T Nation

Test Dosage vs Levels for Cycle Recommendation

For the experienced guys (those that know what X Test dose does to their FT levels), why do we recommend a dose, and not say “take what gets you to a FT of 100 or whatever”.

I occasionally see guys get shamed for taking a larger dose, but their FT / TT may be lower than the guy on half the dose. Is the dose what dictates side effects, gains, and long term risk, or is it the FT level (which is dependent on dose, but the level is too individual for dose to make much sense as a recommendation)?

I guess I understand that dose is used, because it is a lot simpler. Additionally, 80% of the threads here are for the first or second cycle, so going off of dose makes more sense.

I see the TRT community starting to ignore dose, and go with FT. I think it makes sense. I think for the pharma guys who know their bodies, I think it makes sense.

What do you guys think?

I also think that basing every on dose, sets up the guys who have a poor dose to FT relation for disappointment. They think to themselves that I didn’t make very good gains on 500 mg Test, but perhaps the people they are comparing themselves to would have 2-3X the FT levels on 500 mg Test. If those guys just targeted the same FT as the guys that get a good FT response from Test, I think they would on average get similar results. Wouldn’t the risk be almost the same even though the dose would be a lot higher?

What do you guys think? @blshaw @iron_yuppie @galgenstrick @swoops39 @lordgains @wanna_be @hankthetank89 @hrdlvn @unreal24278 @dptfit

I am sure I forgot someone!

Additionally, one more question, if one knows their dose response to Test, does it follow that the dose response (of free hormone) of another compound would fall roughly in line with that. Meaning if they get an average blood levels, that they should expect about average free hormones from X of Compound dose?

I interesting topic! I do think dose is irrelevant, and besides symptom resolution with the least amount possible, numbers matter a lot!

When we see a guy getting top of the range total and free T with 100mg a week we all say “damn! Great response, wish I was that lucky!” Yet, when we see someone taking 220mg a week it’s quick to be viewed as a “perma blast” even though dudes numbers are exactly like the other guy on 100mg a week we just got some congratulating.

If you need 100mg a week for symptom resolution and that puts you at the top of the lab ranges, you are going to see far greater results on a 500mg/we blast vs the guy taking 200+ to get the same levels.

That’s my take on it!

2 Likes

I think you’re on to something here, but I think general dosages are recommended because many noobs seem to just run stuff without getting blood work done (myself included, I get blood work now, but did not for my first few cycles).

I think if blood work were cheap and everyone did it, you could start making correlations on FT/TT levels, but that won’t be cheap and it’ll be somewhat time consuming.

3 Likes

Well I take a different stance on guys with TRT versus cycling. My only problem with TRT guys is that a lot of them mini-cycle and proclaim they are just TRT guys. Bullshit. Its all about the person’s attitude for me. When you represent yourself as TRT and go around telling new members to run high doses I call foul. New members don’t understand how the HPTA works, the risks associated with elevated test, or how they may even feel on a lower protocol.

I do agree that there is no ‘standard dose’ for any person. However if you have a TRT dose that gets you to 1/2-2/3 range of lab indices in TT and FT or at least FT then you should be fine. But what if I still have problems they say? Well… TRT isn’t a cure all. Mental health especially can be the cluprit for a lot of things that TRT can’t cure and while super doses may mask the problem they don’t fix it and run gamut of risk.

Cycling is a whole different animal. We know this is not what the body was meant for and we are pushing the limits. The doses of test at this level are trial and error to see how your body responds. Start with test and experiment to see what you can handle. Once you find out this baseline, do the same with other compounds. Rinse repeat.

1 Like

I forgot about you with my tags @wsmwannabe! Sorry about that!

I agree with your post though. This is more an advanced concept (for the vets). One couldn’t do this right off the bat without some labs pulled while on exogenous test. Additionally, I don’t think one would be too successful doing this first cycle as they would be changing to much on the fly. Probably best keeping the first one constant.

1 Like

Yes, I try to call it a cruise to people that know their stuff. To those that know nothing about it, I just say TRT.

Yes, without context you are correct. There really are guys who require “larger” doses to get to the top 1/3 of the FT range. If they clarify that they go off of blood work, not dose, I am cool with them.

Couldn’t agree more with this. How much TRT is hyped as a cure all is BS. I have a bit more energy, and mostly I am in much better shape (leaner and bigger). I still have attention issues, somewhat frequent insomnia, and get anxious. I was thinking this stuff would be cured. It has made a slight difference.

Agree here. I do think comparing dose to FT to results could shed light on, and help some understand their progress or lack thereof. Obviously diet is a likely culprit of the lack of gains too.

I require a large TRT dose to get into the upper range of free t and total T. I started at 125mg (if I remember right) a week and went from there. The only symptom resolution I’ve seen is my anxiety has been cut into a 1/4 of what it was. I can actually function now. The other things I was hoping TRT would cure are still there, but I can live with that. I don’t see myself going any higher as there’s not much literature out there on rising that line between cruise and mini blast and I’d like to Atleast make it to 70 lol.

1 Like

I know your levels, and think you are pretty safe.

I think one of the effects of going off of dosage (as far as cycle recommendations), not FT, is that the low responder guys (guys who need to use a bigger dose to get top of the range FT compared to most) that have a “safe” FT feel like they are risking health, based on the dose, but are really at the same risk as the guy with the same “safe” FT level, but on half the dose.

One rather scientific mind I would like to weigh in here (in case my logic is in error), is @readalot. Readalot, is there anything inherently dangerous about a high dose if the FT level is reasonable?

Is this referring to pharma doses or TRT? I guess if one is to give this advice, the immediate follow up question is then. “How do I do that?” And we are immediately lead back to: “well, I would start with a dose of x mg/week”

I see your point and it does make more sense, but it also adds a lot of complexity and trial and error to the solution. Regarding TRT, I don’t think people FT levels are as sensitive as people make it out to be on this forum. I think most people would feel the same on 120mg as they would on 200mg and also dosing daily vs. weekly. Most people are so stressed out about libido and symptom relief that their stress doesn’t allow the full benefits of TRT to be noticed, leading to micromanagement of dosing and frequent protocol changes.

Regarding pharma doses, I think a cycle of 500mg/week will actually have noticeably different effects on different people. But when we get to higher and higher doses the playing field starts to level out because we are getting further and further away from natural levels.

Another thing to mention is that SHBG does change when exogenous T is introduced, another variable that will change your FT level. This change in SHBG is quite variable between individuals.

1 Like

Yep, this method isn’t practical for a first cycle. I am more discussing a method for the guys who have run cruise and blasts with blood work.

Agree for many. Not all though, which you get at with “most”.

This is kinda what I am getting at. Some might assume their genetics suck if they don’t get as good of results as a person who gets a big FT with the same dose (they might suck independently of their poor response of FT to test, but that is separate). However, their genetics sucking would only hold true if it was the dose itself that influenced risk, but I don’t think it is, I think it is FT. So the guy who thinks his genetics are shit after one cycle could just take double the dose, and have the same FT, and the same risk as the high responder, and probably similar results to the high responder. Sure, the cycle would cost $100 more, but IMO that isn’t a big deal.

My TRT clinic has always looked at my Free T and wants me in the upper to just over range and they have adjusted my dose until that happened. They really did not care about TT. They did overshoot and I developed HCT(hematocrit) issues requiring blood donations. It honestly took them about 3 years to get me on the high end of Free T and no more blood donations. I do require an AI to keep my E2 in check. I feel my best when my E2 in mid to upper 20’s range 8-35

After all their work I started blasting which drove my SHGB into the dirt (24 to 15) and everything changed.
I got most of my blasting advice here on this forum. I started with 300 T cyp/w for 12 weeks. To be honest this blast did not feel any different than being tuned up on my TRT.
I did bloods just before stopping the 300/w blast no AI

My FreeT is always 5-10 points over range even on TRT the 300/w blast took my FT to 78. So for me FT of 26 vs 78 I was not impressed. I am blasting on 500 right now with Anavar and will do bloods 1 week before the end. I have not reached steady state yet but I only feel a bit stronger.

TRT TT/FT
100mgEE FT

1 Like

I guess my point is that so much focus goes on dose, which makes sense for the new guys. However, I think blasting could take an approach in which FT is targeted instead of a target dose. I know some guys that would be in range at 250 mg/wk, and others that would be 3X over range. Those two are going to get different results on that dose, but less so if they both targeted a FT of 150 or something. One would use less to get there and the other more. I don’t think the guy using more is at more risk if FT is about the same.

1 Like

Is it FT that causes people trouble with thick blood? HCT >52 or TT?
We all know E2 also goes up with more T/w some can tolerate it some can’t. Water weight, mood swings.

1 Like

There are two parts to this question.

  1. What is the important metric? Free T or total T?

  2. How to manage if one of them is?

The assumption with free T is that only free T is bioactive, which in my estimation and with my knowledge of literature, it isn’t. Then if it isn’t, is it only bound T? Is it a mix of the two? To what extent are the two contributing?

Then if we knew how to quantify the effect of both, how would we implement that? For first cycles it would still be a shot in the dark and impossible. For 2nd cycles less and for experienced guys probably manageable.

So what if we had a dose we’d for sure know puts you way above physiological numbers and usually gives great results and most people wouldn’t need to eat AIs like gummy bears? Introducing 500 mg T. The results will be different for everyone but it is a good starting point from which one can extrapolate.

In a mathematical sense no. Binding affinities are different and therefore free levels will differ. Also when other compounds are used, test is usually added which completely influenced the kinetic and PPB. In a biological and practical sense I’d speculate you can guesstimate for most compounds.

1 Like

Makes sense. I more mean in a general sense. Does the guy that gets FT at 30 from 100 mg a week generally need less of other compounds then the guy who requires 200 mg for the same FT. Not perfect math, but as a general guideline?

I guess my point of this thread is that I think some dudes that require higher doses to get to to the same ft as another guy may conclude incorrectly that they have bad genetics as I don’t believe they will get as good of results as the other guy on average from the same dose. At the same dose, the guy who requires more is running a safer cycle on average, but by increasing dose to match the other guy, on average, results and risk would be about the same. We therefore shouldn’t scoff when guys are running high dosages of they can back up their use with blood work.

Also fwiw, I think I have a fairly normal response. 1223 TT with 200 mg/wk m,w,f, and labs pulled on Friday before injection.

I don’t know if FT is the determining factor. I think the jury is out on that.

I think guys who need lower doses for TRT will probably need lower doses on cycle, yes. I just don’t think/know if it’s FT that is the number to look at.

1 Like

I think you are correct. I don’t know what would be better though? Of course hematocrit, lipids, bp, etc… need to be kept in line.

1 Like

I think a better starting point would be total T. If we are talking way above physiological doses, there will be high Free T of total T is high so you’d cover both possibilities better than just Free hormone levels.

1 Like

I suppose shbg gets taken up completely or out close to it at cycle doses. I’m not opposed to TT being a target. If two dudes get a similar TT, then the difference in results would be genetics, nutrition recovery and training.

Am I reading that right? Bound T is bioactive? Does bound T have a function in the body?
I always thought free T was what we felt and used to make muscles, speed recovery.