T Nation

Why I Think PCT is Dumb

My unpopular opinion is that if you are going to use AAS, you should be making a life long commitment to HRT/TRT. There are two main reasons I believe this.

Reason A: By committing to life long TRT, it makes touching AAS a bigger commitment in and of itself. Too many people now a days, especially younger kids don’t take this serious enough.

Reason B: The chances of only doing one, or a few cycles are very slim. Once you see what you can accomplish with super physiological hormone levels and exogenous compounds, you will never look at normal training again. Because of this, there will likely be a a constant Yo-Yo of being on cycle, PCT, recovering, repeat. Long term it is more than likely you will induce some form of AAS Hypogonadism, and it really doesn’t seem to be the best for your health.

On top of this, you are cycling for 12 weeks, then basically just trying to maintain your size for another 12 weeks through PCT and time off, in most cases making 3 steps forward and 1-2 steps back. “Blast and cruise” allows you to maintain most of your cycle gains and avoid the hormonal rollercoaster that occurs after cycle.

Keep in mind, when I say cruise I don’t mean 300 mg test/wk with 200 mg Masteron, that’s half a gram of gear and even that much test is super physiological. I’m not against doing that in between cycles but keep in mind for optimal health TRT dose is best.

Get your bloods done at least twice a year and be reasonable with your cycles, and most important do your damn due diligence on the shit you’re putting into your body.

There are concerns such as fertility and other long term health consequences that can occur for some people using exogenous test, but there are ways to mitigate/prevent those. This forum is a great resource.

And if you can’t handle the health concerns, don’t touch this stuff!!! Remember even water can kill you. Take 50 Advil’s and that’ll be the last headache you’ll ever have (dramatization; you’ll probably just fuck your liver, but you get the idea)

I’d love anyone’s input on this discussion.

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I disagree, lifelong HRT is just that… lifelong. Not everyone is willing to pin weekly for the remainder of their lives, it’s quite the ‘literal’ pain in the ass. For those who can recover adequately post cycle (which… many can), there is no incentive for said individuals to hop on TRT aside from perhaps enhanced retention of post cycle gains given there is window of excess hypogonadism associated with traditional PCT.

It does however appear that a fairly large portion of ex steroid users are hypogonadal

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/add.12850

Within this data, 5 of 19 ex steroid users exhibit a TT below 200ng/dl, despite having abstained for 3-20+ months! Furthermore a fairly large portion (over 20%) report having experienced a major depressive episode during AAS withdrawal

Having bottomed out TT/FT also tends to manifest neurologically, making the user feel depressed, run down and irritable. This in itself is a prime example as to why a younger individual probably shouldn’t run gear. Being young tends to be associated with an emotionally volatile period of ones life, I can vouch for this, I’ve been having an incredibly difficult time recently. The induction of a borderline manic state followed by a depressive state can lead to a seriously deleterious outcome. A major depressive episode can be incredibly detrimental to ones wellbeing, ask anyone with bipolar disorder how they feel when they’re ‘low’, theoretically one could argue “if 20%+ experience this, then why not hop on TRT ato mitigate the crash”… I’d say “just stay away from drugs like tren”.

Duration of AAS use here within subjects here averaged around 3 years (three years ON that is)

One can see within the box plot, the first quartile (lowest 25% of men, YEARS after ceasing AAS use had a TT below 11.9nmol/l) had a TT, 27% of former AAS users had TT below the ref range (12.1 nmol). Is this to say one can’t have symptomatology relating to low T with levels above 12.1? Absolutely not, it’s individualistic, some feel shit at 15,16,17… it’s dependent on FT/AR sensitivity, as it was specified some users exhibited symptoms of low T despite having undergone T replacement, perhaps hinting at neurological dysregulation and/or AR down regulation. The hypothesis regarding altered neurology can be backed when looking at studies regarding structural/cognitive abnormalities stemming from prior AAS use. Certain cognitive, neurological alterations may be permanent from prolonged, heavy abuse… i’m probably going to create a thread discussing this often very overlooked issue (AAS mediated neurotoxicity)

Furthermore, decreased sperm counts, testicular volumes of prior users hint at long term, permanent endocrine damage (damage to the HPTA). With this said, what about the good 50-60% that aren’t clinically hypogonadal. The majority of men who use/have used probably don’t run cycles throughout their entire life. The truth is, the average steroid user is probably you’re average guy joining a gym, runs some winny/dbol for a few weeks and quits after it doesn’t work out

So perhaps those who wish to use for a long period of time ought to invest within TRT… even then, it doesn’t appear as if the majority of users are “hypogonadal”. With TRT, despite it being physiologic replacement, certain risks do exist. Even within the physiologic range, if T hurdles past a genetic set point erythrocytosis does occur… this may be 500ng/dl for one and 5000ng/dl for another. There are those who say extremely high hct/RBC count doesn’t elevate any known risk factor for clots… I beg to differ, whilst a HCT of 50-54% may not be significantly deleterious in nature, values around 55-60% most certainly are.

What about donating blood? The requirement for repeated blood donations risks crashing iron stores and ferratin, iron deficiency with or without associated anaemia can present with a myriad of very unpleasant symptoms… TRT has the potential to induce complications, as does blasting. Why add more potential complications when it isn’t required.

I’m of the opinion that unless you need TRT, don’t hop on, it’s illogical.

As to the risk portion, I believe many underestimate the level of risk involved. As more and more data piles up, these compounds (long term), may be far more insidious than we believe… prove to be silent killers. Bloodwork isn’t the be all end all of ensuring longevity on AAS. Absence of elevation in LFT’s, visible deleterious change in renal function measured via bloods etc doesn’t indicate that no cellular damage is occurring. Bloods won’t rule out cardiomyopathy (though BNP does elevate in response to the stretching of cardiac myocytes)… Nor will it rule out neurotoxicity etc.

There are obvious ways to mitigate risks

  • eat healthily

  • get plenty of aerobic exercise

  • antioxidant supplementation

  • bloods/ecg’s (if you can get them that is)

  • limit the use of substances known to elicit a directly cardiotoxic effect.

You’re right, water, Advil in excess can kill you, acutely they’re more dangerous than anabolic steroids ever will be. But this is a mute point as anabolic steroid induced toxicity stems from chronic usage, it creeps up ever so slowly. Both substances share differing profiles regarding induction of toxicity, water being acute in nature whilst AAS mediated toxicity is chronic… fatty food would be a similar example, I can go out and binge eat as much KFC as I so please today without future consequence, do that daily for ten years and you’ll probably have clinically evident development of arterial plaque.

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Great response and I appreciate your input. Again, best way to avoid any and all risks is to not touch AAS in the first place, I’d say 60%+ of gear users shouldn’t be using gear, started using too early, or are using too much for their goals. This exasperates all kinds of problems. If you REALLY do plan on doing let’s say only 1-3 cycles and not using anything extreme, then by all means PCT, or if you’ve been blasting and cruising since you were 25 and are 30, with different goals and priorities, then by all means do your research on a protocol to use to restart your natural production, and if fix fertility issues if those occur.

A ton of people though will be on gear for a big portion of their remaining lives once they start, and a lot of people abuse these compounds to a large degree. Tren was used on cattle at 200 mg/ wk, and there’s people using way higher doses (myself included).

Exactly! I was looking into this regarding EQ and horses, Tren and cattle. Whilst dose dependent response may differ from human to cattle/horse based on initial hormonal output, AR sensitivity etc… the notion still stands that the dosages we use on CATTLE, who are far larger than us… are significantly smaller than what the avg male uses. I’ve never used trenbolone and never will as I have no incentive to do so… But I wouldn’t be surprised if a mere 50-150mg weekly garnered fantastic results for most if the correct work ethic/nutritional intake was implemented in conjunction with the tren.

I fully agree with the entirety of your response

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I actually agree. If you do start using anabolics you should be on a dose for life. When you start you put on size but as soon as you stop most of it goes due to hormone levels. For me I started the other way round. I had low natural levels anyways and made the commitment to be on trt for life. I figured as I’m on trt for life and big into the gym I might aswell try a few cycles.

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Someone such as you or I are what I consider to be outliers. The statistical majority of men don’t have hypogonadism to begin with.

Say you’re base TT is 25 nmol/l (so slightly over 700ng/dl), you run… (hypothetically) 100mg test 400mg primo for 15 weeks (a very light cycle, getting into the groove, testing the waters etc)… you come off, pct and you’ve recovered to 24nmol (let’s assume FT is also great)… there’s no incentive for said person to hop on TRT… I say avoid it at all costs

But as @vacantgardener specified, if you’re say, a competitive powerlifter/bodybuilder looking to compete/go to untested meets a couple times yearly for many years on end (until you’re cardiomyopathic heart gives out lol) and anabolics are a part of that plan… then by all means, TRT seems only rational

There’s a study in which really tall kids are given supraphysiolgoic dosages of testosterone to close their Ephysial plates… the protocol was from what I recall 500mg e2w (estradiol accelerates ephysial fusion while androgens stimulate linear bone growth, hence why oxandrolone, fluoxymesterole were or are occasionally used to aid within regard to idiopathic short stature, the efficiency of the therapy is questionable, as is high dose T therapy for growth plate closure)

Anyway, the therapy was given for a while (I think six months)… all subjects recovered, but 5 years down the line or so TT dropped by like 1-3nmol in the treated kids compared to untreated subjects (statistically significant, but nothing in the grand scheme of things)… keep in mind these kids were some ridiculous height like 6’8 if I recall… the therapy did reduce predicted final adult height by a couple inches… I’ll find and post the study later… same philosophy goes for the average joe, it depends on the duration of use, a couple months here and there generally won’t induce an irreversible state of hypogonadism, thus unless you’re CERTAIN you want to be on for the long run or you’re hypogonadal, I don’t think TRT should be administered

That being said, the statistically significant but small decrease in TT (and testicular volume) within the treated vs untreated kids hints that some degree of permenant damage was induced

I’m talking about the ones who have low test though. That are on trt for life prior to anabolic use

I just don’t understand the thought process of anyone thinking they are going to tell others “what you should do”.

“What you should do” is learn to use I statements and share your experience. This is a much more convincing form of communication. Most people shut down when told by a nobody what we should be doing with our lives.

You should learn to communicate before posting. You should also shorten your post. You should concern your self with your protocol more and others less. You should, really.

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Exactly what I did Ben in the UK. TRT first, then figured I am shut down, and as long as I am not doing stupid cycles I see the risk reward ratio being more favorable.

Do you see the hypocrisy in your own statement? You are correcting him for what you are offended by but yet proceed to do the same shit. I get it, some of it was to prove a point, but why not approach it differently? Now we have both contributed nothing to this thread other than BS.

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I stated my opinion more so for an open dialogue, as opposed to cramming my beliefs down everyone’s throats and demonizing anyone who doesn’t follow my advice.

It’s just me, but taking AAS to PCT later to enhance the process just a little bit is a stupid idea. It’s reaching your genetic potential sooner, that’s all - why not to do it being 100% natty for a bit longer, more linearly and stable. Not to mention that establishing full HPTA recovery is not that simple (3 months are not enough for sure), you take serious risks anyway, you WASTE YOUR TIME. You shouldn’t use the strongest AAS then because of their increased inhibiting properties. In general, people think that AAS would make them gods in few months/years, after <10 “wise” cycles. What they get is, as an author stated, 3 steps forward & 2 steps back net +1 balance, with bunch of physical and mental sides attached, with half results and probably not 100% full recovery.

Play the game or GTFO. In my and my clients example - if you take, you promise working your ass off. It means full dedication to workouts, diet, medical monitoring & prevention, results are insane. Guys come to the gym with 3 g of oils inside them, they finish their workout 1.5 h later using machines and cables mainly, 4 times/wk, don’t count their energy balance because they’re so experienced and cool, complain about fake stuff after.

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That’s the joke bud

There are also dudes on over a gram of gear a week that genuinely do not look like they’ve ever stepped foot in a gym. And it’s not because their genetics suck. It’s because they don’t know how to eat or train and they’re in denial of how important that actually is. Take someone with average genetics, have them eat and train right + put them on a cycle of test and the results will be phenomenal. People abuse gear often times, because they fucking suck.

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Using gear isn’t a short cut as people generally think - it’s the way to fucking hard work. You can and should train more, harder, eat more and healthier, have to manage so many factors natties don’t have to worry about.

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I cannot agree with you more!

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See this is why I’m trying to get off gear, trying to hpta restart after 3 years on trt. It is a lot to manage and rather have less muscle with less health risk and less things to manage

My profile similar to ukben. Lifting for a lifetime and came into permanent TRT in late 40s. Became a gateway to trying a few cycles and now I look and feel better than 20 yrs ago. Frequent blood work and healthy eating plan and lifestyle MUST also be part of the plan.