I found this post and thought it would be worth while to post it here. Never talked to the authour but it made a lot of sense to me. It's a long read, but I think worth it, especially for newbies!
How to KEEP GAINS from steroids
This info I have gleaned from self-research, trial and error, from my endocrinologist, from SWALE and from training hundreds of clients over the years.
This is a longish post but many of you will greatly benefit from reading it so try to bare with my "blathering"
First of all I would like to stress that I and my endocrinologist do not believe one can keep gains above ones natural max, or that level of muscular development that can be held to without steroids. In other words, I think one will always shrink down to the size that can be held to with ones own T production.
In reality what usually happens is that many (not all) steroid users fall BELOW their natural max within months of discontinuing steroids for one or all of the following reasons...poor HPTA recovery and or lack of knowledge in regard to what makes up proper steroid free training.
If HPTA recovery is not fairly rapid and complete then obviously one risks dropping BELOW ones natural max in time. If one does not know how to train effectively without steroids then one will rapidly overtrain and drop below natural max in time, not to mention the strong possibility of injury, which also will hinder gainskeeping.
You can, however, makes gains well above your natural max while on steroids and then with prudent use of ancillaries, and proper natural training, hold to your natural max well into ones 50's and perhaps early 60's.
As an estimate of natural max...the average guy of average height( 5"9 or 10") and with average bone structure and genetically typical recuperative abilities (vast majority of men) can usually get to a lean 190-195 with a bench of 275-300, full squat of 375-400 and a deadlift of about 500 pounds without steroids.
Dare I say that HCG use is more important than SERMS (nolva or clomid) for good hpta recovery after a LONG cycle( 12 weeks or longer)
Personally I would use hcg during any cycle 8 weeks or longer...and if you are really paranoid and want the absolute most rapid hpta recovery then use it during any cycle for next to zero testicular shrinkage.
Now you will recover hpta without HCG, and fairly quickly if you truly have not suffered from much testicular atrophy, but not as rapidly as you could and that will cost you at least some gains.
HCG, human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone taken from placentas during
pregnancy. It mimics the action of LH from the pituitary and stimulates testosterone production in the testes.
It is important to the male bodybuilder in that proper use of this hormone PREVENTS testicular atrophy caused by HPTA shut down from steroid use.
If the testes are shut down they will shrink, it's as simple as that. The degree of shrinkage depends upon the length of time "on" androgens. Some guys literally see their testes atrophy down to raisin size.. NO SHIT.
Others see modest shrinkage and a few say they see NO shrinkage. In the latter this is BS and has to due with poor pre-cycle assessment of testicular size.... after all how many of us sit down before a cycle and really feel the true size of our balls.
NOTE: all steroids will shut you down 100% and at a very low dose, and that includes Primo and anavar for you skeptics. As little as 100mg a week of testosterone administered exogenously in the form of injections will shut you down in as little as a few weeks.
The hormones that drive the HPT axis (LH and GnRH) recover full potential quite quickly post cycle. The hypothalamus rapidly senses a low androgen level and pumps out GnRH and this tells the pituitary to release LH for testicular stimulation of T production...trouble is if the nuts are small they simply cannot respond well to this stimulation.
The testes take a fair amount of time to "get going" after a long sleep and as a result T levels post cycle can be low for months (if greatly atrophied). This obviously results in a rapid loss of gains, not to mention physiological issues such as depression as well as physical issues like fatigue.
- SO it is important for "optimal" gainskeeping to try to begin HPTA recovery with full or nearly full sized testes.
HOW TO USE HCG
It is best to prevent testicular atrophy in the first place rather than trying to bringing the boys back to size after they have already atrophied.
With this in mind prudent use of HCG is DURING a cycle.
HCG can be taken either IM or sub Q in the fat and yes you can mix it with your oils.
Take it at 500iu's every 3rd or 4th day while on cycle.
Some use it post cycle at higher doses after their testes have already shrunk. This method works but I do not believe that it is the best way to use HCG. In this method one injects a high dose of HCG right near the end of a cycle but before clomid.
The opening dose is often 3000iu's followed sometimes by another 3000 4 days latter and then 1500iu's every 4th or 5th day and then the last shot is usually only 1000iu's.... total time three weeks.
No use taking clomid or nolva with the HCG since HCG will suppress the hpta all by itself via the testosterone production it stimulates.
WARNING...if you use hcg at a high dose for too long you might desensitize the testes to LH so don't get carried away with it.
SERMS clomid and nolva
after any cycle a SERM should be used, either clomid or nolva.
SERMS help to "kickstart" a sleepy hypothalamic GnRH response.
GnRH is pretty quick to recover but SERMS help the hypothalamus to "turn the key" on the GnRH impulse generating engine.
SERMS block the affect of estrogen at the hypothalamus and since estrogen is highly inhibitory this blocking affect allows for greater LH production. This "greater LH production" strongly stimulates the testes to produce testosterone.
If you use only gear that does NOT aromatize to estrogen then you don't have to worry about the inhibitory affect of estrogen post cycle (from the steroid)...but SERM's should still be used to counter the inhibitory affect of the estrogen seen form the T production (from the hcg use)...and also from the estrogen production from the aromatization of the T production form your testes after the hcg is stopped.
*Even if you never used HCG you should still use a SERM after a cycle with non aromatizing gear to counter the inhibitory effect of normal estrogen production (from the aromatization of T from your improving T production)
You have to wait until exogenous androgen levels drop to a similar level of what a normal T production would be, in order for this LH stimulating affect from SERMS to work, since androgens are also highly inhibitory on the hypothalamus.
So you must have to have a good grasp on the half-life?s of the various gear you use. You also have to be aware of the how the dose taken factors into the equation. i.e.: test cyp has a half life of around 6 days so with this in mind 500mg of test cyp will reduce to 250 mg in a week and about 125 in another week.
That 125mg is about 100mg of pure testosterone (minus ester weight) and you can now begin SERM therapy because that level is near what a normal T output would be (slightly higher though)
NOTE: There is no penalty for starting a SERM too early but there is one for starting too late.
Search for half-life?s of other gear in other threads on the boards.
On opening "SERM day", post cycle, you want to do a "loading dose" of about 200-300mg of clomid in divided doses in order to get blood levels up pronto. Then take 50-100mg/day for a week and then 50mg/day for 3 more weeks MINIMUM... and longer after Deca use.
Alternatively you can use nolva at 80mg on day one in divided dose and then 40mg /day for a week and then 20mg/day for at least 3 more weeks.
PROPER STEROID FREE TRAINING POST CYCLE...for the genetically typical (most men)...not easy gainers.
Thanx to all the glossy magazines out there very very few bro's really know how to train for gains without steroids. Dare I say that not a few of you turned to gear simply because you could not make very good gains as a natural.
Thanx JOE WEIDER, and others, for NOT telling the whole story in the glossy mags. THE ROUTINES IN THE MAGS WILL NOT WORK FOR 90% OF ALL MEN UNLESS THEY ARE, #1 ON GEAR AND #2, AT LEAST SOMEWHAT GENETICALLY GIFTED.
Guys these pro's are so out of touch with what works for the typical man training naturally that it isn't funny.
These guys are genetic freaks on a ton of gear...like 2-4 grams of test a week, other steroids, growth and slin! Not only that but they don't have jobs outside the gym to drain them either!
Steroids not only help muscle building but more importantly they GREATLY improve recuperative powers.
Most guys continue to train in a very similar fashion while off gear as they did while on gear, especially in regard the number of days in the gym each week, and this is a HUGE ERROR.
Many, many guys simply overtrain after they stop the gear and loose huge amounts of muscle and many actually end up below their natural max potential in time. Others do not even bother training at all without juice!
I went to a Dorian Yates seminar a few years ago and he mentioned all this. Dorian's recommendations in regards to training without gear where almost identical to mine.
Dorian said that most trainees should train no more frequently than three days a week on a three way split while "off" steroids and that all should use a low volume of sets and work primarily on the big basic compound movements with very hard work. FINIALLY A PRO THAT KNOWS AND TELLS THE TRUTH!
Most men simply cannot recuperate from frequent trips to the gym and even moderately high volume without the assistance of steroids. Most men are genetically typical in the recuperation department.... and that?s at least 90% of you bro's.
I have good genetics for bodybuilding and I could train in almost any manner while on gear and gain well but even while on gear I choose to train infrequently, every other day on a three way split while "on" and Mon-Wed and FRI on a three way split while "off", and with low volume and very hard work...WHY?...for three reasons....
1. I have other things to do in my busy life and
2. I make even better gains and get even bigger with this style of training...#3. I like it
****SO>>>>>How much more is it important for the typical trainee to train in a similar way without steroids in his system.
GUYS...you don't have to be in the gym 5 and 6 days a week and train with high volume in order to see excellent gains while ?on" steroids and in fact most of you would do better training fewer days and with lower volume but with more effort on those sets.
For those that are in the gym 6 days a week and like 10-20 sets per body part and are making good gains then more power to ya...but you just might do better training less frequently and with less volume.
Shit I am genetically gifted and I have seen my best gains on gear training every other day on a three way split with low volume and big efforts.
Remember you easy gainers...the pro's are very genetically gifted, on more gear than most of you and don't have jobs or go to school.
EXAMPLE OF PROPER STEROID FREE TRAINING...for the genetically typical, or probably at least 90% of all bro's on this board. Notice the focus on the big basic compound movements.
********PLEASE...the genetically gifted and easy gainers need not make negative comments!*********
Some of you like to be in the gym 5-6 days a week and like higher volume with more isolation work and you do well without steroids ...that?s fine...but most men simply cannot gain well or even keep what they gained from steroids training like you.
Dare I say that maybe you too would do better by cutting volume a bit, increasing effort, focusing on the big basics and spending a little less time in the gym each week.
EASY GAINERS SPLIT.
For those that gain pretty well why not reduce your time in the gym to the following 4 way split that Dorian Yates made popular. Less time in the gym and more time off recuperating just might be the ticket for you. I usually train every other day on a three way split while "on" but when "feeling my oats" I sometimes train in this Yates split.
Day 1 ON
Day 2 ON
Day 3 OFF
Day 4 ON
Day 5 OFF
Day 6 ON
Day 7 OFF
ROUTINE AND SPLIT for genetically typical men (most men)
all exercises to be done slow and strict...nothing super explosive or rapid. The KEY is hard work and a focus on progressive poundage gains in small to tiny jumps weekly.
Incline bench (30 degree) or some type of incline press. 2-3 warm ups of 5 and then 2 sets hard for 8 reps
Declines or weighted dips with elbows out. 2 sets of 8. Best overall chest developer works the entire chest well.
Abs ...now... to rest triceps. 2-3 sets each of crunches and hanging knee ups. Add weight if you can do more than 20 reps. Try to curl the hips upwards as the knees come up above the waist.
Lying tricep extensions. 1 warm up of 8 and then 2 sets of 10 hard
Dips with elbows in. I like the hammer dip machine 2 sets of 8-10.
Toe press in leg press machine. Slow and full for 4 sets of 10-15 reps. reduce weight after each set after only 90 second rests between sets. Works the entire calf including soleus.
Pulldowns or chins with palms facing you grip. 2-3 warm ups of 5 and then 2-3 sets of 10 hard. Use straps...arch low back at bottom. Slow and strict!
Some type of row.... arch the low back and squeeze. 2 sets of 8-10 Great for mid upper back and rear delts
Overhead press to front either on a 85 degree bench with a barbell or in a machine (hammer is good) 2-3 warm ups of 5 and then 2-3 sets of 8 hard. Works the entire deltoid complex including the rear head
Upright row with straps. Grip about 10 inches wide 2 sets of 10
Shrugs 2-3 sets of 10
Curls 3-4 sets of 10 hard
forearm work if you like
SQUATS....you MUST SQUAT and squat correctly and that means upper thighs to AT LEAST parallel...lower is better. 3 warm ups of 5...don't tire yourself out....then 2 and at most 3 all out sets of 10. These sets should take you a long time to complete with very high effort. Rest 4 minutes between sets.
Hard squating and deadlifting make you anabolic and help gains all over your body.
Now go over to the leg press machine and set the back rest as low as it goes (helps with full range of motion) and load up about 75% of your max weight for 10 reps.
Do one warm up set with this weight...not for your thighs BTW as they are already toast...it's to get your low back used to the deep motion of the press properly done.
Then load up your max weight for 10.
Leg extensions 1 all out set of 10-15 slow and with a hold at the top
...with no more than 30 seconds rest do the leg press with that top weight you loaded up. The leg extensions done before the leg press pre-exhaust the thighs a bit and the relatively fresh glutes/hams and hips will really push those quads.
Leg press...deep and with feet high on platform. 1 all out set of 10
ALTERNATIVEY..You can get really good results from simply 3 sets of 10 of very hard deep squats.
Squats properly done work the entire quad/glutes/hams and low back very well. You really don't need anything else for the quads.
One key is to go a little below parallel until you feel your sacrum/butt "dip" into the pocket. This activates the powerful glutes, hips and hams and allows for more weight to be squated and more quad stimulation.
DONE QUADS...now sit down for 5 minutes!
Stiff leg deadlifts....to just below knee height. Use straps. Back straight. PIVOT AT THE HIP. By far the best ham worker and a very good erector movement too. 2 warm ups of 5 and then 2 very hard sets of 10
SLDL not only work the hams very well but they also work the low back very well too.
Hyperextensions with weight 2 set of 10-15
regular deadlifts in the rack...set pins at just below knee height. 1 warm up and then one set of 8-10(no bouncing) use straps
leg curl. 2 sets of 8
DONE! Short but very tough leg/back workout if done with a lot of effort...and more than enough for the non-steroid user. Now crawl to your post workout protein shake!
TRUE HARD GAINERS
Believe it or not bro's not a few of you need to do even fewer working sets than I listed in the above routine. Hard gainers have a very limited ability to recover from weight lifting and believe me hard gainers are not rare at all and are far more common than easy gainers.
*** While training, and especially while natural, you MUST make weight progression and HARD WORK in the big basic movements your priority.
Try to progressively add small and then tiny bits of weight to the bars weekly or every two weeks...even a 1- 2 pound gain per week on the squat and a 1 pound or less per week or two gain in the bench for reps is good progress, after the going gets really tough. Get some small plates
*Make sure you keep the reps strict and full as you progress in poundage though...you want REALGAINS and not gains in poundage due to progressively rapid and poorly executed reps.
After failing to get even tiny increases in weight for several weeks reduce the working sets OR let the reps drop to sets of 5...still trying to up the weights.
When progress halts again take 10 full day off from weights...come back with about 90% of your previous best for the higher reps and work your way up to and past your previous bests.
Forget about all the isolation stuff...I gave you enough already....
You want big pecs( in all regions) and triceps then add 75 pounds to your declines or dips with elbows out.
You want big triceps then focus on adding 50 pounds to the overhead press and dips with elbows in...You want big biceps then focus on adding 50 pounds to your chins and 75 to your rows...you want big side delts then focus on adding 50 pounds to your over head presses.
YOU WANT BIG WELL SHAPED RIPPED QUADS, HAMS and ERECTORS then add 200 pounds to your 10-rep squat and 150 pounds to your stiff leg deads!
limit the cardio to no more than 3 times a week for 30 minutes at pop or it will eat into your recuperative powers.