The following article was written by JimmyInkedUp
What Is Stacking?
The infamous steroids stack; what is it and what is it’s purpose? A steroid stack is the combining of various steroids where the ultimate goal is the sum effects are greater than that of the individual sum of its parts. Basically it is combining steroids where the ultimate goal is 2+2=5. It is, however, more than this. Not only can the combined effects be greater but also the side effects can be reduced as well.
People have been stacking steroids from very early on in the steroid game. It did not take long for steroid users to realize that by combining various steroids the results of these steroids could be compounded. Almost a synergistic effect whereby the user could ultimate take in fewer milligrams of steroids per week and achieve greater results.
There are several reasons one might stack steroids. Some might say stacking is inevitable as it is believed by many (and not incorrectly so) that a Testosterone base must be present in order to replace the endogenous production of biological testosterone which ceases upon administration of steroids. Thus any other addition of any other steroid would thereby create a stack. While this is true it goes further than that. It was found that by stacking steroids the results could be increased. For example it is fairly well accepted that 500 mg of Testosterone combined with 500 mg of Nandrolone will yield greater gains than 1000 mg of Testosterone alone. Why is this? It could be as simple as Nandrolone being more potent than Testosterone thus the gains are greater. So how can you intelligently form a steroid stack that will offer this 2+2=5 effect while reducing potential side-effects?
In order to address this I think first you have to take a step back and look at the 3 steroid bases different steroids are derived from, see how they differ, and see how combining them intelligently can yield much greater benefit in the area of both gains as well as the reduction of side effects.
First on the list would be Test based steroids. Examples of some of these would be Dianabol, Testosterone, Equipoise and Turinabol. Test based steroids are exactly as the name suggests, they are all based on Testosterone. Most of them, like Testosterone, aromatize to Estrogen in varying degrees. This is something to keep in mind when using a Test-based steroid in your stack so you can plan for side-effect prevention and management by using an aromatase inhibitor such as Arimidex or Aromasin to manage your estrogen. For more information regarding Estrogen management, check out the links below:
The steroids all have a 19-Nor Testosterone base. This is a smaller group essentially made up of Nandrolone and Trenbolone and their various esters. It has been said these steroids are Progestins, with affinity to the Progesterone receptor and are also believed to increase Prolactin. Again, something that needs to be considered when planning a cycle. A Dopamine Agonist (DA) such as Cabergoline or Pramipexole can at least be kept on hand so that Prolactin sides can be controlled if they arise. These steroids do not aromatize to Estrogen to a significant degree (if at all). This does not, however, mean they do not impact Estrogen levels. Through indirect means it has been shown that Nandrolone increases aromatase expression and thus E2 levels. Tren is somewhat a beast of its own with a host of sides unique to it and also seems to compound the sides of Test-based steroids it may be stacked with. For more information regarding Prolactin management, check out the links below:
These steroids all have DHT as a base. They do not aromatize to Estrogen at all. The primary side-effects associated with DHT based steroids seems to show especially in those prone to male pattern baldness. DHT is the androgen primarily associated with hair loss and the introduction of DHT based steroids may cause this side-effect. There are several ways to combat this, topical anti androgens such as topical Spiro and Nizoral shampoo can be used. Examples of DHT based steroids in include Winstrol , Primobolan, Anavar, Masteron and a few others. For more information regarding controlling hair-loss, check out the links below:
- How Can You Combat Male Pattern Baldness?
- Which Drugs Are the Most Effective for Preventing Balding?
The First Cycle
Okay, so we now know the 3 different steroid bases, but what does that all mean when it comes to stacking? How can we take that information and apply it to effective stacking?
Many believe (myself included) that the first steroid cycle should be a Testosterone only cycle. There are many reasons for this and I will outline a few of my reasons for believing this is a logical first cycle choice.
First of all, Testosterone is an endogenously produced hormone. The exogenous Testosterone we introduce will perform the same functions as our endogenous Testosterone does. We already have this exact hormone present in our body, by using it for our first stack we are simply increasing the amount of Testosterone present. This steroid is considered the father of all steroids and the base for all steroid stacks. Primarily for the reasons I just mentioned – the body requires it. When we take steroids our body stops producing it, it only makes sense to introduce it to, at the very minimum, replace what our body would be producing. Testosterone also aromatizes (as do all Test base steroids) to Estrogen so when taking it we must manage Estrogen to avoid unhealthy and unpleasant side effects. As you go on you will realize while there are many sides we may have to manage, none are more important or more crucial than proper Estrogen management. We really need to learn how to manage Estrogen in our bodies, the sooner we do so the better off we will be. It is not only key to managing E2 related sides directly but the key to indirectly managing sides that other “base” steroids can create. In addition to all of this Testosterone is quite simply an extremely effective steroid as well. It works and it works well.
So, to sum up, it will be the base for all future stacks because it is extremely effective, required by the body, and since learning how to manage the side-effects will be crucial going forward – it simply makes sense to use Testosterone for our first cycle. It also makes sense to use it alone so its effects on us can be isolated and we can effectively measure the impact the addition of other steroids alongside of testosterone can have on us personally when it comes to building muscle.
For more information regarding the first steroid cycle and how to interpret blood work, check out the links below:
Looking at Stacks
So you have run your first cycle, let’s say Testosterone only at 500 mg per week. You managed your E2 on that cycle using an AI such as Arimidex or Aromasin. Along with your AI you ran HCG at a low dose throughout the cycle. You performed a proper PCT (Nolvadex and Clomid for example) starting at the right time and you recovered well. Your diet and training was on point, you gained well, managed sides effectively and recovered well. All of this must be confirmed with blood work. Pre-cycle blood work to establish baseline staring numbers, mid-cycle blood work to make sure that your E2 was controlled properly and post-PCT blood work to show you recovered HPTA function.
So what next as far as your next cycle? Well you could simply do another Test only cycle, which is fine. Perhaps a slight dosage increase, perhaps even the same dosage. You might use an oral such as Dianabol this time for the first 4-6 weeks to kick start your cycle. All of which are good and logical options. That being said you could also put together a stack to see what all the fuss is about.
When looking at your first steroid stack I would take a look at the other 2 bases of steroids and make a selection from one of the 2. You will have your Test based steroid in the stack in the form of Testosterone, of course. You know how you respond to it, you know how to properly manage your E2 using an AI at 500 mg per week. This is all valuable information and knowledge that you can take with you and apply when designing your first stack.
Now, looking at the 2 other steroid bases available and considering the effects these bases have to offer you can set about making your decision. Now both 19-NOR steroids are very interesting compounds. They are both very effective at building mass, however Nandrolone is the milder of the 2 compounds with less inherent sides, yet is still a very potent anabolic yielding excellent gains. Nandrolone would be the first of the 19-NOR steroids I would suggest trying. It’s logical to gauge how you respond to Nandrolone before considering a stack with Trenbolone. What about DHT based steroids? Well, DHT based steroids are very interesting in that they don’t really offer astounding gains, but they do offer some excellent effects that we may desire. They are androgenic but do not aromatize to Estrogen. The best mass building DHT based steroids in my opinion would be Anadrol, Anavar and Winstrol. The rest only make a real impact on your physique when you are at a very low bodyfat percentage. One could generalize and say DHT based steroids as a group offer more of an aesthetic benefit rather than a pure mass benefit (with the obvious exception of Anadrol).
The Second Cycle
So all the above said what would I suggest? Well I’d suggest a Test and Deca Stack. 500 mg Test per week with 400 mg Deca per week. Your AI dose should be the same as your Test only cycle to start. Now, one thing you need be aware of is Deca upregulates aromatase expression so it can result in higher E2 levels than the Test only cycle you used previously. This may result in the need for a slight increase in your AI. It may not, but it is something you need to be aware of. This is one of those things where the proper knowledge enables you to be on the lookout and be proactive rather than reactive. Also, as I mentioned in the 19-NOR description, 19-NOR steroids can increase Prolactin. This is often evidenced by sexual dysfunction issues or lactation. This can be taken care of by using a Dopamine Agonist such as Pramipexole or Cabergoline. You should have a Dopamine Agonist on hand when running Deca or Tren. That being said, first and foremost the key to side-effect management begins with E2 management. If you manage E2 properly, you can avoid a host of other potential sides. The knowledge you gained in your first Test only cycle will be invaluable in helping you to properly manage Estrogen. Use it. Also your PCT experience will come in handy as well as will your HCG usage. As you can see that first Test only cycle will give you information and experience that will be invaluable to you from here on out.
Third Cycle and Beyond
Okay, so you have run your Test only cycle and perhaps a variation of the Test only cycle with increased dosages. Then you run your Test and 19-NOR cycle. You know how to manage E2, you are educated on HCG use and proper PCT. You know how you respond to Test as well as a 19-NOR. All is going well with your cycling. So what’s next? Well perhaps it is time to incorporate a DHT based steroid into the mix. You have a god foundation of experience and education running Test as well as Test and a 19-NOR. Maybe it’s time to see how a DHT based steroid can fit into the mix.
So which DHT based steroid should you start with? Well, as I stated earlier, many offer aesthetic changes rather than muscle building properties. There are exceptions, I would suggest perhaps using one of the 2 steroids that offer these exceptions. So perhaps the next stack might consist of 500 mg Test, 400 mg Deca and 60-80 mg of Anavar or Winstrol for 8 weeks. Adding the DHT based steroid in to the mix will now allow you to have a stack made up of steroids from all 3 steroid bases. The DHT addition will do a few things – it will also NOT do a few things. Let me clear one thing up here and now, no DHT steroid is or can be a replacement for an AI. DHT based steroids will shift the androgen/estrogen ratio which may lessen the likelihood of gyno, they will not however, manage your Estrogen levels. You need to include an AI for that. With the experience you have acquired along the way you now have a pretty good idea what that AI dosage will be. The sides of DHT based steroids are mainly of concern to those that are prone to male pattern baldness. Now is a good time to mention that when stacking steroids, you often aren’t just stacking up side effects or the potential for them. Sometimes you actually offset the potential for side effects. For example Winstrol occupies but does not activate the Progesterone receptor. Deca is a Progestin. Using Winstrol with Deca may alleviate Progesterone effects because the Winstrol will actually prevent the Deca from eliciting it’s effects on the Progesterone receptor. Conversely, Winstrol is noted for making your joints sore and achy, Deca is known for relieving joint pain discomfort. Combining the 2 allows you to get benefits of both while lessening the side-effects of the other! Pretty amazing synergy huh? You see the benefit isn’t just more muscle sometimes, you can get other beneficial and synergistic effects in the form of side effect reduction.
So there we have an example of a Test only cycle, a Test and 19-NOR stack and a Test, 19-NOR and DHT stack. As you can see, a little knowledge goes a long way and nothing will prove more valuable than your own personal experience and knowing how you react to each compound. For example, over time I have found I do very well with a lower Test dose, a higher 19-NOR dose and a moderate DHT dose. This works well for me. Knowing the different steroid bases as well as the different effects of each individual steroid as well as their interactions with one another allows you to intelligently combine and stack them until you find the stack that work optimally for you. One thing is for sure, you can make 2+2=5, you can reduce sides, and you can increase gains. Take the time to educate yourself on the 3 steroid bases, the steroids that fall within each, and their individual effects. A systematic approach will allow you to try different stacks that make sense based on your goals and you can truly find what works best for you while reducing side-effects, associated risks and increase your gains as well. There is a method to the madness and a reason people make the suggestions they do as far as first cycles and first stacks. The knowledge is cumulative and as it is gained it allows you to make best use of the compound selected and allows you to learn your body, how it responds, and what is required to manage the sides. If done properly early on, the learning curve improves dramatically, as will your results and the pleasantness of your steroid using experience.
Buying Steroids, AI’s, SERM and PCT Drugs
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