First Cycle

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Good evening everyone,

Firstly, great to meet you all, I've been reading through this forum and I've checked out the first cycle post which was very helpful. If possible, I would love to get some guidance as I seem to be receiving contradictory information. A little about me:
- 30 years old
- 5'6
- 66.5kg
- Training for around 12 years, although it's been up and down due to jobs, and I've never really tracked my diet properly until the last year
- I'm pretty lean, I can pack on muscle pretty quickly but that's always comes with stomach fat, so if I get lean again, I tend to lose a lot of muscle mass.

I am considering a cycle because as I mentioned, I can get lean but then I lose a lot of my muscle mass and I am so used to feeling pumped/ big that it's just not sitting right with me to feel skinny, despite having abs for the first time in my life and feeling good about that.

I want to try and avoid hair loss as much as possible, so I was thinking about a cycle with Test, Anavar and taking Finesteride on the side to offset the hairloss. Here are my questions:

- I see 500mg/ week is recommended for Test, can I start lower or does this cause other issues? For example, could I start 200mg Test per week with 30mg Anavar daily with the 3iu of Gh I'm already taking, or does this sound like a setup for failure?
- If I done 2-300 of Test Cypionate, would this just be one injection per week or is it important to spread it over 2 injections per week, regardless of the dose?
- Should I get pre-cycle bloodwork, and if so will this determine how much test I should then take? Or is this only to ensure I get back to normal levels at the end?
- I read about taking Arimidex or Exemestane and HCG, I read that I should have this on hand but only take it when it's needed, is that correct? And how do you know when it's needed?
Side note: I'm currently taking 3iu of Gh per day, have been for the last 4 months, other than join pain every day I haven't noticed a huge difference in anything.

I think that's it for now, I basically really want to introduce some test and another steroid (I was thinking Anavar rather than Winstrol as it's not as heavy on my kidneys) to run a 10-12 week cycle but I want to keep it as reasonable as possible for me, I'm hoping to then maintain afterwards to retain the muscle mass if possible.

Thank you!
Conor
 

CJ275

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Let's figure out why, if you even are, losing muscle when you drop weight.

What's your standard protocol when trying to lean out? How big of a Calorie deficit are we talking? What's your training look like on a cut, and how does it differ from other periods? Anything else change of a fat loss period, like adding in cardio? If so, how much?

Please don't take this personally, but you don't have anywhere near the muscle mass that losing much, if any, should be a concern.
 
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Thank you! Really appreciate you getting back to me.

I'm running a 400 calorie deficit, my maintenance is about 2,300, I'm intaking 2,200 and burning 300 on the treadmill each morning when I wake up.

I don't do much cardio when I'm bulking up, and to be fair over the last 8-9 years I've always trained hard but never really counted calories or done much cardio, so only now that I am actually counting and running deficits I'm noticing.

My training is push pull legs at the moment, I'm pushing every set to failure and there's a lot of volume in my training plan, at the moment I'm running this deficit and although I'm training hard I feel like I'm losing muscle. My girlfriend noticed too in calling out I've lost muscle and 'they feel soft'. Don't get me wrong, a few days of eating maintenance calories and my muscles will regain their hardness and feel a lot bigger, but I find when I run on a deficit I just cannot get that 'fullness' and slowly begin to lose muscle mass unfortunately.

That's why I've been thinking about running a test/ anavar cycle, to stay in a deficit, probably halve the deficit, and put on mass at the same time so I can 'lean gain' so to speak, if that makes sense?
 

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Oh, you're not losing muscle, you're just getting flat, glycogen depleted. That happens.

When you incorporate refeed days, you swell back up. That's completely normal.

If you want to take AAS to avoid this, that's a poor reason, in my opinion.
 

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Oh, and if you're doing high volume, every set to failure, that might be a bit too aggressive in a deficit.

Maybe try only the last set to failure, leave a couple in the tank on the sets leading up to it?
 
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Yes that makes complete sense to me now that you've mentioned it, I've just noticed for the first time in 10 years I'm not motivated to go the gym, because it feels like I'm pushing harder than I have and making little to no gains. I get it's all part of having a structured plan, and I can increase calories again, but I also want to stay lean as much as I can, knowing how reactive my body is to increased calories.

To be honest, with AAS, I've always been half in shape, never really ventured out of my comfort zone (typical office job, always looked good in a t shirt but never ripped or in actual shape), I've adopted this 'you only live once' mentality and I want to push myself, try new things and become the best version of myself. Training has always been one of my biggest passions but it's only recently I've started taking it serious with nutrition and having a structured plan, as well I want to try and build an increased level of 'manliness' and I was hoping a cycle will help that. The last reason is that I've been on Gh for 3 months now, I'm not seeing any results and so I'm going to stop it after I run out (still got a few months left), and I believe T synergises with Gh, so I thought I may as well get my money's worth while I can, worst case scenario I do one cycle, eat in a surplus and I lose the mass but gain the knowledge and experience for the future - unless I sound completely crazy?

Thanks again!
 

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There is talk that finasteride reduces gains. Can’t remember where i saw it, or if it’s true.
Re: injections: if ur cool with it, pinning everyday is the way to go to minimize the ups and downs emotionally.
Sometimes i want to jumpstart my sex drive or engage my sympathetic overdrive (aggression) so I’ll take a bigger shot than i normally would.
But for you at 200-300mg/ week, at least divide that into two shots per week.
 

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Training has always been one of my biggest passions but it's only recently I've started taking it serious with nutrition and having a structured plan, as well I want to try and build an increased level of 'manliness' and I was hoping a cycle will help that.
I can tell you from experience that unless your training and nutrition are on point, you'll be less than impressed with your steroid cycle.

I'm not against AAS obviously, but in my opinion, since you've just recently started taking your training and nutrition seriously, I'd ride that out for as much progress as I could.

That's the driver behind your progress, knowing what to do, how to do it, and applying it. The steroids are like a good tailwind pushing you along even faster. They're not magic, you need to be doing things correctly to get the most out of them.

I know several guys at my gym who are on gear, and don't even look like they lift. Their training is terrible, and who knows how they're fueling their bodies.

But to 'partially' answer your original question, in case you decide to go ahead with it anyway, definitely get bloodwork before anything, see where all your levels are at...Testosterone, CBC, CMP, Lipid Panel... Don't proceed with a cycle until you do this, as you may have excellent levels already, and are risking an already good thing.

Not to mention the side effect you're most worried about, the hair loss, which is genetic, but just like progress in the gym, AAS can accelerate that too. There are much greater concerns also.... Blood thickening, acne, potentially not recovering your own production, etc...

You don't get something for nothing.
 

MuscleMedicineMD

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My training is push pull legs at the moment, I'm pushing every set to failure and there's a lot of volume in my training plan, at the moment I'm running this deficit and although I'm training hard I feel like I'm losing muscle. My girlfriend noticed too in calling out I've lost muscle and 'they feel soft'. Don't get me wrong, a few days of eating maintenance calories and my muscles will regain their hardness and feel a lot bigger, but I find when I run on a deficit I just cannot get that 'fullness' and slowly begin to lose muscle mass unfortunately.
1st, congrats on your first post, thread! easy read, excellent start-->that's why Im replying fully.
2nd, congrats on training, counting calories, cardio. "just now" you are entering the world of BBing:)
*nearly everything you said I personally hear from new clients regularly, I explain: "it's just part of dieting/cutting bf%, dont listen to your feelings or ego, just embrace the flatness and simply suffer; the glycogen will be there on game day"-Bleu, pro-coach on Chicago pro 21'

Based on what you've written (couple confusing ex. above) it honestly Sounds like, truly getting into & dissecting your diet/nutrition/schedule/plan/training techniques would be very useful and helpful in achieving your goals, both LT and short term. But there isnt enough time here. we can try to cover those important details another time or via PM.
I will answer your direct questions as well as add comments/suggestions/info:​

"I want to try and avoid hair loss as much as possible, so I was thinking about a cycle with Test, Anavar and taking Finesteride on the side to offset the hairloss"

A: 5-AR blockade here at 0.5-1mg/day will decrease DHT by inhibiting the enzyme by up to 70% but DHT hyperconcentrates in the scalp via the remaining 30%, so if you have follicles genetically sensitive to androgens, you will still experience significant hairloss, so be aware. Test itself also cause HL directly, w/o DHT. Finasteride also comes with a host of other potential problems which you should be well versed on before taking.

- "I see 500mg/ week is recommended for Test, can I start lower or does this cause other issues? For example, could I start 200mg Test per week with 30mg Anavar daily with the 3iu of Gh I'm already taking, or does this sound like a setup for failure?"

A: of course you can and possibly should. starting lower and maximizing gains there is the best LT growth plan. My 1st real cycle @18yo, after playing around with the orals you mentioned as well as Primo, was Test 250mg wkly, 1ml shot. I transformed gaining 30lbs. Over the next 5-7yrs I remained in that sweet spot of 2-300mg while adding better Anabolics, but still LD, for similar reasons (I def didnt want to lose my hair in college!) Only now @37 w nice hair, do I use a more T & stronger andros. Age may play a role in pharmacodynamics but surely 300mg will skyrocket T levels for you to fully capitalize on!
Anavar=my first AAS@15-16yo for pro-sports, ideal at the time. but for BBing, I now realize it is extremely expensive relative to weak returns/marginal muscle gains, and simple layering it over T like it's part of your base, is not how I would run it.
Q: 1st- your goals and when? cutting w/ a deficit + cardio with muscle gains? "lean unicorn" lol

S: If you need anything PO at all (not likely), using an actual helpful mass gainer tapered in such a way, to complement the natural gradual reduction in responsiveness towards the later half the cycle (just 1ex. introduce oral after wk 6, x4wks; never entire cycle imo).
ie. LD Dbol/Anadrol would be good choices for mass (ie.25mg is fine), Tbol if you are still concerned about water retention/bloated look (which can largely be mitigated by your diet).
wtf..HL?? NO! Tho strong Androgens, they have much much lower affinities for the AR than DHT (which is hyperconc 5x!) and even Test (also higher conc), so the orals cannot compete to any noticeable degree. Thus, for 4wks I wouldnt worry about any EXTRA HL ontop of what Test/DHT is causing.

-" If I done 2-300 of Test Cypionate, would this just be one injection per week or is it important to spread it over 2 injections per week, regardless of the dose?"

A: 2 shots. It makes no difference in actual muscle gains, instead by reducing larger peaks and troughs in serum T concentrations, it helps lessen side effects such as lnc estrogen levels in the days immediately after your shot or increased emotionality. It gets a bit more complicated but lets leave it there today.

- "Should I get pre-cycle bloodwork, and if so will this determine how much test I should then take? Or is this only to ensure I get back to normal levels at the end?"

A: As a Physician, BBing coach, and AAS enthusiast, there is no doubt pre-cycle BW is of paramount importance, even more so as it's your 1st cycle! I strongly suggest my clients to get, pre, during, post BW.
*Having your pre cycle numbers for EVERYTHING, not just T, helps guide your clinician, defines YOUR 'normal' values, and will tell you how your physiologic parameters are effected by AAS use.
No, this is not used to dictate cycle T dosage, its the change/difference from baseline that is actually relative to muscle response, rather than absolute totals.

-"Side note: I'm currently taking 3iu of Gh per day, have been for the last 4 months, other than join pain every day I haven't noticed a huge difference in anything."

C: Is your GH real? even at 3iu, it is well known for allowing you to hold size & fullness better while dieting, so when you mentioned this particular problem, I needed to ask.
Obviously GH has a multitude of pos effects which at least some should be noticed over 4mos.
ex. Noticeable Improved Hair, skin, nail health is always touted at 2-3iu.
*If it happens to be 100% real, for sure, some people in the population have small genetic mutations (to keep it simple) which reduces the percent converted to IGFs. You would still experience fat loss effects, non IGF mediated.
 
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I can tell you from experience that unless your training and nutrition are on point, you'll be less than impressed with your steroid cycle.

I'm not against AAS obviously, but in my opinion, since you've just recently started taking your training and nutrition seriously, I'd ride that out for as much progress as I could.

That's the driver behind your progress, knowing what to do, how to do it, and applying it. The steroids are like a good tailwind pushing you along even faster. They're not magic, you need to be doing things correctly to get the most out of them.

I know several guys at my gym who are on gear, and don't even look like they lift. Their training is terrible, and who knows how they're fueling their bodies.

But to 'partially' answer your original question, in case you decide to go ahead with it anyway, definitely get bloodwork before anything, see where all your levels are at...Testosterone, CBC, CMP, Lipid Panel... Don't proceed with a cycle until you do this, as you may have excellent levels already, and are risking an already good thing.

Not to mention the side effect you're most worried about, the hair loss, which is genetic, but just like progress in the gym, AAS can accelerate that too. There are much greater concerns also.... Blood thickening, acne, potentially not recovering your own production, etc...

You don't get something for nothing.
Thank you very much for getting back to me, really appreciate the info!

To be fair, I would say my training and diet is relatively on point, wake up - fasted cardio burning 300 calories, I then do my day job and about 4pm I head to the gym for a heavy session, I'm just losing a lot of motivation recently as no matter how hard I train, I'm losing muscle (obviously it's great I'm gaining abs, but I am hugely motivated by feeling big, which I've lost).

With regards to bloodwork, do you have a recommended place to buy a testing kit online? I've seen a few places offer them with prices ranging from £30 - £100+ so not sure if the extra money is worth it or is just covering the company's hefty marketing budget?

Thanks again and hope you're having a good weekend!
 

CJ275

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Thank you very much for getting back to me, really appreciate the info!

To be fair, I would say my training and diet is relatively on point, wake up - fasted cardio burning 300 calories, I then do my day job and about 4pm I head to the gym for a heavy session, I'm just losing a lot of motivation recently as no matter how hard I train, I'm losing muscle (obviously it's great I'm gaining abs, but I am hugely motivated by feeling big, which I've lost).

With regards to bloodwork, do you have a recommended place to buy a testing kit online? I've seen a few places offer them with prices ranging from £30 - £100+ so not sure if the extra money is worth it or is just covering the company's hefty marketing budget?

Thanks again and hope you're having a good weekend!
Oh, you're in the UK. Not sure where to get bloodwork there, maybe @Trump could assist you there. He's also a cheeky Brit.

But £30—£100 seems reasonable compared to US pricing.
 

Trump

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Medichecks.com for blood work
 
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1st, congrats on your first post, thread! easy read, excellent start-->that's why Im replying fully.
2nd, congrats on training, counting calories, cardio. "just now" you are entering the world of BBing:)
*nearly everything you said I personally hear from new clients regularly, I explain: "it's just part of dieting/cutting bf%, dont listen to your feelings or ego, just embrace the flatness and simply suffer; the glycogen will be there on game day"-Bleu, pro-coach on Chicago pro 21'

Based on what you've written (couple confusing ex. above) it honestly Sounds like, truly getting into & dissecting your diet/nutrition/schedule/plan/training techniques would be very useful and helpful in achieving your goals, both LT and short term. But there isnt enough time here. we can try to cover those important details another time or via PM.
I will answer your direct questions as well as add comments/suggestions/info:​

"I want to try and avoid hair loss as much as possible, so I was thinking about a cycle with Test, Anavar and taking Finesteride on the side to offset the hairloss"

A: 5-AR blockade here at 0.5-1mg/day will decrease DHT by inhibiting the enzyme by up to 70% but DHT hyperconcentrates in the scalp via the remaining 30%, so if you have follicles genetically sensitive to androgens, you will still experience significant hairloss, so be aware. Test itself also cause HL directly, w/o DHT. Finasteride also comes with a host of other potential problems which you should be well versed on before taking.

- "I see 500mg/ week is recommended for Test, can I start lower or does this cause other issues? For example, could I start 200mg Test per week with 30mg Anavar daily with the 3iu of Gh I'm already taking, or does this sound like a setup for failure?"

A: of course you can and possibly should. starting lower and maximizing gains there is the best LT growth plan. My 1st real cycle @18yo, after playing around with the orals you mentioned as well as Primo, was Test 250mg wkly, 1ml shot. I transformed gaining 30lbs. Over the next 5-7yrs I remained in that sweet spot of 2-300mg while adding better Anabolics, but still LD, for similar reasons (I def didnt want to lose my hair in college!) Only now @37 w nice hair, do I use a more T & stronger andros. Age may play a role in pharmacodynamics but surely 300mg will skyrocket T levels for you to fully capitalize on!
Anavar=my first AAS@15-16yo for pro-sports, ideal at the time. but for BBing, I now realize it is extremely expensive relative to weak returns/marginal muscle gains, and simple layering it over T like it's part of your base, is not how I would run it.
Q: 1st- your goals and when? cutting w/ a deficit + cardio with muscle gains? "lean unicorn" lol

S: If you need anything PO at all (not likely), using an actual helpful mass gainer tapered in such a way, to complement the natural gradual reduction in responsiveness towards the later half the cycle (just 1ex. introduce oral after wk 6, x4wks; never entire cycle imo).
ie. LD Dbol/Anadrol would be good choices for mass (ie.25mg is fine), Tbol if you are still concerned about water retention/bloated look (which can largely be mitigated by your diet).
wtf..HL?? NO! Tho strong Androgens, they have much much lower affinities for the AR than DHT (which is hyperconc 5x!) and even Test (also higher conc), so the orals cannot compete to any noticeable degree. Thus, for 4wks I wouldnt worry about any EXTRA HL ontop of what Test/DHT is causing.

-" If I done 2-300 of Test Cypionate, would this just be one injection per week or is it important to spread it over 2 injections per week, regardless of the dose?"

A: 2 shots. It makes no difference in actual muscle gains, instead by reducing larger peaks and troughs in serum T concentrations, it helps lessen side effects such as lnc estrogen levels in the days immediately after your shot or increased emotionality. It gets a bit more complicated but lets leave it there today.

- "Should I get pre-cycle bloodwork, and if so will this determine how much test I should then take? Or is this only to ensure I get back to normal levels at the end?"

A: As a Physician, BBing coach, and AAS enthusiast, there is no doubt pre-cycle BW is of paramount importance, even more so as it's your 1st cycle! I strongly suggest my clients to get, pre, during, post BW.
*Having your pre cycle numbers for EVERYTHING, not just T, helps guide your clinician, defines YOUR 'normal' values, and will tell you how your physiologic parameters are effected by AAS use.
No, this is not used to dictate cycle T dosage, its the change/difference from baseline that is actually relative to muscle response, rather than absolute totals.

-"Side note: I'm currently taking 3iu of Gh per day, have been for the last 4 months, other than join pain every day I haven't noticed a huge difference in anything."

C: Is your GH real? even at 3iu, it is well known for allowing you to hold size & fullness better while dieting, so when you mentioned this particular problem, I needed to ask.
Obviously GH has a multitude of pos effects which at least some should be noticed over 4mos.
ex. Noticeable Improved Hair, skin, nail health is always touted at 2-3iu.
*If it happens to be 100% real, for sure, some people in the population have small genetic mutations (to keep it simple) which reduces the percent converted to IGFs. You would still experience fat loss effects, non IGF mediated.
Good morning!

Ok so firstly thank you SO much for providing all this information, it's so helpful. I was paying a PT £50 a session who told me to just do my own research and I had an online trainer who charged me a fortune and didn't give me much info either, so having somebody who is willing to offer up their time to genuinely try and help is appreciated a lot!

Let me reply on each point as it keeps it clean and easy to read.

- Understood! The online trainer I had said you can take finesteride for the period of your cycle and PCT then stop, which should mitigate it's libido effects, do you know if that holds truth?

- LOL about my goals, so I know the 2 go against each other but I would love to gain mass while staying pretty lean, at the moment I'm chasing 2 rabbits and not getting either if you see what I mean, hoping the cycle can aid with this. There's no rush but achieving this in 12 weeks would be great

- Brilliant, I posted a reply just now asking if there is a recommended service for blood work, as I see the prices vary a lot online!

- Honestly, I couldn't say, I do get quite a bit of pain off it (I know this may sound ridiculous), but you know the joint pain like arthritis? I notice if I double up my glucosamine and magnesium/ Omega 3 it tends to go away, I'm not sure if that's an indicator it's legit? Again, this may be a stupid thing to say).

Would it help if I uploaded a couple of photographs of where I'm at now and where I've been able to get to natural?

I've honestly spent so much trying to get some decent advice so I can't thank you enough!
 
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Thank you CJ and Trump! Just seen the recommendation for Medichecks - thank you!

Really appreciate it!
 

CJ275

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- LOL about my goals, so I know the 2 go against each other but I would love to gain mass while staying pretty lean, at the moment I'm chasing 2 rabbits and not getting either if you see what I mean, hoping the cycle can aid with this. There's no rush but achieving this in 12 weeks would be great
I'd like to speak on this, from my personal experience.

It can be done, but 12 weeks is simply unrealistic, especially for a non professional, as it's their job and they're willing to use much more risky compounds and use other unhealthy tactics. If you're willing to stretch out your time frame to many months/years, and be really diligent and dedicated, it can be done. (I'm assuming we're talking about a decent amount of muscle gain you're looking for)

At least from my experience, you're much better off picking one of the two, and putting your best effort into that one before maintaining a bit, then moving on to the other. Whereas you state that you're pretty lean, I'm willing to be you'd be best served by trying to slowly grow.

Definitely throw up some pics. A detailed workout and nutrition plan would be helpful to see. We all think we have everything dialed in, but far more often than not, we actually don't. There might be some low hanging fruit just sitting there waiting to be picked off.
 
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I'd like to speak on this, from my personal experience.

It can be done, but 12 weeks is simply unrealistic, especially for a non professional, as it's their job and they're willing to use much more risky compounds and use other unhealthy tactics. If you're willing to stretch out your time frame to many months/years, and be really diligent and dedicated, it can be done. (I'm assuming we're talking about a decent amount of muscle gain you're looking for)

At least from my experience, you're much better off picking one of the two, and putting your best effort into that one before maintaining a bit, then moving on to the other. Whereas you state that you're pretty lean, I'm willing to be you'd be best served by trying to slowly grow.

Definitely throw up some pics. A detailed workout and nutrition plan would be helpful to see. We all think we have everything dialed in, but far more often than not, we actually don't. There might be some low hanging fruit just sitting there waiting to be picked off.
Thanks CJ, I completely understand!

To be fair, even if I cannot reach my goals in the next year, being on the journey is enough for me at the moment!

So I've uploaded some photos to give you an idea, I'll cover off each one:
- The one at the beach was on and off training, I'm not in great shape, not doing cardio, eating what I like but training hard on weights (I was doing 1 day per muscle group at this time, not push/ pull legs)

- The 2 professional photographs I had been dieting for about 2 months after that first photo, doing cardio every day and fasting until 2pm, eating window about 2-8pm but in a deficit

I then let me diet slip for about 4 weeks (not hugely, but I lost the definition I had achieved in my stomach) and then I started and dieting training properly again about 4 weeks ago.

- The last photographs in the apartment are taken today, I would say for somebody training 6 times a week weights, doing cardio daily and tracking calories I don't have much to shout about.

Here's my training plan:
Pull day
Pull ups (overhead wide grip) - 1 cluster set of 30
Narrow grip pull down - 3 sets of 10-12
Deadlifts - 3 sets 8-10
Low cable row - 3 sets of 12-15
Single arm DB row - cluster set of 30 reps
Face pulls - 3 x 12
Single arm dB curl - 3 x 12
Barbcell curl - 2 x 12 then 1 x 20 cluster rest.

Push day
- Include DB 3 x 8
- Flat DB - 3 x 10
- Neutral grip DB - 3 x 12 (2nd bench position up)
- DB Shoulder press (2nd bench position down) - 3 x 12
- Lateral raises - 3 x 12
- Prime grip tricep - 3 x 12
- Overhead tricep extension - 3 x 12

Legs I don't have my plan with me but it's mostly squats, hack squats, leg extensions and hamstring curls/ calves.

I'm repeating this twice a week with 1 day off, on top of cardio in the morning.

For my diet I'm hitting the following: (total calories, Protein, Carbs & Fat). Breakfast is about 100g oats and banana, lunch is x2 oven chicken breast in a wrap (processed food), then x4 eggs (2 whites) with buttered toast, and then evening meal is usually chicken, potatoes and vegetables, I hit the macros below.

Thank you again!

2279.55​
143.15​
226.7​
87.62​
572.6​
906.8​
788.58​
 

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CJ275

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So if I'm reading that correctly, your view of proper eating habits is a 16/8 fast every day, no protein in the first meal of the day, only complete protein sources are chicken and eggs, and very little variety of foods.

You also weight train 6 days per week, and do cardio every day.

Is that accurate?
 

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I have to ask.... Is the head to toe tattoos indicative of you having a general body dysmorohia issue, meaning that no matter what, you'll never be satisfied with your appearance?

Not asking to sound like an ass, just curious if there may be an underlying psychological issue that should be addressed?

I of course could be 100% wrong, but I think it was worth asking.
 
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