T Nation

Maintaining Gains After Periodic Mild Cycles

Hi All. I’ve never done a cycle and have no plans to in the immediate future but I’m trying to learn as much as I can. I search the forums but didn’t find anything that exactly addresses my question so I thought I’d post this here. My rudimentary understanding has been that you have a genetic limit for muscle mass and that you could exceed that by using AAS but that once you stopped you would lose those gains. That seems perfectly reasonable. But I also thought that if you were to do a mild cycle for 8-12 weeks, maybe to gain 10-lbs of lean mass and improve strength but still be well within you normal genetic potential, that you would not lose those gains provided you kept up with your workout program and nutrition, etc. I can’t think of a reason why you would lose it. (Now if you are asking why someone would do that, I’d say because in real life we don’t always have perfect workout plans and great nutrition or the patience and dedication to work out consistently for years to reach our genetic limit so if there is a shortcut one might be inclined to use it). But then I ran across this study ‘Muscular Strength, Body Composition and Health Responses to the Use of Testosterone Enanthate: A Double Blind Study’ (https://www.academia.edu/23250109/Muscular_strength_body_composition_and_health_responses_to_the_use_of_testosterone_enanthate_a_double_blind_study) and while they show the expected gains from the Test-E, they also show that their study participants lost all of their additional strength and lean mass by 12 weeks after ceasing use of Test-E. I was quite surprised. To save you reading the whole paper, here is the relevant section:

Once the injections ceased an interesting change occurred to the testosterone group which was reflected in the bench press exercise at week 8 (week six of the follow up phase). At this point the testosterone group bench press improvements had been reduced from 22% to 12%, which was similar to the percentage increases they had achieved at week sly: of the administration phase. By week 24 the increases had decreased to 8% and were identical to the placebo group gains at the same point (Figure 1). Therefore, it seems that the improvements achieved by the testosterone group had diminished, after a 12 week follow up phase. Consequently, it appears from this study that one cannot maintain strength increases made from the use of 3.5mg-l.kg 1. bwt of TE administered once a week for 12 weeks EVEN IF WEIGHT TRAINING IS CONTINUED (emphasis mine). Further, once the use of TE had ceased the rate of strength loss in rims case appeared to correspond proportionally to the length of the administration period.

I looked but could not find any mention of post cycle therapy so it’s possible that they simple stopped administration of Test-E cold turkey and the guys lost strength and size as their bodies struggled to recover their normal T production but that’s just a guess. At any rate, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

Its simple. For example you running test e, having high testosterone getting better gains,stoping to using it,make a pct lets say, and 100% sure that your natural test will not be the same like before the Test e cycle. So with lower testosterone you will not keep the same gains like u had on high testosterone:
D its only way to maintain your gains atleast some of them is blast and cruise. So you blast for exampe with test and deca,and cruise with test e or test c with 125-200mg for some time,than blast again. So its ooonly one way to maintain your gains from steroids

That’s not necessarily true. I’ve run three cycles and have maintained ~20lbs from them over the course of 3 years. I kept less this cycle than previous ones… but you don’t necessarily lose everything.

My normal TT is 550. 12 weeks post cycle my TT is 750-790. Higher than before running cycles. Now … it might not stay that high indefinitely. It could very well drop back to my normal 550.

All I’m saying is B and C isn’t the ONLY way. Having said that, I am probably going to start, as the returns are dramatically diminishing, among other reasons.

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Blastandcruise, are you saying that a cycle of Test-E would cause your natural testosterone production to PERMANENTLY go down even after PCT? I’ve never heard that. In my case I’m already on TRT so that shouldn’t be an issue but I’ve never heard that before.

Okay maybe not after single cycle after test e ,but cycle after cycle and you will never come back at the natural test levels you had before cycling so. Because if he start to take aas,he will not stop after one cycle thats for sure. Anyway, every man will need to go on trt doesnt matter u was using aas before or not. Its only you who control it:D i choosed to go blast &cruise to avoid shitty pct and all the negative effects from it. I will go in Trt so i dont see any point to do pct for myself,i dont care about my natural test anymore

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Ok, I got it. I found another study (Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism – Towards a unified hypothesis of anabolic steroid action (https://www.academia.edu/27155072/Anabolic_steroid-induced_hypogonadism_Towards_a_unified_hypothesis_of_anabolic_steroid_action)) that discusses this. The official name is Anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism. This paragraph addresses what I was wondering about:

In all of the studies that include muscle mass and muscle strength measurements both during and after AAS administration, the positive effects of AAS during their administration disappear in the period after stopping AAS [17,53]. In 2004, after years of published studies reporting on the positive benefits of AAS administration but with no follow-up for the period of hypogonadism after AAS cessation a randomized controlled study reported on the bodycomposition changes during administration and after a 12-week follow-up period after AAS cessation [54]. The study found that the positive body composition changes in lean body mass, muscle area, and strength produced by the androgen in thestudy had completely disappeared 12 weeks after AAS cessation. Rather than recognize anabolic–androgenic steroid-induced hypogonadism as the critical factor for the loss of muscle mass and strength, these investigators suggest, "However, the benefits were lost within 12 weeks after oxandrolone was discontinued, suggesting that prolonged androgen treatment would be needed to maintain these anabolic benefits”.

Poorly designed studies are not worth a damn unfortunately. It amazes me how little the medical and scientific fields know about something like this. It seems that in this area the “bro science” is actually ahead of the actual science, scary as that is.

Here’s another study: Anabolic steroids purchased on the Internet as a cause of prolonged hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (https://www.academia.edu/30236051/Anabolic_steroids_purchased_on_the_Internet_as_a_cause_of_prolonged_hypogonadotropic_hypogonadism).

I haven’t had a chance to read this one yet.

I never heard of triptorelin as part of PCT (or anything else) but that seems to have resolved this guy’s issues. I’ll have to do so more research on this:

“Because the situation had persisted for months after ASS withdrawal, we administered a single dose (100μg) of triptorelin (triptorelin test), which showed a normal response (Fig. 1). Ten days after the triptorelin test, the patient reported a great amelioration of energy, and his serum testosterone was 7.0 ng/mL. One month later, his serum testosterone was within the normal range,and he reported a return to normal libido and energy.”

Well, this significantly exceeds the limits of my Internet medical degree. LOL Seems like it would be doing exactly the opposite of what you’d want but I’m probably not understanding this correctly.

Triptorelin is a Gonadorelin analogue, also known as Leuteinzing hormone releasing analogue (GnRH analogue, LHRH analogue).[[8]]The drug binds to receptors in the pituitary gland and stimulates secretion of gonadotrophins and Follicle-stimulating hormone. This causes an initial phase of LH and FSH stimulation, prior to down-regulation of the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone receptors, thereby reducing the release of gonadotrophins in the long term, which in turn leads to the inhibition of androgen and estrogen production.

AAS. induced hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism is nothing compared to the potential cardiac, neurological effects (and kidneys… kidneys, way overlooked). Hypogonadism can be treated, death can’t

I would argue those 3 cycles took you close to (but not beyond) your genetic limit hence why you’ve maintained the gains. Any gains you’ve accrued beyond your genetic potential will be lost once you cease or decrease AAS use.

SB

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This is exactly why I’ll be starting TRT. Getting up to 210 and dropping back to 195 sucks.

I know everyone is different, however do you think ~200mg weekly will enable me to maintain a good bit more weight year round?

That is really what I was thinking and the studies that I’m reading seem to hint at that although none address that specifically.

It could. I don’t know what total T 200mg will take you to. However I would think long and hard before committing to TRT. If I could go back now, I would not have started TRT. Its very frustrating not knowing if your dick is going to work or not when its time to perform (an issue I never had as a natty). Also, I’m not sure if you’ve had kids yet but fertility is also something to think about. If I cant have kids when the time comes, I dont think I’ll be able to forgive myself for taking that away from me and my partner for a few lbs of muscle.

Just my thoughts.

SB

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Interesting, am I right in assuming that you would also say if you dropped back to say a normal physiological dose but stayed on (standard try basically) you’d still still lose those gains? Thus the only way to keep above genetic potential gains would be permanent supra levels?

If so any thoughts on what levels would be needed to maintain? Presumably lower than required to build? I know all of the answers to this are purely hypothetical.

Also do you subscribe to Thibs thinking (may not be current but previous article of his I read) of the body holding a certain limit to muscle mass but being able to essentially redistribute that?

Couldn’t agree more. I actually had diagnosed secondary hypo and get my TRT through insurance. I still wish some days I hadn’t done it. I do already have my kids though.

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Yes. This is the only way to continually progress. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS HOWEVER. From what I know, the pro’s do not come off and if they cruise, its on stupid amounts of AAS.

Havent heard of this theory, its possible, I dont know to be honest.

@derrickb anecdotally it seems to be the case. They say you’re only as big as your dose, and I have to agree.

SB

Isn’t there some evidence that more muscle cells are created with AAS use. Basically, someone who has used AAS, gets really big, then goes natty, could be larger as a natty then before the AAS use.

You started TRT at the right time then brother. Although being secondary, I would have tried a low dose SERM route to bring your levels up.

SB

From what I know, hyperplasia can only be attributed to HGH, not AAS.

SB