T Nation

Want to Start My First Cycle

Hey all,

I’m turning 36 next month and I want to start my first cycle. In 2012, I got serious in the gym and have made great improvements. However, I think I’m at my genetic top. I can’t disclose height and weight for discretion. I have a 405 squat, 425 dead and only a 265 bench.

In 2012 I started just doing the typical bro stuff in the gym with a horrendous squat depth and form that would rip rotator cuffs off my body now. I switched to crossfit in 2014 and stopped in 2017 since I wasn’t getting any size or real strength. From 2017-2019 I’ve been focused on Powerlifting only, diet, routine and lifestyle. I’ve put on weight but can’t get my stats any higher. None of my family members have muscle and 90% don’t even exercise regularly. I think the only reason my stats are as good as they are is due to my form and core work. I’m currently using The Texas Method to see if I can slowly start getting results.

I want to start a cycle but it’s tough to tell where I should start. I’m working overseas but am a US resident. Seems like it’s easy to get online but not sure how it works through the mail/ customs. I’ve also started the process with my Dr. to look into TRT. However, it looks like my T levels are “normal” so I don’t see him giving me a dose high enough to get my deadlift to 600 or bench to 350.

Should I order online and have it shipped? It would be a DPO, similar to a APO. Should I pick some up stateside when I rotate home and bring it will me in a checked bag? If I do order should I stick to US sources?

I also am subject to testing for this stuff so am I correct in assuming that T won’t show up in a urine test? I’m pretty sure the only way to pick up this stuff on a drug screen is a blood test.

Any legit information is really appreciated.

You are not at all correct in assuming that, no. That is the most common test used by athletic governing bodies to determine the use of a banned substance. If you’re being tested for such things then it will absolutely show up in a urine test.

How in the holy hell are the dudes around me getting through the test…I’ve been in the gym long enough to spot the difference between naturally strong and guys who have taken it to the next level. I’m not comfortable walking up to them and asking. If someone came up to me and asked I’d either get cautious or lie about it. I don’t want to put anyone in that spot.

I also have been told by people before that most jobs don’t actually test for anything other than the typical street stuff like marijuana, coke, meth, etc…So maybe they are just hoping and praying.

If the urinalysis isn’t specifically looking for a T/E ratio then that is how they’re getting away with it. I would find out what they test for before using anything. You can make a case for asking specific questions by simply saying that, because you’re in a foreign country, you want to make sure that you’re not taking a legal substance that is otherwise prohibited by your employer. You have a right to know what you’re being tested for and if you’re asking questions because you don’t want to make an innocent mistake then it shouldn’t raise too many red flags.

I think Iron is talking about a drug test that is used for something like a drug tested powerlifting meet, strongman or bodybuilding show. Employment screens are most likely not looking at testosterone.

Most will tell you to take 500mg / wk of test (12 weeks), as your first cycle followed by two weeks off, then this protocol: 40, 40, 20, 20 mg per week of Nolva for PCT.

Without being to specific what is your approximate weight and height? Powerlifting takes time man. I had your stats two years ago, but I am at 500, 330 and 550 now. Getting stronger takes time. If you are a smaller lifter maybe your stats are pretty good, but if you are average size, I think you should ride it out longer to get as much out naturally as you can. Maybe spend your money on coaching. It can make a big difference long run.

BTW, I did 5x5 and Texas Method as well. I don’t think either of those are for slowly getting results. Texas Method is only slightly less aggressive than starting strength. Based on your post you may want to break your training into blocks, or use something like DUP to get results (vs linear progression).

Wow are you secret service or something that your weight and height is classified? If not in the SS, what branch of military? I think the Army uses terms like rotate back home or stateside. Are you related to Jason Blaha?

The GEAR does not get you PR’s or to your goals. They might assist, but you are responsible for if you succeed or fail.

You say Test levels are “normal”. What is normal and in what range is considered normal? That would require lab work. Most military drugs tests are not for gear.

I’m around 6ft and 200lbs. Just found out my stateside doctor is unable to do telemedicine with me since I’m out of the country so the TRT part is on hold till I go back home.

I’m just frustrated. My upper body isn’t getting any stronger and my deadlift has been stuck right at 405-425 for a year. I’ve studied over and over on my technique and am happy with my form to the extent I’m not at risk and feel I’m maximizing the muscle I do have.

I did starting strength for about a year prior to the Texas, which I just started this week. I decided to try the Texas method because I read that it was for intermediate lifters that were struggling through gains. About positive my Noob gains are over.

I will read up on DUP and see if it is something I think could help. Thanks for the advice

Cant tell if you are poking the bear or what. But I won’t answer what I do for a living because I WILL LOSE MY JOB if I’m caught using. I’m not sure where in my post it said I was looking to sit my butt on the sofa and get free muscle. My effort is there. I’m sore every god damn day of the week and I like it that way. I’m pretty familiar with effort.

I had my family doctor test me before I left home and this is where my free and T was. She said it was normal and wasn’t willing to put me on any supplementation. So I found a TRT specific doctor and he is, when I’m back in the US.


TESTO, TOTAL 488.6|ng/dL testosterone, total

If one lift is going up, that is progress (as long as the others are not going down). At a certain point it is not easy getting gains. My deadlift was stalled in the 475 range for about 2 years, but recently it shot up to a fairly easy 550.

At your size, you most likely can make gains without gear. You are doing novice programming mostly, so try a good intermediate program, and see where that takes you. I would call Texas Method a very early intermediate program.

DUP stands for daily undulating periodization. Cube method is a good example. It is probably a mid intermediate program, but you will be doing one day of rep work, one day of speed, one day of max effort, and one day bodybuilding stuff per week. You can get a template at blackironbeast .com. It is free. I don’t use it anymore, but I have put about 120-150 lbs on my total in 3 ten week cycles of it (without gear and with Low T at the time, on TRT now).

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Poking the bear? lol You are the one using terms and phrases that are commonly associated with military. You might be a private contractor or prior military or even current active duty. Stop “talking” like one if you are so worried about being identified as one. Learn to talk like one from the First Civ Div. Drop the jargon.

If you are sore every damn day, you are over training. Constant soreness does not equal good quality gains or progress. Maybe your body would respond more to less either intensity or less quantity. Also, look into how to get lab work without it being filed onto a permanent medical record. There are websites where you can order private labwork, pay for it out of pocket, then just get the blood drawn where ever accepted. I hope you can see the pro’s and cons of that without explaining or breaking it down.

This is where you are indicating you are going to rely on AAS to get your lifts up. Your lifts are not going up because of you, either training or diet or combination of all factors. BUT Test, TrT, is not going to magically jack your lifts.

If you are getting TrT when you get home, just wait until you get home. I would be careful with the clinic you choose. Some of them like to make you come in for the shots because they are making more money for office visits. Make sure you can find one that lets you self administer.

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This was really hard for me to learn. Results matter more than effort. Don’t get me wrong I work out pretty hard, but try to be smarter about it.

This is why I mentioned coaching. Guidance by someone who has spent the years building strength goes a long way. It also keeps people on track focusing on a goal, which is huge.

Good to hear a similar situation also to hear going without gear may still get me to go up. One thing for sure, I’m not giving up haha. I have time tomorrow to sit and look at those different methods. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn I’m overtraining at all. I like being in the gym but if it is causing negative results I’d rather spend less time there.

Okay fair enough. I didn’t even think to get private labs. You advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

I would get absolutely smashed it I tried to run Texas Method at this point. I might try it to regain strength after time off or something, but not in regular training.

It is really tempting to stay on as you are putting 5 lbs on your lifts per week. However, at some point you have to take the long game. I have seen my maxes go down during a build up phase which is frustrating, but after the peak I am the strongest I have ever been.