T Nation

Planning First Cycle - AI/SERM and PCT Clarification


#1

I’m starting to plan my potential first cycle and wanting to make sure I understand correctly. I’m taking most of my info from the newbie cycle, PCT SERM dosing, and thoughts on planning PCT threads, but sometimes it feels like the more I read the more confused I get.

Background info: I’m 31, 5’11", ~197, and about 15% or so. I started lifting about 10 years ago, but back then I didn’t know much about what I was doing and I was sort of off and on throughout the years. I started to get more serious about things about 2-3 years ago and have been lifting consistently since then. I know I’m not quite at my natty potential yet, but the progress towards that feels like it’s really beginning to slow, so here I am.

I plan to keep the cycle simple and intend to inject 1 ml test-e (300mg/ml) twice a week = 600mg/week.

The PCT and using AI or SERMs while on are where it starts to get a little confusing. Both my would be supplier and many other forums, and even some older posts around here, are suggesting that a nolva/clomid stacked PCT is the way to go.

From reading around here, that doesn’t seem like the right thing to do at all, so the following is my current plan as well as a few questions/concerns:

cycle:

wk 1-10 300mg test-e twice a week (Sun/wed)
wk 1-10 .25 arimidex EOD
wk 1-10 20 mg nolva ED

washout:

wk 11-12 20 mg nolva ED
wk 11 .25 mg arimidex EOD
wk 12 .125 mg arimidex EOD

PCT:

wk 13-19 .125 arimidex EOD
wk 13-16 20 mg nolva ED
wk 17-18 10 mg nolva ED

The arimidex is there to control estrogen throughout the cycle and recovery, but is it necessary on this size dose of test? I know that SOME estrogen is necessary and beneficial. Also concerning arimidex, I seem to remember reading (I don’t have a link, sorry) that arimidex can cause joint issues. Is that true and how badly? I’ve been having some joint pain, mostly wrists and knees, that wouldn’t seem fun to exacerbate. I also seem to remember reading that using an AI with Nolva can make it less effective - will dose need to be upped to compensate for this? If using, is it right to taper it down to half previous dose during wash out?

The nolva during cycle is to prevent shutdown per KSman’s thread and following through PCT. Is 6 weeks long enough? Or too long if it has prevented shutdown? Also, Cyco’s thread suggests that nolva may only be “good” for 2 months. Does that mean that it shouldn’t be run throughout the cycle if it’s going to be used in PCT?

Let me know if I’m missing anything else. Thanks for your time and help.


#2

well, i’ll try and answer some of your questions here…

one of the easiest ways for you to answer your questions is to get bloodwork. get a baseline of your testosterone (for long-term tracking) and estradiol levels (for long-term tracking and planning the use of an aromatase inhibitor).

if your E2 is already normal, then i think you could start with a lower AI dose. you don’t HAVE to use an AI, but if you do develop estrogen issues, then it’s gonna be a while before you can get them in line. and like i explained elsewhere, estrogen is horribly suppressive, and can limit your post cycle HPTA recovery.

all the AI’s can cause some issues with joint pain, as that’s a side effect of low estrogen. generally speaking, if your E2 levels are good, then that shouldn’t be too much of an issue…

as far as an on-cycle SERM, until proven otherwise, i find this to be a wasteful and unnecessary technique that can limit your gains. i suggest HCG for on-cycle use and SERMs for post cycle.


#3

Thank you for your response.

Ideally, I was thinking I would get blood work done as a baseline, once halfway through, and again a few weeks after PCT was over. Though to be honest, I won’t know much about what I’m looking for and will be looking for more advice concerning those as well. That’s something I have to look into. If you have a link for info regarding blood work and what to look for or how to go about getting it done, I’d appreciate it.

So it sounds like it’s not the Arimidex itself that causes joint issues, but perhaps people dosing too much and being too low on estrogen? Seems like the best plan is to use it to keep high estrogen issues at bay, but avoid going overboard to reduce it too low. I suppose the only way to be sure about having the right does is to look at bloods, but taking a best guess approach, does the above planned amount seem appropriate?

Is the on-cycle SERM method not already considered proven or accepted? If I’m not mistaken, Nolva is used in PCT for its affect on increasing LH, which tells our body to create natural test? Would it still not have this effect while on to keep them from shutting down completely?


#4

1.0 mg/week anastrozole in divided doses controls 100mgT/week in a TRT context.
You are not planning enough.

Three week crash/washout may be excessive and uncomfortable.


#5

I took the dosing from the newbie planning thread. It seemed like a good place to start since that’s the route I’m going. Would you think that perhaps doubling amounts stated above would be a better place to start? If the amount you listed is true, and it’s a 1:1 ratio, that would be nearly 1mg a day, which seems pretty excessive considering the amounts previously recommended. Is there any kind of a guideline for people using more than a TRT dosing?

As far as the wash out, I was thinking the 2 full weeks after the week of the last injection. Should it be 14 days from the day of the last injection itself?


#6

I am in the same boat as cheeseracer. Lots of things I read is confusing,one person will say one thing and the next will say something else. My question is if I’m taking hcg on-cycle is there any need for a AI? My cycle looks like this ( and this is my first)

Weeks1-10: 500mg split into two doses twice weekly of test cyp

Weeks1-10: hcg 300iu every 4-5 days
(Pct)
Weeks11: 40mg nolva+100mg clomid daily

Week12: 30 mg nolva + 50 mg clomid

Week13: 20 mg nolva+ 50 mg clomid daily
Do u c anything wrong with this cycle? Thanks for your help


#7

Before they even respond, I can tell you at least KS and cyco both will tell you not to double up on the SERMs in PCT, and probably that 3 weeks isn’t enough time.


#8

So u r saying the PCT should b longer? What about the AI and the hcg? Is there any need for the AI if I’m taking the hcg?


#9

HI,

The cycle in regard to the duration and 500mg test dose is great. You will experience great growth and all that good stuff… A good idea for a first cycle.

HCG can be used like that but to be honest, your body should be able to recover from test quite sufficiently with no issue. I would suggest HCG for week 7-10 (last 3 weeks) at 750-1000IU per week. Personally my balls wont experience a great shut down from a test cycle alone, but we are all different. Blasting HCG for the last 3 weeks on cycle will work just fine to achieve a good point for PCT to begin. HCG primarily helps with LH production and importantly ball volume lost in shutdown…

Regards to your PCT- Nolva is proven to be more effective and the best option. You may experience some odd sides from Clomid… such as emotional swings (I was depressed using Clomid and felt like a girl). Nolva works well and most people have no issue with it.
I would suggest only using Nolva, unless you already have purchased the Clomid.
Run PCT for 4weeks to be safe, 3 most likely will be cutting yourself short.
My thoughts for your PCT are - Nolva 40/40/20/20 (40/20/20/20 would work well but try the first two weeks at 40mg to be on the safe side…)

THE MOST IMPORTANT PCT aspect is when to start it!
You should only begin PCT when artificial test levels have dropped below 100mg (edging low enough for natural test function to take over, and so you don’t start pct late after test has completely depleted)
Test cyp has a half life or around 8 days give or take depending of the individual… so in around 8 days 500mg of test in your system will be 250mg…
WAIT 14-16days after your last week to begin PCT. I prefer beginning on the earlier side rather than later…

So my advice is,
-Wait 14 days after your last injection before you begin Nolva (and possibly Clomid)
-Use HCG at 1000IU for the last 3 weeks of your test injections
-Use Nolva 40/40/20/20 (40mg ED for first week and second, 20mg for last two weeks)

The HCG use is optional, considering its a test only cycle, but if you have the money for it then i would suggest using it.

Bigliftbrah


Got Gear, Scared to Use It
#10

Keep Armi at 0.25 ED unless you see bloating/puffy face/gyno high E2 sides…
Bump it to 0.5 ED if needed (you most likely wont).

Do not use ARMIDEX into PCT! taper it down to 0.5 every third day after your last test injection, and finish before begining PCT. This is important, you don’t want to have your body trying to correct itself with PCT and with ARMI in your system meddling… it wont help.

And yes you need an AI even if using HCG.


#11

Sorry for delayed reply, but been really busy lately.

Anyhow, if I were to sum all of this up, it seems like KS believes that Nolva while on cycle can help preserve testes and LH production. Cyco doesn’t believe there’s enough evidence to support that and feels that it can limit gains. Cyco believes that using an AI all the way through PCT and even somewhat beyond is a good way to do things, but biglift advises against using it during PCT at all. The newbie thread and others seem to recommend around .25mg adex EOD while on, but KS claims that isn’t enough even for a TRT guy on low doses.

At least it seems that everyone is agreement on test doses and duration, adex while on, and nolva for PCT.

So taking everything into consideration and trying to think through it all myself, I’m thinking something like so:

wk 1-10: 300mg Test E twice a week, .5mg Adex EOD

wk 11: .5mg Adex EOD

wk 12: .25mg Adex EOD, 20mg Nolva ED

wk 13: .125mg Adex EOD, 20mg Nolva ED

wk 14-15: 20mg Nolva ED

wk 16: 10mg Nolva ED

wk 17: 10mg Nolva EOD

My reasoning for the above - the test dosing is obvious, the Arimidex I figured I would start a little higher than previously suggested considering KS’ observations with the TRT guys and adjust from there if necessary. (BTW, if anyone has a link to symptoms of both low/high estrogen to watch for, I’d appreciate it.) After cycle, I taper AI use down while test levels drop, starting PCT with Nolva 2 weeks from the day of final injection. Using an AI into the beginning of PCT makes sense, considering exogenous test levels are still higher than natural production, meaning estrogen would likely be higher as well. Using a half life of about 7 days, if I did my math right then at the end of week 13 and going into 14, when I’ve stopped taking Adex, exogenous test levels should be getting down to somewhere close to natural weekly levels, around 75mg. Nolva will stay at full dose for another week following that, and taper off the following 2 weeks as exogenous test levels continue to drop to below average daily natural production.

How does that sound? Is a 6 week PCT on Nolva long enough?

Please correct me if I have anything wrong or let me know what you think.


#12

I would keep the test and arimidex dose during cycle as you have planned. We know that 1mg per week works with 100mg TRT dose but cannot say how this should be scaled up with higher amounts of test. For me 0.5mg EOD is a good starting point with 500mg test and an oral. Without blood work it’s impossible to say what is perfect for you but this is what i would start with.

Use HCG during cycle at least 250iu 2xWeek however EOD might be better.

6 week Nolva PCT + taper look good

I would use arimidex during PCT and for 1 week after to prevent estrogen rebound.

You should always be using either a SERM or HCG. Do not have a two week break from HCG/SERM before starting PCT. You use HCG during cycle to support the Leydig cells and we know that these start to shutdown within 72hours of administering exogenous testosterone. So if you take a two week break from HCG whilst exogenous test is in your system before starting PCT what will happen?

I would recommend continuing with HCG until 2 or 3 days before starting SERM.

Nolva could be used during cycle but if HCG is available this would be preferred. The ‘tune up’ with a SERM is more relevant to TRT application where alternating from HCG to a SERM might be beneficial for fertility but we only have data on this in a TRT context. HCG and SERM would never be used together.

There is a study showing that using arimidex with nolva can reduce the amount of nolvadex in your blood, so it might be suggested to use aromasin instead for PCT. I would not worry about this as the reduction is not enough to alter its effectiveness.


#13

Yeah opinions vary a lot from person to person and across different forums. Just make sure you have enough knowledge about the drugs to be able to tell what is just brosience and what is actually true. You can read studies on ncbi for everything.

The body will recover naturally over time so as long as you get the basics right and don’t do anything crazy you should recover without any problems.

Use a sensible amount of test
Use an AI during cycle
Don’t stack or use high dose serms during PCT

Do this and you should be OK.

Add HCG during cycle and taper AI and SERM down during PCT and it’s better.

Cyco mentioned blood work and this is a great thing to do first. I got bloodwork before my first cycle and it is the same now after two cycles as it was before i started.

something like

TT
FT
LH/FSH
E2
Prolactin
SHGB

ASL/ALT
Full blood count


#14

Hey, thanks for the response.

Are you able to expand on the estrogen rebound any? What causes it? My thinking on tapering Adex off in PCT (aside from seeing it suggested in the newbie planning thread to taper off before), is that as test levels start to drop off and get closer to regular levels, there should be fewer aromatizable androgens in the body to convert to estrogen, so it should be unnecessary and may lower estrogen levels too far. Or is there more to it than that?

I was going to avoid the use of HCG mainly because of its potential to desensitize the leydig cells to LH. I had hope for Nolva while on cycle but it sounds like some people doubt that it does anything. Trying to take a simple approach to thinking about it, if we use it in PCT to stimulate creating LH, then you would think that using them while on cycle would do the same. Unless it’s thought that test levels are too high for its effect to work?

And yes, the plan is to get blood work done before ever getting on anything. Probably again some time after. Maybe even once during to see how things are looking. But definitely the before.