T Nation

Opinions on Retroactivity of PEDs? My Post-Cycle Experience After First Cycle

You can find details of my first cycle, results and post cycle protocol I followed at https://forums.t-nation.com/t/my-first-pct-some-questions-and-need-feedback/

Except I took Nolva at 20mg for 5 weeks days instead.

I couldn’t find any topic on retroactivity of PEDs. It interests me. I’ve done one relatively mild cycle and I can already say that the effects are permanent. It MAY be because I haven’t overshot what’s physiologically possible for my body to maintain without any support. I want to know the experience of veterans, especially those who have come off PED’s or reduced it to TRT levels. I’m following Pete Rubish, though he ain’t the average recreational lifter.

My experience so far:
-As mentioned in the post, I went from 67.5kg to 76.5 kg and had massive strength gains (Ex: Deadlift went from 135 to 185 kg).
-Gyms closed down even before starting PCT, had already injured myself due to shitty recovery, home workouts felt like shit, stopped working out, hardly followed a diet, stopped taking supplements and went into a spiral of depression as I couldn’t even go out, on top of a stressful semester in college. It’s the shittiest I’ve ever been. Some days I ate just two meals and loads of snacks. It was a disaster.
-A little over a month later I was weighing at 71.5kg, it had stabilised, I didn’t lose anymore. I was still as lean with abs.
-I had lost almost no strength, it was surprising. Though aggression, size and energy levels were far less. I had to really get in the zone to lift something heavy lol.
-Thought of making a change, started home workouts and got my nutrition in order. I felt better, maybe my natural hormone levels were coming back. Haven’t been able to get a bloodwork yet.
-A little over a month of high volume home-workout, good nutrition and supplements and today I weighed at 73.5kgs, still as lean. This is the 2nd thing which surprised me apart from almost no strength loss.

So, I gained back 2 kgs in just over a month with basic high volume home workouts, nowhere near how heavy I trained in the gym. I know most of it is water and glycogen but still, it’s surely adding to the size. And I’m still gaining mass, which I feel will be paced up even more once the gyms open.

Also, there’s a guy at my gym who gave up bodybuilding due to finances, says he’s natty now, in his late 20s and works a desk job. Definitely not the biggest guy. But, he comes to the gym in the evening after work, lifts more than anyone else, blows steam and leaves.

Here’s a mouse study on long term advantages of PED’s

Results are summarized at Brief exposure to performance-enhancing drugs may be permanently 'remembered' by muscles -- ScienceDaily

This alone throws the concept of “natty limit” out the window, there can be other permanent adaptations too apart from what’s found in the study. Still, it’s a mouse study. That’s why I’m asking for human experiences here.

My questions are:

  1. Have you experienced the same? That is, keeping most of the strength and gaining back lost gains rapidly after going off cycle.

  2. If yes, does it happen for heavier cycles too? And after years of cycling?

  3. What’s do you think about this whole concept of “natural limit”? I’ve seen this term being thrown around almost everywhere without any evidence. Can be the most overused bro science. Afaik it means that we have a genetically predetermined maximum naturally maintainable amount of muscle. How is everyone so sure that this doesn’t get altered by drug use? Yes, genetic makeup can’t get altered (probably), but there are a lot of other factors too.

  4. If you’ve come off or on TRT, do you feel the strength and size you’re at now could be acquired naturally?

I’m quite happy with my results and I’m considering a much heavier 2nd cycle. This was more of a trial cycle. It will depend on my bloodwork and the permanence of the effects.

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yea, my girlfriend gained almost the same with no steroids… she is a tall, but still… what im trying to say is - you never needed steroids for this.
that is why you are keeping the “gains” - you are like 15kgs BELOW what everyone can gain naturally… i am surprised a MALE weighing 67,5kg actually tought of using steroids…
dude, i started lifting when i was 15 and 67kg also, when i was 18, i was 92kg… only then i tought of steroids…

No. You cant keep shit that you gain on steroids unless you just start drugs the same day you enter the gym and just pay money and give you health for gains anyone can achieve natty.

There is a point at which you cant gain much more, because every spiecies have limits. A rat will never outgrow a wolf. Not because of lack of trying but because there are small rats and big rats, even some huge ones, but unless they are from Chernobyl, they wont outgrow a dog.

It does. Its what drugs do. They alter your bodies perception of his species. It makes it believe that it is not a rat anymore, but a dog. Our mental and physical charecteristics can change.
The thing is that as soon as you take away the drugs you take away the alterations because if there is nothing that makes you body act differently it will act like it was supposed to act.
It is moronic to believe that drug use changes genetics. Its like… if someone would take ibuprofen his whole life, at the age of 50 he can stop taking it and never feel any pain?

Sorry to be the asshole here, but you are an absolute idiot to even consider taking drugs when you are basically a 15 year old kid by your stats. Fuck sake, dude, learn to eat and train. You will crash and burn and lose it all like this, because you have no discipline and knowledge to do ANYTHING.
It is a 100% guarantee that you will NEVER look like you have taken any steroids, if you dont change your thinking :slight_smile:

  1. Depends on your baseline and genetic potential. I’ve seen a lot of guys look worse than when they started post PCT. I’ve also seen guys keep 50-75% of their new muscle.

  2. The farther you are from your baseline the harder its going to be to keep without continually cycling. It also depends on your compounds and whether your balloon full of water or real muscle.

  3. You can push past your natural limit but the farther you go the harder to keep as I mentioned. It will also take some drastic compounds and dosages the farther you go.

  4. For me, TRT changed my physique more than anything. I had very poor T levels and have had hormone issues since I was a teenager. If you are one of those guys who has decent natty levels you probably could acquire your same physique naturally with time.

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Man I’m 5’ 6.5", you’re 6’2". And 15kgs below natural limit? So, you mean I can bulk up to 87kgs (192lbs) lean naturally at 5’ 6.5". Greg Doucette claimed natty at 179lbs with outlier genetics and decades of training at the same height, not many even believe he was natty then. Can you see how stupid you sound? You do assume a lot lol… and kudos to your gf.

Also, I know I didn’t have to jump on gear and could’ve gained naturally. But I wanted it quick in a safe way and did a mild cycle. I’ve wrote about it all in my previous posts. Things went well, made years of progress in a few months and I’m keeping my gains and strength post cycle. End of story. I didn’t want your review. You neither understood nor answered my questions. Thanks for the time tho.

i believe you should have TRIED to, yes… im not saying you will be 100kg natty and im not hating on you cuz you are short, i am disrespecting you because you NEVER TRIED. You did steroids before even doing 3-5 years in a gym and actually pushing your limits. You just pre-paid a 6-12 month progress in 1 cycle, thats all.

I understood your questions and i did answer them - you just dont want those answers because you want to rationalize you using drugs instead of just building a base of knowledge. You want to rationalize that so you would have some actual explanation why you did what you did and you would like for that to matter, but as i did answer, and so did @blshaw , only he did it in a nicer manner and he left you with a 10% chance, but still - the answer is - NO you cant keep what you gained on steroids(presuming you did steroids when you pushed all your natural limits).

If doing what you are doing, yes you can do 3-4 cycles, then stop it all and keep most, because thats your natural limits and anyone could be there without drugs also. You can keep all the gains that look like you never did steroids. Everything that actually LOOKS like you did a cycle, will be lost if you go cold turkey.

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and 76 kg lean isn’t bad actually. That’s not beginner anymore.

@hankthetank89 is obviously right about your use but I think that was discussed in your last post.

Your questions are interesting and I think one thing got left out in the answers:

If you cycle and are still under your genetic limit and then lose it after the cycle, muscle memory will still be established and you will gain in back way faster.

I agree here. Also the gains from a cycle will likely be less if you are close to your genetic limit. I know two guys who were very developed naturals do the 500 mg test cycle and not get much out of it. These guys were both deadlifting around 700 when they started gear. One is significantly stronger now, but has used much more than 500 mg of test.

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My computer skills are limited so I have no clue how to divide your questions, sorry. I will answer based on my limited experience. I have been on TRT for 8 years and blasted twice a year for the last 4. Only this year I have experimented with adding AAS’s and HGH. We have members here with far more experience than me.

  1. I have kept all my gains since my first blast. I am sure that is because I am not close to my genetic limit. For example, my bicep was 15" on my first blast it is now 17.5"

  2. I am not sure 4 years count as (((years))) since I go slow. My first cycle was 300TE/w solo my second 400TE/w, …my current cycle is 125Tcyp/w + 375 TE/w, + 50 whinny, + 2IU HGH

  3. I do believe every human has some limit built into their genes but no one can measure it. I for one am not into spent the next 10 years of your life trying to hit that magic build. If you can cheat with drugs cheat.

  4. This question does not make any sense to me. (If you’ve come off or on TRT,) On TRT you will meet or exceed your natural limit. If you come off, and needed TRT you will crash and lose just about everything.


@hankthetank89 did deliver the message a little harsh but not incorrectly. I’m happy it worked out for you @mat98. However, most that jump on too soon don’t have sticking results. They never learned to train or eat properly. Also, without years of dedication why risk your healthy HPTA only to find out you don’t like the gym lifestyle? My point is you DID jump the gun as you know but sounds like you did your research first and it worked out for you. I just don’t want it to be a statement or affirmation to others that this is the right route to go.

You’re 6’2 right? The rough calculation is 5-7 lbs mass by BW, you’re roughly at the 96.87 th percentile height wise (USA standards). Let’s take that to the other extreme, say you were 3.13% for height; you’d be a smidge over 5 ft 3. That’s an 11 inch difference!

You were 92kg when you thought about taking steroids, that’s (rounded) 203 lb. 203-5*11 = 148 lbs (and that’s being conservative as opposed to using 7lbs).

148 lbs = 67 kg.

My point being, everyone is different. There will be guys who are 5 foot 1 and weigh 70kg that will proportionately have a thicker looking frame than you or I

OP shouldn’t have been using, but we need to take into account he is waaaaayyyyy shorter than you. If we were to use the 7lb equation 203-8*6.5 we get 151lb which = 68.5kg


One of the guys that looks the most like a BBer in my gym (wide capped delts, big arms, small waist) weighs ~170 lbs, but he is 5’2". His BBing proportions are much better than mine at 5’10" and 200-205lbs, and I am leaner than he is. He can also bench 2.5X bodyweight.

Come on man. You know us short guys can’t make excuses. We must harness our little man syndrome to be bigger and stronger than our taller male counterparts.

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I don’t know if there is a direct correlation between being short and demeanour but I’ve noticed almost a distinct correlation between short guys and aggression.

The shorter guys tend to behave “thuggish” (not always), some of them actually pull it off and are quite intimidating (particularly when they have a well earned reputation).

I’ve always thought of this as a form of overcompensation to get around being perceived as a “non threat” or as a “friend”. I’ve noted many don’t tend to take short guys seriously unless they have compensatory factors like a high level of confidence, physical prowess etc.

I couldn’t agree more. I was chalk full of over compensation in my youth. Now that I’m middle aged I’m way more mellow though. It could also be that while not taller, I am considerably bigger and more muscular now with less to prove since the visual speaks for itself.

I compensate through exercise, playing guitar, having a semi decent knowledge base spanning over many, many topics (I’ve been told I’m interesting to talk to in person) and whatnot

Using aggression to overcompensate… I could never get behind that. I want friends, I don’t want to scare people away.

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