T Nation

Post Cycle/Overtraining


It seems the majority of cycles run 8 weeks, but some up to 16 weeks and longer. Most of the vets say not to add too much in the way of workouts during a cycle, but to make sure that the intesity is through the roof. The steroids make recovery time faster, but overtraining is still a possibility. During your cycle or just after your cycle does it make sense to take a week off from going to the gym, perform some type of active rest during that time or keep lifting the whole time? ie when you take a week's rest when not juicing after 8 weeks of lifting. I know the steroids depending on the halflife can be in your system from up to 3 weeks or more after your last injection, does this effect when you take the rest?


I would recommend cutting the volume in half, and keeping the intensity the same, for all of PCT.

I normally work out 1.5hr 5 days a week on cycle. PCT I work out 45 minutes only 3 days per week but keep my weights heavy and try to lift just as much as on cycle..


If you've been doing a lot of high-intensity, kamakazie strength work during the cycle, there probably are some subassemblies in your carcass that feel semi-ungood, even 4-5 days after the last workout. A week off, followed by a couple of weeks of high-volume, LOW-intensity bodybuilding wouldn't be a bad idea. While you're at it, get a good chiropractor to push your bent pieces-parts, nerve impingements and "trigger points" back into shape. A worthy goal is to be able to continue lifting hard when you're a seriously old fart. (Don't sacrifice any bodyparts that you might wanna reuse later....)
Strength & courage,
"Coach Joe"


Sorry to argue coach joe but that's a recipe to lose gains.

You MUST keep your lifts heavy or face muscle loss. High intensity training is the best stimulus to keep muscle and strength post cycle.

The adage 'use it or lose it' comes to mind, especially post cycle...

Low intensity post cycle is the worst idea possible.


i agree with archaic 100%.


Archaic & P-Dog,
I agree that a voluntary, preplanned low-intensity period is never the "A" choice, either during or between cycles. As a powerlifter, I never PLAN to take the heavy, low-rep work out of my routine. That said, if you're ever going to have tendon/joint problems that are too numerous or too advanced to train around, history tells me that they are most likely to happen near the end of the cycle. (In my simple mind, muscles seem to grow stronger/faster than tendons.) If you are still young and better-than-bulletproof, you may not have the problem, but, sooner or later, it's coming. (Read it now; believe it later.) I assume that this is one reason why Ian King advocates a week off, every couple of months or so. If the problems include partial "rotator" tendon tears, for instance, they won't heal in a week or even in a month, and more high-intensity work will slowly turn them into full-thickness tears that need surgery. (I've had 4 shoulder surgeries, because I'm not very bright.)
At that point, you can take a much longer layoff and detrain totally, or you can do low-intensity, high-volume work and detrain "somewhat less." Ya gotta go with the best of the bad choices.
Strength & courage,
"Coach Joe"


I'm with P-dog, Archaic and Christian Thib on this. I usually do as little as possible when off, low sets, low reps, low # of workouts per week
However, keep the weight stimulus high.

Thib has this in one of his newsletters. Since it is free and this is T-mag. I thought it okay to copy it here... If it's not, by all means Mods, do not post it....thx

Training to maintain postcycle
Whether we like it or not, the use of
androgenic-anabolic steroids is part of
the strength training world. I?m not here
to judge those who use nor to condone
the use of such substances.
Since those who use steroids will
eventually have to come off at some
time, I feel that its important to teach the
proper way to train after a cycle to
maintain your muscle gains. A lot has
already been said about what substances
to use to help you recover after a cycle,
but little is known about the whole
training aspect.
First, here are some of the biggest
mistakes made by those coming off a
1. Too much volume: When you stop
your cycle you will undoubtedly loose
intramuscular water. Steroids helps to
promote intramuscular glycogen and
creatine storage. So while you are "on"
your muscles are swelled up with
nutrients, water and minerals. This
makes for great "pumps" in the gym
(and even outside the gym). However
when your cycle comes to an end you
loose this cell volumizing effect and as a
result it becomes harder to get a mindblowing
pump. This is normal and to be
expected. However trainees often panic
because they're not getting that
marvellous pump anymore. As a result
they end up greatly increasing their
training volume, adding more intensive
techniques such as supersets, drop sets
etc. All in the hope of being able to
attain a pump similar to what they
experienced while ?on?.
The problem is that after a cycle your
body has a lowered capacity to
synthesize muscle proteins and there?s a
rebound cortisol increase. Cortisol is a
catabolic hormone, and while it's needed
for maximum adaptation, when there?s
too much of it you loose muscle mass.
(Training to maintain continued))
So after a cycle your body is:
a) less efficient as repairing damages
made to the muscles
b) more efficient at breaking down the
The worst thing to do in that situation is
to use a high training volume and
frequency. Immediately post-cycle
you?re not going to stimulate muscle
growth. By trying too hard to do so
you'll actually end up catabolizing, and
loosing, the muscle tissue you already
So high volume and intensive techniques
(supersets, drop sets, etc.) are not good
ideas post-cycle as you can now see.
2. Going too light: I'll say it once and
for all ... your priority after a cycle
should be to try everything in your
power to maintain your strength levels as
they are. After a cycle your body will
want to return to homeostasis, and if you
don't give it a good reason to preserve
the gained muscle mass, you?ll loose it!
Decreasing training weights after a cycle
(oftentimes while increasing volume) is
one of the fastest way to loose your hard
earned muscle! In the 2-3 weeks after a
cycle you should switch to a limit
strength-training approach: going heavy
(80-90%) on a few basic exercises while
taking relatively long rest intervals and
using a very low volume of work.
Maintaining strength post-cycle is one of
the cornerstones to maintaining muscle
3. Too much frequency: After a cycle
athletes become so paranoid about
loosing their muscles that they tend to
train too often. This is due to the
psychological factors involved, but also
to the decrease in myogenic tone that
occurs after a cycle. As I already
mentioned, after a cycle your?ll loose the
cell volumization effect of steroids.
Now, in the gym that means less
important pumps. But outside the gym it
also means that your tonus (I know, we
all hate that word!) or muscle hardness
will be much lower. When you?re used
to feeling pumped all the time this can
be hard to accept. So in order to correct
the situation athletes are tempted to train
very often, just to feel their muscles.
Remember that after a cycle your body
has a lowered capacity to adapt to
training-induced physiological stress. So
for any given training session, the
adaptation period will be much longer. If
you train too often, just as if you train
too much, you will breakdown more
muscle while actually building less! Not
a good deal if you ask me!
4. Too little food: After a cycle you will
often feel physically softer and slightly
depressive. This state of mind and body
will lead you to become paranoid about
gaining fat. For that reason, many
peoples actually decrease caloric intake
too much post cycle; trying to maintain
both super-low body fat levels and
muscle after a cycle is extremely hard to
do. Prioritize: do you want to keep the
muscles you gained? Then you must
actually INCREASE daily caloric intake
post-cycle. Always remember that food
is the ultimate anabolic! The more you
eat post cycle, the more you'll maintain
muscle mass. First because of the sheer
increase in nutrients availability (thus
(Training to maintain continued)
less need to catabolize muscle tissue) but
also because of the ensuing hormonal
responses. Eating a lot will increase
insulin levels, which increases nutrient
uptake by the muscles. Insulin also acts
to counteract the catabolic effect of
cortisol by stopping muscle breakdown
in its tracks. There?s also some evidence
that large caloric intakes lead to an
increase in testosterone levels. So after a
cycle EAT MORE not less! You?ll gain
a little fat, which you'll easily loose later
on. Your priority should be to maintain
your muscle mass.
A good strategy I often recommend is to
drastically decrease caloric intake 1-2
weeks before the end of a cycle. For
example, if you do a 12-weeks cycle,
during weeks 11 and 12 you should
decrease caloric intake significantly (by
20% or so). You should also decrease
protein intake to the minimum necessary
level (around 0.7g per pound of
bodyweight). Don't worry you won't
loose muscle at this point (you will loose
weight, but not muscle). Then
immediately after your cycle you
should almost double your caloric and
protein intake for 3-4 days. This will
lead to a great rebound anabolic effect
which will greatly help you in the early
stage of post-cycle recovery. After the
4th day, decrease your caloric intake
(but it should still be kept relatively
high) while maintaining protein intake.
Stay on this regimen for 7-14 days (so
the super high caloric intake lasts 14-21
depending on how your body responds).
Expect to gain 2-3lbs of fat during that
period. But if that 2-3lbs can help you
avoid loosing 10lbs of muscle it's worth
it! And as I mentioned, it will be easy to
loose the excess flab a bit later on.
After those initial 14-21 days slowly
decrease caloric intake to your baseline
During the first 3 weeks of your postcycle
recovery program you should train
at a frequency of 3 times per week with
minimal volume at each session. I would
recommend sticking to compound
movements such as the bench press,
squat, deadlift, leg press, chins, barbell
rowing, etc. Perform 2-4 exercises per
session. A push/pull/legs routine is good
at this point. Something like the
following is an appropriate approach:
Exercise Sets Reps Load
Bench press 4 5 85%
Military press 4 5 85%
Dips 4 5 85%
Barbell row 4 5 85%
Barbell shrugs 4 5 85%
Lat pulldown 4 5 85%
Back squat 4 5 85%
Romanian dead. 4 5 85%
I recommend using 4-6 reps with 85-
90% of your maximum for 4-5 sets per
exercise. Try hard to increase the loads
every week. The more strength you
maintain (or even gain) during that time,
the more muscle you'll retain.
Hope this helps!"


Thank you all for your responses.

Would it make sense then to take a week off before starting an anabolic cycle?


Excellent post Scrappy.


I'm in the same school of thought as scrappy. Here's how I'll probably continue to do things. 10-12 week cycles, 5-6 weeks bulking (eq, test, tren, d-bol, maybe drol at some point) then maintanance/cutting diet (prop,winny,tren, primo, maybe masteron). Then start a bulk diet again with 2 weeks clen/2weeks eca, creatine, nolva, long jack, Methoxy, glutamine, PS, rhodiola rosea, piracetam, alcar, and green tea extract + Surge p.w. I'm getting sronger, and leaner with scale weight remaining the same as the end of my last cycle.


Thx, but don't thank me, thank CT.
That was from Christian Thib's frist Modern Strength Newsletter issue. I think all bb's and athletes who are serious, which means all the ones who use AAS, should subscribe to this thing.
I think the addy to register is in the nutrition training or power forums somewhere.


I believe you have to reduce volume but continue to lift heavy. As you lose some strenght while recovering, it is important in my view to continue to lift as heavy as possible but off course you might not lift as heavy as you were during the cycle for obvious reasons. Unless your joints give you extreme pain, I see no reason to decrease the weights, but I've notice that I lose some strenght while off, and I believe most users will say the same.