Part VI - Cycle Diet, Supplements, and Training Info
Another very often asked question is:
“how should I eat and lift when on cycle”
The answer is that your diet and training should be about the same on or off with some minor tweaks. What I mean is that you should already have a good plan in place for diet and training…if not you shouldn’t be doing gear.
I will go over each in more detail below.
The only differences should be that you can work out longer because you will recover faster between sets, you will be able to lift heavier because of the increased strength, your workouts can be more intense from increased agression, and you can do it more often because of improved recovery. I can easily do 2 a day workouts on gear but my training is pretty similar to my training otherwise, I just condense the timeline and increase the volume.
Instead of working a muscle group once every six days you can now do it once every 3 days. If you were doing full body training 3 times a week you can now do it 6 times a week. Overtraining is a lot harder to do on gear but you need to make sure you are eating and sleeping enough that the gear can do it’s job.
This seems to really help bodybuilding type programs when you are doing a crap load of sets. It will also help a powerlifting program where you are doing heavy compound movements because you will recover better between sets and have more explosive power. Whether you’re doing West Side, German Volume Training, or Full Body, or whatever the important thing is that you really focus in the gym (even the best program sucks if you don’t put your best effort into it). Whatever you are doing it will work as long as you are doing it properly. Add weight, add reps, add sets and you get stronger because that is the body’s only choice. Whatever you do - do it balls to the wall and you will see results.
The only word of caution is to not drop below the 4 rep mark for sets that you can perform with good form. I have heard of many a guy on juice tear a biceps or fuck up a disk or something because he was being a hero and going for 1 rep PRs. There is a strong desire to do so because you are so much stronger you will want to know what your “geared PR” is but resist the urge, it’s masterbation for your ego. The only exception would be if you are a powerlifter or someone that is used to training in the very low rep range all the time (ie your ligaments have adapted to that type of training over a long period of time).
The problem is that your muscles are rapidly getting stronger because of the gear but your ligaments are not…this is especially true with drugs like Deca, Tren, and Winny that add a lot of strength very fast without giving the body time to adjust. Some drugs will also give a false sense of security because the joints feel great (well lubricated and loose) or actually help repair old injuries (Deca is good for this because of it’s effect on cartilage which was covered earlier) but this doesn’t mean they are indistructable so use your judgement. You will make very good gains sticking to the 4-12 rep range…work with that.
Diet depends on your goals but basically:
- you can bulk better/cleaner
Your body can make use of more calories on cycle because your body is in a state of accelerated protein sysnthesis and your body on gear will make better use of calories you put in even if they are a little sloppy (nutrient partitioning will be improved such that more cals will go to your muscles).
- you can diet better
You can also maintain more muscle mass in a fasted state so dieting hard will not have the muscle wasting effect that it normally would.
For bulking or gaining you should be taking in at least 1,000 extra calories a day and upping your protein intake so that you are getting a MINIMUM of 1gm/lb of body weight (many pros recommend upwards of 2gm/lb), that’s a lot of protein but it is needed to really see results. I think eating clean is still a good idea but it is crutial to eat enough to grow. A lot of people who have trouble gaining don’t eat enough. If this is a problem without gear it will be a problem when on the gear. Figure out what you need and make sure you have an idea of what that actually entails in terms of a daily food breakdown. Plan out your meals and see what the total Protein, Fat, and Carb breakdown is. It is often much less than you think it is.
The flip side for dieting is that you can also get away with eating less and not losing muscle mass like you would naturally. This means cutting at least 500cals/d while still maintaining the minimum 1gm/lb of bodyweight for protein. Make sure you are getting healthy fats so that you can absorb all the necessary fat soluble vitamins and if you are restricting carbs make sure you have some in your system while training and right after so that you have energy to train and you are replenishing glycogen stores after.
The same general rules apply for eating - 5-7 small meals throughout the day. Don’t go hungry or go to sleep on an empty stomach. eat slow digesting foods like protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. don’t eat crap (fast food, fried stuff, processed grains, sweets) you can gain weight without this stuff (or very little of it if you are very lean naturally), the guys that say you need to eat like that on gear are usually either taking so much gear that they could eat scrap metal and gain or are big fat guys or both.
Typical “clean foods” are:
- Lean Meats/seafood (chicken, lean beef, bison, venison, moose, horse, shrimp, scallops, tuna, salmon, or any other fish as they are all fairly healthy)…this should make up the bulk of your calories so that protein intake is high enough to get the daily minimum.
- Eggs and Dairy (whole eggs, egg whites, milk, low fat cheeses, yogurt), for those that can tolerate dairy it is a good addition to get some extra protein. Remember that milk and yogurt have a fair amount of carbs so if restricting carbs it will need to be reduced or eliminated.
- Vegetables (especially leafy green ones which are higher in fiber and anti-oxidants), if you are restricting carbs then tomatos, peppers, potatos, and yams should be reduced but otherwise veggies should all be fair game. veggies are fairly filling but low desity calorie wise so if you are having trouble eating enough while bulking it may help to restrict veggies a bit.
- Healthy Fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, natural peanut butter, macadamia nut oil, fish oil, milled flax seeds), the body needs healthy fats to absorb fat soluble vitamins and keep LDL/HDL ratio in check so make sure you are getting some.
- Fruit (pure fruit juices and whole fruits like oranges, berries, bananas, pineapple, etc)…fruits are a great source of anti-oxidents and a good source of carbs. If you are restricting carbs then you need to avoid fruits and definitely avoid fruit juices.
- Whole Grains (oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread), obviously these need to be eliminated if cutting out carbs. Carbs are very anabolic food so they are definitely needed if bulking.
- Beverages (water, geen tea, coffee, diet soda) these are about the only drinks that don’t contain a ton of sugar. The sugar used in drinks is often glucose fructose which is thought by many to be one of the root causes of the obesity/diabetes problem so it goes without saying it should be avoided.
The following supplements are ones that I think are good and work for me. Different ones may work for you so please take everything with a grain of salt.
- Protein Powder - This is about the only way I can manage to get my daily protein requirement in because meat is expensive and it takes longer to digest so eating a few pounds of it a day is tough. obviously it is important to choose a good one so you aren’t just taking in a whole ton or sugar and crap. Biotest’s is good. It’s not the only one I like but it is what I drink most often. Things to look for is: fast and slow digesting proteins, good quality of protein, and fairly low in carbs so you aren’t just getting a glass of sugar.
- Fish Oil - good for a lot of reasons: joints, lipids (LDL/HDL ratio), cardiovasclar health, reduces inflamation, immune function, etc…Omega-3’s are very good for you and fish oil is very high in it.
- Creatine - this is one of the most popular of all time supplements and works well. It’s now considered safe to take year round just make sure you drink lots of water with it.
- BCAAs - I have finally jumped on the BCAA band wagon. I find that I perform a lot better in the gym and on the field with them (I usually take about 10 before training and find my energy level is much better). If it is sparing muscle in the process then that’s great but the number one thing for me is that my workouts are better on it.
I consider these my base supplements that I take year round. There are others that I throw in but I think these are the most important.
You should really already know how to gain or cut naturally before trying to do so on gear because it may take you some time to figure your body out. All the gear will do is make the results better. This site is a wealth of info on bulking and cutting so use the search function and come up with something that works for you and then figure out a cycle that complements it.