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Planning 1st Cycle, Compound to Use? (Unique Health Considerations)

Hi T-Nation – first let me just say THANK YOU to such an incredible community with such amazing information. This site has been such an invaluable resource to me.

So – after years of on and off training, and with one bodybuilding competition done two years ago (all natural), and a solid grip on diet and training, I think I’m ready for my first cycle of two cycles this year with a goal to enter a classic physique competition later this year (I know I’ll have to eat like a horse!).


  • 35 years old
  • 6’0"
  • 180lbs -> 195-200lbs is goal weight at end of cycle at same BF
  • 8-9% body fat

Before I go into the cycle details, some key background… I’ve been on TRT with a cypionate / propionate blend at 200mg / wk for roughly 2.5 years. That dose puts my levels just at the top or over the normal range (1200-1300ng/dl).

I was extremely happy with the TRT for about 6 months after I started it… until my hair began to thin considerably and painful cystic acne appeared on my back. However, after a brief restart a few months back and letting my hair grow back in, then coming back on TRT and dialing in a solid regiment for the hair thinning, I believe I have that under control. I’m also doing a course of accutane which has resolved the acne issue as well, and should permanently once the course is finished.

Also relevant is that when I started on TRT, I put on 15lbs of muscle while being COMPLETELY sedentary due to a neck injury. Went from 170lbs to 185lbs with no attention on diet and zero exercise, and it was all in my back, shoulders, chest, traps, and glutes. I’ve always put on muscle very easily when I eat and train, so it appears the TRT has amplified that considerably.

Due to all of the above factors, I’m very hesitant to do the typically recommended 350mg - 500mg / week testosterone dosage as I have a feeling the hair loss and acne will come back to bite me in the ass AND I don’t seem to need a lot of hormones to grow really well. Orals also aren’t an option because of the accutane and its effect on liver values, and my general desire for this not to negatively impact my health due to a complicated health history I won’t bore you with. :slight_smile:

I also really don’t want to do a more traditional cycle with, say, deca because I’m blessed with a girlfriend who would MURDER ME if I couldn’t have sex with her. No amount of gains are worth fucking up my sex life, either.

All that said, here are the three cycles I’m considering, and would love feedback:

Option 1, 16 weeks

  • Test Cyp / Prop (70/30 blend) @ 250mg to 300mg / week
  • Equipose @ 200mg - 300mg / week
  • Anastrozole @ 0.5mg 2-4x / week (based on bloods and feel, since I’m already familiar with dialing this in during TRT)

Concerns: I can’t give blood due to the Accutane, and I’m worried about hematocrit going too high. Otherwise this seems like a perfect fit for me as the EQ is supposed to be very mild. Maybe this is the move and I can simply drop the EQ if hematocrit climbs too much?

Option 2, 20 weeks

  • Test Cyp / Prop (70/30 blend) @ 300 - 350mg mg / week
  • Primobolan @ 200mg - 500mg / week
  • Anastrozole @ 0.5mg 2-4x / week (based on bloods and feel, since I’m already familiar with dialing this in during TRT)

Concerns: Cost, getting real Primo, and side effects from higher testosterone required to make up for primo being a “weak” steroid mg per mg. If I dose the Primo higher and keep T lower, maybe that won’t be too big of a concern.

Option 3, 16 Weeks

  • Test Cyp / Prop (70/30 blend) @ 250mg to 300mg / week
  • 1-Testosterone (DHB) @ 200mg - 300mg / week

Concerns: Finding DHB, I just can’t get it. Same potential hematocrit issues as Equipose apparently as well.

Obviously no PCT is required – I’ll just reduce dosages and continue training. Let me know your thoughts guys!

all AAS increase hematocrit quite a bit, EQ seems to do more than others. Not sure about Dihydroboldenone though, how long are you on the accutane for? Can you not wait until you go off the accutane to potentially start whatever you want to use so you could give blood during? Safety should always be your first priority

DHB is your answer. But there’s a minor problem…

Most anecdotal evidence (sorry,I hate not having hard data, but there just isn’t much) says that it should be run 400mg/w minimum. That’s 4ml you’ll have to inject. Probably can squeeze in 2ml two times week. So that’s two pins for the DHB and then I presume two additional pins for the test. Not terrible, right? Except DHB is notorious for having crippling PIP. In order for the oil to hold at 100mg/ml the brewer needs to use a higher amount of whatever solvent they’re adding, usually EO, which is obviously not pleasant when it’s injected into a muscle. So that’s a potential setback.

If you can get your hands on Primo then it’s a no-brainer. But a fair amount of the Primo that’s being sold isn’t Primo. It’s the most expensive raw steroid out there, so counterfeiting it is highly profitable. What do some counterfeiters use instead? Equipoise. So you see the issue. If you’re running what you think is 500mg of Primo and it’s actually 500mg of EQ then your rbc is going to be a lot higher than you would be expecting.

So we’re back to DHB. Unless your Primo source is absolutely trustworthy, you’d probably be best to try the DHB.

As I read the options I saw EQ then primo and I thought to myself exactly what Iron said, most fake primo is EQ.
Before I go any further I feel this should be said or addressed, it might possibly open something up.

Is your TRT test from a DR? As in human grade prescription prop and cypionate blend? I have read about prop and enanthate but not cypionate. I myself seem to break out with any brand prop. The bulk of my gear has come from two sources, the one source the enanthate is clean to my body and the other UGL brands enanthate makes me break out bit not like “all brands” of prop.
The reason I bring this up is you might switch brands of your TRT and solve the acne issue and get off of the accutane. If your stuff is prescription then maybe the DR can change the type of test to just cypionate or enanthate if not the brand itself. I think most UGLs use grape seed oil or cotton seed oil and your acne might even be from the oil (doubtful) but if changing it means no accutane and that opens up more options then why not try it.

Due to your concerns I would lean towards DHB or aka 1-test (still can’t figure out how they came up with that 1-test name) that is if you can source it. I love the stuff. And what Iron wrote about 400mgs a week is accurate for most users, at least that’s where I like it and I tend to keep my dosage reasonable. They say from about 225 mgs on up is worth it, just to keep that in mind. I have seen 150mgs a week but I doubt that dosage myself, then again you say you are a strong responder. I wish I could hint at my source just so you would run it and I could have some one to talk to about it. Iron commented on PIP with it, I didn’t notice any per say. Full disclosure; my source is 75mgs a ml so…

Unless you have good source I would stay away from primo. Plus the cost would be prohibitive for what you get out of it.

It’s looking like the EQ is your safest bet as far as making a plan you can bank on being able to make it happen yet the RBC /hematocrit levels. If you could get off of accutane then Turinabol “supposedly” thins the blood and that could possibly balance. Another long shot possibility is EQ ace, of course if you can find boldenone acetate then you can find DHB /1-test. With the boldenone acetate you have a quicker clearing of the ester if something necessitates you stopping.

With your hairline I wouldn’t suggest masteron plus that’s really a polisher/hardener yet it can and will build. Just not at the level you would have to keep it at. That being said it lowers shbg and that in turn let’s you get more out of your test and you are a strong responder.

It’s looking like (if I was in your shoes) you should see if your acne might be from the brand, prop, or oil. Being able to get off of the accutane would open the field of possibilities.

I wish I could give you a solid recommendation on one of the cycles but all I feel safe doing is sharing thoughts due to the circumstances.

I really wish we lived in a world where it was safe to share or suggest a source, my guy has it listed as in stock and I would love to be able to speak on it with someone.

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The challenge is that the accutane is relatively low dose because of another medication I take and the potential for unsafe interactions, particularly with my QT interval (heart function), at higher doses. If it was a shorter course, say 3 months, that might work, but given that I’m likely to be on the accutane for ~6-9 months, and my goal is to step on stage at the end of this year, it would be a real challenge. I’m also 35 and not getting any younger, and planning to have a family in the next couple years with my girl at which point my focus will need to be there. Honestly, I just don’t realistically have the time to push this out as far as I would need to to be able to wait until the accutane is done.

But I agree safety is essential, which is why I’m trying to come up with a strategy that is both effective and safe given my constraints. :slight_smile:

@iron_yuppie – I find that I feel best with nightly injections on my TRT due to more stable blood levels and lower E2 conversion, and really don’t have issues with pip doing so, and have done that with concentrations as low as 50mg / mL. So the quantity of oil shouldn’t be a big concern for me given my injection frequency. That said, do you think the pip would be manageable if the DHB was diluted with the Test mix I’m using, which has a net concentration of about 160mg / mL?

As for doing Primo, I feel preetttty damn confident in my source, but it’s never 100% with these UGLs. I was thinking about potentially sending a sample in for HPLC analysis, but don’t want to buy $1300 of gear and then find out it’s bunk, though it WOULD be a safer bet to do that. Might just have to spend the extra, be on the safe side, and risk having to start over with another lab / order if my plan doesn’t work out…hmmmm

@now_i_care - Thanks for going into such detail. To answer your question regarding the TRT, initially it was doctor prescribed, and the acne showed up when I was taking 100% test cyp. I tried different carrier oils (GSO, cottonseed) and all were the same and all gave me the same deep, cystic acne. I experimented with the Prop as a result, again under my doctor’s supervision. At some point it became clear he was just saying “sure, whatever” to whatever I suggested and charging me $300 / month to sign a prescription, at which point I said fuck it and decided to do it on my own. I’ve since been ordering from what, as far as I can tell, is the most widely respected UGL with the closest to pharma grade products. I can’t tell a difference – it truly feels the same; without accutane, on any kind of T, I just get this oily, itchy texture to the skin on my shoulders and traps as the oil builds up, and then the big cysts a few months later. Fortunately with it, my skin is clean and clear, and if what I’ve read is true, it should remain that way when the course is done provided my doses stay reasonable.

Thanks so much for your insightful recommendations. It looks like my hunt for DHB and/or real Primo is on! :slight_smile: Hopefully I can get ahold of the stuff and report back with a cycle log in the not too distant future. On a related note, what kind of results have you seen with it?

I have never run just DHB with a test base. Closest I got was test at 500mgs, DHB at 300 mgs then first four weeks tbol at 20 up to 40 mgs a day. The last week of test and dhb injections I added winny at 30 then worked up to 50 mgs over four weeks. After the test and dhb were done I switched to prop at 100 mgs EOD. For a total of 13 weeks. That cycle I was trying to ultimately gain no more than ten lbs while dropping 2-3 body fat precent points. I believe I dropped the body fat and more but only added a little over 5 lbs, so it was around 8-10 lbs give or take of muscle.

Otherwise I have added it in with EQ and test for my first dhb experience then the other two I added it in with tren and test.

My over favorite with it and overall favorite cycle is test tren and dhb and so far all three I have only pushed to 400 mgs a week each. When I do that I shoot for 5-10 lbs of keepable mass while concentrating on some specific muscle group. The last run was legs/quads and I ended up going up an extra plate on each side for my final squat set with a target of ten reps, really I feel good at 6 reps but I always say target of ten. For the rest of rest of my major exercises I finally pushed and finished moving my weight range to where what was my fourth sets weight in now my first sets weight from a year ago prior. I don’t know if I am accurately describing the weight range increase. Also I run twice a year when I am “wet bulking” its EQ and test based so that got me through the first half of the weight increase.

When I do the tren test dhb by about week 5 I feel like my body is made of granite. When I did just test and dhb with tbol kicker I I didn’t have as solid of a feeling but I was adding in extra sets and exercises left and right. I would go with the intention of one hour to an hour fifteen and then end up adding in until I hit two hours. I probably missed a few pounds going that extra time but I know it burned fat and added a real nice pop to my arms and abs.

They say DHB is like strong primo or weak tren. I have never used primo so idk. But weak tren is accurate enough. Supposedly primo is DHB but with a methyl group added. (I don’t think I know how to term that correctly “methyl group”) Something to think about dbol and eq are the same molecule except dbol has a methyl group and eq has an ester so they end up working quite differently. Of course dbol is oral versus EQ being IM.
Also I do firmly believe that DHB has that elusive mythical trait of being able to build a little muscle in a caloric deficient environment that primo supposedly has.

Some info for your quest finding primo, if information is to be believed then the only places actual primo is still available at a pharmacy are Germany, TURKEY, and possibly Moldova. I myself try to source from places where it is legal and as I understand AAS are legal in TURKEY and Moldova. I figure if it’s legal there there is less chance of them getting bs or having to deal with black market smuggling when the UGL sources it’s raws. Does that make sense? I realize it’s still a UGL but if they can order whatever from China and not have to worry about it being illegal I figure it’s a better bet than ordering from a UGL in a country where they have to smuggle in their raws then smuggle them out once it’s finished. Just less of a chance that they will substitute or at least that’s my thought process.

I feel for you with the acne issue. I too have a similar situation on cycle. I have found that I can take one of my cotton swabs put rubbing alcohol on it the wipe down my face and shoulders, upon completion the cotton swab is this dingy dark yellowish brownish oily blob. The cotton swab actually feels heavy with the oily residue. The wipe down can be done three times a day, each time is the same result, and I still get break outs with the occasional deep one that almost resembles a boil. It’s that old side effect of oily skin but its like the oily skin is oily skin on steroids while I am on steroids.

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Are you planning on competing in another “natural” competition when these two cycles are over?

@now_i_care - Once again, thanks for the detailed info and insights! Sincerely appreciate it. Really does sound like DHB is the ticket for me. Cheaper, stronger, and minimal side effects. Given my genetic predisposition to put on muscle easily, it sounds like the perfect compound for me. “Weak tren” is probably WAY more than enough for me with good diet and training, which I already feel I have an excellent grip on.

@nachodaddy - Hahaha, definitely not. In fact, the first competition I did wasn’t a “natural” show. It was IFBB, open bodybuilding (would’ve done classic physique if they had that at the time). I didn’t do it with the intention to win, just to push myself to be the best I could. It was pretty funny, though, I was the tallest guy in my weight group by like 6 inches! Ha! Now that I’d like to place and/or win, I know I need to get on the sauce or there’s zero chance.