What Can You Expect from Your First Steroid Cycle?

The following article was written by user ‘qes’ of r/steroids Reddit

A question I hear often from people who are considering their first cycle is ‘What can I expect to gain?’ It is pretty much impossible to answer that question as there are tons of variables which will effect your results – how well will you respond to the drugs? How intense is your training? Are you on point with your nutrition? Do you get enough rest?

User ‘qes’ from r/steroids recently made a post giving a full overview of his first cycle including DEXA scans and bloods. In my opinion this gives a rough idea on what you might expect from a first cycle if you are consistent with your training and diet and have average genetics. Did he look like an IFBB pro by the end of it? Fuck no. But he gained a good amount of quality LBM and strength that’s for sure.

Everything below has been extracted from his original post on Reddit.

Cycle

Weeks Compound Dose
1 – 11 Test-E 225mg E3D (525mg/week)
12 – 20 Test-E 250mg E3D (583mg/week)
10 – 11.5 Anavar 70mg ED (35mg 2x/day)
16 – 20 Anavar 50mg ED (25mg 2x/day)
  • Age: 35
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Start weight: 180lbs
  • End weight: 210lbs
  • Start body fat percentage (DEXA): 12.7%
  • End body fat percentage (DEXA): 10.1%

My first shot at Anavar had to be discontinued due to pain in my midsection, seemed like kidneys. The later run has been ok with the addition of 6g Taurine per day and 2x cranberry concentrate per day. I tried supplementing about 1g potassium citrate per day but it caused noticeable subcutaneous water retention and turned out to not be necessary.

I did get a decent amount of bacne (back, shoulders, and some on face too). The higher dose of test starting in week 12 definitely made it worse. Blood pressure increased a bit. It seemed to already be kind of high at 130/80-85 and on cycle it’s been 140-145/85-90. Heart rate is usually about 70. I use a decent monitor to check it. Other notable side-effects were severe lethargy when my estrogen was low and accelerated fingernail growth.

Blood work

Week 6

Week 20

Estrogen

I tried to ramp up by feel for sides – creaky joints primarily. Do not recommend. After my experience I recommend getting estradiol checked with blood work early and often. After a few weeks at 12.5mg EOD I started to get serious lethargy which I felt was my E2 drifting lower so I switched to E2.5D.

What’s next?

I’m dropping to a cruise dose of Test-E – 175mg/week then see with bloodwork where that puts me. I plan on cruising, and doing some cutting, for 3-4 months (longer if bloods dictate).

I’ll likely try DNP at 250-375mg/day for 2-3 weeks during my cut.

After the cruise I have enough Tren-A on hand for 12 weeks at 50mg ED so I’ll probably do that, maybe with 350mg/week of Test-E, and try to bulk again.

After that I plan to cruise for a bit and then PCT off.

DEXA

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According to DEXA scans I lost 1.5 lbs fat and gained 30+ lbs lean. Personally, I find that hard to believe, but my weight has definitely gone up 30 lbs and as far as I understand it the total fat measurements should be reasonably accurate. I also would have guessed I was about 2% more body fat.

Comparison pics

It does look like I’m a bit leaner, but it sure doesn’t look like I put on 30 lean pounds. I expect I will lose a fair chunk of water weight as I drop to cruise levels of testosterone and I of course did not put on 30 pounds of muscle but honestly I’m underwhelmed and a bit disappointed with the visual results. My wife and my girlfriend (yes, /r/polyamory) both say I’m nuts and I’ve changed a lot. I’m not sure how much is body dsymorphia, poor lighting and angles for pics, and how much I’m right to say the results were mediocre.

Nutrition

When Goal Intake Rate Weight Length TDEE
Pre-cycle Cut 2100 kcal -1.5 lbs -15 lbs 10 weeks 2850 kcal
On-cycle Bulk 3600-4100 kcal +1.5 lbs +30 lbs 20 weeks ~3100 kcal

Weight graph

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Macros

Protein: 200-220g
Fat: 80-100g
Carbs: 500-600g carbs
Fiber: 80-100g
Sodium: 2000-3000 mg
Potassium: 4000-5000 mg

Meal Timing

Breakfast at 9:30, lunch at 2, afternoon meal at 6:30, workout in the evening, and then eat about 2 meals worth between 10-midnight. Each meal has a balanced macro ratio. I almost never snack between meals.

Food

Staples: oatmeal, greek yogurt, milk, frozen berries, bananas, tilapia, cod, rice (brown, red, black, wild), lentils, quinoa, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, brussel sprouts, protein bars (Kirland & Fortix)
I tend to eat the same foods a lot for long periods. Last year it was a lot of chicken and bean burritos instead of fish and rice. Same shake for breakfast, afternoon, and night. Same lunch almost every weekday, often the same foods for dinner as lunch. Bacon and eggs on the weekends. On bulk though, especially this one, I ate more foods outside my staple, ate out more (but still not that much overall), and had more days where I didn’t track foods and calories as precisely as I usually do.
I supplement a few things. Fish Oil 2x/day, vitamin D, lecithin, zinc & magnesium, cranberry concentrate, when on the anavar 500mg TUDCA before bed. 12.5mg ephedrine and 150mg caffeine each morning on weekdays (skip weekends).

Programming

Programming is probably my weak point. I work hard and push myself, particularly on progressing weight, but I don’t do particularly high volume. I do think 5 work sets gave me better results than 4 work sets has been but I had lowered it to try and reduce my overall workout time.

Warm-up

5 minutes of light cardio and 15 minutes of various stretches and body weight squats.

Cardio

After lifting, 20 minutes of medium intensity steady-state cardio on an elliptical 2-3 times per week.

Monday

Lift Weight Sets x Reps RPE Rest Warm-ups (kg x reps)
Highbar ATG Squat 125kg 4×6 9-10 2 min 40×10, 60×8, 80×6, 102.5×4
Barbell Calf Raise 145kg 2×20 8 2 min none
Bench (paused) 62.5kg 4×10 8-9 1.5 min none
Pendlay Row 57.5kg 3×10 8 1.5 min none

Wednesday

Lift Weight Sets x Reps RPE Rest Warm-ups (kg x reps)
OHP 70kg 4×6 9-10 2 min 30×12, 40×10, 47.5×8, 55×6, 62.5×4
Chin-ups 12.5kg+BW 4×6 9-10 2 min none
Dips 25kg+BW 3×8 9 2 min BWx8
Cable Face Pull 82 lbs 3×8 8-9 1.5 min none

Friday

Lift Weight Sets x Reps RPE Rest Warm-ups (kg x reps)
Highbar ATG Squat 140kg 3×3 9 2.5 min 40×10, 60×8, 80×6, 102.5×5, 125×4
OHP (paused) 42.5kg 4×10 8-9 1.5 min none
Deadlift 135kg 2×8 8-9 2 min none
Barbell Curl 35kg 3×8 8-9 1.5 min none
Ab Wheel Rollout 3×12 8 1.5 min none

Saturday

Lift Weight Sets x Reps RPE Rest Warm-ups (kg x reps)
Bench 105kg 4×6 9-10 2 min 50×12, 60×10, 70×8, 80×6, 92.5×4
Pendlay Row 95kg 4×6 9-10 2 min 40×10, 55×8, 67.5×6, 80×4
Lying Leg Curls 36.25kg 3×8 8-9 1.5 min 25×8
One-armed Band Pec Fly 3×15 8-9 1.5 min none

Progression

Lift Increment (weekly) Total Added Added per week
Squat 2.5kg 35kg 1.75kg
Deadlift 2.5kg 35kg 1.75kg
Bench 2.5kg 25kg 1.25kg
Row 2.5kg 25kg 1.25kg
Calf Raise 2.5kg 35kg 1.75kg
OHP 1.25kg 17.5kg 0.875kg
Dips 1.25kg 15kg+BW (13.5kg) 0.75kg (1.425kg)
Chin ups 0.625kg 7.5kg+BW (13.5kg) 0.375kg (1kg)

In the last half of the cycle there were weeks where I didn’t feel ready to progress and repeated the last week’s weight. Dips and chin-ups were more like every other week all along. Also, particularly towards the end, I used 1.25kg per week progression instead of 2.5kg on squat, bench, and row. Accessories I just upped whenever sets felt less than RPE 8.

Overall I hit my target at least half of the weeks. I really didn’t expect that linear progress the entire way and I think my strength gain for the cycle was good.

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