Q: What do you think of using a mild steroid like Anavar to bridge between cycles? Is this a good idea to maintain mass between my normal cycles? If so, how much should I use?
A: There are many issues with “bridging” that should make the average person think twice about it. For starters, every anabolic steroid known to man will suppress testosterone production when used in doses sufficient to promote muscle gain. Studies have confirmed notable testosterone suppression with therapeutic doses of oxandrolone, so you are S.O.L. if a recovery bridge with Anavar is what you (like many) were hoping for. The next issue is the simple and more general fact that you are not going off steroids with a steroid bridge, and are potentially exacerbating the negative health aspects of their use, such their effects on serum lipids and cardiovascular disease risk. If you are spending your entire year going from strong cycle to lesser oral (Anavar) cycle, you are undoubtedly always going to be negatively altering your lipids (orals tend to be particularly harsh here, in fact). You may be putting yourself in some notable risk as the years progress. You need to remember that the whole point of cycling is to minimize the negative health risks of steroid use. The fact that these drugs have potential risks really cannot be disputed, just addressed intelligently. Bridging may be a very unhealthful way of sustaining these risks indefinitely, instead of mitigating them with off time. Don’t bridge with steroids!
If you want an optimal “off cycle” program, you really should look at non-hormonal anabolic agents and/or supplements instead of anabolic steroids. For example, I know many guys that like to go off steroids and onto a cycle of Human Growth Hormone or IGF-1. Many others use this time to undertake a detailed program of dietary supplements. I’ve often recommended a 50-60 day stack of Creatine (3-5 grams per day) and Arachidonic acid (X-Factor’; 750-1000mg daily) for this purpose, which are both very effective natural muscle-building supplements. Truth be told, a number of professional athletes I know are using this combination between cycles/during testing periods right now with excellent results. Post cycle, these supplements can do an excellent job of helping you maintain the hard work you’ve put into your physique while on cycle. They also make an excellent non-hormonal anabolic stack in general.
A branched chain amino acid (BCAA) product might not hurt during your off-cycle time either, as recovery may be slowed compared to what you were used to on-cycle. It should help you recover faster and get more out of your workouts. A fish oil supplement might also be a good idea to help balance your lipid and triglyceride levels, which remember were likely altered for the negative during your steroid cycles. Off-cycle may also be a good time to invest in some of the other general health promoting vitamins and herbs etc. that may be fond of taking. The bottom line is, your off time is supposed to be “off time” for a reason. This is the time to let your body get back to its natural state of hormonal balance, and for you to enjoy a period where you are not using steroids and perhaps placing certain strains on your health. Take advantage of this time and use it for what its worth – keeping you healthy and happy.