Post Cycle Therapy
Steroids and steroid-based drugs appeared as the game changers in the world of athletes, bodybuilders and people who like to train. They proved that their effects are not just potent, but long-lasting as well. Steroids can help people change their body for the better in the way they couldn’t have imagined. And for the people who are not such huge fans of anabolics in particular, this industry created substances which operate differently, but with similar effects, such as SARMs and prohormones. However, anybody who uses steroids or any of these substances knows that it is not as easy as it seems. Using steroids doesn’t simply create the muscles out of nowhere. It is the addition to regular trainings, healthy diet and sticking to the schedule. On top of this, steroids create a significant strain on the body and organism and come with some mild to severe side effects. This is why they are usually taken in cycles which is an on-off strategy of taking steroids for a couple of weeks, after which comes a break. But, these breaks are also not easy for our organism. Therefore, the researchers found the way to help our system face the difficulties which come in the periods of taking the break from steroids. You are now about to find out how post cycle therapy works.
Why are Steroids Taken in Cycles?
Different people use different strategies when using steroids. This is most commonly related to the reaction of their organism to a particular type of steroids or their training routine. However, the most popular and widespread method is using them in steroids cycles.
One of the reasons for choosing this routine, is simply because of the way steroids work. After we’ve been taking them for a couple of weeks, or even months, the steroids begin to lose their effects. For example, you’ve been using them for 10 or 12 weeks, which is how long a standard cycle takes. All of a sudden, you stop seeing the increase in the muscle volume, in the speed the muscles are built, and in your overall performance at the gym. This means that you are in the phase of stagnation. Sometimes you will still notice the effects of steroids, but they will be insignificant compared to the ones you had the week before. Your body reached a plateau. It got used to having this substance in the organism, and no longer reacts to it in the way it reacted before. This is why these on-off stages are absolutely crucial for the people who are serious about their training routine and taking steroids. The same phenomenon happens if you opt for any similar substance, such as prohormones.
Additionally, cycles allow professional athletes to time their schedule in accordance with anti-doping tests. Tests are performed regularly, often in the predetermined time, and when the testing period comes, no athlete wants to be caught red-handed, as taking steroids is strictly forbidden. If they plan their cycles carefully, they can keep using the steroids, as long as they have enough time for their organism to get cleared of synthetic substances.
It is also worth taking into account that steroids and steroid-related drugs come with various side effects. The most severe ones are observed in the cases of prolonged use, which is an additional reason why taking them periodically in cycles is the best option. Some of the milder symptoms are frequent mood changes, anxiety and depression, insomnia, decrease of sex drive, rash behavior, appearance of acne, weight gain. More serious consequences are baldness, testicles shrinking, having painful erections, developing female breast tissue, and liver damage. Additionally, in women they can cause voice turning deep, growing facial and body hair, breasts getting smaller and severe disruptions in the menstrual cycle. Having in mind the seriousness of these side effects, once we opt to use steroids, we have to make sure we are taking them responsibly, and with adequate post cycle therapy.
What is a Post Cycle Therapy?
When steroids and similar substances are consumed for some period of time, our body adapts to the new circumstances and starts regulating the natural production of hormones. For example, when somebody consumes anabolic steroids for a few weeks, his body decreases or completely stops producing male hormone in order to avoid hormones reaching an overwhelming levels. This mechanism, while fascinating because of our organism’s ability to detect the surplus of hormones and regulate the amount, at the same time can lead to severe side effects. Once the athlete is in the period of not taking hormones, his body can be in a complete disarray. The fact that the organism no longer gets synthetic hormones and the natural production is reduced, leads to the phase of not having sufficient hormones in the organism. This leads to side effects such as testicles shrinking, losing sex drive and having painful erections. Additionally, when the production of testosterone is decreased, the production of a female hormone estrogen increases significantly. This can cause the development of the condition called gynecomastia when men develop female’s breast tissue, and also to annulling some of the effects of steroids through quickly gaining weight and losing muscle mass.
Apart from female hormones, two other substances increase in the organism fighting the lack of testosterone. One of them is cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone, which has the ability to decrease and destroy the muscles. The other one is SHBG which is the abbreviation for sex hormone-binding globulin. This is a glycoprotein which has the ability to bind to androgens and estrogens. In the absence of male hormones, the levels of SHBG increases considerably. This decreases the amount of free testosterone, which leads to infertility, erectile dysfunction and loss of sex drive.
In order to avoid all these consequences as a result of consuming anabolics, post cycle therapy was invented. The organism has the ability to recover and restore normal hormonal levels on its own in many cases. However, this is a long process which takes a few months, and it puts our organism through an overwhelming struggle.
Supplements which are used as post cycle therapy immensely help our organism restore the balance more efficiently and more quickly. Post cycle therapy lasts approximately six weeks, which is the period when steroids are not used. Apart from enhancing the natural production of testosterone, PCT maintains the proper functioning of the internal organs. Additionally, it limits the production of substances such as cortisol and SHBG, thus reduce side effects, and preserve the gains we’ve got from using the steroids.
The Best Post Cycle Therapy
Now that we’ve understood that taking post cycle therapy is an absolute must in order to stay in good shape after using steroids or any steroid-based substance, we need to understand what the best choices for PCT are.
Nolvadex is one of the most popular PCT supplements. It belongs to the group of Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs). It is originally produced for the purpose of treating the breast cancer by reducing estrogen, necessary for the growth and spread of cancer. This substance smartly targets estrogen receptors and binds to them. Therefore, it disables estrogen from binding to the same receptors in the breasts. This effect is very useful during PCT as it eliminates the risk of developing female breast tissue. At the same time this supplement can stir the estrogen activity in other parts of the body, especially in the liver. This activity balances the cholesterol levels which preserve normal functioning of the liver. The substance is taken by mount, usually four weeks in a row.
HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin)
HCG supplement is based on the natural hormone found in women. It is produced once the women gets pregnant and enables testing for pregnancy. Apart from being used as PCT, this hormone is prescribed for treating conditions such as hypogonadism and low testosterone levels in men. The key to success lies in the fact that HCG operates similarly to luteinizing hormone (LH) which enhances the normal production of testosterone. Boosting testosterone assists the organism when trying to reach normal hormonal level. However, HCG is rarely taken alone. The best option is combining it with one of the available SERMs.
Mesterolone is most frequently sold under the brand name Proviron. This quite unique substance is used as on-cycle substance for boosting muscle mass and improving results at the gym, but at the same time as part of the post cycle therapy. It has low anabolic features, which is why it doesn’t decrease or decreases only slightly natural testosterone. Because of these properties, it is used as a fertility drug in some countries. When used as PCT, it works in a way that it lowers estrogen levels in the organism, thus enabling testosterone levels to improve.
There are many aspects of taking steroids and steroid-related drugs which are debatable, however, taking post cycle therapy is definitely not one of them. Steroids cycles are not something you can try for a couple of weeks and then simply go back to your old routine. Because they can improve out body shape and muscle mass so quickly and effectively, they in turn bring many side effects. It is up to us to get our body and organism back on track once we take a break from steroids. Whether we choose anabolics, SARMs or prohormones, our body will work extra hours to process them, adapt to them, and then to restore the previous hormonal balance. It is of crucial importance to prepare supplements which will bring testosterone to the normal level and protect our internal organs. There are various post cycle therapies which are effective in this regard, and it is up to you to choose the right one for your cycle.