Sustanon 250, whether as the trademarked Schering brand or as another product using the same name, is one of the most popular types of anabolic steroids. Unlike most other steroid injectables, Sustanon comprises a mixture of esters. Specifically, each ampule or mL contains testosterone propionate 30 mg, testosterone phenylpropionate 60 mg, testosterone isocaproate 60 mg, and testosterone decanoate 100 mg. This mixture includes short, medium, and long-acting esters.
For a steroid cycle, there are two advantages to combining multiple esters in the same formulation as Sustanon does.
Using multiple esters allows the fairly high total concentration of 250 mg/mL without requiring a large percentage of solubility enhancers in the vehicle. This is because solubilities of different esters of a steroid are nearly independent of each other. So for example if a vehicle (oil plus solubility enhancers) could dissolve 100 mg/mL of either one steroid ester alone or another alone, it could probably dissolve 200 mg/mL total as a combination of both. The greater total concentration adds convenience for the user.
A second effect of the blending is that extended duration of action can be achieved from including a long-acting ester without having the slow onset of action that such esters have when used alone. From the medical standpoint, it’s desirable that a patient experience benefit shortly after treatment. This is also true for steroid cycles. Because Sustanon contains short-acting esters, it can provide quick effect while also providing a fairly long duration of action.
From the bodybuilding perspective, this is helpful where the bodybuilder does not know how to frontload a steroid. But if he does, frontloading a longer acting single ester will accomplish very nearly the same thing. So, a different testosterone ester product such as testosterone enanthate or testosterone cypionate can very readily be used in an anabolic steroid cycle in place of Sustanon.
The multiple esters in Sustanon result in slightly complex pharmacokinetics or change in drug level with time. With a single ester, after so many hours or so many days blood level falls to one-half of what it had been; then by double that time that falls in half again resulting in one-quarter of the previous level; then by triple that time the level falls to one-eighth of what it had been, etc. This time period is called the half-life.
For Sustanon there is no such fixed time period. I estimate that after the last injection levels drop to one-half by the 4 day point; to one-quarter by the 10 day point; to one-eighth by the 16 day point; and to one-sixteenth by the 23 day point. Or if preferring to work with round numbers in terms of percent, as approximate values levels drop to 40% by day 6; to 30% by day 8; to 20% by day 11; and to 10% by day 18.
How then to use this information in a steroid cycle? While there is no exact black-and-white value, a good figure to work with is that when clomiphene or tamoxifen is correctly used, recovery of LH production may begin when levels from injected androgen have fallen to a level commensurate with ongoing 200 mg/week steroid usage. Stronger recovery can occur as levels fall yet further to about half this or less.
So let’s say Sustanon was used at 500 mg/week. In this case the user would need levels to fall by 40% before recovery might plausibly begin. From the above, this would be at approximately 6 days after the last injection.
If we had another athlete who used the rather high dosage of 2000 mg per week, he would need for levels to drop to 10% of what they had been. This would be at about 18 days past the last injection of the steroid cycle.
So much for the matter of the time required between the last injection and the point where recovery could begin. The remaining question regarding Sustanon’s unusual pharmacokinetics is, How to frontload it?
Ordinarily, determining a frontloading value is simple enough, being calculated from the half-life and the dosing schedule. However, Sustanon does not have any one half-life figure, so there is no mathematically perfect answer. However, we can come more than close enough for practical purposes.
The amount used for frontloading — the first day’s injection amount — should be that which will on average be taken in 5 days, plus the usual dosage. This total value may be rounded for convenience as exactness isn’t required.
So for example if taking 750 mg/week as three injections of 250 mg each, the average daily rate is 107 mg/day (750 mg divided by 7 days.) So the five-day amount works to five times this, or 535 mg. Add what will be the usual injection amount which is 250 mg, we have 785 mg. Because this is an inconvenient amount and absolute precision is not required, I’d round this to 750 mg.
After this, subsequent injections for the steroid cycle are all 250 mg.
This procedure will give proper blood levels much more rapidly than is the case when failing to frontload.
As to dosage, there are many ways to look at it, but a fairly simple and useful one is to categorize Sustanon usage at increments of 250 mg/week.
Usage of 250 mg/week usually amounts to nothing other than high-end testosterone replacement therapy. There is no guarantee that this usage will even cause testosterone levels to exceed the normal range. The dosing is high enough to cause the side effect of suppressed LH production, but in most cases is not high enough for any striking anabolic or fat-loss effects. Depending on individual sensitivity, this amount may be high enough to cause the side effects of gynecomastia if an aromatase inhibitor is not used, or may be enough to cause oily skin or acne. In a few instances, anabolic or fat loss benefits may be impressive, as there are individuals who are high responders. But this isn’t the usual outcome for this dosage level.
500 mg/week. In my opinion, this is a reasonable minimum for an actual steroid cycle. I see little point in suppressing the HPTA but probably failing to get much gains out of it, as is the usual outcome for any dosage much less than this. Again, because testosterone aromatizes to estradiol, an aromatase inhibitor may be required to avoid estrogen-related side effects. No one, I think, will fail to see substantially improved gains at this dosage level compared to natural training, but the rate of improvement may be slow. Eight weeks, however, is sufficient even at this amount for a quite significant improvement, unless of course one has trained for enough time at this usage level to have gotten most of what the individual can obtain from it.
750 mg/week. I would rather see this amount used if choosing to do a cycle. If an aromatase inhibitor is used it is unlikely that increased side effects would be a real reason to prefer 500 mg/weeek over this dosage, and results are very substantially superior.
1000 mg/week. I have no problem with this being the dosage for a first steroid cycle but that is in the context of a serious lifter who understands what he is doing. If the steroid use is in fact cycled — that is to say, there are both on and off periods and the on periods are not overly long, and normalization of function is accomplished in the off periods — this is not an overly aggressive dosage by any means. At this dosage, the superiority over natural training is dramatic.
Lastly, there are of course uses such as 2000 mg/week of Sustanon. I don’t see a reason to go to this until one has achieved such a level of development — relative to the individual — that for example 1000 mg/week has done about all that it can do. In that case, if personal goals call for it, a dose such as this can be completely appropriate.
Regardless of dosing level, frequency of injection should be at least twice per week, and more preferably at least 3x/week.
Further information on testosterone, the active anabolic steroid within Sustanon, can be found here.