So when on cycles that last long enough to see results stagnate - often cycles of at LEAST 12wks, i have a couple of basic theories and practices that will assist a better continuation of results. They are not 'invented' by me but i wanted to write down my variations or experiences with them.
The first is simple, adapt calories to your new bodyweight.
When bulking (or cutting - do the opposite) one starts out with a good surplus of kcals when they start the cycle.. some can gain a good 30lbs by week 8 or so (commonly 15-20lbs) - of course due to the increased anabolism but in a large part due to (water retention and) the stricter and more plentiful eating and often better quality training (there is nothing that lights a fire under someone's butt than having them spend a few hundred bucks on gear that month..).
So one major reason that results slow or stop is not quite as complicated as believed. It is just adaptation.
So in laymans terms, after x amount of weeks, the body has adapted to the increased calories by raising metabolism/BMR - primarily through an increase in lean tissue. So when 4000kcal was enough to gain before, it isn't now - the answer? Increase calories. Simple. Keep pushing... keep pushing harder and harder. It is very common for novice and intermediate level trainees to think they need to motivate themselves and maintain that motivation to push and they will achieve. In reality, while of course you do need to do that - you also need to push consistently harder.
I think of it as terminal velocity. You don't slow, you don't even maintain speed (read: Effort) - you keep getting faster and faster.
The second thing to try would be to change it up.
There are one or two ways to go about this and the more you do the better IME but i will get to that.
So i have read a lot of accounts where people on longer cycles - in order to avoid stagnation of gains and having read that they should change the compound used - simply change the ester of Test base they use - or Nandrolone or whatever.. i am not sure how that is supposed to make any difference. The ester change will only affect the timing of the drugs effect - and when dosing in the fashion i am talking about* frontloads are very common which greatly reduce the absorption kinetics of the ester in question.
*As in cycles that are frontloaded with different drugs every 4-6 weeks or so - what used to be called 'blitz's' back in the 'diamond pattern' days.
ANYWAY... So the first option or choice is to change the drug.. It would be something that is compatible with your goals and the stage of your cycle/training phase. So you may (a) switch Primobolan with Boldenone or Masteron with Trenbolone as two examples of following the same type of goal but with a different drug in order to avoid stagnation - or you may switch from a mass and size phase to one where 'lean' anabolism and strength are more important where you may (b) drop the Dbol and Deca in favour for Eq and Tren or Eq and Stan. Whatever.
In all honesty when i have done something like in the examples (a) during a long cycle, i haven't noticed a massive jump in gains - but i do notice physique changes which TBH is all you get when using for very long periods with no breaks - which leads me to the second option.
You take a break. Not PCT and coming off, etc.. just a 'cruise'. I personally think it is a great idea for any cycle lasting over 12 weeks (as a very tight minimum length) one utilises a short 1-2 week cruise at some mid point.
So lets say you are running 14 weeks of x (base), y (anabolic) and z (oral). You will likely experience a drop in results after say.. 8-9 weeks. So simply drop drugs y and z for week(s) 8 and/or 9 and reduce the base drug (Testosterone you say?) 'x' to levels that you feel comfortable at - this is specific to the individual IMO (Dante say's 400mg/wk Test but that is high for most) i have found anywhere from 100-300mg of total drug dose during the cruise plenty.
So good cruise drugs are of course Test, Masteron and then you have AM orals when we begin to veer into 'bridge' territory. Not a problem IMO, but remember the aim is to have a short break OFF the drugs - not on the drugs but avoiding suppression, we want less activity of the drugs themselves.
If you are using long esters and are on 1-2g/wk of drugs.. then you will likely want to take at least 2 weeks off - as 1g of Test E will take about that (2wks) to drop to levels <300mg (iirc).
But that means you could do the 2 week break with little to NO AAS needed. I have done it and it isn't 'painful' at all. The first week you feel the same, the second week you feel normal - and i might suggest 100mg or so of Test that week.
So i personally find that the break (as i first read about by dante in a slightly different context) during a longer cycle seems to allow the receptors to re-sensitize to the hormones and after a mere 2 weeks i am ready to gain again.
My choice is to do a combination of all the above.. so i like to run a drug for 4-6 or so weeks, have a 2 week break and restart with a different compound.
Hope it helps one of those who are still using longer cycles - or not coming off (in which case you prolly do all this anyway).