The following information was taken from an article written by Marcus300
These tips are for the moderate steroid user who cycles off after standard 10-15 week cycles. These basic methods will help to maintain a degree of muscularity while in the ‘off period’.
One of the areas of focus is the HPTA (Hypothalamus-pituitary-testicular axis). Recovering the HPTA is vital to maintaining gains, typically a 10-15 week AAS cycle will cause full suppression/shutdown regardless of any strategies we might undertake to prevent it.
The goal is to get natural hormone production back to normal as quickly as possible to create a good environment to hold on to the muscle mass gained from the cycle. This is why post cycle therapy is important.
Shorter cycles are becoming more popular because there is a chance you will have testicular function immediately or very shortly after the cycle has stopped.
We must take appropriate steps to reduce estrogen binding in the hypothalamus. Post-cycle estrogen can be a huge problem for some and will have a negative impact on recovery just like androgens.
Problems can occur if you stayed on cycle for too long or persistently use low suppression drugs (Anavar, Turinabol etc.) to ‘bridge’ cycles together. This will have an effect on your HPTA and recovery. The common ancillary drugs which will support the PCT and recovery period are Clomid, Nolvadex, Arimidex, Aromasin and HCG.
Please check out the following articles for further information around PCT and E2:
- First Steroid Cycle and PCT Guide
- The Estrogen Handbook
- Everything You Need to Know About Controlling Your E2
- What Causes Gynecomastia and How Can It Be Prevented?
Nutrition is another area which needs to be looked at carefully during the recovery period. After a cycle, androgen levels are going to be considerably lower than normal, even when the proper recovery and PCT protocols are followed. You will have likely gained a good chunk of weight and lean body mass during the cycle so it’s a good idea to calculate and establish the amount of calories you now need to maintain your weight. If you don’t do this there is a good chance that you will be under-eating in which case you will lose strength, muscle mass and muscular fullness very quickly.
I would recommend eating in a slight calorie surplus for the first 4-6 weeks when coming off cycle. Dietary fat has an influence on androgen secretion, monounsaturated and saturated fat can raise testosterone levels. Find foods with good fats and incorporate them in to your diet. Try to eat whole, unprocessed foods when possible. As testosterone production returns and recovery is nearly complete, calorie intake can be lowered to maintenance. I would never recommend starting a cut during the recovery period as you will lose a considerable amount of muscle mass and strength very quickly, which will, of course, be very demotivating.
If you have been training intensely during the ‘on period’ you can help to maintain the new found gains by making a slight alteration to the way you are training. One of the main things I would recommend is to implement more rest days to make sure your CNS gets an opportunity to recover – during the recovery period I would suggest 3-4 days of lifting per week, maximum. Lower the volume a little bit compared to when you were on cycle, if you were doing 12 sets per muscle group on cycle, look at dropping that to around 8 or 9 sets. Keep the training sessions down to around 30-45 minutes and incorporate longer rest periods in between sets. As always, the main focus should be on the basic, heavy, compound movements with an emphasis on proper form and control.
None are completely necessary, there are some which might be worth looking at though. Creatine is very cheap, has been studied extensively and has been proven to be beneficial. Whey Protein works out to be good value for money and is convenient, especially if you struggle to meet your protein requirement from whole foods alone. A good quality multi-vitamin and multi-mineral may be worth investing in if you don’t have a massively varied diet. If you used oral steroids during your cycle I would recommend looking at N-Acetyl Cysteine and TUDCA as both have been shown to greatly improve liver values in steroid users. As far as ‘Natural Testosterone Boosters’and Pre-Workout supplements go, don’t bother – they’re a waste of money.