycle- one would take off 8?

The general rule of thumb is time on equals the time needed off. That is a very good base and is in all - general. It would all depend on what steroids were taken, what one’s diet, training, sleeping, etc. were/are like. I personally base time off on the following factors:
General feeling of health and well-being
Blood lipid- cholesterol and triglycerides
Blood Pressure
Full blood test -RBC, Hematocrit, MCV, Coagulation, etc.
Liver fuction
Kidney Function
Immune Function
Glucose tolerance
I get all of the testing for $25 and usually get it done at least every 10 weeks. On a standard 6-8 week cycle of test/masteron I am able to run only 4 weeks off and maintain/return all values to the normal range; throw in some orals or other aas and things take longer - so in general
Time On = Time Off minimum : unless one gets complete blood testing.

And by the way; diet, sleep, stress, training, etc. play almost as much as the steroids do as far as maintain/regaining ones health. A crappy diet might make ones time off twice as long.

As I have noted in the taper protocol, you need 2 1/2 to 3 months off, depending on the length of ester you were running.

this is to allow your body to return to natural homeostasis. During that time focus on low intensity work that is not going to cause you to overly break down muscle.

Peptides and other non AAS assistance can be used, but the key to remember is that the adrenal function has been suppressed while on, and it will now come back at you with avengence, so don’t workout hard, as the muscle you damage will not be repaired during this phase.

Once the time period has passed your body should be resensitized to AAS and you will be ready to rock and roll and make some decent gains again, not just reclaim your old ones.

my rule - just don’t come off.

[quote]sapasion wrote:
1fastford wrote:
Short answer;
off time = on time
I am sure there are other specifics and even exceptions but that is the general rule of thumb.

100% precisely the rule I go by[/quote]

What about:

off time = on time + PCT

???

[quote]Prisoner#22 wrote:
As I have noted in the taper protocol, you need 2 1/2 to 3 months off, depending on the length of ester you were running.

this is to allow your body to return to natural homeostasis. During that time focus on low intensity work that is not going to cause you to overly break down muscle.

Peptides and other non AAS assistance can be used, but the key to remember is that the adrenal function has been suppressed while on, and it will now come back at you with avengence, so don’t workout hard, as the muscle you damage will not be repaired during this phase.

Once the time period has passed your body should be resensitized to AAS and you will be ready to rock and roll and make some decent gains again, not just reclaim your old ones. [/quote]

This makes me nervous. If I focus on low intensity I can’t see how I won’t lose my gains. I’m in the last week of my taper now and if my body recognizes that it no longer needs to lift x lbs. for 4 reps for example for 3 months I can’t see my gains sticking around…can you explain your thought process from a “maintaining your gains” standpoint?
Thanks, Peace.

There is options post cycle, GH, Insulin and IGF can all be used together or individually for bulking purposes and muscle retention. And you could cycle these off and on for months if you wanted too.

You can always bridge, say 200 MG of Primo for a couple of weeks, switch to some VAR say 25 MG a day for a couple of weeks or try some natty test boosters for a couple of weeks.

You will never keep 100% of your gains, but I believe that muscle is built and accumulated and one cycles gains accumulates on top of another to some degree, that is my experience. Of course I tried the gain 20 to 25 lbs method and much prefer more incremental gains of 7 to 10 lbs in short cycles.

[quote]1fastford wrote:
Short answer;
off time = on time
I am sure there are other specifics and even exceptions but that is the general rule of thumb.[/quote]

correct

two cycles per year will do

[quote]Over40 wrote:
There is options post cycle, GH, Insulin and IGF can all be used together or individually for bulking purposes and muscle retention. And you could cycle these off and on for months if you wanted too.

You can always bridge, say 200 MG of Primo for a couple of weeks, switch to some VAR say 25 MG a day for a couple of weeks or try some natty test boosters for a couple of weeks.

You will never keep 100% of your gains, but I believe that muscle is built and accumulated and one cycles gains accumulates on top of another to some degree, that is my experience. Of course I tried the gain 20 to 25 lbs method and much prefer more incremental gains of 7 to 10 lbs in short cycles.
[/quote]

Interestingly enough O40, I am planning to utilize Primo to bridge just as you suggested. Is there an advantage to bridging with Primo for a couple of weeks, then Var as you suggested vs. just using Primo for like a month?

What if you don’t intend to go back on immediately? Would you keep the intensity low for the two-three month taper period, and then up the intensity again to where you had been before you ever started your cycle (assuming, for example, you had never done a cycle before then and had a decent base, but probably not your natural “limit,” to begin with)?

I would assume the answer to this question is yes, as your body would have fully returned to homeostasis at this point and would be again ready for full intensity? Is that right?

[quote]Prisoner#22 wrote:
As I have noted in the taper protocol, you need 2 1/2 to 3 months off, depending on the length of ester you were running.

this is to allow your body to return to natural homeostasis. During that time focus on low intensity work that is not going to cause you to overly break down muscle.

Peptides and other non AAS assistance can be used, but the key to remember is that the adrenal function has been suppressed while on, and it will now come back at you with avengence, so don’t workout hard, as the muscle you damage will not be repaired during this phase.

Once the time period has passed your body should be resensitized to AAS and you will be ready to rock and roll and make some decent gains again, not just reclaim your old ones. [/quote]

[quote]Cortes wrote:
What if you don’t intend to go back on immediately? Would you keep the intensity low for the two-three month taper period, and then up the intensity again to where you had been before you ever started your cycle (assuming, for example, you had never done a cycle before then and had a decent base, but probably not your natural “limit,” to begin with)?

I would assume the answer to this question is yes, as your body would have fully returned to homeostasis at this point and would be again ready for full intensity? Is that right?

Prisoner#22 wrote:
As I have noted in the taper protocol, you need 2 1/2 to 3 months off, depending on the length of ester you were running.

this is to allow your body to return to natural homeostasis. During that time focus on low intensity work that is not going to cause you to overly break down muscle.

Peptides and other non AAS assistance can be used, but the key to remember is that the adrenal function has been suppressed while on, and it will now come back at you with avengence, so don’t workout hard, as the muscle you damage will not be repaired during this phase.

Once the time period has passed your body should be resensitized to AAS and you will be ready to rock and roll and make some decent gains again, not just reclaim your old ones.

[/quote]

Yeh, I would totally agree with that logic. The only flaw I can see would be that once your intensity picks up and the gains aren’t coming…wait, a message is coming in on my crystal ball…yep, sure enough it says “there shall be another cycle”, lol.

Keep in mind even when natural gains are never made continuously. they come in increments. In cycles. That is the way the body works. You can not always gain gain gian.

IMO if you have not reached your natural peak of size and strength you should not be dabling in steroids anyways, however, In my experience, once you dable in steroids, it will be difficult to make natural progress out side of AAS use, as you must contend with a catbolic backlash once you come off steroid, as welll as changes in receptors, and binding globulins.

Hence the purpose for the waiting period and taper, which designed to help put receptors, binding globulins back to their place, and deflect a little of the onslaught of rebound catabolism.

Hitting the gym during this period hard is just going to make things worse. You are breaking down muscle hoping to get strength and size gains, but this is impossible, as you body in that state of catabolism. Irregardless of how much food you eat, e.t.c. You lack the chemical trigers to synthesize proteins, and stave off cortisol, So at this stage of the game instead, take it easy.

You can’t keek al the size you carried during your last cycle. That’s just the reality of it.

[quote]Prisoner#22 wrote:
Keep in mind even when natural gains are never made continuously. they come in increments. In cycles. That is the way the body works. You can not always gain gain gian.

IMO if you have not reached your natural peak of size and strength you should not be dabling in steroids anyways,
[/quote]

Not calling you out P22, but looking at the “erotic” picture of you just before you did your first cycle, I would not say that you were at your natural “limit.” I’m sure if you had really wanted to, you could have added 25 or more lbs naturally, it just would have taken quite a bit of time at that stage in your development.

The reason I say this is because statements like, “you shouldn’t be messing with steroids until you hit your natural limit” are thrown around on this forum like mardi gras beads. There is something to be said for not jumping on the juice train after a year of training, but the whole point of gear is, let’s be honest, not so much to exceed your natural limit, though that’s certainly part of it, as it is to get where you want to be a helluva lot quicker than you ever could have without drugs.

I just want to clear up that I’m pretty sure that 95% of the people who’ve ever done steroids were not at their “natural limit” when they started, and probably would be nowhere near where they are now if they had spent as much time worrying about where that limit is as is suggested on this board.

btw. I want to reiterate that I am not calling you out, P22. I really enjoy your contribution to this place and have learned a lot from you.

Don’t sweat it, you have an excellent point and P22 is not the type (from what I’ve seen) to get his panties in a bunch.

This forum should be used to speak your mind and challenge others to spur further dialogue. That being said, I don’t think this site would hold much value without what P22 and some select others have to offer us all.

I’m still waitin on an answer to that question, though.

[quote]Mousse wrote:
Don’t sweat it, you have an excellent point and P22 is not the type (from what I’ve seen) to get his panties in a bunch.

This forum should be used to speak your mind and challenge others to spur further dialogue. That being said, I don’t think this site would hold much value without what P22 and some select others have to offer us all. [/quote]

[quote]Cortes wrote:
What if you don’t intend to go back on immediately? Would you keep the intensity low for the two-three month taper period, and then up the intensity again to where you had been before you ever started your cycle (assuming, for example, you had never done a cycle before then and had a decent base, but probably not your natural “limit,” to begin with)?

I would assume the answer to this question is yes, as your body would have fully returned to homeostasis at this point and would be again ready for full intensity? Is that right?

[/quote]

Even when natural, you cannot grow at all times. you have to have periods of ‘down time’ in your training if you wish to continue to progress.

So sure, following the 3 months yeah! back at her!

As for myself. I trained for 13 years au naturel.

In the picture mentioned I weighed about 185 lbs at 6% or less bodyfat.

Yes it is hard to gain when you have to keep yourself in tip top shape year round like I did, However, even when I did bulk up over 200 lbs (at around 9 or 10%) I could never keep the size when I dieted down.

I was ectomorphic to begin with and my begining weight was 120-130 lbs at 5’9" I grew an inch and a bit since then but still, as a natural bodybuilder I was holding onto about 50lbs of extra skeletal muscle that I would not have had, had I never have weight trained.
Since using AAS I have gained just over 40lbs of muscle, from there to then so far.

I trained hard, and right for about 3 years without gaining anymore measureable amount of muscle.

Everyone is different though, Everyone’s metabolism is different - (mine was fast)

but when your progress begins to slow down to a snail’s pace, you can either accept it and be satisfied, or do something about it.

For myself for many years the ‘big guys’ gave me the respect in the gym as they new I was all natural and had the ‘athletic look’.

But when the young guys start blowing up and getting bigger then you and having attitude about it, that is when my competitive nature exploded.

One cycle shut everyone up. I gained 20lbs the first cycle, and in all the right places. Basically shut up all the young ‘juice-head punks’ in four weeks time.