T Nation

Taking the Plunge, Looking for Help

Hey guys,

I think I have finally decided that I am going to run a cycle. Here is some background: I am 23 years old, 180-185 pounds, and very low body fat (8-9%). I have been lifting consistently for about 5 years and have seen some decent gains, though certainly nothing to brag about. In the last 2 years, training has been VERY frustrating. I’ve tried everything and cannot seem to grow anymore, and strength increases happen at a snail’s pace.

Before someone decides to jump in and solve my problem by suggesting that I eat more or train differently, let me first say that I have tried almost everything. In terms of diet, I’ve been on T-Dawg 1 and 2, Massive Eating, the Anabolic Diet, custom diets using different macronutrient ratios, etc.

I’ve even tried the “Fuck this, I’m eating as much as possible of whatever I want” diet. No matter how I eat, I can’t seem to get past this 180 range. Don’t get me wrong, I can gain weight, but once I cut back down, I am back to where I started. Now on to training.

Since the very beginning, I have followed very structured and intense training programs. Again, I’ve tried it all: Max-OT, several Waterbury programs, HST, Bill Starr 5x5, Ian King’s Super Strength, Push-Pull, etc. Most recently, I’ve moved on to working out based more on intuition and feel, and less on a precise training protocol.

I think it is time for me to try a cycle. I’ve been stuck for so long and I believe it is possible that I have poor natural potential. That being said, this is my first foray into the juicing world and definitely would like some guidance from people on this forum. T-Nation has been my primary source of information for years, so I don’t see why I should look anywhere else for quality advice.

I’m considering a very standard beginner cycle.

Weeks 1-8:

  • Test E at 500mg (split into two 250mg shots per week)
  • Nolvadex on hand for possible gyno issues

PCT:

I’m still tweaking this, because I’m unsure if I want to take Clomid, Nolvadex, or both.

I’m also considering tapering off the Test E after reading some posts here, but on other forums it seems that most believe tapering is useless, as even a smaller amount of injectable Test is enough to shut down natural production. Advice on this would be really appreciated.

Finally, I am still unsure how I am going to obtain the gear. I’ve looked into a couple international internet stores that have decent reputations, but I am uncomfortable ordering overseas. I’d prefer ordering from one of the many quality underground labs I?ve read about online (Syrus, Orbit, etc.), though I do not know how the process works. Do these labs have online stores, or do you have to place the order by phone? Is it impossible to get the contact info for these sources unless you?re in a bodybuilder inner circle? Unfortunately I work out at NYSC in NYC, and many of the midtown finance types do not strike me as the right people to ask?

Looking forward to your replies. Thanks guys!

[quote]justinf77 wrote:

PCT:

I’m also considering tapering off the Test E after reading some posts here, but on other forums it seems that most believe tapering is useless, as even a smaller amount of injectable Test is enough to shut down natural production. Advice on this would be really appreciated.[/quote]

Yeah, the test taper method isn’t very popular on most other boards I’ve seen. Which kinda makes sense, since you mostly just see regurgitation of info on those boards and precious little original thinking or informed debate.

Although you say you have tried all kinds of diet, I am inclined to wonder how seriously you have done so. Have you always kept your bf at around 8-9%? Although many people can gain at this bf%, others may need to increase it beyond that, possibly even as high as 15%.

What would happen if, like Dave Tate (before Berardi put him back on track) you ate 10,000 kcal a day? Are you seriously suggesting you would still be stuck at 185? (BTW, I’m not suggesting you actually DO this.)

When you tried the Anabolic Diet, did you get your kcals up to the 25 times bw in pounds level? What happened?

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
Although you say you have tried all kinds of diet, I am inclined to wonder how seriously you have done so. Have you always kept your bf at around 8-9%? Although many people can gain at this bf%, others may need to increase it beyond that, possibly even as high as 15%.

What would happen if, like Dave Tate (before Berardi put him back on track) you ate 10,000 kcal a day? Are you seriously suggesting you would still be stuck at 185? (BTW, I’m not suggesting you actually DO this.)

When you tried the Anabolic Diet, did you get your kcals up to the 25 times bw in pounds level? What happened?[/quote]

I haven’t always been 7-8%, as I am not one of those people who is afraid to gain a little fat. I’ve bulked up to 205, gaining a little strength along the way, but when I cut back down, there is not too much difference in overall muscularity. I never suggested that if I ate 10,000 calories a day, I’d still be 185 lbs. I think I would gain a lot of weight actually, but not much muscle weight. As far as the AD is concerned, I started it to cut down from a previous bulking phase, which brought me down to where I am now. I don’t think I would bulk on this diet, not because it isn’t effective, but because eating over 5,000 calories without carbs is difficult for me.

Don’t think I am looking for an easy fix, either, with the juice. I really have put a lot of time and effort into learning all I can about training and nutrition, and I just think it is time for me to take it up a notch.

As always, I appreciate all of your advice and suggestions, because I definitely need it at this stage. Thanks fellas!

after you bulked up to 205…how long did you wait till you cut back down?..cutting back down to quickly, can…and will rsult in a loss of the new muscle gained…I’ve made that mistake before.

If you have been training hard, as you say, and eating well like you said, for that long, I’m not necessarily for you juicing. But I’m not against it either. Your cycle looks fine. Personally I’d make it 10 - 12 weeks but thats just me.

As far as getting the stuff, it is out there. You will have to make an encrypted email account, and discuss the terms of sale with the sellers directly. None of us can help you with that. You are going to have to do it on your own.

All I’m going to say to you is AAS are big boy shit. You are not in the kiddie section when you add AAS. While on cycle, you are training, eating and resting. This is it. Respect the gear and your gains. Put in the work. You will be happy with you results. I have seen many guys run a cycle and then wonder why they didn’t get any bigger.

[quote]iksrtfo28 wrote:
after you bulked up to 205…how long did you wait till you cut back down?..cutting back down to quickly, can…and will rsult in a loss of the new muscle gained…I’ve made that mistake before.[/quote]

I cut down based on 2 lbs per week and kept any strength gains I had achieved during the bulking phase. The gains weren’t significant, but each time I was able to lift a little bit more and beat previous records. I seem to grow very slowly compared to my peers, especially since I’ve experimented so much with how my body reacts to different types of training and nutrition.

[quote]TrainerinDC wrote:
If you have been training hard, as you say, and eating well like you said, for that long, I’m not necessarily for you juicing. But I’m not against it either. Your cycle looks fine. Personally I’d make it 10 - 12 weeks but thats just me.

As far as getting the stuff, it is out there. You will have to make an encrypted email account, and discuss the terms of sale with the sellers directly. None of us can help you with that. You are going to have to do it on your own.

All I’m going to say to you is AAS are big boy shit. You are not in the kiddie section when you add AAS. While on cycle, you are training, eating and resting. This is it. Respect the gear and your gains. Put in the work. You will be happy with you results. I have seen many guys run a cycle and then wonder why they didn’t get any bigger. [/quote]

Thanks for the honest advice Trainer. Encrypted email and computer research don’t scare me, I’m a nerd at heart haha.

I understand that using AAS is a significant step and that I should be physically and mentally prepared to do so. I’m not taking this lightly, as I will continue to research and learn as much as possible before I start a cycle. Luckily I have a resource like this, can’t imagine having to trust the advice of some of the idiots in my gym (out of shape guys on juice who bicep curl with a belt on).

Hi. In hindsight with bodybuilding in mind at 23 I would have started using AAS. I too weighed in the simmilar weight range as you, and although I could have made any mens fitness publication had I given effort to do so, putting on more size naturally was very hard to do, and of course keep it when I leaned down.

Of course I haven’t seen any photos of you to confirm my opinion.

As for your ‘peers’ It is a good bet that they are all long ago on steroids. The amount of % of individuals I know at least up here in Canada that use, and you would never even know they did - and they don’t readilly admit. It’s over 50% of males to be sure.
The joke is most assurredly on you in that regard.

As for finding a source, the labs you noted are canadian labs, so I doubt you’ll be able to source through them.

As for your cycle plans… add an oral to the 500mg of test a week, as you should do at least 800mg for best results, as you want to get as much benifit out of the time you are on as possible.

As for PCT… definitely taper. The thread is out there, and I spent a lot of time on it for a reason… their may be other muscle heads out there that disagree, but keep in mind that no matter what pct you do, you will never fully recover immediately. Full recovery from a lengthy aas cycle can take months to years.
So do the protocol that subtracts less to your quality of life.

[quote]justinf77 wrote:
I haven’t always been 7-8%, as I am not one of those people who is afraid to gain a little fat. I’ve bulked up to 205, gaining a little strength along the way, but when I cut back down, there is not too much difference in overall muscularity. I never suggested that if I ate 10,000 calories a day, I’d still be 185 lbs. I think I would gain a lot of weight actually, but not much muscle weight. As far as the AD is concerned, I started it to cut down from a previous bulking phase, which brought me down to where I am now. I don’t think I would bulk on this diet, not because it isn’t effective, but because eating over 5,000 calories without carbs is difficult for me.

[/quote]

Maybe you should have kept bulking when you got to 205. What bf% do you estimate you were then?

Re eating 5,000 cals without carbs - what in particular is difficult about it for you? (BTW, at 185 you would need less than 5,000.)

Not trying to bust your ass or dissuade you, just curious and wanting to explore the issues.

I’m a trainer to several pro bodybuilders and national level competitors…most recently Mah ann Mendoza 4rth place finisher at the Sacramento pro show. If your serious about getting the best results you could hire me for training. Noel

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
justinf77 wrote:
I haven’t always been 7-8%, as I am not one of those people who is afraid to gain a little fat. I’ve bulked up to 205, gaining a little strength along the way, but when I cut back down, there is not too much difference in overall muscularity. I never suggested that if I ate 10,000 calories a day, I’d still be 185 lbs. I think I would gain a lot of weight actually, but not much muscle weight. As far as the AD is concerned, I started it to cut down from a previous bulking phase, which brought me down to where I am now. I don’t think I would bulk on this diet, not because it isn’t effective, but because eating over 5,000 calories without carbs is difficult for me.

Maybe you should have kept bulking when you got to 205. What bf% do you estimate you were then?

Re eating 5,000 cals without carbs - what in particular is difficult about it for you? (BTW, at 185 you would need less than 5,000.)

Not trying to bust your ass or dissuade you, just curious and wanting to explore the issues.[/quote]

Prisoner: Thanks a lot for the advice. Still not sure about adding an oral to the mix, just because I would like to see how my body reacts before I start to stack compounds. I am going to read the tapering thread again before I decide what to do about PCT.

Sharetrader: When I was 205, I reached a level of body fat that I was not comfortable with. I would guess that it was between 15%-16%, but that’s really just a guess. I suppose that I could’ve continued to bulk, but I hated the way I looked and I didn’t want to continue gaining weight if it wasn’t even 25% muscle. I’m not one of those guys who is afraid to lose his abs, but there is definitely a point of excessive fat gain when I just don’t feel that I should go further.

Regarding 5,000 cals and the AD… The only way I see to consume that many calories is to eat a ton of red meat and cheese, and to supplement with lots of olive oil. When I tried to do this in the past, my cholesterol went way up because the majority of my calories were coming from saturated fats.

I didn’t really see any other way around it, other than to live on a liquid diet of protein and olive oil. I’m very dedicated, but not THAT dedicated haha. The AD works great for leaning out, but I prefer other methods for bulking. I basically had the same problem that Shugart had when he tried the AD.

I don’t think you’re busting my ass, I appreciate the questions because they help me figure out if there really is something I haven’t tried.

[quote]Npccompetitor69 wrote:
I’m a trainer to several pro bodybuilders and national level competitors…most recently Mah ann Mendoza 4rth place finisher at the Sacramento pro show. If your serious about getting the best results you could hire me for training. Noel[/quote]

Thanks for the offer Noel, but I’m not really looking for competition-level results. My personal goal is to gain about 15-20 solid pounds and actually look like I lift heavy weights. I appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into competition bodybuilding, but it is just not what I’m looking for.

then, consider a slightly higher dose of testosterone, say 600-800mg.

I know you want to take things slow, however I am giving you the advice you asked for from experienced users.

As for your BF% I agree completely, as I personally don’t like to see mine climb above 10%

Over eating is over eating irregarless if you are lifting weights or not.

So far Prisoner 22 has given the best advice.

Why are so many others quick to criticize the amount he has eaten and his previous bulking/cutting stages?

According to the OP, he has trained for a reasonable amount of time, is not some teenager, and WANTS to go on.

The whole deal about reaching “max genetic potential” is shit. Mostly everyone of you who is on shit now could’ve done this or that differently and stayed “natural” longer. But why?

The guy has made the decision to go on, is educating himself about it, so waiting another 6 months or whatever and trying to “bulk better” or “cut more wisely” is pointless.

Once old enough and knowledgable about training enough to know what works for you, if you make the decision that you are going to get on shit, there isn’t much point to waiting to reach some “max genetic potential”.

Kind of a rant, and not everyone on this thread has done this, but its a common theme i’ve noticed among many threads where people are looking for advice to get started.

[quote]justinf77 wrote:
I’ve moved on to working out based more on intuition and feel, and less on a precise training protocol.

[quote]

This is by far the most profound thing he said, and the reason why I know he is ready to take the next step.

Hey justin, if p22 is giving you advice, it would probably be in your best intrest to listen. my 2cents.

[quote]Prisoner#22 wrote:
then, consider a slightly higher dose of testosterone, say 600-800mg.

I know you want to take things slow, however I am giving you the advice you asked for from experienced users.

As for your BF% I agree completely, as I personally don’t like to see mine climb above 10%

Over eating is over eating irregarless if you are lifting weights or not.[/quote]

Thanks P22. I read your tapering thread again and it makes the most sense to me in terms of PCT, so I am definitely going to use that approach. I’m also going to up the testosterone dose as you suggest to 750mg / week, shots taken 3X per week.

I know you’re a highly respected member around here, so I appreciate the time you’ve taken to help me out. I can’t imagine what kind of advice I would have received over at the bodybuilding.com forums.

Oh, and I saw the competition pictures in your profile. You look amazing, VERY impressive.

[quote]Prisoner#22 wrote:
justinf77 wrote:
I’ve moved on to working out based more on intuition and feel, and less on a precise training protocol.

This is by far the most profound thing he said, and the reason why I know he is ready to take the next step.
[/quote]

I agree he is ready. He’s respectful, using his brain and asking for help before doing anything stupid. I think he will be okay making this choice.

[quote]justinf77 wrote:
Prisoner#22 wrote:
then, consider a slightly higher dose of testosterone, say 600-800mg.

I know you want to take things slow, however I am giving you the advice you asked for from experienced users.

As for your BF% I agree completely, as I personally don’t like to see mine climb above 10%

Over eating is over eating irregarless if you are lifting weights or not.

Thanks P22. I read your tapering thread again and it makes the most sense to me in terms of PCT, so I am definitely going to use that approach. I’m also going to up the testosterone dose as you suggest to 750mg / week, shots taken 3X per week.

I know you’re a highly respected member around here, so I appreciate the time you’ve taken to help me out. I can’t imagine what kind of advice I would have received over at the bodybuilding.com forums.

Oh, and I saw the competition pictures in your profile. You look amazing, VERY impressive.[/quote]

Thanks, keep up the consistency, and you’ll be there soon too.