The first steroid cycle you will do is usually the most effective in terms of muscle mass gains. Your muscles are full of testosterone receptors. They are therefore very sensitive to extra male hormones. Your second cycle will be a bit less effective. And it gets worst and worst. In order to counteract this diminishing effect of steroids, your only solution is to increase the dosages. The risk of side effects increases dramatically.
What is wrong with steroids?
Steroids are pretty effective but not very efficient. It means they will enhance your muscle mass but at an ever increasing risk in terms of side effects. There is a main reason for this lack of efficiency: the delivery mode of most steroids is pretty obsolete. We are said that they are slowly and gradually released in the bloodstream. This is very incorrect. Even when injected, most of the drug is released very rapidly in the blood. This creates a temporary “overdose” of androgens. As a result, your body will “panic”. In order to counter this dramatic elevation, your body will try its best to lower this excessive androgen level. It will do this by:
- Shutting down its own production of testosterone.
- Doing its best to eliminate the drug.
- If possible, it is going to accelerate the transformation of the anabolics to female hormones and to DHT (an apparently useless but very nasty androgen for bodybuilders).
- Decreasing its sensitivity to testosterone by reducing the density of androgen receptors on target cells such as your muscles.
Even if this androgen overdose is only temporary, the counter measures taken by your body will be very long lasting.
Even if you could figure out a better steroid delivery system, none would really duplicate the way your body releases testosterone in your bloodstream. In other words, this bad delivery explains many of the side effects of steroids. You become insensitive to anabolic steroids as well as to your own testosterone. Even if your first steroid cycle is a success, you compromise your future growth. This is a terrible scenario for first timers.
Is there a solution?
The goal of a smart first cycle would be:
- To use the least amounts of drugs in order to experience the least amounts of side effects
- To maximize the anabolic actions while not compromising your future growth
There was no satisfactory solution to this until Trunet’ study was published (1). In that study, he provided a single dose of Letrozole (a.k.a Femara, an aromatase inhibitor) to normal men and measured the responses of their testosterone and of their female hormone secretions. Of course, estrogen levels went down but this is not what caught my attention. The interesting response concerned the testosterone levels. Twenty one days after a single mega dose of 30 mg of Letrozole, serum testosterone level was still increased by 77% above normal. I am not suggesting you use that much! (the recommended daily dose of Femara is 2.5 mg).
But lower doses produced, not so impressive, but still remarkable effects. For example, a single intake of 0.02 mg which represents only 8% of the recommended daily dose increased testosterone level by 45% within 2 days. After a week, testosterone level was still high. Three weeks after this single intake, testosterone level was almost back to basal, almost because it is still somewhat elevated.
The main advantages of Letrozole are:
- It is not a steroid, it is an aromatase inhibitor.
- No injection is required.
- Most importantly, Letrozole elevates your OWN testosterone.
- So, the natural pattern of testosterone release is respected.
- There is no temporary overdose of androgens unless you wish it.
- As expected with an aromatase inhibitor, estrogen levels go down, not up as with most anabolic steroids.
- If you decide to go off Letrozole, the levels of the hormones triggering the release of your testosterone, namely LH and FSH go up while they usually hit rock bottom with anabolic steroids.
I think this scenario better suits the needs of a first time user than straight anabolic steroids.
How to best use Letrozole?
On the down side, Letrozole is more expensive that steroids. But as suggested above, you do not need to use the full dosage and you do not need to take it every single day. If you use 0.5 mg every other day, a box of 30 can last almost a year. Of course, the more you are going to use, the more your testosterone level will increase. This will translate into more muscle mass gains. But Letrozole allows you to really fine tune your degree of testosterone elevation. This fine tuning is not that easy with steroids, especially injections. According to Trunet:
- 0.02 mg of Letrozole increased testosterone by 45% after 2 days
- 0.1 mg of Letrozole increased testosterone by 49% after 2 days
- 0.5 mg of Letrozole increased testosterone by 48% after 2 days
- 1 mg of Letrozole increased testosterone by 41% after 2 days
- 2.5 mg of Letrozole increased testosterone by 74% after 3 days
- 10 mg of Letrozole increased testosterone by 97% after 2 days
- 30 mg of Letrozole increased testosterone by 113% after 3 days
It is a good idea to start very low for a couple of days and see what happens. A rapid reduction of estrogen levels may not be well tolerated by some people. This is why you want to progress slowly and carefully. I would crush one pill and try my best to use 1/10 of that powder a day or every other day to see what happens. If everything goes well, build up your dosage.
Ideally, Letrozole is to be used along with a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor such as Proscar in order to prevent the excessive transformation of testosterone in DHT. If used with moderation, you do not have to go off Letrozole/Proscar. After of few months of this combination, you have created a very good endocrine background to start steroids.
To conclude, I am not saying Letrozole will provide more growth than steroids but its efficiency ratio is much better than anabolics for a first timer. If you are in a hurry, Letrozole is probably not for you. But neither is bodybuilding as you will end up going nowhere if you are not patient in that sport.
Trunet PF, Mueller P, Bhatnagar AS, Dickes I, Monnet G, White G. Open dose-finding study of a new potent and selective nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor, CGS 20 267, in healthy male subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1993 Aug;77(2):319-23.